Defend the right to offend…


COMPLAINTS from politicians about offensive banners during parades are par for the course during the summer Here. But rarely do the complaints come from the DUP, and even more rarely are the marches gay pride parades. Nevertheless, East Belfast DUP councillor May Campbell wants to see a curb on the civil liberties of Gay Pride, as she has a problem with how one marcher exercised her right to free expression. The good councillor said “questions must be raised by those funding such events and the Parades Commission should be looking into the need for restrictions on any further parades.” I wonder if DUP Culture Minister Edwin Poots is listening, after all the trouble he went through to ensure the event was funded? Cllr Campbell went on: “Christians all over the province, and indeed, the world will be disgusted by this slur. If such provocative claims were made against Mohammad, Muslims would rightly be up in arms. It is about time those who regulate such public displays clamp down on those continually attacking Christianity and the Christian values of this country.” Perhaps – like a few of Saturday’s marchers – she should just turn the other cheek…

  • Jo

    Love All Ulster and All Ulster people up the Shankhill then?

  • Broken Social Scene

    My righteous rage? How laughable. I do not attempt to say that I am perfect but I do attempt to operate an element of decorum in life. Look at it like this, if the parader had been carrying a placard saying “Martin Luther King is a fag”, would this be acceptable? In exactly the same context as many arguments on this blog we cannot to profess to knowing if Mr King was or wasn’t but you can rest assured it would have produced a far larger uproar throughout the world that the placard above has. What if they had daubed “The Pope is a fag”, what would have been the reaction? Both examples are religious figures that huge portions of society worldwide hold dear to their heart much like Jesus yet it appears acceptable to use his name and no others. I don’t like the Queen but I realise that in a civilised democracy to carry a placard claiming her to be “scum” etc is offensive not only to her but her followers also and so I exercise my right and everyone else’s to disagree but do not feel the need to force it down your throat.

    People seem to be confusing my disagreement with the placard as disagreement with the march itself. NO. My point is that certain aspects of it should not be available to view at all hours of the day (and I feel the same of Notting Hill and Mardi Gras). Television has a watershed as should everyday life. If my next door neighbour was in his garden in his y fronts and my daughter was in the vicinity I would call the police, is it ok if he is in the garden with 30 mates all in their y fronts and calls it “Neighbour Pride”? Please also understand that I am not saying that the Pride marchers in y fronts would be a dodgy character.

    Freedom of speech is all well and good but everyone knows that it is only operable in the correct environment; I and thousands like me think our bosses are insufferable idiots but we don’t say anything about it because freedom of speech is not a viable excuse.

    One major quibble off topic, the ability of people to drag a debate to sectarian levels astounds me. Northern Ireland and Ireland as a whole has a dark past that none of the partakers can be proud of but we cannot assume that it has prevalence in every topic of conversation. Not everything in Irish life is linked to sectarian or governmental agendas.

  • IJP

    why does it matter?

    That’s the important question.

    Actually I think I found the “Kooler than Jesus” bit more offensive!

  • A D Thompson

    John,

    “With respect all that says to me is that you are not fit to marshall your own parades.”

    This is not the case.

    The Belfast Pride Committee has pre-determined guidelines for dealing with such incidents.

    1. If an official identifies an item that they feel could be deemed offensive we ask the person involved to swap their item for one of our own.

    2. If they decline we consider the matter closed unless a member of the police or public approaches us to make a complaint, in which case we work with the police to remove the offending item.

    As no complaint was forthcoming the matter was deemed to be closed.

  • Harry, that’s a really dubious comparison and it’s exactly the sort of thing people do in gay related debates all the time. Your comparator with me and my partner checking into a guesthouse is a lowlife who gets his kicks from picking up 16 year olds and having sex with them in their school uniform. Just stop and think for a moment – is that really a valid comparison? Why pick the sleaziest possible example you could think of?

    Broken Science – I’m a bit mystified my the Notting Hill comment. I lived on the carnival route for five years and never saw anything before “the watershed”, other than possibly people drinking heavily and dancing badly, that was child-unfriendly, as evidenced by the thousands of children who attend every year. Sure, some of the pubs and clubs could get seriously heavy later on in the evening (and not especially my cup of tea), but they are adult spaces so what’s your point?

    IJP – oh, the T-shirt was way more offensive, but not specifically gay-themed, so it isn’t a potential Trojan horse for other agendas, so nobody is talking about it.

    And why has nobody stopped to ask why this kid has a big anti-Christian thing going on. I can think of all sorts of reasons that ought to give the Evangelical lobby pause for thought – and that do give some Evangelicals pause for thought – but again, it doesn’t suit anyone’s agenda to reflect on them here, so they don’t.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Bloody ell! Been away for a few days and just noticed this one.
    The ‘person’ in the picture apparently got a few tips from the May McFetteridge style college, but the placard itself was obviously intended to cause maximum offence and should have been removed on the spot by organisers / police / anyone in fact. It certainly doesn’t do the gay community any favours.

  • Broken Social Scene

    “I lived on the carnival route for five years and never saw anything before “the watershed”, other than possibly people drinking heavily and dancing badly, that was child-unfriendly, as evidenced by the thousands of children who attend every year.”

    Yes it is child unfriendly. In my opinion having children present around people who are drinking heavily is not only misguided but dangerous. Alcohol is deemed as something adults can do hence not being able to drink legally until 18. If you may not consume it until this age why should it be acceptable to be around people drinking it when you are far far younger , and especially when, as you put it, they are drinking heavily.

    Regards giving evangelicals pause for thought, I totally agree. Their fountain of hate has not be addressed enough on this blog and should be condemned but we cannot live in a society where someone is offended by a small section of idiots and takes it upon thmselves to voice opinions that offend a wider majority than these preachers of hate. If her issue is with these people then i’m sure a lot of people would back her to stand up to them and put her point across but her actions angered the protestors and offended people who she had no reason to offend.

  • Harry Flashman

    **Just stop and think for a moment – is that really a valid comparison? Why pick the sleaziest possible example you could think of?**

    No I don’t see why it is unfair Sammy, the character I am describing is not behaving illegally, but you and I are both questioning his moral standards, as is our right, but you are now claiming the moral high ground that no one else may question your moral standards.

    My point remains, what is so special about your legal sexual proclivities that guest house owners must face the full rigours of the law if they object to them, and the legal sexual proclivities of others whom you happen to disapprove of?

    Would it not be better to adopt a “live and let live” attitude (I seem to recall that was once a cherished ideal of gay rights activists)? You and Mr S are entitled to your freedom to enjoy your relationship and oul’ Mildred the guest house owner is free to decline your custom if she so desires, why should your freedom be backed up with police powers against hers?

    I agree, I deliberately chose the scuzziest example within the law I could think of (though I suggest sexual exploitation of teenaged youths is hardly unheard of in the gay community) so please tell me where do you draw the line? Which legal sexual preferences get the “tut-tut, disgusting” treatment from you and which get the “call the PSNI, my sexual rights are being infringed” treatment?

    I think it’s fair to ask as you are the one who supports calling in the peelers to settle the dispute.

  • In my opinion having children present around people who are drinking heavily is not only misguided but dangerous.

    You are also presumably against the carnival in Rio, Oktoberfest, Mardi Gras and any small town Saints’ Day in the Czech Republic. As I said, I don’t think you have a homophobic bone in your body but you do have sort of drudge puritanism. You are entitled to your opinions. I am entitled to mine.

  • Joe

    Her actions angered the protestors and offended people who she had no reason to offend

    Dare I suggest that fundamentalists of whatever stripe should be confronted and offended at every possible opportunity? If the voices in their heads tell them that queers deserve to be tortured for all eternity, fine, but they shouldn’t expect to promulgate their hateful bilge without occasionally encountering some sensible individual with the guts to tell them to go and f**k themselves.

    What a lot of commenters here seem to have missed is the nature of the respective ‘offences’. The evangelicals and their fellow travellers here are in essence taking offence at the fact that someone has expressed an opinion they don’t like the sound of – while the gay pride marchers are facing up to fundamentalist thugs and morons responsible for threats, physical violence and worse, who basically believe that gay people are subhuman. It’s the difference between “You deserve to die in agony and be tortured for all eternity because I don’t approve of what you do with your penis” and “f**k off”.

    And as to that clumsy guest-house metaphor – should people legally be able to pick and choose who they provide their services to on the basis of their personal morality? By extension, would it be fine and dandy for a guest house owner to refuse to accomodate Jews?

  • Broken Social Scene

    I don’t see myself as prudish etc at all I just abhore at humans ability to afflict other people with what makes them happy with a blatant disregard for how it affects others. We are all selfish but just some on a greater level (not highlighting this case as an example). Excusing selfishness as freedom of speech or expression is totally vacuous.

    “You are entitled to your opinions. I am entitled to mine.”

    Thankfully this is true but perhaps the greatest point to raise from this is that we have both enetered a debate and in my opinion provided ach other with food for thought. This is only achieved because of the unprovocative and peaceful manner of the debate and demonstrates that she enticed outrage rather than bring any sensible opinion to the table. Even the gay community must recognise that her actions served more as an assault than any constructive form of dispute against the protestors and as such promotes a poor image for the pride event.

  • I agree, I deliberately chose the scuzziest example within the law I could think of (though I suggest sexual exploitation of teenaged youths is hardly unheard of in the gay community)

    Thanks Harry. It’s very kind of you to display your true colours where everyone can see them. You just forgot to add “I’m not homphobic, but”.

    Mildred the guest house owner is free to decline your custom if she so desires

    Should Mildred be able to refuse black customers if she so desires? Should I be able to refuse Mildred’s husband a job because his wife is a homophobe?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Perhaps oul Mildred should hang up a sign outside her guesthouse to avoid a ‘situation’ that says No Gays, or something.

    As for the T-shirt, I thought it was a reference to a single by the Thrill Kill Kult?

  • Broken Social Scene

    Joe,

    Please reread my comment which you have quoted. I do not question her right to take to task fundamentalists who spout hate at her community. I raise the question as to why she must take it to a level that would offend Christians as a whole rather than the fundamentalists who were protesting!!

    “Dare I suggest that fundamentalists of whatever stripe should be confronted and offended at every possible opportunity? ”

    I agree but I suggest that the confrontation should be aimed at the fundamentalists only and not as in this example at a wider community with members who have no ill feelings towards the gay community at all.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Surely that “Jesus Is A Fag” placard is promoting and inciting religious hatred? I’m not a regular church-goer but I was still brought up in the Christian faith and find those kind of sentiments extremely offensive and an attempt to cheapen Christianity…

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Surely that “Jesus Is A Fag” placard is promoting and inciting religious hatred?

    Well yes & no CL. Given the tendency of certain Christians to wave placards proclaiming ‘sodomy is sin’ and much worse, it’s hardly surprising that there should be an attempt, however ill-advised, to ‘hit back.’
    Dragging Jesus into the debate at all is of course a red herring, as he never actually mentioned homosexuality. Indeed the practice is only condemned in a few parts of the Old Testament, alongside such heinous sins as shellfish consumption, and by Paul in the New Testament, who wasn’t overly keen on women entering church uncovered or indeed speaking either.
    The Christian anti-gay lobby have merely hijacked these few fleeting references to justify their own prejudices and I’m saying that from a non-gay viewpoint.

    Having said that, the woman in the picture has gone about her protest in an entirely wrong-headed and counter-productive way, rather like protesting against the monarchy by asserting that the Queen blows goats. The organisers should have removed the placard immediately it was spotted. A bit more thought and a bit less stupidity needed.

  • John East Belfast

    Sammy

    That link you gave me to support that the placard was not Blasphemy among scholarly believing Christians – did you check their Statement on “What they Believe ” ?

    They arent Christians in any sense of the belief system for the same.

    I am surprised at your sloppyness !

    Harry

    I dont think the guest house comparison is right in that you are confusing Discrimination with Freedom of Speech.

    ie society has rightly said that Discrimination is wrong – ie we cant stop people thinking wrong thoughts but we can stop them acting them out.

    Refusing somebody a room would be discrimination.

    Some idiot proclaiming Jesus is a Fag is …well he is just an idiot.

    Can we stop them saying them ? – In certain circumstances yes – if they are provoking violence.
    Also if what they are saying is likely to lead to someone feeling discriminated against – eg in the work place.

    The bottom line is as IJP said with freedoms come responsibity and this young man and the march orgainisers did not exercise any.

    Mr Thompson

    In terms of exercising responsibility what you are basically saying is that if your march stewards anticipate that something could be deemed offensive then they would rightly and proactively try to remove it.
    If they failed then …. they would do nothing and actually wait around until someone actually was offended.

    A complete cop out and I would urge you to seriously re-consider this policy for the future.

  • Harry Flashman,

    To demand that the police be called to force her on pain of prison to trade with you against her own wishes seems an outrageous impostion and monstrously illiberal, and more to the point why on earth would you wish to be a guest in the home of someone who clearly abhors your presence?

    Would it be ‘an outrageous imposition’ and ‘monstrously illiberal’ to prosecute someone for refusing to serve a black person? If not, can you explain the moral difference between refusing to serve a gay person and refusing to serve a black person?

    Let me guess. It is not so much the sinner, but the sin itself. Because gay sex goes against the person’s religious beliefs, that person should have the right to object.

    Well, if that is the case, I would like to know why the devout Christians used in these hypothetical examples are always so obsessed with riding? When straight couples are signing in, do they think, ‘Thank the Lord this married couple have arrived to bang each other all night in accordance with the scripture as I interpret it’?

  • Surely that “Jesus Is A Fag” placard is promoting and inciting religious hatred? I’m not a regular church-goer but I was still brought up in the Christian faith and find those kind of sentiments extremely offensive and an attempt to cheapen Christianity…
    Posted by Concerned Loyalist on Aug 10, 2007 @ 01:11 PM

    Funny what you consider an incitement of hatred given you appologism for the UPRG on another active thread at the moment. Think closely about your own values before you critizise anyone elses.

  • Harry Flashman

    In answer to the above, actually the usually latent libertarian in me says yes, it’s perfectly legitimate to refuse to do business with whomsoever you choose. Provided you are not in receipt of public funds whom you choose to trade with is entirely a matter for you to decide.

    It is no business of the government to force you to trade with people you don’t like (and curiously that used to be a tenet of ‘liberals’ in the past). If I choose not to have business with Lithuanians or Orangemen then fine, on my head be it. And if Lituanians and Orangemen choose to protest against my prejudices, organise boycotts, call me a bigot, picket my shop, open their own business in competition, then good luck to them, and if I go out of business as a result well then hell rub it up me. I subscribe to individual freedom and the concept of treating adults like adults and allowing them to face the consequences of their own actions.

    When did we get to the stage that Daddy Government gets called in to enforce “correct” opinions? Who enlisted the Thought Police? If Sammy is happy to ban Mr Scuzzy Hyundai, the teenie lover, why can’t Mildred ban pink halter topped, badly mascarra’d Ms “Jesus is a Fag” from the photo above? When did gays get ‘specially protected species’ status?

    Whose morals are sacred?

    Whose morals gets a night in the cells on a hate crime charge?

    Answers on a post card to “Logical Thinkers, Slugger O’Toole, Belfast BT1”.

  • broken Social Scene

    Harry

    A homosexual has made a lifestyle choice which is no different to a man fantasising over BBW women, which some may argue is disgusting just as some may argue homosexuality is disgusting. The fact is both parties are consenting adults who have the right and mental capacity to make a choice re who the sleep with.

    A 16 year old has little or no idea what they want from life and have not experienced enough of life to be capable of deciding if a 37 year old man is ok to sleep with or not. The concept that a someone can make a decission on who the have sex with but can’t enter a casino is monstrous. “Mr Scuzzy” is exploiting children and are you honeslty telling me this is ok compared to homosexuality or even of any tangible comparison.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sammy Morse: “Before you ask, no people shouldn’t be waving their willies in the faces of children (obviously) but I’m not sure that, or anything like that, happened.”

    It would be a rare Gay Pride parade is that *didn’t* happen, Sammy. Exhibitionist behavior, sexual harassment and back-alley sex (no pun intended) and the like not uncommon at these events — isn’t there a paper with a decent police log?

    Sammy Morse: “Are you seriously saying that you define “freedom of expression” as people’s freedom to say what they like as long as you, personally, don’t find it mind numbingly stupid or shallow? ” And “Freedom of speech, if it means anything, means having the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear. ”

    Ah, but with that freedom comes responsibilty and a need to accept the consequences that arise from indulging in that freedom. It would seem to me that the Pride parade seems a wee bit shaky on the accepting responsibility and consequences end of the equation.

    Sammy Morse: “And I’ve yet to hear someone explain to me in theological terms why “Jesus is a fag” is offensive. Either you believe Jesus was a sexual being or you are a heretic. Would a placard saying “Jesus is a breeder” offend you?”

    Actually, yes, it would, come to think on it.

    Likewise, your slip is showing, Sammy… either that, or your heel is on my corns. If “faggot” is rude, then “breeder” is rude. I have yet to figure out the logic that permits rudeness whilst whinging about rudeness. Better to take the high road and let your opposition look like troglodytes than sink to their level.

    I won’t bother quoting AD Thompson… My backhoe is in the shop and I dislike handing manure with anything shorter than that…

    Your Pilate-like attempt at washing of your hands is of no real import — the sign was carried in the Pride parade and will tar the parade, regardless of your pious protestations of your rules. That your organization lacks the mother-wit to realize that cameras exist and will capture moments in time so that they may be dragged forth at a later date is amusing. The parade is speech and, as demonstrated by the sign, anti-Christian speech was a part of your message, permitted by your marshals, full stop.

    Welcome to the information age… do try to keep up.

  • Broken Social Scene

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Will people please stop talking about freedom of speech and freedom of expression!!!!!!! As I stated before, in legal terms freedom of speech is considered appropriate as a measure to induce tolerance and quite obviously freedom to offend does not endorse this. Freedom of expression must also be considered in the context that television, magazine and newspaper content is monitored and edited as appropriate because the concept of freedom of expression is open to abuse and should not necessarily be viewed by anybody and everybody. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression have little or nothing to do with this debate.

  • McGrath

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6940061.stm

    Maybe they should be stoned to death? Think about it, the stoning could be a community outreach program considering there are plenty around who can throw stones.

    I think it is commendable of NI society that such a potentially insulting statement / placard did not result in a disturbance.

  • Harry Flashman

    BSS,

    OK, you object to the current legal age of consent, by all means campaign to have it raised to 18 or 21 (good luck with that) but I am afraid you’re missing my substantive point.

    Sammy wants the full majesty of the law brought down on business people who choose not to trade with him (I call these businesspeople “Mildred” as a convenient shorthand) and it is to that, not the sexual proclivities involved, that I object.

    There was a time when gays pleaded with the Government to stop interfering in their lives, stop imposing their own majoritarian morality on the minority who might not necessarily share that morality, what went on in their own bedrooms was their own business. Now the reverse is true, now Sammy demands that the Government start imposing the majoritarian morality on the minority (in Mildred’s case quite literally a situation where her own bedrooms ARE her business). Now should you dare to step outside the groupthink, Sammy wants Plod coming round and arresting you, he wants you charged with a Thought Crime and he wants to see your livelihood destroyed.

    Forty years ago when the government was persecuting gays for their way of life and their beliefs I sided with the gays, now? Well, I better be careful, Sammy might be on the phone to the PSNI Hate Crime department.

  • Joe

    Exhibitionist behavior, sexual harassment and back-alley sex (no pun intended) and the like not uncommon at these events

    Nor are they uncommon every Friday and Saturday night along the Golden Mile. Was there a point in this or are you just enjoying wagging your finger at the filthy homos?

    (I’m assuming it’s your finger, obviously)

    Harry Flashman – it’s one of the bedrocks of democratic civilisation that everyone is equal under the law. That you’re willing to argue against this speaks volumes.

  • Broken Scoial Scene

    Harry

    I don’t disagree with the age of consent. It is a peculiar topic of conversation because I struggle to see how someone isn’t ready for sex at 15 yrs and 364 days but is adult enough to decide the next day. However, I realise that this theory is self perpetuating and would be eligible to whichever age is decided.

    I don’t necessarily agree with some of your points but I agree with others but what I was trying to say is that comparing homosexuality to a man who likes young girls is a risky business and doesn’t really add much to the debate.

    I agree it should be at “Mildred’s” discretion who she serves but I don’t agree with her decision to do so. This is all purely hypothetical and whilst i’m sure it may happen it is not prevalent in our society.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Joe: “Nor are they uncommon every Friday and Saturday night along the Golden Mile”

    And is it legal and appropriate there?

    Joe: “Was there a point in this or are you just enjoying wagging your finger at the filthy homos? ”

    No, merely responding to what I perceived as an overly optimistic (or perhaps naive) posting. No wagging fingers (or any other members) involved.

    BSS: “I don’t necessarily agree with some of your points but I agree with others but what I was trying to say is that comparing homosexuality to a man who likes young girls is a risky business and doesn’t really add much to the debate.”

    Why? Both are legal acts that some enjoy and other decry. No analogy is ever perfect, BSS. If have a better analogy to illustrate the point, by all means, share.

    BSS: “I agree it should be at “Mildred’s” discretion who she serves but I don’t agree with her decision to do so. This is all purely hypothetical and whilst i’m sure it may happen it is not prevalent in our society. ”

    I would say there is at least one devil in the details to be picked at, but as a fairly libertarian individual myself, I don’t disagree with Harry, but the details would make a difference.

  • Joe

    Joe: “Nor are they uncommon every Friday and Saturday night along the Golden Mile”

    And is it legal and appropriate there?

    Well, I’ve not seen you complaining about it on Slugger, or citing it as evidence of the moral degeneracy of heterosexuals.

  • Broken Social Scene

    Dread Cthulu

    I wouldn’t like to think that an analogy is necessary in the debate on homosexuality. Is the need to justify it not just going to show that people seem to think it is not acceptable in an ordinary sense and so needs to be explained. My use of the BBW comparison may even go to show my own sub concious prejeudice although I would like to think otherwise.

    You’re correct in saying that both are legal acts which some enjoy and some decry however you must admit that the comparison in this instance is risky. The problem we have here is that by drawing attention to homosexuality is the same as sex with mid teens, is the same as BBW sex, is the same as watersports, but none are the same as normal sex (if there is such a thing). We all have our personal vices but it is imperative that we take notice of the conotations embroiled in comparisons such as middle aged men and school girls with homosexuals.

    I would suggest that a silent majority of the population would view 37 yrs and 16 yrs as wrong and a far smaller number would see homosexuality as wrong.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Joe: “Well, I’ve not seen you complaining about it on Slugger, or citing it as evidence of the moral degeneracy of heterosexuals. ”

    And I’ve never seen it brought up as a subject of conversation on Slugger, either. Go complain to the bloggers, if you’d like to see it as a topic. Convince one of them it is a topic of interest and import and you’ll see your thread.

    BSS: “I wouldn’t like to think that an analogy is necessary in the debate on homosexuality. ”

    Where two different, but allegedly equal, sets of rights are to be juxtaposed, how else would you recommend it be handled?

    BSS: “You’re correct in saying that both are legal acts which some enjoy and some decry however you must admit that the comparison in this instance is risky.”

    As I said, no analogy is perfect.

    BSS: “The problem we have here is that by drawing attention to homosexuality is the same as sex with mid teens, is the same as BBW sex, is the same as watersports, but none are the same as normal sex (if there is such a thing).”

    Since we are discussing what amounts to a perceptual shared space (i.e. “normal”), I would argue that it is what that “silent majority,” in the aggregate, considers “normal” That that perceived definition does not help your argument is unfortunate, but not unfair.

    BSS: “We all have our personal vices but it is imperative that we take notice of the conotations embroiled in comparisons such as middle aged men and school girls with homosexuals. ”

    Actually, the connotations are fairly equal in the abstract — legal behaviors over which the populace at large have differing opinions. I would argue that roughly the same percentage of the populace would frown if someone was to overshare on the details of either, albeit for different reasons. But then, like I said, no analogy is perfect.

    Frankly, I was willing to attribute Harry’s arguement to hyperbole and let it pass as a special effect for effect.

    For my own position, I guess the short form is that there is no right not to be offended and if you’re willing to dish it out, you must, in turn, be willing to take it in return. That goes Catholic and Protestant, gay and straight, Unionist and Nationalist. Frankly, it would be a much easier world if a great many folks would “butch up” and not be so easily offended prisses.

    That said, there can be no unequal contracts, social or otherwise. You want respect and tolerance, you have to be willing to respect and tolerate those who do not think as you. If you taunt the bull, expect it to charge. What is gained by sinking to the level of the troglodyte?

  • Broken Social Scene

    “Where two different, but allegedly equal, sets of rights are to be juxtaposed, how else would you recommend it be handled?”

    Why do you think this is necessary? Why is it necessary to justify homosexuality with comparison to another sexual act?

    “For my own position, I guess the short form is that there is no right not to be offended and if you’re willing to dish it out, you must, in turn, be willing to take it in return.”

    My argument is that a majority of Christians are not preachers of hate and have been offended by this placard so please explain to me when they “dished it out” and if they haven’t why they have had to “take it inreturn”?

    “That that perceived definition does not help your argument is unfortunate, but not unfair.”

    My argument being? I ask as i believe you have misinterpreted it entirely.

    Your assume that everyone that has been offended by this debate has at some point dished out a level of offense that would justify them being offended as a form of revenge. I suggest that this is wrong and perhaps shows an element of naivety on your part.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    BSS: “Why do you think this is necessary?”

    Because I am left with the impression there gays would like to have it both ways — they wish to decry the rhetoric and insults of the fundies and yet have the right to insult the religiously observant with impunity, creating an unequal social contract. They wish to impose upon the larger society without compromise. Sometimes it takes an analogy to bring the argument home.

    BSS: “My argument is that a majority of Christians are not preachers of hate and have been offended by this placard so please explain to me when they “dished it out” and if they haven’t why they have had to “take it inreturn”? ”

    THAT has to do with the lack of a “right not to be offended.” It rains on the just and the unjust alike. Life is rough, you might consider a helmet.

    BSS: “Your assume that everyone that has been offended by this debate has at some point dished out a level of offense that would justify them being offended as a form of revenge. I suggest that this is wrong and perhaps shows an element of naivety on your part.”

    No, I’m sure you’re as pure as the driven snow, BSS, having never offended anyone in the whole of your life, not once.

    If you believe that, BSS, it would demonstrate you’re the naive one. I’m simply a cynic who has a firm understanding on human nature. I’m fairly certain even Mother Teresa pissed someone off now and again.

    Besides, you have the wrong end of the stick.

    You’re looking at this as a “revenge” aspect, I am looking at it as a responsibility to think before you act.

    For instance, the obnoxious prat with the sign decided to take a swipe at the “preachers of hate” and in her muddle-headedness, took a swipe at the religiously observant. What’s more, the PRIDE organizers permitted the sign with little more than a token thought of the potential ramifications, image problems or other downside issues. Given that Mr. Thompson and his cohorts permitted this insult with barely a token effort to prevent, I would be interested in what other fall-out occurs…

  • John East Belfast

    Harry

    “It is no business of the government to force you to trade with people you don’t like..”

    Would you also say it is not their business to force you to employ people you dont like ?

    What you are proposing is the law of the jungle and not the law of a civilised society.

    When you live in the latter there are certain rules we all live by.
    By and large what you do in your own home is your business.

    However once you step into society you play by the agreed rules or dont play at all.

    This includes the guest house business, the restaurant business etc – if you want to play in that regulated game then you dont have the luxury of treating it like your own home where you might want to keep certain people out due to your own prejudices.
    Mildred can invite into her house whom she pleases but she cant stop people coming into her guest house without valid reason.

    Society cant make you think a certain way and you can say and do what you want within your own house.

    However if your actions and words are going to harm society then you are regulated.

    All of this of course has been learned from bitter experience – Jews in Germany, blacks in Africa, Job discrimination in NI etc….

    We dont let the wicked and prejudicial thoughts in people’s minds beome actions which if they dont harm society make it a less equal and more unpleasant place.

  • Harry Flashman

    **Would you also say it is not their business to force you to employ people you dont like ?

    What you are proposing is the law of the jungle and not the law of a civilised society.**

    Oh come off it JEB, ease off the overheated hyperbole old son.

    Maybe you are very young but it might surprise you to learn that anti-discriminatory employment laws are a relatively new phenomena. Sex discrimination laws are only thirty years old, it is less than twenty since religious discrimination laws came in to force in NI, as far as I am aware they don’t exist in GB. Now as I am sure many people who lived in Ireland, England, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand etc can confirm before such legislation was enacted, those societies were not “jungles”, sometimes perhaps unfair for some people occasionally, but hardly the “jungle”, calm down the rhetoric and we might get somewhere.

    Like I say my politics swing towards the libertarian, I fully agree that Sammy and Mr Sammy can do what the hell they like in the privacy of their own homes and indeed outside their homes provided they don’t infringe anyone else’s rights, just as Sammy would concede the same rights to me. I am of the same viewpoint about drug taking, what consenting adults choose to consume into their own bodies is no bloody business of ther Gub’mint.

    I do agree that there are types of people who don’t share my inate resentment at Gub’mint interference in our lives, oddly enough these people’s livelihoods are usually funded by the Gub’mint. They don’t trust themselves and their fellow citizens to be left alone to decide how they want to order their affairs. They want to call the in “regulators” every time they see something they don’t like and to punish people they disagree with.

    I happen not to be one of those people, I believe in individual freedom and individual responsibility for the consequences of your choices. If Mildred is not in receipt of tax payers’ money then leave her alone to run her business as and how she sees fit, you don’t like Mildred’s business philosophy? Well guess what? Don’t trade with Mildred! Shock! Gasp! What a radical concept, eh? Leave the individuals (Mildred and Mildred’s offended customers) to sort the situation out, treat all concerned as responsible, sentient adults. Leave the police out of it, it is simply not a police matter.

    Stop crying for Nanny everybody, try growing a pair of balls and getting on with your lives as grown up individual members of society!

  • Liam

    It is obvious that certain parts of the DUP completely oppose Pride and this is just an easy way to say it.

  • John East Belfast

    Harry

    You still havent answered my question about whether you think people should be allowed to discriminate against employing people on the basis of their skin colour, religion or sexual orientation.

    If you think they should then fair enough you would put Milton Friedman to shame in your adherence to all things free market.

    But yes that is the law of the jungle because you are putting way too much confidence in people’s personal responsibility.

    eg

    ” am of the same viewpoint about drug taking, what consenting adults choose to consume into their own bodies is no bloody business of ther Gub’mint.”

    Most of our crime comes from drug addicts. Most of our domestic violence probably comes from alchohol abuse.

    Drugs and drink is none of the governments business until somebody else gets hurt ?

    Pro active Govt is about stopping the consequences in the first place.

    “Maybe you are very young…”

    I have been around since the early sixties so I have seen enough.

    There is of course another scenario about Mildred you are missing.
    ie you expect people just to take offence and walk away. Mildred just might get a punch in the mouth and the court just might assume she had severe provocation and go leniently on her.

    ie when you are discriminated against because of religion, skin colour or sexual orientation yes you do want the ability to see some kind of justice. The state needs to organise that otherwise people might see the need to take it themselves.

    I am not resorting to hyperbole it is just you who is over simplifying the issue and appear to have learned none of the lessons of the past.

  • Harry Flashman

    *You still havent answered my question about whether you think people should be allowed to discriminate against employing people on the basis of their skin colour, religion or sexual orientation.*

    Oh I am so sorry I thought I made my stance perfectly clear, if you are not in receipt of public funds then how you organise your affairs is not the government’s business. I used to run a small business, I employed people I wanted to, if I thought they were bolshie, lazy, dishonest or dirty I didn’t hire them, sometimes – and you may want to sit down before you read this – I even hired members of my own family ahead of starngers – shriek, horror, (sounds of horses neighing outside). I did all this without asking the Gub’mint’s permission because I happened to believe I was a free citizen of a free country. It was a jungle I tells ya, a jungle!

    JEB, I can see we will come to no meeting of minds. You do not trust your fellow citizens, you believe in the all powerful benificence of the mighty State. Big Brother will be watching after you, Nanny will never leave your side; a society in permanent infantilism afraid to say or do anything without clearing it with the Gub’mint first.

    I’ll bet you love the idea of ID cards, I bet you think the DNA registry is a good thing. I don’t, I don’t like being treated like child, I can make up my own mind, I don’t need the State to think for me.

    Might I ask a question? Is your livelihood funded by the government?

  • John East Belfast

    Harry

    “I used to run a small business, I employed people I wanted to, if I thought they were bolshie, lazy, dishonest or dirty I didn’t hire them”

    If you “thought” …. can you read minds ? I assume you would base such a conclusion on some kind of evidence – ie how can you think somebody is lazy or dishonest ?

    Anyhow I assume you agree that it is ok for employers to refuse a job to someone on the basis of their religion, skin colour or sexual orientation ?

    You are right though we will never have a meeting of minds because your thinking is Victorian.

    You are too ready to reach conclusions on people – I do not depend on the Govt for my living. I am a part owner of a very successful private company.

    ID Cards are an unworkable waste of money but I have no problem with a DNA bank because if you are a law abiding citisen you hav nothing to fear

    “You do not trust your fellow citizens”

    Of course I dont trust all of them to behave reasonably – why do you trust everyone ?

    “Big Brother will be watching after you, Nanny will never leave your side; a society in permanent infantilism afraid to say or do anything without clearing it with the Gub’mint first.”

    wise up and talk some sense

  • colm

    There is a misconception about anti-discrimation laws. No private employer is ever forced to employ people without discrimination. It all depends on how he/she goes about it. If for example a man wants to ensure he only employs white christian male heterosexual married men in his business, he can freely and lawfully do so. He only has to choose emplyers by invitation. So long as he doesn’t openly advertise and then sifts out those who don’t qualify he can employ who he likes.

  • Big_Joe

    Of course guest house owners are entitled to accept whoever they plese. Gay clubs like the Kremiln are well-known for turning away people who look straight or operating men only nights. I don’t here gays whining about that. If they can accept whoever they want then why shuldn’t guest house owners be able to do the same? Smells like hypocrisy to me!

  • John East Belfast

    colm

    “So long as he doesn’t openly advertise and then sifts out those who don’t qualify he can employ who he likes.”

    In the Job description and spec you are not going to put down

    “white christian male heterosexual married men..”

    therefore how is he going to sift out those who dont fit that spec prior to interview ?

    Big joe

    “Gay clubs like the Kremiln are well-known for turning away people who look straight or operating men only nights. I don’t here gays whining about that. If they can accept whoever they want then why shuldn’t guest house owners be able to do the same?”

    I dont know if you know his from personal experience so I dont know how true it is.

    However if it was true I suppose the argument could be that someone is being turned away for what they are not rather than what they are – and there is difference.

    The Guest House analogy in its most basic is essentially “No niggers, taigs or poofs should apply” which is a mindset that has been totally discredited but unbelievably some would like it brought back in the interests of “freedom to be a bigot”

  • colm

    John

    There would be no-one to sift out. You are not inviting people to apply, you are asking someone directly to take the job.

  • Big_Joe

    Yes it was personal experience when I went with my cousin and her workmates and told that I didn’t look gay enough. Don’t know how you work the turned away for what I’m not bit out as it’s clearly reverse discrimination which conveniently get’s ignored. Isn’t a men only night turning people away for being women? Shouldn’t it be outlawed?

  • John East Belfast

    colm

    I dont know what you kno about Fair Employment Legislation here but you could not legally do that.

    Anyhow as you want the best person for the job you would not want to do that anyway which would therefore mean you would cast your net wider and hence you would likely capture others than “white christian male heterosexual married men”

  • Harry Flashman

    **If you “thought” …. can you read minds ? I assume you would base such a conclusion on some kind of evidence – ie how can you think somebody is lazy or dishonest ?**

    So how do you hire employees? Do you ask the Gub’mint who they want you to employ or do you interview them, find out about their background and then hire them on how you “THINK” they will behave as employees?

    Coz that’s how I did it, no need for mind reading at all old chum, and no need to ask Nanny’s permission either.

    Join the queue for the DNA registry, get your micro-chip implanted, have a number tattooed on your arm, you’ve nothing to fear from the government, you’re just going into the showers, form an orderly line, baaa baaaa baaa.

    Enjoy your serfdom. Me? I’m an old Victorian who likes individual freedom and liberty and I don’t live in a jungle.

  • John East Belfast

    Big_Joe

    “Don’t know how you work the turned away for what I’m not bit out as it’s clearly reverse discrimination which conveniently get’s ignored.”

    Turning people away because of their religion, colour or sexual orientation has its basis in malice and a prejudice against such people in any and all situations.

    Being turned away from a gay club because you were not gay is more likley to do with the fact they have a limited number of places for people who want to be in that environment.
    If they were going to turn you away they could at least do so politley and possibly explain themselves.

    If they said f..k off you straight bastard then yes that would be out of order.

    Having said that you do have a good point but I am not gay nor anything to do with the Kremlin so I cant speak for them.

  • colm

    John

    Yes you can do that, read the law. . How do you think family run businesses come to be that way, or restaurants where all the waiting staff are Indian males for example. Fair employment legislation stops you from laying down certain criteria race sex etc when inviting people to apply for a job or rejecting them following interview for that reason. It also stops you from using that criteria to discriminate against existing employess in pay or promotion terms. However if you formed your own business and asked your best mates all to join it and did so precisely because they were of the sex/race/orientation etc. that you wanted you would be breaking no laws. The law does not require you to fill your posts by interview , but if you do, at that point you cannot discriminate.

  • John East Belfast

    Harry

    “So how do you hire employees? Do you ask the Gub’mint who they want you to employ or do you interview them, find out about their background and then hire them on how you “THINK” they will behave as employees?”

    ok so if someone Black, Catholic or Gay (or a combination thereof) came into your office and they fitted all the other criteria you had set as a good employee would you still hire them ?

    If the answer is yes then what do you think about someone who would not and do you not think that for such an ugly discriminatory action society should have a law against it ?

    If you think the answer to the latter is No then would you think the offended individual would be pretty justified if you told them why they werent getting the job to give you a punch in the mouth ?
    Do you think there should be a law against that ?

    Why – does violence to you just have to involve physical assault ?

  • Harry Flashman

    *ok so if someone Black, Catholic or Gay (or a combination thereof) came into your office and they fitted all the other criteria you had set as a good employee would you still hire them ?*

    Yes, in a heartbeat.

    I’d be delighted to get a good member of staff, as you will be aware good employees are hard to come by.

    *If the answer is yes then what do you think about someone who would not and do you not think that for such an ugly discriminatory action society should have a law against it ?*

    I would think such a person was an ignorant bigot whose company I would avoid and with whom I would choose not to do business because I didn’t like them. I am an adult, I am a free citizen, I do not need the nanny state to guide my life choices.

    *If you think the answer to the latter is No then would you think the offended individual would be pretty justified if you told them why they werent getting the job to give you a punch in the mouth ?*

    No, resorting to violence because you do not like people or their opinions is utterly reprehensible. I may be refused admittance to a trendy nightclub because they think I am a rather square, ugly, unattractive individual (which I am), I may be offended, I may be angry but I have no justification in punching the doorman on the nose. If I feel that badly about it then I can organise a picket of ugly people outside the club or perhaps I should open up a club catering to ugly people like me. Violence would not be justifiable.

    *Do you think there should be a law against that ?*

    No.

    I believe in the right to free association. I dislike the fact that forty years ago Gub’mint officials were raiding bars and clubs where gay adults freely associated, in order to persecute them. I object to the fact that today the Gub’mint has forced my friends who smoke (I am a lifetime non-smoker) to leave my presence every thirty minutes to have a smoke outside in the street because they don’t approve of smoking. I object to Mildred being told whom she may choose to do business with.

    Like freedom of expression, the freedom of association is not just for the things and people we agree with and approve of. Sometimes freedom means you just have to be an adult and accept that the Gub’mint isn’t always there to sort out every problem.

    Sometimes ya just gotta get on with life.

  • Stíofan de Buit

    Harry

    Sometimes freedom means you just have to be an adult and accept that the Gub’mint isn’t always there to sort out every problem.

    Sometimes one person exercising a freedom has negative effects on the freedoms of others.

    Mildred, exercising her freedom to be predjudiced against gay people, denies those people the freedom to rent a room for the night in the place of their choosing.

    A restaurant owner exercising his right to be predjudiced against black people by barring them him from his restaurant denies black people the right to eat in the restaurant of their choosing.

    Sometimes we have to decide which freedom is more important.

    Sometimes we have to grow up and accept that we can’t simply do what we want without taking into consideration the other people with whom we share society.

    Sometimes people need to be told that there are things that they are not allowed to do, and that if they persist in doing them, there will be negative consequences.

    I would love to have the freedom to walk into the nearest Apple Store and walk out with a brand new MacBook Pro so I didn’t have to use my grotty 350MHz iMac any more, but I can’t. At least, not without risking imprisonment. To do so would be theft, and the ‘Gub’ment’ quite rightly tells me that I can’t do it, and will face the consequences if I do.

  • Dawkins

    Of course, there’s as much evidence that Jesus was gay as that Jesus was straight, i.e. none.

    There’s actually no evidence that the Jesus of Christianity even existed.

  • Different Drummer

    The B_____t’s Equaliser IV

    “There was a time when gays pleaded with the Government to stop interfering in their lives, stop imposing their own majoritarian morality on the minority who might not necessarily share that morality, what went on in their own bedrooms was their own business. Now the reverse is true.”

    A very good example there people.

    The B______t’s Equaliser V

    And Why Those Who Use It As Rhetorical Device Do Not Support Equality.

    Let Me Demonstrate:

    Dread of the Cull writes:

    “if you’re willing to dish it out, you must, in turn, be willing to take it in return.”

    Really? OK Then – next time there is a violent attack or homophobic murder this logic infers that it would then be OK for a gay person to go and find someone to murder, because heterosexuals should accept the consequences.

    Or since this exchange is about the right to ‘give offence’ then on the logic of the Culler it would also be OK to practice replies in kind in answer to the huge amount of homophobic hostility and hate we as people and as a minority community put up with every day – day in day out year in year out.

    Is that OK then?

    Of course it’s not!

    Because it’s not about tit for tat or an equality of misery, it is about recognising that there are many different ways the oppressed are oppressed and are maintained in that oppression. Specious submission like some that those posted here are part of that.

    OK here is the much needed reality check I spoke of earlier.

    You *start* by saying ‘I’m for equal rights but…’

    But …when getting down to the reasons, they more often than not turn out to about the ‘I’m for equal rights but…’ person wanting to say that how our demands, behaviours and existence is not in a form acceptable to them.

    “Hey gays if you want liberation this is the way to do it. It’s simple – you just have to stop pissing people off *espically* us liberals”

    (Any liberals out there pissed off by this now? No doubt you will be telling me just how much soon enough. I suppose it depends on how much more pissed off you want – or need to be. Lets just see just how badly you need to be pissed off.)

    But then even after it’s been made clear as it has here by me and others you still think that your intervention of Lordly, liberal and or both should be politically acceptable to those here . And *that’s were* you really do need a reality check.

    Conversely, if you don’t think that we are able to accept your reasons for not supporting our way of expressing our selves as has been referred to then my friend you a very strange indeed rhetorically because you are prepared to attack equality in the name of ……equality.

    And that’s the lore of b_____t’s equaliser – say you are for equality while you attack and broadcast lame critiques to those who are actually fighting for it. Now it’s back to the folk devil and back to you. Ready when you are.

  • A D Thompson

    John,

    I wonder why, if Cllr Campbell and Cllr Dunn were so offended by the placard they witnessed whilst protesting against the parade they waited until the following Monday to speak with the press about this rather than have constructive engagement with either Belfast Pride officials or the PSNI?

    Clearly they weren’t so outraged by the items message that they felt the need to have it removed there and then.

    Clearly there was political capital to be made.

    So there is no point in complaining about its presence after the parade if those who have been most vociferous about the offence which it caused them didn’t see fit to complain at the time.

  • Pounder

    As I said before, I was there it was my first. If I had have seen that sign I would have complained to a marshall. What would the marshall’s reaction have been?

  • Harry Flashman

    *I would love to have the freedom to walk into the nearest Apple Store and walk out with a brand new MacBook Pro so I didn’t have to use my grotty 350MHz iMac any more, but I can’t.*

    Uterly fatuous analogy, if you can’t see the fundamental difference between freedom of association and theft there’s little I can do to enlighten you.

  • Ríona

    Actually the person carrying the banner isn’t dressed up, most times when I’ve seen him around before he’s been dressed like that. And fair play to him.

  • Dawkins

    Ríona,

    Next time you see him perhaps you could ask him what he meant by the placard. So many here (and elsewhere) are speculating about it, it might be useful to have the skinny.

  • Stíofan de Buit

    Harry

    Uterly fatuous analogy, if you can’t see the fundamental difference between freedom of association and theft there’s little I can do to enlighten you.

    We may be misunderstanding each other. Are you saying Mildred’s hypothetical refusal to allow a gay couple to rent a room in her boarding house is a matter of freedom of association?

  • Stíofan de Buit

    Next time you see him perhaps you could ask him what he meant by the placard. So many here (and elsewhere) are speculating about it, it might be useful to have the skinny.

    Probably one of the most sensible things said on this thread so far. If the placard holder is a Christian then there may be rather more thought behind it than some seem to think.

  • Harry Flashman

    *Are you saying Mildred’s hypothetical refusal to allow a gay couple to rent a room in her boarding house is a matter of freedom of association?*

    That’s precisely what I am saying, if freedom of association means anything then surely it means the right to not associate with people with whom you happen to disapprove. Mildred is a private individual, she is not an arm of government. As I said before in the same way that I condemn government persecution of gay clubs where adult homosexuals gather so also do I disapprove of government persecution of guest house owners who choose not to trade with people they don’t like.

    Let me quote again what I said

    “Like freedom of expression, the freedom of association is not just for the things and people we agree with and approve of.”

    You might, like me, disapprove of Mildred’s narrow-mindedness, but my solution would be to boycott her business and have no trade with her, your solution is to have her arrested.

    I’m a libertarian, you’re a statist.

  • willowfield

    Harry – would your logic apply if Mildred was a white Protestant refused to rent rooms to blacks and Roman Catholics?

    Would you support her right to have a “no Catholics” or “no blacks” sign up in her front door?

  • Pounder

    Mildred is entitled to her right to be a bigoted person. Personally I’d rather she was upfront with her beliefs so I know where I stand. I’d be worse on both parties if society forced her to accept clients she didn’t want as the guest wouldn’t feel welcome and Mildred would be resentful. No one wins.

  • Harry Flashman

    *Harry – would your logic apply if Mildred was a white Protestant refused to rent rooms to blacks and Roman Catholics?

    Would you support her right to have a “no Catholics” or “no blacks” sign up in her front door?*

    Jesus, Willowfield, you’re the third person to ask me exactly the same question!

    Let me try again, I believe that if someone is not in receipt of government funds then whom he or she chooses to do business with is entirely their own affair. If they choose to avoid trading with blacks or Catholics or whites or Serbians or ginger headed people or Zarathustrians or cheesemongers or premiership footballers or ugly people or whatever that’s up to them and the rest of us can make our own minds up about whether that is the sort of business we would want to interact with.

    In my opinion people should not be forced on pain of loss of livelihood or prison to engage in commerce with people they don’t like. It’s not rocket science, in the same way people should not be coerced to have a conversation with people they don’t like or share the same room as people they don’t like or have a meal with people they don’t like or go to church with people they don’t like, I don’t see why they should be forced to do business with people they don’t like.

    If you don’t like Mildred’s business methods then the solution is entirely in your own hands “DON’T DO BUSINESS WITH HER!” (Sorry for shouting but some people seem to have a massive difficulty grasping my really rather simple point).

    As for the “No Blacks No Irish” signs, they’re a myth, they never existed, and don’t bother posting the rather obvious fake up that someone else once posted here.

  • Pounder

    Harsh as it is I actually agree here with Harry. I am a bisexual man. If I was on holiday with my SO and I saw a sign in a B&B saying that a certain group wasn’t wanted thats the right of the business owner. Just as it’s my right not to give them my business and for others who disagree with such archaic practices not to use the B&B.

    I’ve spent some time thinking about this since the whole Paisley Jr fiasco emerged. Frankly I’d rather people are up front about their prejudice that way others can see them for what they are and treat them accordingly, in Paisley JRs case not voting for him in the hypothetical Mildreds case not giving her any business and asking my friends and family not to use her business.

    Yes their opinion is shitty and narrow minded but it’s their opinion. Forcing a person to go against their beliefs is worse in my opinion as it does strike me as close to facism.

  • IJP

    Meanwhile, the thread about the real issue – the potential or otherwise for the world economy to collapse taking the NI property bubble with it – gets a grand total of, er, 3 posts…

    Any chance we could spend our time dealing with the issues which actually count, rather than going out of our way to get offended?

    Time to open our eyes to what matters for once.

  • I Wonder

    ..given that this is a debate about freedom of speech, etc, I wonder if anyone has a view on a blogger expressing views on their website and then appearing on a medium (which they detest)with a rather different view of the world?

  • I Wonder

    Love All Ulster and All Ulster people up the Shankhill then?

    Posted by Jo on Aug 10, 2007 @ 10:13 AM

    This was not my post. Can I ask that the ban on my other IP address is lifted as it seems apparent that someone posts in my name in atempts to discredit mer?

  • Stíofan de Buit

    Harry

    Thank you for clarifying.

    I would agree with you that Mildred, as an individual, is perfectly free to associate, or refuse to associate, with anyone she chooses.

    The problem is, she is not an individual – she is the owner of a business, The Shangri-La Guest House. I think that is a fundamental distiction that must be made.

    Individuals are perectly free to be as predjudiced as they choose. regarding the people with whom they associate.

    Businesses are not, and nor should they be, for a business which actually acts on those predjudices can negatively impact the freedoms of individuals. In this case the gay couple are not free to stay in the guest house of their choosing,

  • John East Belfast

    Harry, Pounder

    The problem with what you are saying is that you think such people are always a minority.

    ie A small number of small minded horrid people will say and behave unpleasantly to minorities. However the minorities will be big about it, shake the dust of their feet and walk away. Meanwhile the rest of the populace will see what awful people for what they are, shun them and banish them effectively from social and comemrcial life.
    Good wins and evil is beaten.

    However in the real world once the ignorant realise there is no bounds to what they can do then they will be given free licence and of course many others will join them.

    Soon the minorities will feel totally perseciuted, afraid and alone.

    Harry will continue to consider this as free choice of course but you Pounder – as a minority – are you not likley to say “someone should make a law against this ?”

    You have way far too much confidence in human nature to think that the brutes wont come to the fore and that the good will do anything other than just keep their heads down as it doesnt effect them.

    We have been here before throughout history and that is why civilised society has laws to stop discrimination and protect minorites.

  • I Wonder

    “once the ignorant realise there is no bounds to what they can do then they will be given free licence and of course many others will join them.”

    Quite, which is why we have A Tangled Web. 🙂

  • willowfield

    Harry

    Jesus, Willowfield, you’re the third person to ask me exactly the same question!

    Apologies: I didn’t read the entire thread.

    Let me try again, I believe that if someone is not in receipt of government funds then whom he or she chooses to do business with is entirely their own affair. … In my opinion people should not be forced on pain of loss of livelihood or prison to engage in commerce with people they don’t like.

    Does your philosophy extend to employment?

    Do you support the right of an employer to refuse to employ, say, blacks, gays, Jews or Protestants?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DD: “Really? OK Then – next time there is a violent attack or homophobic murder this logic infers that it would then be OK for a gay person to go and find someone to murder, because heterosexuals should accept the consequences.”

    I did not say it was permissible, nor did I say it was appropriate, I said that there should be an expectation that the behavior presented would be responded to. Is that not what the Stonewall riots in NYC amounted to — returning abuse back upon the abusive police of that time and place?

    The riots were not appropriate, but were an answer in kind.

    Its unsubtle difference, one that obviously escaped you. It is a fool who thinks they can act the boor or thug with impunity.

    Every action begets its own consequences. You take a swing at someone, you should expect them to swing back. If you insult someone, they will generally respond in kind. At no point did I say it was ok, DD. I just said it happens and should be expected.

    No one just lies there are takes it forever.

    SdB: “Are you saying Mildred’s hypothetical refusal to allow a gay couple to rent a room in her boarding house is a matter of freedom of association? ”

    The right to choose whom you associate implicitly provides the right *NOT* to associate with others, would it not?

    SdB: “The problem is, she is not an individual – she is the owner of a business, The Shangri-La Guest House. I think that is a fundamental distiction that must be made. ”

    The legalistic jargon would be to call it a “public accomodation.” If Mildred holds herself out as providing a service to the public, then, as the logic goes, she should serve the public and, as such, not discriminate against Sammy and Mr. Sammy.

    Now, as for her “not being a branch of government,” I regret to inform Harry that at this late date, what with business licenses, health inspections and the general bureaucracy of a business at the utter mercy of the state, Mildred is, to be blunt, pretty much at the state’s mercy.

    JEB: “The problem with what you are saying is that you think such people are always a minority. ”

    So… by your logic, if enough people agree with a given proposition or course of action, that makes it appropriate?

  • John East Belfast

    Dread

    “So… by your logic, if enough people agree with a given proposition or course of action, that makes it appropriate?”

    I really dont know what point you are making but I think you are at a tangent to anything I was saying

  • Colm

    The points I made earlier in this thread with regard to the ways in which people can discriminate legally in employment also apply to Mildred and her guest house. If she operates the business by private invitation only she can discriminate to her hearts content without exception. The law however says she cannot adverise open public applications and then reject applicants on grounds which are prohibited. Governments have a duty to balance appropriate protections for a civil society and respect for private space. The argument is all about where that line should be drawn.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    JEB: “I really dont know what point you are making but I think you are at a tangent to anything I was saying ”

    No… you said, and I quote: “The problem with what you are saying is that you think such people are always a minority. ”

    Now, I ask again, by your logic, if enough people agree with a given proposition or course of action, that makes it appropriate?

    Likewise, is it your belief that the minority should always be forced to conform to the will of the majority?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    OK, this thread is way too long, so please continue the debate here, thanks.