Paul Coleman’s book Censored presented in Washington; event hosted by Ryan T. Anderson
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On 2 August 2016, ADF International presented the second edition of Paul Coleman’s book Censored – How European “Hate Speech” Laws Are Threatening Freedom of Speech published by Kairos Publications. The event was hosted by Ryan T. Anderson, editor of the online journal Public Discourse and Research Fellow with The Heritage Foundation, at the Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium.
“In Europe the state wants to shut down debate on ‘hot topics’ like immigration, marriage, sexuality, and the critique of other religions,” said Paul Coleman, Deputy Director of ADF International and author of the book. “But speech laws are not only a growing concern in Europe. Also in the ‘land of the free’ censorship on campuses, in churches, and in the political sphere is omnipresent.”
“In the US a person can now be fined for not using a person’s preferred ‘gender pronoun,’ and the State of California is considering a bill that would abolish the free association rights of religious colleges’ in the name of non-discrimination”, said Ryan Anderson, in his welcoming remarks at the beginning of the presentation.
The rise of “hate speech” laws
Censored addresses the rise of so-called “hate speech” laws throughout Europe and their devastating effect on freedom of speech. In Germany, for example, committing an “insult” is a criminal offence and in Poland offending “religious feelings” carries a two year prison sentence. In Cyprus, anyone who promotes “feelings of ill will” may be committing a crime, while in Sweden anyone who expresses “contempt” towards a group of people may be imprisoned.
Across Europe, such laws are readily being used. Ministers of religion are arrested for preaching sermons from the Bible, journalists are routinely fined, and even private conversations between citizens can result in criminal investigations. In fact, Censored documents more than fifty different “hate speech” cases throughout Europe, most of which have occurred in the last decade.
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