The Equality Act: a blasphemy law by the backdoor

Jul 22, 2021 by

by Laurence Fox, spiked:

Making religion a ‘protected characteristic’ has emboldened censorious Islamists.

Never before in my lifetime has language been so weaponised. Never have I seen so much suppression of free speech, so much censorship of perfectly moderate opinions, and, perhaps most perniciously, so much self-censorship. New speech codes are constantly being forced on to everyday parlance.

Gender reassignment, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, the definitions of gender, climate change, Covid restrictions, vaccinations, the NHS, national identity and British history – these issues can no longer be debated openly in this country.

There is a war being waged on language, and our right to use it by those who seek offence constantly and find it everywhere. The meanings of our words are twisted and turned until they get stuck in our mouth for fear of the repercussions. We are no longer individuals, with individual thoughts, hopes and dreams – we are objects divided into groups based on the characteristics that we can never change. The value of our opinions depends not on the quality of our arguments, but on our place in the new hierarchy of victimhood.

In April this year, a teacher at Batley Grammar School showed a cartoon of Muhammad in a religious-studies class. He did so to encourage debate about blasphemy in a safe environment for the students. He had taught the lesson numerous times before. Within hours, a mob had gathered at the school gates demanding the teacher’s sacking. Following a series of death threats, the teacher, his partner and their four children fled in fear of their lives. They remain in hiding, having moved twice. The headteacher, the teacher’s union, his MP and the government were silent. Or if they said anything, they gave succour to the mob with appeasing statements.

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