Does Disfellowshipping "Incite Hatred", Which Is Against The Law?

by minimus 41 Replies latest jw friends

  • thom

    ---"Your opinion, please......The publications emphatically state that not only are we supposed to hate the wickedness of a sin---BUT ACTUALLY HATE THE PERSON!!!
    I dont recall any publication actually saying this."---
    Neither do I. I just did a search in the WTLIB and found many instances of hating the sin, but couldn't find anywhere it said to hate the sinner.

  • garybuss

    (The Watchtower, July 15, 1974, p. 442)
    · "You have seen the benefit of godly love, but do you know how to hate? … These very strong words are an expression of godly hate, (small "g" god theirs) and you too must have this quality to be pleasing to God. Hate causes a feeling of disgust to well up inside you. You loathe, abhor, despise the object of your hatred. Godly hatred never has as its object our Christian brothers, no matter how imperfect"
    (The Watchtower; July 15, 1974 p.442)

    · "Apostasy is, in reality, a rebellion against Jehovah. Some apostates profess to know and serve God, but they reject teachings or requirements set out in his Word. Others claim to believe the Bible, but they reject Jehovah's organization and actively try to hinder its work. When they deliberately choose such badness after knowing what is right, when the bad becomes so ingrained that it is an inseparable part of their makeup, then a Christian must hate (in the Biblical sense of the word) those who have inseparably attached themselves to the badness. True Christians share Jehovah's feelings toward such apostates; they are not curious about apostate ideas. On the contrary, they 'feel a loathing' toward those who have made themselves God's enemies,…"
    (The Watchtower October 1, 1993 p.19)

    · "Jehovah's Witnesses Make Hate A Religion" (Saturday Evening Post Sept. 14, 1940 p.18)

    · "WILL HATRED EVER END" "And even though it may be unreasonable, or 'crazy,' the hatred is often directed against a whole group" (The Watchtower June 15, 1995 p.3)

    · "The doctrines of the Roman Catholic 'Hierarchy of Jurisdiction' and the pratices in which that organization indulges show that she is the chief servant of the Devil and the arch enemy of God."…"From all the evidence the conclusion is irresistible that the Roman Catholic Hierarchy organization serves the Devil and is therefore the enemy of God, the enemy of man, and the very personification of unrighteousness." (Enemies WTB&TS 1937 J.F. Rutherford p.286)

    · "CATHOLIC RELIGION DEMONISM" (Religion, WTB&TS 1940, J.F. Rutherford, p.55)

    · "Martyred by martyrs, Dennis Ryan's head was bashed by Witnesses' canes in a riot at their (Witnesses') anti-Catholic rally." (Caption under photo of battered Ryan with bandaged head)
    (Saturday Evening Post Sept. 14, 1940)

    · "There is a difference, however between hating the wrong and hating the person who commits the wrong."
    (The Watchtower, June 15, 1995, p.7)

    · ". . . in order to hate what is bad a Christian must hate the person with whom the badness is inseparably linked….Jesus did not mean for us to love the hardened enemies of Jehovah,"
    (The Watchtower July, 15, 1961, p.420)

    · "We must hate in the truest sense, which is to regard with extreme and active aversion, to consider as lothsome, odious, filthy, to detest. Surely any haters of God are not fit to live on his beautiful earth."

    · 12 "What do you do with anything loathsome or repugnant that you detest and abhor? The answer is simple. You get away from it or remove it from your presence. You do not want to have anything at all to do with it. This must be exactly our attitude toward the haters of Jehovah."
    (The Watchtower October 1, 1952, p.599)

    · "Yes, the international society of Jehovah's Witnesses is living proof that hatred can be abolished." "It is a foreglimpse of a worldwide program to eliminate hatred and it's causes."
    (The Watchtower, June 15, 1995, p.8)

    · "More than that, we want to hate those who willfully show themselves haters of Jehovah, haters of what is good."
    (The Watchtower June 15, 1980, p.8)

    · "Obviously God hates evil things, and his servants rightly hate them too."
    (Awake June 22, 1984, p.5)

  • Scully

    When the WTS hides behind the Freedom of Worship doctrine, they can also hide behind the doctrine of Separation of Church and State to protect their otherwise heinous activity.

    The thing about disfellowshipping and disassociation, JWs don't actually have to "do" anything to the target of shunning. Not speaking to someone isn't a crime. Not associating with someone isn't a crime. It isn't like the DFd or DAd person's life is in jeopardy, or they are receiving public or private harassment from JWs. Shunning, while we all know it happens, is extremely difficult to prove. The person doing the shunning has the upper hand. All they have to say is "I didn't do anything to So-and-so."

    The bottom line is that people are free to love and hate whomever they wish. In the case of hatred, so long as no malicious action is undertaken to inflict harm, it's not illegal. Imagine if a young woman decided, for whatever reason, that she never wanted to see or speak to her boyfriend ever again. If he disregards her wishes, she can have him charged with stalking or harassment. She doesn't wish to see him or speak to him, yet he insists that because he still loves her, she should still speak to him and associate with him. Yes, her decision is hurtful to the boyfriend, but she has made her choice clear, and she has the right to stop associating with him and stop speaking to him. That's life, and while people might consider the girl's decision to be irrational and unreasonable, it's still her decision to make.

    When my JW relatives made it clear that they preferred not to associate with me and my family, I decided not to force the issue. It's their decision. And when the time comes (and I know it will) that they need something from me, I'll have my own decision to make. Whether to do unto them as they have done unto me, or to be the better person and treat them with the love and respect and dignity that I wish they could find it in them to show to me. I'm not too sure what I'll do yet. I guess it depends on whether I'm feeling petty when that day comes.

  • Honesty

    If an apostate is overlooked by Joe Hoba and happens to survive the WT cult's version of Armageddon then he/she will find out just how much hatred the JW's can exhibit. Thank God that the WT version is not the way it is all going to happen when Jesus really does return.

  • freedom96

    I absolutely believe that df'ing CAN incite hatred, though it doesn't always happen, and greatly depends on the personality of those involved.

  • thom

    Thanks GB for pointing out some articles. As a JW, I never realized we were taught to hate people! Just sins.
    Thanks again.

  • BluesBrother

    I guess any proposed action would have to overcome the "reasoning" of the Borg on the matter; Awake '96 , Sept 8th

    The Bible’s Viewpoint


    Disfellowshipping Is a Loving Arrangement

    EXCOMMUNICATION—the very idea stirs up mixed feelings among many religious people. Most people agree that religions need some sort of discipline. But many view excommunication as a relic from the past—a harsh style of discipline that reminds them of witch-hunts and inquisitions.

    Adding to the problem is the pervasive influence of the secular world. Thus, most of Christendom’s religions have adopted a more tolerant view of sin. Little wonder, then, that one Episcopalian minister said: "Excommunication is part of our tradition, but I don’t think it’s been invoked in this century."

    However, many people may be surprised to learn that among Jehovah’s Witnesses, disfellowshipping (the equivalent of excommunication) is taken seriously. Granted, it is not an easy action to take, but it is a loving arrangement. How so?


    Upholds God’s Name

    Jehovah is a holy God. He does not tolerate deliberate sin on the part of those claiming to worship him. The apostle Peter wrote to Christians: "Become holy yourselves in all your conduct, because it is written: ‘You must be holy, because I am holy.’" (1 Peter 1:15, 16) So disfellowshipping unrepentant sinners upholds God’s holy name; it shows love for that name.—Compare Hebrews 6:10.

    Does this mean that if a Christian succumbs to weakness or stumbles into grave sin, he is automatically expelled from the congregation? By no means! Jehovah is not a coldhearted dictator. He is merciful and understanding. He remembers that we are imperfect. (Psalm 103:14) Jehovah recognizes that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) God has arranged for spiritual help within the congregation so that if a Christian takes a "false step" or even commits a serious sin, he may be lovingly ‘readjusted’ in a spirit of mildness. (Galatians 6:1) By accepting counsel from God’s Word and demonstrating heartfelt sorrow and genuine repentance, one who has strayed from the path of righteousness can "get healed" spiritually.—James 5:13-16.

    What, though, if a baptized Christian seriously errs and all efforts to restore him are unsuccessful? In other words, what if he stubbornly refuses to correct his sinful course?


    Keeps the Congregation Safe

    The Bible commands Christians: "Quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man."—1 Corinthians 5:11.

    Is this Bible law harsh and demeaning? Just consider this: When a hardened criminal is sent to prison for breaking the law, is that viewed as harsh or coldhearted? No, because the public has the right to safeguard the peace and security of the community. In effect, the criminal is disfellowshipped from law-abiding society during his prison term.

    Similarly, the Christian congregation is justified in expelling unrepentant wrongdoers from their midst. Why? Because the congregation must be a haven from immoral predators and other willful practicers of sin.

    Realizing that "one sinner can destroy much good," the apostle Paul commanded fellow believers: "Remove the wicked man from among yourselves." (Ecclesiastes 9:18; 1 Corinthians 5:13) This action prevents the sinner from spreading corruption in the congregation, and it protects the congregation’s good name.—Compare 1 Timothy 3:15.


    for Individuals

    Disfellowshipping also protects individual members of the congregation. Let us illustrate: Imagine being roused from sleep by the noisy blast of a car horn or alarm. The piercing sound is difficult to ignore; indeed, it startles you! Likewise, when someone is expelled from the congregation, the action hopefully grabs the attention of every member of the flock. It disturbs their senses. It cannot be ignored. How may this be a protection?

    "When I first heard at the Kingdom Hall that someone had been disfellowshipped, my initial reaction was shock," says one Witness. "Then it humbled me. It made me realize that I too could fall." As her words indicate, disfellowshipping can move others to take stock of their conduct.—1 Corinthians 10:12.

    By asking ourselves questions such as ‘Are there any areas of my life in which I am spiritually vulnerable?’ we can be helped to examine our own standing with God. In this way we can continue to ‘work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.’—Philippians 2:12.

    Return to God

    "As hard as it was," said one Christian who was expelled for a time, "the discipline was necessary and much needed, and it proved to be lifesaving." This highlights another important aspect of disfellowshipping. It can move previously unrepentant sinners to take their first steps back to God.

    The apostle Paul said: "Whom Jehovah loves he disciplines." (Hebrews 12:6) And while it is true that "no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterward to those who have been trained by it it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness."—Hebrews 12:11.

    That is what happened to Richard. After being disfellowshipped for almost two years, he repented, corrected his God-dishonoring conduct, and was accepted back into the Christian congregation. Looking back, he says regarding the experience: "I realize that I had to be disfellowshipped and that I fully deserved what I got. It really was necessary and helped me to see just how serious my course was and the need to seek Jehovah’s forgiveness."

    Discipline may not be easy to endure. Accepting it requires humility, but those who learn from it reap bountiful fruitage.

    Therefore, disfellowshipping is a loving arrangement because it upholds God’s holy name and it protects the congregation from the corrupting influence of sin. Also, it demonstrates love for the wrongdoer by encouraging him to repent and "turn around so as to get [his] sins blotted out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the person of Jehovah."—Acts 3:19.


    Excommunication is a disciplinary action that results in exclusion from membership in a religion.

    [Picture Credit Line on page 26]

    The New Testament: A Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth-Century Sources, by Don Rice/Dover Publications, Inc
  • Englishman

    Here's some details of the proposed new UK laws regarding Religious Hatred:

    1. What is the Government doing?

    • The Government is extending protection to prevent hatred being stirred up against people targeted because of their religious beliefs, or lack of religious beliefs, as well as people targeted because of their race.
    • This is being done through the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Bill, by expanding the existing criminal offences of incitement to racial hatred contained in the Public Order Act 1986.
    • The provisions make it an offence for a person to knowingly use threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour with the intention or likelihood that they will stir up hatred against a group of people based on their religious beliefs.
    • It is about protecting people who might be the object of someone else’s hatred because of their religion; not about protecting religion itself.

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    2. Why is new legislation necessary?

    • It is widely accepted that individuals in our society are stirring up hatred against particular religious groups. This may take the form of publications distributed by extremist groups which equate a particular religion with mass murder or rape, or speeches at public meetings that use inflammatory language and exhort people to make life unbearable for those of a certain religion.
    • Although, the Government does not believe that incitement to religious hatred is commonplace, it does exist and where it exists it has a disproportionate and corrosive effect on communities, creating barriers between different groups and encouraging mistrust and suspicion. At an individual level this can lead to fear and intimidation and a sense of isolation.
    • It can also indirectly lead to discrimination, abuse, harassment and ultimately crimes of violence against members of our communities. It is legitimate for the criminal law to protect citizens from such behaviour.
    • These provisions are needed to close an unacceptable loophole where some religions (Jews and Sikhs) are protected and others such as Muslims and Christians are not. Jews and Sikhs are covered by existing incitement to racial hatred laws as a result of decisions made by the courts (Mandla vs Dowell Lee 1993). This is on the basis of those groups also having a distinct ethnic origin. The existing law does not protect other religions that do not have distinct ethnic origins (e.g. Christians or Muslims) as it is currently interpreted. This measure will end that anomaly. Since the introduction of the incitement to racial hatred offence, some extremists have exploited this loophole, using religious terms to identify victims whom they would have previously identified using racial terms.

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    3. Why is this measure in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill?

    The proposed offence of incitement to religious hatred is included alongside other offences, all of which the Home Secretary has said the Government will legislate for as soon as possible. The provision is within the scope of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill which provides this opportunity during this Parliamentary session.

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    4. What would be caught by the new incitement offence?

    • Individuals and members of extremist and racist organisations and parties who stir up hatred of groups defined by their religious beliefs. Also, religious extremists who stir up hatred against members of other religions.
    • Both of these groups of extremists are very small in number and wholly unrepresentative of the communities they claim to speak for. The vast majority of British people, including British Muslims, are peaceful and law abiding and would not advocate hatred against people of other religions or races.
    • The need to take into account all the circumstances of a case means that it is very difficult to give a yes/no answer to whether particular statements will be caught by the new offence. For example the context and audience of what is said are as critically important as the words themselves. The same series of critical statements might be more likely to stir up hatred in the backroom of a pub full of drunken men in area of deprivation and tension than said an in academic debate in a university.
    • An example of what might be caught under a new incitement to religious hatred offence is an extreme racist organisation widely distributing material setting out a range of insulting and highly inflammatory reasons for hating Islam. Such reasons have included suggesting that Muslims are a threat to British people and liable to molest women and that they should be urgently driven out of Britain.
    • The Muslim cleric el-Faisal gave lectures around the UK over a period of four years used threatening, abusive and insulting language against ‘unbelievers’, these lectures being recorded and subsequently put on sale. The inflammatory language was therefore deliberately designed to reach a wider audience. He said it is permissible to use chemical weapons to kill unbelievers and sanctioned the use of nuclear weapons “in that country which is 100% unbelievers”. The jury found el-Faisal guilty of three counts of soliciting to murder and three of incitement to racial hatred for similar utterances against Jews. On 7 March 2003 he was sentenced to a total of nine years’ imprisonment, seven years for the soliciting offences and two years for the incitement to racial hatred offences. Although el-Faisal was also sentenced for soliciting to murder, had the comments made about Jews been directed at another religious group (i.e. Christians), prosecution for incitement to racial hatred would not have been possible and he would not have been sentenced for this offence.

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    5. What will the new offence not cover?

    Of themselves, the following would not be caught by the offence:

    • Criticising the beliefs, teachings or practices of a religion or its followers; for example by claiming that they are false or harmful;
    • Proselytising one’s own religion or urging followers of a different religion to cease practising theirs; for example Christians claiming that Jesus Christ is the way the truth, the life and the only way to God, Muslims exhorting people to submit to the will of Allah, or Atheists claiming that there is no God;
    • Telling jokes about religions;
    • Publishing or reading from religious texts such as the Bible or the Qur’an.
    • Of themselves these activities do not meet the criteria of the offences. However if a person were to use threatening, abusive or insulting words/actions with the intent or likely effect that hatred would be stirred up whilst undertaking the actions listed above, then by definition, they could rightly fall into the scope of the offence.
    • In a presentation at the Houses of Parliament, Trevor Philips reminded us that Bernard Manning, Lenny Henry, Jim Davidson and Roy Chubby Brown had not been prosecuted for any racial jokes under the existing offences. In particular there have been no prosecutions for jokes directed at the Jewish community, who are protected by the incitement to racial hatred provisions, regardless of whether jokes are racially or religiously motivated. If this protection of the Jewish community didn’t penalise rabbi jokes, there are no grounds to believe that extending the protection to other faith communities will prevent jokes about them.

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    6. Would the play “Behzti” by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti which was being shown in Birmingham or “Jerry Springer the Opera” which was broadcast by the BBC be covered by the new offence of incitement to religious hatred?

    The Government upholds freedom of expression, provided this does not stir up hatred or violence. Neither “Behzti” nor “Jerry Springer the Opera” would fall foul of the proposed or existing incitement to hatred offences. Although it is clear that the opera and the play have caused offence, there is no evidence that they have stirred up hatred against any religious group and they would not be caught by the proposed incitement to religious offence. It is already an offence to stir up hatred against Sikhs, under the current incitement to racial hatred offences, whether because of their race or religion. The police have decided that there are no grounds for action against the play Behzti, which some Sikhs felt targeted their community. The proposed offence of stirring up religious hatred, which will extend the same legal protection to other faith communities, is not a blasphemy law and will not penalise criticising articles or symbols of faith or causing offence. It will not therefore interfere with freedom of expression any more than the existing offence on inciting racial hatred has done.

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    7. Will the new legislation only protect Muslims? What about individuals with no religious beliefs? Are they protected?

    The new legislation will protect people of all religious beliefs, applying equally to incited hatred against Muslims, or Christians, or any other religious group. It will also protect people targeted because of their lack of religious beliefs or because they do not share the religious beliefs of the perpetrator.

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    8. Will religion be defined? Will the definition include cults?

    In keeping with similar legislation, the proposals do not define the meaning of religion. “Religious hatred” is defined as “hatred against a group of people defined by their religious beliefs or lack of religious belief”. Explanatory notes have been published which provide a non-exhaustive list of widely practised religions and clearly explain that the protection also covers people identified with a particular branch of a religion. They also stress that the protection of the offence covers Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics. When the circumstances are unclear, the courts will decide whether a particular group of people is protected, in the wider context of the criminal behaviour being considered. If the courts ruled that a new religious movement qualified as a religion for the purposes of the new offence, that would not prevent criticism of the practices of that movement.

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    9. What about protection for other at risk groups such as those with disabilities or those who suffer because of their sexual orientation? Why isn’t the incitement to racial hatred provisions being extended to protect those groups?

    The extension of the incitement provisions to cover people identified by their religion as well as race, is the closing of an unacceptable loop-hole that mono-ethnic religious groups (such as Jews and Sikhs) are covered by the existing offence whereas multi-ethnic religious groups (such as Muslims and Hindus) are not. The Government keeps provisions under constant review and is open to considering whether further extensions are needed.

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    10. What measures have been put in place to ensure that provisions for freedom of speech and/or freedom of religion will not be abused?

    These measures accord with, and will operate in the light of, the guarantees afforded by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. In fact in its latest report, published on 2 March, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has stated that it considers that the measures on incitement proposed in the SOCAP Bill are unlikely to give rise to any violation of the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the ECHR.

    The Government is determined to protect both the rights of free speech, which have been long respected in this country, and the right to lead a life in which one can peacefully practise one’s own religion without fear. The Government is confident that this can be reconciled with protecting people against incited hatred. The new legislation will provide protection from the activities of extremists who stir up hatred against people because of their religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs, whilst also safeguarding the right to engage in free and vigorous debate about religion, including the right to criticise religious beliefs and practices.

    The proposed and existing offences both carry a high threshold in order to protect freedom of speech. Words, behaviour or material used must be threatening, abusive or insulting and must either be intended to or likely to stir up hatred. The hatred must be aimed at people who are members of that group, not ideologies. Hatred is a strong term; which goes beyond ridicule, prejudice, dislike, contempt, anger or offence. A further safeguard in the legislation is that a person who does not intend to stir up hatred is not guilty of an offence if they did not know that their words, behaviour, written material, recording or programmes were threatening, abusive or insulting. Furthermore the offences do not apply to anything that takes place in one’s own home. All prosecutions require the consent of the Attorney General, which will prevent the offences being misused through private prosecutions. We believe the wording of the offences, the public interest test applied by the CPS, and the veto of the Attorney General are sufficient to safeguard freedom of speech.

    This provision will protect people’s freedom to practise their religion without fear, not restrict it. Proselytism is recognised as an integral activity for many faith communities. The new provision would make it an offence to stir up hatred, not to practise one’s religion or proselytise.

    Jews and Sikhs are protected by the existing offences regardless of whether threats, abuse or insults made against them are religiously or racially motivated. This hasn’t stopped people criticising Judaism or discussing alleged human rights abuses perpetrated by the Jewish community in Israel because this offence does not prohibit criticism of religious beliefs.

    Article 9 of the European Convention states that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and that this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. It also states that freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject to limitations prescribed by law and necessary in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order and the rights and freedoms of others.

    Article 10 of the European Convention states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression and that this includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas. Similarly it also states that the exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to restrictions prescribed by law that are necessary in the interests of public safety, the prevention of disorder or crime and the protection of the reputation or rights of others.

    These offences are justifiable, necessary and proportionate measures for the prevention of disorder or crime and the protection of the rights of others; the need for which is reflected in these articles. Indeed because these provisions protect groups from hatred directed against them because of religious belief, they safeguard the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion enshrined in Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Writers are rightly concerned about freedom of expression. The government’s prime concern is the safety and security of our communities. The aim of this legislation is to protect people from the hatred stirred up against them on the basis of their religious beliefs that prepares the ground for dangerous violence.

    Our proposal puts boundaries on free speech that permits artists to offend, criticise or ridicule but which will protect people from the sort of hatred that has a very real and corrosive effect on our communities. We are confident that this offence places boundaries in the right place.

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    11. What does the Government think about the case of two Australian pastors who have been found guilty of vilifying Islam?

    There are a number of differences between section 8 of the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001, under which the defendants have been found guilty, and the incitement to religious hatred offence we propose.

    Section 8 of the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act makes it an offence for a person to engage in conduct which incites not only hatred against, but also serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, another person or class of persons on the ground of the religious belief or activity. The threshold for the incitement to religious hatred offence we propose is substantially higher and will only capture those who knowingly use words or behaviour or to publish or distribute material that is threatening, abusive or insulting with the intention or likelihood that religious hatred would be stirred up.

    Another difference is that, under our existing and proposed offences, prosecutions require the consent of the Attorney General, which prevents the legislation being misused by feuding religious groups.

    There is a distinction between criticising a religion and the inciting hatred against its followers. The Government is confident that the new legislation prohibits the latter without interfering with the former.

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    12. Has the Government carried out a consultation on this issue?

    The issue has been explored in depth by the House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences in 2003 and has also been considered as part of the Strength in Diversity consultation in 2004. Following the then Home Secretary’s announcement on this issue on 7 July, the Home Office undertook a further targeted consultation with a variety of organisations representing different religions and beliefs, civil liberties groups, trade unions, enforcement agencies and others.

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    13. Will the government repeal/extend existing blasphemy laws?

    • Some religious and non-religious groups have suggested that the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous liable should be repealed. The Government has no immediate plans to amend the current law on blasphemy.
    • We acknowledge that there are a wide variety of views on whether the blasphemy laws should be retained, repealed or extended. Indeed, the ICM poll for the Guardian found that 46% thought that blasphemy should be repealed, yet 38% believe that there is a case to keep it on the statute book.
    • In light of the fact that there is no overall consensus on the issue we will keep this matter under close review, particularly as the benefits of the new provision against incitement to religious hatred are realised. We do not think that repealing blasphemy should be a condition of securing support for the incitement to hatred offence which, as the CRE have stated, is needed now to prevent real harm and should not be delayed until blasphemy laws are repealed.

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    14. Will the government be doing anything to address the general issue of discrimination on religious grounds?

    Yes. As the then Home Secretary outlined in his speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research on 7 July 2004, the Government knows that people can be and are discriminated against because of their religion, and that people of faith cannot have full access to jobs, careers and services if their religious needs are ignored or overridden..

    In December 2003, the Government implemented the EU regulations against religious discrimination in employment and training. We have funded ACAS and community organisations like the Muslim Council of Britain to help employees as well as employers understand their rights and obligations

    The Government has responded to calls from faith communities, as well as from BME and anti-racism organisations, for legislation to tackle religious discrimination in other areas. The Prime Minister announced the Government’s intentions on this at the 2004 Labour Party Conference. The Equality Bill, introduced into Parliament in March 2005, includes provisions which will make unlawful discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, in the delivery of goods, facilities and services, and the exercising of public functions. This will afford all religious communities the protections currently enjoyed by Jews and Sikhs, who are deemed ethnic groups under the Race Relations Act.

    15. Are the incitement to religious hatred proposals the same as the religious discrimination proposals?

    No. Stirring up hatred against people because of their religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs is a criminal matter whereas religious discrimination comes under civil law. The Government’s religious discrimination proposals are being taken forward as part of the Single Equality Commission Bill. They will afford protection from discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities, services or premises for followers of all religions. The new provisions on religious discrimination are intended to close a loophole where case-law has extended the protections of the Race Relations Act to followers of some religions, namely Jews and Sikhs, as they are recognised as mono-ethnic groups, but followers of other multi-ethnic religions are not equally protected.

    16. How will the new provisions be enforced? Will there be a high number of convictions obtained?

    The Government is working with the Police, the CPS and other key agencies, to ensure that the new provisions make a full and effective contribution to our work against hate crime.

    We do not expect a large number of prosecutions, just as there have not been a large number of prosecutions under incitement to racial hatred.

    • Between commencement of the Public Order Act on 1st April 1987 and 3rd February 2005 there have been 72 defendants prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred.
    • The Attorney General has only used his veto on 3 occasions.
    • Between 2001 and 2004 86 cases were referred to the CPS for consideration. As of the 2nd February 2005:
      • 6 cases have been prosecuted (involving 12 defendants)
      • 2 defendants have been convicted
      • 1 case was dropped
      • 3 cases are ongoing (involving 9 defendants)

    The offence has however provided a powerful deterrent to the conduct of racist and other extremist organisations and individuals.

    17. Why don’t you extend the existing incitement to racial hatred offence to make clear that insults using religious words cannot be used as a proxy for racism?

    • The Public Order Act does not specify that the words used when inciting racial hatred have to be specifically racist as long as the intention was to stir up racial hatred.
    • Because of this, this change would not provide the protections needed. For example, because Muslims are not associated with a single race a generalised anti-Muslim speech or poster would not stir up hatred against a particular racial group, and would therefore not be protected by the Public Order Act.
    • It would not provide protection for Christians as it is impossible to identify Christians with a particular racial group and would fail to cover those with no religious beliefs.
    • It would fail to tackle the issue of extremists from within faith communities who stir up hatred of others because they do not share their religious beliefs – for example Muslim clerics who stir up hatred against kafirs/infidels.
    • It would exacerbate the current loophole in the law as some faith groups would remain be unprotected by the law.
  • Scully

    Looking at it from the other side of the coin,

    Do exJWs "incite hatred" against JWs?

  • fleaman uk
    fleaman uk


    Great comment.

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