Divined intent?

The Australian state of Victoria, home to its second-largest city Melbourne, has a “religious vilification” law, which has now been tested and resulted in a conviction. The new criminals — pastors from the Catch the Fire Ministries. The crime, derogatory statements about Muslims and Islam (and very much so judging from this story).

Here is an excerpt from the judge’s ruling against pastors Daniel Nalliah and Daniel Scot:

[The sermon in question] was presented in a way which is essentially hostile, demeaning and derogatory of all Muslim people, their god, Allah, the prophet Mohammed and in general Muslim religious beliefs and practices.

Australia has no equivalent to the First Amendment, just the UK common law tradition of freedom of speech. Now Victoria has taken, and a judge upheld, a law defining the boundaries of political or religious speech. Not a good day for free speech advocates down under.

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