Posted by: njs44 | February 2, 2010

Free speech

I make no secret of the fact that I am a Guardian reader and a practicing Catholic. Some people think the Guardian is anti-religion and certainly it would probably be the paper of choice for free-thinking atheists. Nevertheless I find it uplifting to read as the writing is clear and covers a huge range of opinions. Perhaps the greatest gift of the Guardian is the way it is evidence that we have free speech, that people are able to voice differing views and opinions and that they are not silenced by the government or the Editor.

Here is a selection of items from today’s paper which I enjoyed reading, not because I agree with everything they say, but because I am glad they have the right to say them.

First an article by Riazat Butt about the Pope who “condemns gay equality laws”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/01/pope-condemns-british-equality-bill This is hardly a surprise, but alongside this article is another on the same  subject where Andrew Brown claims that the Catholic Church in this country is becoming more divide than ever before.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/feb/01/religion-catholicism I am sure that those who have read the two publications he cites as representing the two extremes (The Catholic Herald and the Tablet) will see for themselves the limitations of his claim.

Next I turned to James Meikle who draws my attention to another religious debate, this time about fundamental Islamist training schools which we are alleged to allow in Britain. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/02/soyinka-england-cesspit-islamists

You cannot do better than George Monbiot if you really want a well-written  starting point for discussion. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/01/blair-arrest-crime-national-memory It is a joy to read his well-constructed argument and the fact that he is free to criticise Polly Toynbee, a fellow Guardian journalist, underlines my point about free speech.

Lastly, for something light and charming, there’s news from Patricia Williams of a new Disney film, with a black princess. From the description in the article http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/feb/01/black-princess-and-the-frog-disney she sounds like my kind of princess.

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