The UK has no constitution and therefore no constitutional right to freedom of speech. Indeed our laws categorise certain types of comments as hate-speech which makes them illegal. Increasingly, it seems, interest groups see such laws as a way of making their opponents be quiet. As with all laws, there is room for interpretation; but as with all law, getting that interpretation is an expensive process. It can be expensive in more than one way. The cost of defending oneself can be prohibitive not only in cash terms. Depending upon one’s profession, it might be that any publicity might make one’s employers uneasy, not least since they might be the next target, and no one wants to put themselves, or their employer, into such a position. And so it is that even where a view does not contravene the law, the consequences of expressing it can be such as to deter people. Sometimes people ask why some of us blog pseudonymously; I would refer such enquirers to the foregoing.
Those of us who work in institutions where the prevailing mindset is secular and liberal know that, for all the vaunted freedom liberalism supposedly offers, the views most tolerated are secular and liberal; there is an unconscious bias against views which offend that consensus. It is, for example, very easy to read an orthodox Catholic view of homosexuality as ‘hate speech’; the very word ‘sin’ burns the devil, and he screams – and loudly; and institutions will now listen. Those who run them may well be inclined to see the use of the word ‘sin’ as a bad thing; surely one is being ‘nasty’? To explain ‘natural law’ and original sin to those who have no conception of them is all too easily construed as making an ingenious, if unconvincing, case for ‘hate speech’.
So what is one to do? Blog under a pseudonym? Yes, by all means, but they can yield to the determined inquirer. Keep silent? It is a temptation. Not one to which one can yield. But it is the pass to which some are now reduced.
America has a constitution and has, still, freedom of speech. That, I think, will protect you from the worst effects of the situation here, but on your campuses and in your media, the same biases are at work. It is not, I suspect, a mark of approbation in American academia or the media to be labelled a ‘conservative’, and to be a religious one is probably worse. But then Our Lord always said it would be so, and we should not, as I have perhaps been too quick to do here, conflate being Christian with being conservative. And yet, that said, I do not think that those Christians who undertake to explain why Christianity should and can condone and approve of homosexual acts, face the problems that those who make the orthodox case do. The world approves of what conforms to its way. If we want its approval, then that is what we should do. if we want God’s, then we know what we should do.