The Value Of The First Amendmentby Doug Mataconis
The British don’t have a Bill of Rights per se, they don’t even really have a written Constitution, which is why it’s possible for nonsense like this to take place:\
This past week, apparently, two ministers found out first-hand that what the Bishop claimed was true:
The preachers, both ministers in Birmingham, were handing out leaflets on Alum Rock Road in February when they started talking to four Asian youths.
A police community support officer (PCSO) interrupted the conversation and began questioning the ministers about their beliefs.
They said when the officer realised they were American, although both have lived in Britain for many years, he launched a tirade against President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Cunningham said: “I told him that this had nothing to do with the gospel we were preaching but he became very aggressive.
“He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station.”
The preacher refused to give the PCSO his address because he felt the officer’s manner was “threatening and intimidating”.
The ministers claim he also advised them not to return to the area. As he walked away, the PCSO said: “You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned”.
Left unanswered, of course, is why the police wouldn’t go their job to protect the preachers if they were, by chance, beaten up by thugs for committing the apparently unpardonable crime of proselytizing in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood. Instead, it’s just easier to stop the speech and let the thugs have there way.
Of course, having a written Constitution and an explicit protection of freedom of speech doesn’t always help either. Just ask our neighbors to the North:
Representatives of B.C. Muslims are seeking a ruling from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal over a 2006 Maclean’s magazine article they say discriminated against them and exposed the community to hatred and contempt.
The complaint was filed jointly by Canadian Islamic Congress president Mohamed Elmasry of Ottawa and Abbotsford cardiologist Dr. Naiyer Habib, a B.C. director of the congress.
At issue is an Oct. 23, 2006, article that suggested Muslim demographics will soon enable them to overrun countries in Europe and North America.
Apparently, in Canada, as in Britain, the “right” not to be offended, even by the truth, trumps free speech every time.