Monday, October 18, 2004

harry hammond day

Over on his UK Commentators blog, Laban writes about a gentleman by the name of Harry Hammond, who, several years ago, was attacked for displaying a placard proclaiming 'Stop Homosexuality - Stop Lesbianism'. He, not his attackers, was subsequently arrested and fined. He died not long after.

Laban writes, quite rightly, that it was a disgrace that only Peter Tatchell was unafraid to stand up for Mr. Hammond, arguing that however wrong his views he had a right to express them, as they did not incite violence (although, interestingly, one wonders to whom 'stop lesbianism' was addressed - to lesbians themselves or to the government, society etc - not sure about that). Tatchell even offered to speak for him at his trial (one wonders what Mr. Hammond thought of that).

UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog

A large number of Christians, Laban goes on to say, united on the south coast at the weekend to remember Harry Hammond and protest against his treatment. Now, this all strikes me as well and good. I can appreciate the sense of injustice and pain Hammond, his friends and family must have felt at the unfairness that he should be criminalised in this way. Equally, I can understand why fellow Christians might want to make a point about this. But the point is, that only works until you click on the actual report itself and discover that - surprise surprise - far from being a protest at the injustice of Hammond's final days, the Christians just wanted to remind Bournemouth's gays that "in Jesus there is an escape route from the lifestyle that is destroying them".

Freedom of speech? Yes. Freedom of sexuality? No.

If they were meeting to defend their right to express their opinions and to salute Hammond's contribution to their evangelical movement I believe that I would be relatively well disposed to them, though I do completely disagree with their views on god and sexuality - but they were actually meeting to celebrate their prejudice, not his story. Calling something 'Harry Hammond Day' is disingenuous and misleading if your real aim is just to go down to the sea for the day, climb on your high horse and tell other people that they're going to hell. Thankfully there was no violence at the demonstration, despite clashes with the amusingly named 'Bourne Free', but - whoosh - there's my sympathy evaporating...

1 comment:

BB said...

Sounds like a hamster!

When it comes to winning the battle of ideas, the "you'll all burn in hell" brigade have a problem, to say the least. Stil, as long as they're not trying to deny people their human/legal rights the law doesn't need to step in.