Posted by Thersites on UTC 2015-12-15 08:27.
An evangelical Christian preacher gets into trouble.
James McConnell from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, was charged in connection with a controversial speech he made from the pulpit of the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast in March 2014.
The sermon was streamed online and now the 78-year-old is being prosecuted under the 2003 Communications Act, after saying: 'Islam is heathen. Islam is satanic.'
Had Mr McConnell's remarks been directed at me, an atheist, I would have not been offended at all – possibly even slightly flattered. He is, after all, only doing his job as a Christian minister, unlike some we could mention.
Even Muslims, whose religion also has a very pronounced concept of the heathen and also one of Satan, might view Mr McConnell as just doing his job in much the same way that their religious leaders do their jobs.
The prosecutor, David Russell, firmly corrects such an unlettered view:
He (McConnell) characterises the followers of an entire religion in a stereotypical way. And that's grossly offensive and that's not protected from [sic] saying it from a pulpit. It has nothing to do with religion or freedom of expression of [sic] his freedom to preach.
There is hope for Mr Russell, despite his difficulties with what we can only presume is his mother tongue, for he acquits himself with a phrase of almost Voltairean majesty:
He is unrepentant.