In such discussions, there are always those who are proponents of banning ‘hate’ speech because they say it causes emotional distress and can lead to discrimination.
My response is that much of religion is hate speech. Have they read the Koran or Bible recently?
Whenever I hear a sura of the Koran, I feel distressed. And by the way, every time we hear religious edicts that say apostates should die, or that women are subhuman, can’t that also be considered adding to the discrimination apostates or women face?
We have been tortured, executed and stoned to death with ‘Allah O Akbar’ ringing in our ears:
(The singer says, with Allah O Akbar, we have been totured, executed and stoned to death.)
Nonetheless, you can’t ban religion because it is hate speech.
Of course I know when people defend the banning of hate speech, they don’t mean banning religion – that’s always off-limits; what they usually mean is that they want a ban on the uncompromising criticism of religion.
I say let the religious bigots – and for that matter all bigots – express themselves freely.
And we will too.
Speech – however distressing or hateful – is not the same as physical harm.
And anyway, you can’t stop hate with censorship. You can only stop it by challenging it head on.