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22nd February

 Update: But But But But But...

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French religious leaders wont sign up to free speech declaration
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
the tablet The French Catholic Church has declined to sign a declaration by the group Reporters without Borders (RSF) challenging faith groups to pledge unreserved support for free speech or face public pressure to do so.

RSF president Christophe Deloire proposed the declaration after religious leaders, reacting to last month's terrorist attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, backed free speech ...BUT... said it had to be exercised responsibly.

Nobody can impose his concept of the sacred on others, says the declaration, which says some people might be offended by free speech ...BUT... this cannot justify limiting any opinion, even an irreverent one. church-state separation.

This declaration seems to suspect religions of being not very active in supporting free speech, if not actually opposed to it, said Marseille Archbishop Georges Pontier, president of the bishops' conference.

The Church, which reiterated its support for the principle of free speech after the attack, [...BUT...] does not sign declarations it has not helped draft, he said, adding it was regrettable the text was addressed only to religious leaders and not other civil society personalities.

The heads of France's main Muslim, Protestant and Buddhist groups signed the declaration. Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia said he agreed in principle to it ...BUT... did not sign without all the other religious leaders.

 

18th February

 Update: Cultural Icon...

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Cradle of Filth t-shirt exhibited at New Zealand museum
Link Here  full story: Cradle of Filth...Cradle of Filth t-shirt winds up the nutters
cradle of filth t shirt jesus The Director of Canterbury Museum in New Zealand has made the news for displaying the iconic Cradle of Fifth t-shirt bearing the slogan: Jesus is a cunt. The front of the t-shirt is titled Vestal Masturbation , which aptly describes the pictured nun.

The t-shirt is displayed in an adults only area of the T-shirts Unfolding exhibition at the museum.

Director Anthony Wright says they're trying to tell the story of T-shirts within street art culture, without unduly censoring the content.

We've got to balance that up against anyone that might be offended, and we've bent over backwards to make sure that anyone who might be offended won't come into contact with anything offensive. It's a tiny part of the overall exhibition.

Auckland University's senior lecturer Dr Geoff Kemp says though he doesn't like the t-shirt, the way it's presented is acceptable.

Because it's now appearing in an exhibition context, it's trying to tell a story in a more reflective, educational way. It seems a different context to the idea of it just being worn out on the street.

The Anglican Church has inevitably condemned the exhibition. Bishop Victoria Matthews says this should be about common decency. She makes a few leaps of credibility and spouts:

What's the line between art and pornography, and what is the line between communication and inciting violence.

The christian moralist group, Family First said through National director Bob McCoskrie that whether its on display in a museum or worn by a member of the public, it's offensive and shouldn't be allowed.

The public has access to it, and they shouldn't be confronted by this kind of offensive and unnecessary material.

 

15th February

 Update: Murderous censorship...

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Terrorist attacks those attending a debate about free speech being curtailed by threats of violence
Link Here

Denmark flag Police in Copenhagen have killed a muslim terrorist suspected of attacks that left two dead and five injured in a terrorist attack in the Danish capital.

The first attack took place at a free speech event where a Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who depicted the religious character Mohammed as a dog was speaking.  Vilks, who has been threatened several times before , hid in a cold room during the shooting with Helle Merete Brix, one of the event organisers. There is nobody that thinks it is pleasant when somebody tries to attack you. We sat in the cold room holding hands and telling jokes. For what else can you do in such a situation? she told TV2.

The second attack was at a synagogue.

Each attack left one person dead, with three police officers injured at the Art, Blasphemy and Free Speech debate and two at the synagogue.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark's prime minister Tweeted:

This is not a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims. This is a fight between freedom and a dark ideology

The man suspected of killing two people in shootings in Copenhagen was on Sunday identified in several Danish media outlets as Omar El-Hussein. Ekstra-Bladet, a Danish tabloid, reported that the 22-year-old was released from jail only two weeks ago after serving a term for aggravated assault.

Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said:

Index on Censorship logo The use of violence on a gathering exploring the intersection of religious and artistic freedom should send shivers down our spines.

The Charlie Hebdo murders inspired intensified public debate about free speech and its value. Many people who had previously given little thought to free speech were drawn for the first time into online discussions or attended events to help them get a better understanding of the issues. It would be terrible if violent acts such as that in Copenhagen shut down free speech even further.

The ability to express ourselves freely, to attend meetings and debates without fear of violence, is fundamental to a free society. Free speech must be protected.

This is not just about cartoons or offence. If violence is allowed to win, free speech -- and all of our ability to be who we are, practice what religion we like, have relationships with whomever we want -- dies.

Comment: Copenhagen: the bloody, murderous 'No Platforming' of blasphemers

Spiked logo 15th February 2015. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com by Brendan O'Neill

After this shooting, let's fight even harder for the right to offend.

 

7th February

  Preaching Free Speech...

Reporters Without Borders ask French religious leaders to sign declaration support freedom of expression including the right to criticise religion
Link Here
Reporters without Borders logo Reporters Without Borders is asking French religious leaders to sign a statement declaring that:

Everyone is free to express criticism of any system of political, philosophical or religious thought.

No one's concept of what is sacred may be imposed on others.

The Declaration on Freedom of Expression is part of the Freedom of expression has no religion campaign.

The push comes amid widespread fears about de facto Islamic blasphemy laws in Europe, and after the Pope made clear his view that freedom of expression has limits where matters of faith and religion are concerned.

The campaign is asking leaders of many different faiths to sign the statement, including Muslims, Christians and Jews. Reporters Without Borders state that they have sought the support of representatives of France's leading religious organizations and that several senior figures have already signed the statement, including Dalil Boubakeur, head of the Paris Mosque and the French Council of Muslim Worship; Francois Clavairoly, who leads the Protestant Federation and Marie-Stella Boussemart, president of the French Buddhist Union.

Grand Rabbi Haam Korsia is said to support the declaration in principle, and is calling for a collective response from all members of the French Conference of Religious Leaders , including the French Conference of Bishops and the French Assembly of Orthodox Bishops.

Reporters Without Borders explain that their goal is:

To draw attention to the close relationship between freedom of expression and religious freedom and to combat the temptation to restrict freedom of expression.

 

7th February

 Updated: Moralists Recommend...

Fifty Shades of Grey, with some gloriously ludicrous piffle
Link Here

Poster Fifty Shades of Grey 2015 Sam Taylorjohnson Morality in Media

Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director for Morality in Media, spouts some gloriously ludicrous piffle about the MPAA R rating for Fifty Shades of Grey:

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave the film, Fifty Shades of Grey , an R rating, which severely undermines the violent themes in the film and does not adequately inform parents and patrons of the film's content. The MPAA warns that there is strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity. What the term unusual does not account for is the coercion, sexual violence, female inequality, and BDSM themes from which the entire Fifty Shades plot is based. Such a vague evaluation puts viewers at risk, sending the message that humiliation is pleasurable and that torture should be sexually gratifying.

The new extended trailer for the film calls it a fairy tale which just further misleads the public into thinking this is simply a love story. The MPAA ratings and fairy tale label mask the true themes of humiliation, manipulation, abuse, and degradation of women.

Sexual violence and sexual exploitation are at an all time high, permeating our culture by way of hardcore pornography and now praised by films like Fifty Shades of Grey .

We'd like to change the MPAA rating for Fifty Shades of Grey to read:

Promotes torture as sexually gratifying, graphic nudity, encourages stalking and abuse of power, promotes female inequality, glamorizes and legitimizes violence against women.

Is this the description of a movie you'd promote to your son or daughter? What about yourself?

American Decency Association

3rd February 2015. See  article from  woodtv.com

american decency association logo Speaking about his local cinema in Fremont, Michigan showing Fifty Shades of Grey, the president of the American Decency Association spouted:

It's far more than so-called entertainment. This is not entertainment. This is not about entertainment. This is about pornography. The movie flows out of a very degrading, damaging book.

Bill Johnson said he hasn't read any of the books but he believes the sexually explicit content has no place in a Fremont theater:

We are merely doing what parents, and grandparents have historically done for many, many years, over the course of time. And that it's try to defend, try to protect, try to uphold that which builds up and to stand against that which degrades and destroys.

But of course Johnson ludicrously claimed that his group isn't trying to stop freedom of speech:

I'm not saying [the theater's owner] doesn't have the freedom to show this movie. He does ...BUT... with freedom characteristically in this country, historically with freedom is also responsibility.

Update: Family First New Zealand

7th February 2015. See  article from  newstalkzb.co.nz

Family First logo The head of a New Zealand morality group is calling on families to boycott screenings of Fifty Shades of Grey and donate to a group like Women's Refuge instead.

Family First's Bob McCoskrie says the film and the book it's based on glamourise sexual violence.

He says families should boycott the movie and make a special donation to any charity that is working to eliminate sexual violence.

In New Zealand the censor's rating for the film is R18 with a warning it contains sex scenes and offensive language.

Update: One Million Moms

19th February 2015. See  article from  onemillionmoms.com

one million moms logo With the controversial movie Fifty Shades of Grey set to be released in theaters this week, a national medical association says the film is yet another example of the increasingly dangerous glorification of violence and sex in the media.

Dr. Michelle Cretella, vice president of the American College of Pediatricians, tells OneNewsNow, Not only is the movie normalizing sadomasochism, but it's even romanticizing it or making it look like something exciting, erotic, and desirable. So it's almost even beyond normalization. Read his medical warning here .

Both movie theaters and moviegoers can stand up to this kind of disgusting content and choose not to show or pay to see the film. 1MM and AFA are publicizing a social media movement that urges the public to donate $50 or more to a domestic abuse shelter that helps women rather than spending $50 to see Fifty Shades of Grey which glamorizes the abuse of women. The money you would spend on a night out to see the movie will go towards serving victims of abusive relationships. Hollywood doesn't need your money, but abused women do. Read more here . The twitter hash tag is #50dollarsnot50shades.

For couples who still want to have a date night this weekend, 1MM highly recommends you consider seeing Old Fashioned, which also hits box offices this weekend. Even though this film isn't intended for children, it is a refreshing option for couples this Valentine's weekend. Old Fashioned highlights courtship and authentic romance that is born out of respect and admiration, not focused on sexual pleasure that causes humiliation and pain for another person. Read the movie review for this romantic film here . It is obvious which film glorifies God and which one does not.

 

5th February

  Applying BBFC rules to real life...

Andreas Whittam Smith tries to draw on BBFC guidelines to call for the banning of news footage of the barbaric murder of a Jordanian pilot
Link Here
Andreas Whittam Smith Andreas Whittam Smith was the editor of the Independent before having a spell as president of the BBFC (at a time when film censorship was lightening up after the departure of James Ferman).

He used his BBFC experience in an opinion piece in the Independent calling for the banning of news footage of the barbaric murder of a Jordanian pilot. He wrote:

That some images can be too horrific to show is also an issue in the classification of films. I was President of the BBFC for five years stretching into the early 2000s. Relevant here are the guidelines for films classified as 18 . The basic rule is that adults should be free to see what they want to see in the cinema ...BUT... with some exceptions. Revenge is an inescapable urge, but it can never lead to good You don't need to watch a man burning to find it outrageous We must report the facts, but not be the conduit for gruesome propaganda

Now the sadistic killing of the Jordanian pilot was fact not fiction. Nonetheless the current BBFC guidelines are of interest. Parts of them are indeed relevant to broadcasters and news organisations. They state that exceptions are most likely where material or treatment appears to us to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society . This takes us into the second reason for treading carefully - that we may be causing harm to society, as the BBFC would put it, by broadcasting Islamic State videos or by publishing them online or by taking stills from them. They are propaganda and propaganda will do its job.

What the BBFC has in mind of course is a very different situation from the Islamic State videos. But the BBFC's list of what it considers harmful to disseminate include the detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or portrayals of sadistic violence which make this violence look appealing, or which invite viewer complicity in, harmful violent activities . This is a useful analysis of how harm to society may arise.

So might the videos of sadistic violence distributed by Islamic State appeal to some viewers in Britain or invite their complicity?

The answer is almost certainly that they would do so. After all, it is estimated that as many as 2,000 Britons are fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq.

 

3rd February

  Silenced...

Paris artwork censored by warnings of violence
Link Here
silence by zoulikha bouabdellah An artwork depicting high-heeled shoes on Islamic prayer mats has been removed from an exhibition after warnings of possible muslim violence in the wake of the Paris attacks.

The French-Algerian artist, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, withdrew the work from an exhibition in a northern Paris suburb with a large Muslim population after an Islamic group told local authorities it could provoke uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents .

Ms Bouabdellah has replaced the artwork, Silence , previously exhibited in Paris, New York, Berlin and Madrid, with a video installation showing belly-dancing to the French national anthem, with swirling red, white and blue shawls symbolising the national flag.

The French artist Orlan, who also has a work on display in the all-female exhibition in Clichy La Garenne, commented on Facebook:

I protest against all pressures and/or threats that would result in a peaceful art work being pulled from an exhibition, be it due to a Christian group, a Muslim group, or a group of other beliefs.

Orlan said the removal of the artwork made a mockery of the principle of freedom of expression only weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attack and a huge solidarity march in Paris in which David Cameron and some 50 other world leaders took part.

 

2nd February

 Update: Tit for Tat...

Iran organises cartoon competition in revenge for Charlie Hebdo
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

Iran flag Iran has launched a cartoon competition centred on the theme of Holocaust denial in reaction to the cartoons of Mohammed that were published in Charlie Hebdo.

The competition, organised by Iran's House of Cartoon and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex, is offering a cash prize of $12,000 to the overall winner, $8,000 for second place, and $5,000  for third place, according to the Tehran Times.

The winning artworks will be displayed at the Palestine Museum of Contemporary art in the Iranian capital of Tehran, as well as several other locations across the city.

 

28th January

  A Twisted Definition of Tolerance...

Jewish leaders in a disgraceful call for censorship and a European blasphemy law, subtly hiding it behind a ban on reprehensible cultural practices
Link Here
european council on tolerance and reconciliation logo European Jewish leaders, backed by  former EU heads of state and government, are calling for pan-European legislation outlawing antisemitism and criticism of religion.

A panel of four international jewish leaders backed by the misleadingly named European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) have spent three years drafting a 12-page document on 'tolerance' . They are lobbying to have it converted into law in the 28 countries of the EU.

The proposal would outlaw antisemitism as well as criminalising a host of other activities of what the group deems to be violating fundamental rights on religious, cultural, ethnic and gender grounds.

The group head the list with some justifiable prohibitions, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, polygamy, but then slip in extensive censorship and blasphemy items, eg criminalising xenophobia, and creating a new crime of group libel , ie public defamation of ethnic, cultural or religious groups. Then to try and generate a little support, the group extends the list to include women's and gay rights.

The proposed legislation would also curb freedom of expression on grounds of a bizarre definition of 'tolerance'. The document twists the meaning of tolerance to try and justify the end to the right of freedom of expression:

Tolerance is a two-way street. Members of a group who wish to benefit from tolerance must show it to society at large, as well as to members of other groups and to dissidents or other members of their own group.

There is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant. This is especially important as far as freedom of expression is concerned: that freedom must not be abused to defame other groups.

But the document goes much further, calling for the criminalisation of overt approval of a totalitarian ideology, xenophobia or antisemitism.

Education in tolerance should be mandatory from primary school to university, and for the military and the police, while public broadcasting must devote a prescribed percentage of their programmes to promoting a climate of 'tolerance' .

The panel was chaired by Yoram Dinstein, a war crimes expert, professor and former president of Tel Aviv university.

The drafters are currently touring the parliaments of Europe trying to drum up support.