December 23, 2016

Leveson threatens to gag God

Leveson threatens to gag God

Press regulation, set to be introduced in the wake of the Leveson enquiry, poses a devastating threat to our right to freedom of religious expression, says Julian Mann.

When I was a trade journalist in the early 1990s, with the robust encouragement of my editor I conducted an investigation into corruption in a retail franchise company, which badly affected the small traders who invested in the brand. The report drew a lawyer’s letter from one of the wealthy individuals whose nefarious behaviour was exposed, threatening to sue.

The incident taught me one of life’s painful lessons as a young man. A rich bully with a lawyer can often get his way without having to go to court.  It requires from publishers a courageous moral commitment to the exposure of evil to back their editors. And the reality particularly for small publishers is that often such backing is just too financially risky and a compromise must be reached.

That was before the Leveson Inquiry.  If in the New Year the Culture Secretary implements Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which came in Leveson’s wake, newspapers that do not join the State-sponsored press regulator would be forced to pay their opponents’ libel costs even if they win.

If this could bankrupt large national newspapers, it would turn small trade newspapers into public relations bulletins.

But my main concern now is the devastating potential effect of Leveson on Christian freedom of expression in our country. Leveson has already hugely strengthened the deadening hand of the politically correct establishment on the expression of counter-cultural views in the public square.

Armed with Section 40, a rich anti-Christian bully with a lawyer has even more power to silence newspapers that expose in news reports his or her ill treatment of the followers of Jesus Christ. With news reporting repressed, comment would follow and secular newspapers would be less likely to run pieces that advance orthodox Christian opinions.

Leveson would thus lead to the gagging of God in the national press and that would be its most poisonous legacy.

4.48 avg. rating (89% score) - 33 votes
Julian Mann
Julian Mann
Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire. Before ordination he was a reporter for Retail Week.
  • fitzfitz

    … no wonder islamists up and down the country are smirking …

  • forgotten_man

    Well, I think we’ve done our bit for World Peace and Understanding so somebody elses turn now!

  • Little Black Censored

    I think we are agreed!

  • forgotten_man

    have been a little bit approximate but this format doesn’t lend itself to chapters, just comments, so I do see your point.

    Perhaps I should have said is anything can be believed by most people most of the time. People do read things into descriptions or described situations as they see relevant to them.

    If those words come from some sort of authoritative source then the ‘buy in’ value is greater and very quickly the purchaser will become a evangelist for what they have bought into.

    Or,, as a certain P.T Barnum was quoted as saying, ‘you can fool most of the people , most of the time’

    ‘Most’ is enough to make a viable religious organisation, be it really big like islam, christianity or smaller but similarly devoutly held by their number, scientology , moonies, mormons etc…

    And also was said ‘cant fool all of the people all of the time’.

    so All-Most= me and not too many others.

    So in truth most peoples beliefs are , er.. ‘guided’ rather than of their complete own free will, as was the poor individual who was ‘convinced’ that i was the earth incarnation of beelzebub….

  • Albiro

    I always assumed the Church of England gagged God some time ago.

  • Little Black Censored

    You say rightly that believing is not “something you decide to do”, but you go on to say that “you can ‘believe’ anything”. Only an irrational person can decide to believe something, or can believe anything. A rational person can believe only what he thinks is true; he is therefore compelled to believe it until it is disproved. To say, as people often do, that we can choose our beliefs is nonsense.

  • Little Black Censored

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Derek

    Rich Liberals already own half the world … and counting. Rich liberals need to own the Press so that it only reports what they permit which fits with their values. The rich elite do not want a press that reports their peccadilloes or corruption (e.g. MP expenses).
    The elite are are a bit dim to think that the public will consume a diet of their filtered news. What it will mean is that the UK press will be consigned to the same level of trust as for politicians i.e. bottom of the pile. If you can’t trust the press why buy newspapers just to hear convenient lies?

  • forgotten_man

    ‘believing’ may be a pronoun as is ‘running’ and ‘eating’ etc. but it isn’t something you decide to do like get up and walk so fast you walk differently..i.e. ‘running’.

    I decided that unless there was ‘UFO on the White House lawn’ levels of evidence then there was no case when I was 9.
    I haven’t seen any compelling evidence in the half century since.

    You can ‘believe’ anything, I saw just how fickle that can be when some of my friends convinced somebody I was the human incarnation of Satan himself…he wasn’t acting my presence scared the s** out of him…he ‘Believed!’.

    So belief isnt really all its cracked up to be when dealing with the real world.

    If I’m wrong and there is a god then plainly his quality control isnt what its cracked up to be either…

  • forgotten_man

    Occam might.

  • forgotten_man

    I’m impressed that you acknowledge the possibility even though you appear to be ‘of faith’, the usual response is usually described under ‘trolling’.

    However, on the ‘On the other hand there’s a huge body of witnesses who will tell you that God has revealed himself to them through what is written in the Bible,’ part, I would say that often the choice between there being no reason and the being a reason, most will justify a flight to the latter, logically to my mind, by ascribing the unknowable to an all knowing entity, a deity, a god of some description. Sometimes plural.

    Ofen humour has truth and rarely more so than in much of Douglas Adams’s work, not least ‘in an infinite universe, the last thing you need is a sense of perspective’

    The position i take is a lot harder than falling into the warm embrace of ‘faith’ and the whole concept of ‘conversion’ seems irrational , be it from one faith to another or ‘Pascal’s Wager’.

    May your god, however imaginary I believe him to be, go with you.

  • Jethro

    Yes: Pascal’s ‘Wager’ has much to commend it, ‘though it might seem to encourage belief-as-an-insurance-policy, rather than a more active, wholehearted belief.

  • Jethro

    I was brought up to believe in Guardian Angels, and went through decades of thinking ‘what piffle’. Returning to Reading one day, from visiting a School, I was suddenly aware that my car was leaving the road, turning let into a flat, empty field, and beginning to roll. I remember thinking, ‘So, it’s just like those slow-motion sequences in a film (even the windscreen’s shattering was in slow-motion)’ and where I anticipated that the next jolt would sver my spinal cord, and the lights would go out. The ‘lights’didn’t go out, but I was struggling, upside down, to extricate myself, when two men appeared: one, a black man (is that allowed now?) who got me to unwind the window, while the other (I know I’m not allowed to say ‘the white man’), helped me to fumble out of my seat-belt, and, together, they pulled me through the window. Paramedics arrived, got me aboard, put a clothes-peg on an index-finger, and began to deal with the astonishing quantity of blood from my head and the insignificant amount from my right wrist.
    So far, so normal. But, later that evening, when I was back home, I took a phone call from someone who identified himself as one of the two, going on to make all kinds of connections with the part-time job I was then doing. It was only after hanging up, that I asked myself, how did he get hold of my details to phone me? How did he know so much about me? Of one thing, there was no doubt, he and his fellow, had a warm, informed, regard for my well-being.
    I won’t ‘rest my case’, and feel free to pick naturalistic holes, but you’ll understand how I’ve revised my former sceptical views about Angels and Miracles.

  • getahead

    I believe in the God of the creation of the universe. Not too sure about the God of the bible with all its angels and miracles which seem to have disappeared nowadays.

  • Talking of logic:-
    It’s logical to believe because,
    If you believe and there is no God you haven’t lost anything but if you don’t believe and there is a God then you have lost everything.

  • Dodgy Geezer

    Do I HAVE to put /sarc at the back of all my comments…?

  • mjollnir

    If it’s so simple, how did the likes of Kurt Gödel get his logical proof, that God exists necessarily, so completely wrong? If one of the greatest logicians of all time produces an argument, in modal logic, that reaches a certain conclusion and you declare, with no proof at all, that the opposite is “certainly the most simple and complete answer”, why should anyone take you seriously?

  • Leo Savantt

    Leveson will gag God, but one fears not Allah, after all that would be (take your pick) racist, xenophobic, hate-crime, fascist, not fair, culturally inappropriate and likely to melt a snowflake.

    What Leveson won’t do is support real human rights such as freedom of speech nor will it protect the little man against the corporate interests. The fact that Mrs. May’s government aren’t putting an immediate stop to this is as frightening as it is depressing, If Cameron was heir to Blair, Mrs. May appears to be his bastard child.

  • John C

    The pope and the bish represent nobody but themselves.

  • Dodgy Geezer

    …Leveson threatens to gag God…

    Given that God, as relayed to us by his representatives the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, required us to vote Remain in the recent referendum, and Democrat in the recent US election, I suspect that God may now be a little peeved with us, and could probably do with gagging.

    However, I note that our political representatives have assured us that Allah, as represented by ISIL, definitely wants us to Brexit, so at least we have one supreme being on our side.

    Does anyone know what Lord Ganesh wants?

  • TNL

    While Leveson and everything connected with that enquiry should be resisted, I really doubt a 2,000 year old religion is under any serious threat from it. And if it is, maybe it has had its time.

  • Don Benson

    It’s certainly one possibility but, if so, there’s the question of how the universe spontaneously arose out of nothing. On the other hand there’s a huge body of witnesses who will tell you that God has revealed himself to them through what is written in the Bible, and that what they read makes ever greater sense as they observe how people behave and how the world works.

    Whichever you believe, both explanations require faith in something which is so big it’s beyond simple human proof. But if God’s existence turns out to be the truth it’s the greatest of good news, not to be missed, at Christmas or any time.

  • forgotten_man

    or, equally, he simply doesnt exist which is certainly the most simple and complete answer.

  • Alan

    May’s part of the problem. Look at her record of illiberalism while Home Secretary.

  • weirdvisions

    “…he [God] should micro-manage everything for us.”

    The State has usurped that responsibility. At the expense of our free will, our creative thinking, etc. It got a nasty shock when we began to fight back.

  • Don Benson

    I think your characterisation of God implies that he should micro-manage everything for us, as if we were immature toddlers. Of course that would be at the expense of our free will, our creative thinking, any motivation to do good rather than evil – in fact all that makes us unique as human beings. What would be the point of that?

  • weirdvisions

    Shame May doesn’t have the same commitment as Thatcher. She’d have put a stop to this nonsense before it even started.

  • forgotten_man

    Am I missing something here but surely the all powerful universe creating god of all things should be able to deal with a few luvies with a chip on their shoulder?

    Or is the failure to do so a proof of god’s non existence?

  • ratcatcher11

    Christians are already under threat of persecution especially by the 1% this would be used to silence their protests. ISIS would then step up their attacks on the Liberal West because of this.

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