Jordan Peterson, Caroline Farrow and the death of free speech

Mar 22, 2019 by

by David Robertson, Premier:

[…] The new blasphemy:

Free speech is not just being curtailed in law and in the academic world. Sadly the Church is joining in with its own version of the secular inquisition. Jayne Ozanne, whose ‘progressive’ credentials are now so impeccable that she has been appointed to the Government’s new LGBT Advisory panel, recently gave a lecture at the University of Oxford (no chance of her being banned!). Her argument makes the Surrey Police and Cambridge look positively libertarian. While recognising that free speech is the bedrock of any free society and democracy she adds a very important caveat. “I for one am a great believer in the importance of promoting a society that enables freedom of speech to the point that it does no harm.”

But who defines what harm is? The irony is that Ozanne complains about those in power abusing that power, while herself being in a position of great power – as a government advisor. A year ago I wrote about the danger of a new crime (spiritual abuse) being placed on the statue books – as advocated by Ozanne and the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS). This is now coming to pass.

I hope we are all against ‘spiritual abuse’ and indeed ‘speech that does harm’ (or hate speech). The devil is however in the detail. I think liberal theology is harmful – does that mean I want liberal theologians silenced by the law? God forbid! We are entering a new era of blasphemy laws being enforced by the powerful – those who sit on government committees, academic institutions, corporate boards, media panels and police advisory groups. They are the new secular inquisition who will determine that anyone who does not accept their ideology or philosophy is committing blasphemy. To disagree with them is to be guilty of causing harm and hurt. We are the new heretics.

These are perilous times. Christians need to stand up for free speech – not just for ourselves but especially for those we would disagree with.

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