* Update:Â Australia threatens ‘Durban II’ boycott
Pell believes West now scared of criticising Islam
Cardinal Pell is right. The only argument was whether he was right to say it, or whether such double standards are justified:Â
THE West has become scared to criticise IslamÂ and accepts death threats by Muslim extremists as normal, Cardinal George Pell has suggested in a speech in England…Â
* Makes you wonder why he speaks like this in Britain. Why not start right here?
- Barney Zwartz/West Australia Today
THE West has become scared to criticise Islam and accepts death threats by Muslim extremists as normal, Cardinal George Pell has suggested in a speech in England.
The outspoken Catholic Archbishop of Sydney said laws intended to promote tolerance were being used to stifle debate, which was “fermenting intolerance under the surface”.
In the March 6 speech at Oxford University, he also attacked a global campaign of “bullying and intimidation” by secular groups trying to drive Christians from public debate and stop churches providing schools, hospitals and welfare.
“Many in the West have grown used to practising self-censorship when it comes to Islam, just as we seem to accept that ex-Muslims who criticise Islam and extremism, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, require round-the-clock police protection,” he said.
“You can be persecuted for hate speech if you discuss violence in Islam, but there is little fear of a hate-speech prosecution for Muslim demonstrators with placards reading ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas’.”
He said the expense and time of defending frivolous hate-speech allegations and the anxiety from “being enmeshed in a legal process straight out of Kafka” stifled robust discussion.
“No one in the West today would suggest that criticism of Christianity should be outlawed,” he said. “The secular and religious intolerance of our day needs to be confronted regularly and publicly.”
Some secularists wanted a one-way street, and sought to drive Christianity not only from the public square but from providing education, health care and welfare to the wider community. “Modern liberalism has strong totalitarian tendencies,” he said.
Cardinal Pell said a Californian referendum that rejected same-sex marriage had been a focus for demonstrations, violence, vandalism and intimidation of Christians.
He said “this prolonged campaign of payback and bullying” would have received much more attention if same-sex marriage supporters had been the victims.
It was strange how some of the most permissive groups easily became repressive despite their rhetoric about diversity and tolerance, he said.
“Opposition to same-sex marriage is a form of homophobia and therefore bad, but Christianophobic blacklisting and intimidation is passed over in silence,” he said.
Cardinal Pell said discrimination laws had been used to redefine marriage and the family. Children could now have three, four or five parents, relegating the idea of a child being brought up by his natural mother and father to nothing more than a majority preference.
He said last year’s Victorian law decriminalising abortion made a mockery of conscientious objection, which had been attacked as merely a way for doctors and nurses to impose their morality on their patients.
Cardinal Pell said Christians urgently needed to deepen public understanding about religious freedom.