The legal harassment of today’s Christians is the last legacy of the Soviet Union

May 13, 2021 | 10:37 am

Today’s Holy Smoke podcast is about the increasingly brutal bullying and silencing of people — especially Christians — who hold the ‘wrong’ opinions on controversial topics. A culture of censorship is becoming ever more deeply embedded in public institutions not just in Britain but also throughout Europe.

In London last month we witnessed the nasty spectacle of John Sherwood, a 71-year-old Christian pastor, being dragged off the street and surrounded by policeman for public preaching against gay marriage. In Finland, former interior minister Päivi Räsänen, an Evangelical Lutheran, faces a jail sentence because she tweeted out the same view. The authorities took offense, rooted through all her previous statements on Christian topics with Stasi-like zeal and found further evidence of ‘hate speech’ — so those have been added to the charge sheet.

I mention the Stasi because there is a direct link between Europe’s increasingly fanatical attempts to police public opinion and the former Soviet bloc. My guest Paul Coleman, executive director of free-speech legal advocates ADF International, explains that when Moscow and its satellites were involved in drawing up international human rights legislation after World War Two, they insisted that it should include the criminalization of speech.

One wonders whether Boris Johnson and his ministers are aware of this and, if so, whether they care. As Coleman points out, although European bodies are hunting down heretics with predictable relish, the behavior of the heavily politicized police forces of post-Brexit Britain is in some respects even worse.


More from Holy Smoke

Join the discussion

Join The Spectator community and view or post a comment on this article.

Comments

Stay informed

Thought-provoking commentary and opinion on politics, books and the arts.

Notice to Readers: The Spectator World and The American Spectator are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The American Spectator, please click on the following link: spectator.org   Web-only content Copyright © 2021 The Spectator // Magazine content Copyright © 2021 The Spectator