Thursday, 29 November 2007

Christina Odone and freedom of speech

According to Channel 4 news that I've just watched Christina Odone was 'censored' for insulting atheists. Digging a little deeper reveals her on the Today programme (here around 21 mins in) and this from the New Humanist blog. Odone on the Today programme accuses the guy from the Commonwealth Foundation of "your folly in not allowing somebody of faith to speak at a carol service at Christmas".

But it turns out her speech was for the Commonwealth Foundation carol service in partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation, on the topic of 'opportunity for all' and she decided to use this topic to attack atheists and secularists for oppressing religious believers. So they told her that what she wanted to say would offend non-religious believers attending and asked her to read something else by Bertrand Russell instead, and she refused and pulled out.

Clearly her right to free speech has been suppressed by the evil forces of secularism, and it is not at all the case that she tried to subvert a non-denominational event promoting development goals in order to spread her own particular brand of religious victimhood and atheist bashing.


Unknown said...

...putting off the "culturally Christian" who want to go to a carol service but don't feel like they could pass the bible test Odone and her chums seem to feel is necessary - ie. the majority of us.

Anonymous said...

She is in today's Observer making what seems to be a rather crass comparison with the Holocaust.
"Intolerance towards one group opens the floodgates for intolerance towards others. Scapegoats are all too easily interchangeable: gypsies one day, gays the next, Jews after that."

pj said...

Commenter Sickofants summed it up nicely:

"Hold on a second. Places of worship up and down the land have people being extremely forthright in what they say. You were invited to speak at someone else's service and it is legitimate for them to determine the focus of that service and where the boundaries fall. As it happens, it is clear from the examples you cite that you would indeed be trying to convert (or, at the very least, making many guests uncomfortable with the force of your views).

You have every right to speak those views IN YOUR OWN SERVICE. But when invited to speak at someone else's, YOU have to show tolerance and accept their choices.

I think much more disturbing is the persecution complex portrayed in this article because someone feels they should be given a platform for their views by organisations that hold a different perspective. Surely if events at the Oxford Union this week have shown anything, it's that freedom of expression does not mean freedom to a platform or to being on the top table at someone else's feast.

Personally, I find Odone's intolerance of others who do not wish to hear her views very disturbing - and spoilt."

Oh why do we oppress theists so?

Anonymous said...

I predict a Madeleine Bunting article on a similar topic in the next week. Not had one of those for a while.

pj said...

Ah Madders - daft as a brush.

Anonymous said...

"Oh why do we oppress theists so?"

...and Pj pulls out the ace card. Well its obvious isn't it, she clearly a well balanced and fair individual. let us not question the post.