Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thought Police

There is something bizarre about the decision to prosecute two Christian hoteliers, Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang, because they had a heated argument with a Muslim woman, Ericka Tazi, at breakfast one morning in the boarding house which is effectively their own home. Merseyside's Police Hate Crime unit had at least six police officers working to bring this case of 'religious harassment' against the couple. Inconsistencies in Ericka Tazi's testimony in court led the judge to dismiss the case. Despite being cleared the case has had a damaging effect on the livelihood of the two accused. But what remains possibly the most worrying aspect of this case is what was going on in the heads of the police and the crown prosecution service that made, and given the following statement from the latter, continues to make this sort of state sponsored police harassment of Christians legitimate. Sharon King, a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution said: 'I think we would pursue a case like this again if a similar incident was to arise in the future. It is in the public interest that incidents like this are properly investigated. We felt there was sufficient evidence in this instance to support a prosecution.' The actions of the police and crime prosecution service in bringing this case gives a lie to the claim, so favoured by atheists, that a person's religion can and should be confined to the private sphere of their own home. It seems that even here, just as in the public sphere, those of a tyrannical mindset will, if given the chance, seek to exercise control over what others, with whom they disagree, may think and say.

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