Posts Tagged ‘Cromwell Shakir’

Government senator Cromwell Shakir is absolutely right to call for the current debate on discrimination against gays to be elevated. Although “debate” is perhaps not the word to describe the hysterical outpouring of ignorance and hatred that has followed the recent Home Is Where The Hatred rally at City Hall.

The bizarre and hateful comments of preacher Scott Smith about rally leader Krystl Assan and how gays would bring “damnation” to Bermuda have been well documented. What is equally disturbing to me though are the online comments and posts either supporting Mr Smith or attacking him. Many of us are guilty in the Facebook age of firing off an angry, ill-considered post rather than having a civilised discussion about an issue.

I’m certainly not advocating a curtailing of free speech but I do think editors and online moderators need to think more about what letters and comments they publish. If such inflammatory comments were attacking Jews, Muslims or blacks, in most western democracies they would face prosecution as an incitement to hatred. Yet in Bermuda we allow such attacks on gays – and for that matter, expatriate workers – even though The Royal Gazette clearly states that Letters To The Editor written under a pen name should not contain personal attacks. Freedom of speech, as I’ve said before on this blog, comes with responsibility.

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