Monday, January 30, 2012

Irish bishop faces 'hate speech' complaint for homily

(Catholic Culture) An Irish bishop has been charged with inciting hatred in a homily, in the first clear use of “hate crime” laws to suppress the preaching of the Gospel.

Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe faces a complaint submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions by an avowed humanist. John Colgan, who is also a parliamentary candidate of the Fine Gael party, charged the Bishop Boyce inflamed “hatred of dissidents, outsiders, secularists” during a homily delivered last August.

In that homily, the bishop said that the Catholic Church is under attack from “a secular and godless culture.” Bishop Boyce also said that “the distinguishing mark of Christian believers is the fact they have a future.”

Colgan charges that these remarks “exemplify the chronic antipathy towards secularists, humanists etc, which has manifested itself in the ostracizing of otherwise perfectly good Irish citizens.” He charges that the bishop’s message violated the terms of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, enacted in 1989. Police say that they have forwarded the complaint to prosecutors.

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