Friday, July 04, 2008


And while I'm on the subject of religious discrimination, they're doing it in reverse in Australia. The Pope is coming to Sydney next month for a "World Youth Day", and so the NSW state government, which has never seen an excuse for an authoritarian crackdown it didn't like, has made it a crime to "annoy" Catholics for the rest of the month. What might be considered "annoying"? Protesting the church's opposition to homosexuality, contraception and abortion, for one. Running parallel atheist events would be another. Complaining that the state government is spending A$108 million, and the federal government A$55 million funding a religious event would be a third. Police are warning that placards, banners and T-shirts (and yes, they have some good ones) will need to be "pre-approved" in order to avoid arrest. It's a massive infringement of freedom of speech, solely to prevent members of a religion from being exposed to dissenting views. And that's just not on in a democracy.