Daily Archives: 26 Aug 2017

Rowan Atkinson: we must be allowed to insult each other

Rowan Atkinson has launched a campaign for a change in the law that bans “insulting words and behaviour”.


The Blackadder and Mr Bean star attacked the “creeping culture of censoriousness” which has resulted in the arrest of a Christian preacher, a critic of Scientology and even a student making a joke, it was reported.

He criticised the “new intolerance” as he called for part of it the Public Order Act to be repealed, saying it was having a “chilling effect on free expression and free protest”.

Mr Atkinson said: “The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult.”

Police and prosecutors are accused of being over-zealous in their interpretation of Section 5 of the Act, which outlaws threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour, the Daily Mail reported.

Totally right.

What constitutes “insulting” is not clear. It has resulted in a string of controversial arrests.

They include a 16-year-old boy being held for peacefully holding a placard reading “Scientology is a dangerous cult”, and gay rights campaigners from the group Outrage! detained when they protested against Islamic fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir over its stance on gays, Jews and women.

Mr Atkinson said he hoped the repeal of Section 5 would pave the way for a move to “rewind the culture of censoriousness” and take on the “outrage industry – self-appointed arbiters of the public good encouraging outrage to which the police feel under terrible pressure to react”.

Speaking at the Westminster launch of the campaign, he added: “The law should not be aiding and abetting the new intolerance.”

He was joined by Lord Dear, former chief constable of West Midlands Police, and former shadow home secretary David Davis.

Mr Davis said: “The simple truth is that in a free society, there is no right not to be offended. For centuries, freedom of speech has been a vital part of British life, and repealing this law will reinstate that right.”

The campaign has united an unlikely coalition of support including The Christian Institute and The National Secular Society as well as Big Brother Watch, The Freedom Association and The Peter Tatchell Foundation.

The fact is, we’re so afraid of hurting someone’s precious feels that we won’t speak the truth and that’s far more dangerous than people being offended.


Ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ, τότε καθίσει ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ.  καὶ συναχθήσονται ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, καὶ ἀφορίσει αὐτοὺς ἀπ᾽ ἀλλήλων, ὥσπερ ὁ ποιμὴν ἀφορίζει τὰ πρόβατα ἀπὸ τῶν ἐρίφων, καὶ στήσει τὰ μὲν πρόβατα ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ, τὰ δὲ ἐρίφια ἐξ εὐωνύμων.

Τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ· δεῦτε οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ πατρός μου, κληρονομήσατε τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν βασιλείαν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου. ἐπείνασα γὰρ καὶ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν, ἐδίψησα καὶ ἐποτίσατέ με, ξένος ἤμην καὶ συνηγάγετέ με, γυμνὸς καὶ περιεβάλετέ με, ἠσθένησα καὶ ἐπεσκέψασθέ με, ἐν φυλακῇ ἤμην καὶ ἤλθατε πρός με.

τότε ἀποκριθήσονται αὐτῷ οἱ δίκαιοι λέγοντες· κύριε, πότε σε εἴδομεν πεινῶντα καὶ ἐθρέψαμεν, ἢ διψῶντα καὶ ἐποτίσαμεν, πότε δέ σε εἴδομεν ξένον καὶ συνηγάγομεν, ἢ γυμνὸν καὶ περιεβάλομεν, πότε δέ σε εἴδομεν ἀσθενᾷ ἢ ἐν φυλακῇ καὶ ἤλθομεν πρός σε·

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐρεῖ αὐτοῖς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐφ᾽ ὅσον ἐποιήσατε ἑνὶ τούτων τῶν ἀδελφῶν μου τῶν ἐλαχίστων, ἐμοὶ ἐποιήσατε.

Τότε ἐρεῖ καὶ τοῖς ἐξ εὐωνύμων· πορεύεσθε ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ [οἱ] κατηραμένοι εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον, ὃ ἡτοιμασμένον ὃ πατήρ μου τῷ διαβόλῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ. ἐπείνασα γὰρ καὶ οὐκ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν, ἐδίψησα καὶ οὐκ ἐποτίσατέ με, ξένος ἤμην καὶ ου᾽ συνηγάγετέ με, γυμνὸς καὶ ου᾽ περιεβάλετέ με, ἀσθενὴς καὶ ἐν φυλακῇ καὶ οὐκ ἐπεσκέψασθέ με.

Τότε ἀποκριθήσονται καὶ αὐτοὶ λέγοντες· κύριε, πότε σε εἴδομεν πεινῶντα ἢ διψῶντα ἢ ξένον ἢ γυμνὸν ἢ ἀσθενῆ ἢ ἐν φυλακῇ καὶ ου᾽ διηκονήσαμέν σοι· τότε ἀποκριθήσεται αὐτοῖς λέγων· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐφ᾽ ὅσον οὐκ ἐποιήσατε ἑνὶ τούτων τῶν ἐλαχίστων, οὐδὲ ἐμοὶ ἐποιήσατε. καὶ ἀπελεύσονται οὗτοι εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον, οἱ δὲ δίκαιοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον (Matt. 25:31-46)

Signs of the Times

Via Joel Watts-

Twitter ‘Theology’ that Makes me Sigh

It escapes me how avoiding the worship of God Almighty furthers a cause. Any cause. Staying home hurts no one but the violator of Heb 10:25.

‘Best-seller’ Lists Are a Farce

For a little while Thursday, young adult literature had a new reigning New York Times best-seller. In the paper’s list of most popular YA hardcover novels, a new face had toppled Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give from the perch it has occupied nearly half a year. By mid-afternoon, though, the order the YA world had known for weeks was restored.

But what happened to the hours-long ascendancy of Lani Sarem’s Handbook for Mortals? Gather round, everyone — that’s going to take some explaining.

First, a little background: Sarem’s debut novel hit the market earlier this month, the first book put out by novice publisher GeekNation, which has spent the bulk of its life online as a space for pop culture news and commentary. That lack of publishing experience didn’t appear to impede Sarem, an actress and former music manager, or the prospects for her book, which was billed as “the first book in an urban fantasy/paranormal romance series” — and, according to the book’s promotional website, is “already in the works to be made into a motion picture.”

It got a positive writeup from The Hollywood Reporter, a supportive pitch from *NSYNC’s JC Chasez (Sarem’s cousin) and the backing of American Pie star Thomas Ian Nicholas, who has been closely involved with the book’s planned film adaptation. All in all, not a bad start — which, when coupled with the distinction of being a No. 1 best-seller, seemed to destine the novel for big things.

That is, until several members of the extensive YA community on Twitter took note of the new ranking.

Writer Phil Stamper was one of the first to point out he smelled something fishy, pointing out in a series of tweets that he found it strange a website that’s not widely known could catapult a book to such heights. He was soon joined by Jeremy West, manager of a Broadway fansite, who noted its exceptional sales numbers — 18,000 copies in a week, according to West — despite a relative lack of availability at major retailers.

“Pretty much immediately, more people in the publishing industry latched onto that and said, ‘Oh, I had the same thought,’ and also, ‘We were just talking about that last night’ — and on and on, ” Stamper told NPR on Friday.

The allegations picked up steam when Stamper and West started getting notes from several booksellers who claimed to have been contacted by someone asking if they reported their sales to The New York Times. Then, the booksellers said that caller would place a large order for the book — but not large enough to attract notice — without regard for when it would be delivered, despite saying the order was for an upcoming event.

Etc.  Like so much in America, best-seller lists are a farce organized for profit.  Because people in America will buy anything if they think it will help them ‘keep up with the Jones’s’.

Students, Take Note

Calvin’s Return to Geneva and the Preparations for His Arrival

calvin4‘On Monday, August 26, thirty-six écus were voted by the Council to Eustace Vincent, equestrian herald, to go for Master Calvin, the preacher, at Strasburg.’ It was announced in the Council, August 29, that Master Calvin was to arrive one of these days.

They talked of the lodgings which must be assigned to him, and propositions rapidly succeeded each another. At first they thought of the house which was occupied by the pastor Bernard, whom they would remove to the house of la Chantrerie. Then, September 4, there was further discussion. ‘La Chantrerie, being opposite to St. Peter’s church, is most suitable,’ they said, ‘for the abode of Master Calvin, and some garden (curtil) will be provided for him.’ On the 9th it was announced in the Council that he was to arrive the same evening. The houses in question being, doubtless, in an unfit state, orders were given to Messieurs Jacques des Arts and Jean Chautemps to make ready for him the house of the Sieur de Fréneville, situated in the Rue des Chanoines, between the house of Bonivard, on the west, and that of the Abbé de Bonmont, on the east. But after all it was in another house, the fourth proposed, that he was to he received.

It does not appear that Calvin had himself announced to the Council the day of his arrival; nor are we acquainted with any document which in a clear and positive manner indicates this date, worthy of remark though it be. All that we know is that on the 13th he was there, and appeared before the Council. Instead of the 9th he may have arrived on the 10th, the 11th, or even the 12th. We may suppose that Calvin wished the Genevese not to know the day of his arrival, fearing lest they should give him a rather noisy reception.*

Calvin’s return was more stupendous than his earlier departure. And now he was here to stay, and to exert enormous influence.

*J. H. Merle D’aubigné D.D. and William L. R. Cates, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (vol. 7; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1876), 61–62.