Hate offences bill ‘most radical in history’
A bill that jeopardises free speech was easily passed in the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament, in May.
David Thunder, a commentator for Australian news site Mercator, called it “the most radical hate speech law in the history of the Irish state, a law so radical that it could potentially criminalise material in your ‘possession’ that you have never made public, if that material is deemed by a judge to be liable to incite hatred and you cannot prove it was exclusively for personal use.”
“It could criminalise material in your ‘possession’ that you have never made public”
If it is not altered by the Seanad (Senate), any speech against “protected categories” could result in prosecution. The vague definitions in the bill mean it is open to varying interpretations by the police and justice system.
The Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill 2022 lists the “protected characteristics” as race, colour, nationality, religion, national or ethnic origin, descent, gender, sex characteristics, sexual orientation and disability.
This potentially allows the state to punish citizens who dissent from the prevailing political opinion
The bill means that if the Irish have any wording on their computers that a prosecutor believes is “likely to incite violence or hatred” toward one of the protected groups, they may end up with a criminal conviction because it is assumed that the material will be published. The onus is on the defendant to prove to a judge that he or she did not intend to publish the text.
This potentially amounts to making thought a crime and allowing the state to punish citizens who dissent from the prevailing political opinion.
Persecuted politician re-elected
A Finnish politician prosecuted for criticising the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland’s participation in LGBT Pride events has been re-elected.
Päivi Räsänen was prosecuted for ‘hate speech’ for tweeting a Bible verse on homosexuality, but won her case in a district court. The judgement stated that “it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts”. However, the Finnish state prosecutor has launched an appeal against her acquittal and she will have to appear in court again in August.
Despite all this, Räsänen retained her seat as a Christian Democrat MP in Parliament in the April election.
The former Interior Minister has won eight terms (28 years as an MP) in a row, representing the Häme constituency.
She told Evangelical Focus: “We need Christians to defend life and foundational freedoms and rights.”
Pastor’s daughter killed in Christian school shooting
The daughter of Chad Scruggs, a senior pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, was one of the six victims of transgender attacker Audrey Hale.
Three children and three adults, including the headteacher, were shot dead at Covenant School, a Christian primary in Nashville, in March.
“We know she’s in the arms of Christ and he loves her more than we did”
Hallie Scruggs was just nine years old. Faithwire reported that her father said: “We know she’s in the arms of Christ and he loves her more than we did.”
According to Premier, Nashville police chief John Drake said it was likely that the shooting resulted from “some resentment” that Hale had “for having to go to that school” as a child.
Hale, a woman who identified as a man, was killed at the scene
Christian mother fights back over adoption
A mother of five who believes she was denied the right to adopt because of her faith is taking the State of Oregon to court.
Jessica Bates believes she was rejected because of her Christian beliefs about sexuality and has filed a federal lawsuit.
Last year, Bates applied to adopt two siblings. Premier reports that Christian Legal advocacy group ADF says her application was denied because she would not agree to “respect, accept, and support…the sexual orientation, gender identity, [and] gender expression” of a child in her care.
ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs said Oregon’s policy was discriminatory because “people who hold secular or ‘progressive’ views on sexual orientation and gender identity are eligible to participate in child welfare programs, while people of faith with religiously informed views are disqualified because they don’t agree with the state’s orthodoxy.”
Bates told the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) that she would “happily love and accept any child” but could not compromise her Christian beliefs.