How free is free speech?

Many of us have a view of the world that is very different to the person sitting next to you. You may love chocolate – they may not. You might think a 23 degree day is perfect – they may like it cold and prefer a 5 degree day. We all think differently.

Thank God for that too! Who would want to live in a world without debate, creativity and challenge? We would still be in the middle ages if it weren’t for the uniqueness each individual possesses.

But what happens when that opinion or free thought is not what the majority believe or think? What happens then?

Last week, Bride and prejudice aired an episode where a couple told their son that they were not going to attend his wedding in the US because they were against gay marriage. As you can imagine this sparked outrage and people (as they so often do on social media) began hurling insults their way, which were in my opinion completely unnecessary.

Now before you start hurling abuse at me, let me continue.

I found them unnecessary because I began to think about all of those times people would jump down my throat for things I believed in or things I thought we as a society should do. And they would badger me because what I thought was right, didn’t happen to coincide with the majority.

They would then explain to me that they had the right to think this and that, and also have the audacity to say that my thoughts and opinions were invalid or wrong – go figure.

We all have the right to free speech and to communicate our thoughts. You don’t have to agree with them, but you must make peace with the fact that some people will differ.

We don’t have to agree with what the mother did, but calling her names (behind a screen mind you) because she did something we wouldn’t do, makes you just as bad you think she is. It shows intolerance and elitism.

Let’s be a bit more open, let’s show the world this openness we claim to have.



Modern day inquistion

Tension has been increasing ever so fully with the growth of the group of the Islamic state, provoking unnecessary hatred, bigotry comments and even violent acts towards those who practice Islam.

This is not how we as a people should be acting.

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For at least a decade now, perhaps more, muslims have been subjected to prejudice and segregation. I have seen the fear in their eyes when in public, always alert and ready to defend or walk away from prying and judgmental eyes. I have seen people turn their babies away from muslim women when the only thing they were trying to do was make the child laugh, and I have seen them try and fail to fit in.

Granted, this does not include all muslims – some have integrated fantastically and some wish to not integrate into society at all – but for the majority, this seems to be the case.

Is Australia losing its tolerance?

Now, I love my home and I think that Australia is an incredibly tolerant and accepting country with no obligatory assimilation policy like the French. However, it seems that due to recent events concerning radical islamists, we have forgotten our moral compass and have succumbed to global hysteria. We have stereotyped and are afraid of people who are like everyone else – they just happen to follow a religion you don’t.

I can’t say that I know exactly how australian muslims are feeling but as a christian who is constantly persecuted by people’s ignorance and harsh words, I can sympathise with the element of not being able to truly say and express your religious beliefs, for fear of what people are going to think and how they’re going to judge you.

How is that fair?

How is it fair that such a democratic society act so cruelly and unjust? Only last week a family and woman were bashed – just for being muslim. It’s important that I reiterate that not everyone is acting this way but enough people are to make it an issue. People’s ignorance is making it an issue.

I must admit that even I’m not very learned in the Islam faith. The very little (very little) that I do know/have read about Islam, has comprised of violence – yet, not having grown up with it or being taught it, my literal interpretation may be incorrect. However I have not let what little I have read, cloud my opinion.

Where to now?

I understand that there are people who do think radically, and it’s great that our government is doing something about it! Yet, it is causing hate – and we have to stop it! We need more muslim leaders to speak out against the going-ons in the Middle east and we need people to understand that you cannot judge a religion of close to 2 billion people on a mere 30,000. We need to band together! How and when that’ll happen – who knows?

Everyone has the right to their own opinion – you don’t have to like everyone, and I am definitely not saying that. But when your opinion turn into actions that gets in the way of peoples dignity, respect and rights; when it makes people feel unsafe in their own home, that’s when we as a society have a problem and that’s when we as a society must strive for unity and stamp out hatred.

Is your society facing the same problems? How are you dealing with it?

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