By Hilary White
LONDON, October 11, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Jailing people for criticism of homosexuality is a disastrous policy that will crush democratic freedoms and result in a backlash against gays, says the well-known British actor and comedian, Christopher Biggins.
This week, the Labour government announced it was bringing forward new legislation that would make it a criminal offense punishable by seven years in prison to make comments judged to be “homophobic”. Biggins, a homosexual in a civil partnership, called the proposal, “yet another step in the grim march of authoritarianism now afflicting Britain, with people terrified of speaking their minds for fear of the knock on the door.”
Writing in yesterday’s Daily Mail, Biggins has called on Jack Straw, the Labour government’s Justice Secretary, to dump the plan. The government, Biggins says, is attempting to create a new politically correct “type of thought crime,” reminiscent of the totalitarian state depicted in George Orwell’s dystopic novel 1984, in which “people are criminalised for their words and thoughts rather than their actions”.
“As a gay man myself,” Biggins writes, “I am delighted at the change which has taken place in our society. The success of the gay rights movement has been one of the great liberal triumphs of modern times.”
But, he says, the old demand for tolerance from opponents, has changed into “a new mood of aggressive intolerance from gay rights zealots and their political allies.”“In a worrying new development, we seem to be moving from the fight against discrimination to a new kind of crackdown on freedom of expression,” he wrote.
Religious and other groups warned repeatedly during the debates over Britain’s Sexual Orientation Regulations earlier this year, that the homosexual movement has gone far beyond their stated intentions of overcoming prejudice and are moving now to suppress any public opposition to homosexuality. Others have warned that the movement’s successes as a whole have been part of a larger effort to bring British society under greater government control.
The proposed law will allow police “to pursue those who create an atmosphere or climate in which hatred or bullying can be fostered”. Biggins cited the recent case of writer Lynette Burrows, who was “interviewed” by police after she appeared on a radio programme opposing adoption of children by homosexual couples.
Biggins, who is known for his appearances on British television sit-coms and played the young Emperor Nero in the BBC’s production “I Claudius”, responded that the proposed law is “a charter for nosy-parkers and bully-boys, for prigs who find offence at every turn and bores who want to impose their narrow, self-righteous opinions on the rest of us.”
“I despair at the mood of edict-issuing, word-censoring dreariness that seems to have overtaken the leaders of the gay rights movement. They, more than anyone, should be on the side of flamboyance, eccentricity, laughter and earthiness. Instead, they are acting like old commissars of some Eastern bloc regime or a bunch of Victorian moral puritans, clamping down on politically incorrect words.”
Readers who responded on the Daily Mail’s online edition echoed the worries, seen with increasing frequency, that Britain’s dedication to eliminating “discrimination” is in truth part of efforts to create a police state in which freedom of speech is being actively suppressed by government.
One commenter, “Maggie” writing from London, warned that it is “only a small step” to criminalizing criticisms of the government. She wrote, “[T]he population, for the most part, act like wimps, and that is how extremist legislation gets passed. REFUSE to co-operate with all the state interference in your life by state robotniks.”
Another, writing anonymously, warned of a possible backlash if the law is passed. “Whilst I myself am happily heterosexual I have a lot of gay friends who are all up in arms about this. There is a very real fear that resentment and anger will bubble up to such an extent in the community at large that they will be hated for being a ‘special case’. This is also one step on a very slippery slope, one that could lead to the ultimate dictatorship where words are a cause for persecution, none of us would be safe.”
Read the complete piece in the Daily Mail
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Oppressive Sexual Orientation Regs Pass in UK Parliament; House of Lords Tomorrow
UK: Religious Schools May Not Teach Christian Sexual Morals “As if They Were Objectively True”
UK Author, Broadcaster, Subjected to Police Inquiry for Criticizing Homosexual Adoption as “Homophobic”