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Britain’s Blasphemy Culture

Hannah and Jake Graf with their newborn daughter Millie (Good Morning Britain screenshot)

A scientific journal has retracted a paper it had published about neurology and gender dysphoria. Why? A bunch of transgendered people and their allies complained that it was hurtful. From their petition:

Beyond the numerous scientific and theoretical short-comings of this manuscript, the clear intent of the paper was to do harm to the transgender community, one of the most vulnerable communities across the globe. This was not only evident in the section on clinical implications that was removed, but in the basic assumption that transgender people are a deleterious deviation with a disordered network of brain regions which pervades the entire manuscript. This is not merely an example of difference in scientific opinion, but a direct attack on a vulnerable community.

And poof, just like that, a scientific paper disappears. Forbidden knowledge. I’ll tell you who’s a member of a vulnerable community: scientists who get in the way of cowardly journal editors stampeding to do the bidding of left-wing activists.

Meanwhile, the Scottish parliament has not been too distracted from dealing with a global pandemic. It is updating the country’s anti-blasphemy law to decriminalize speaking ill of the deity, but to criminalize saying things that might hurt the feelings of sacred Vulnerable Communities™. Madeleine Kearns reports:

Just as the 1837 blasphemy law prohibited “composing, printing or publishing any blasphemous or seditious libel,” the new bill outlaws “displaying, publishing or distributing” anything that “stirs up hatred,” as well possessing “inflammatory material” or performing a hateful play. The prosecution would not even need to prove “intent” on the part of the accused; it would only need to prove that from their actions, hatred would be “likely to be stirred up.” As for what constitutes “stirring up hatred,” unlike Bracadale, the law is short on specifics, leaving that judgment entirely to the subjective perception of a member of a victim group or some other third party. If a minority finds something to be “abusive, threatening, or insulting,” then it is, under the law. Two minor carve-outs are made for “freedom of expression,” which means it is permissible (within certain parameters) to criticize sexual behaviors, and “freedom of religion,” which means it is permissible to criticize religion. The fact that it was necessary to explicitly state that is okay to criticize religion in a law purporting to repeal the state’s prohibition of blasphemy is almost comical. Strikingly, there is no carve-out for criticizing transgenderism, which is currently the subject of fierce debate in Scotland.

Should the bill pass, you could get seven years in prison for saying anything critical of transgenderism. I wonder if Scottish neuroscientists will feel at liberty to pursue research that could get them brought up on blasphemy charges?

In related propaganda news, Good Morning Britain featured today a long segment about Britain’s first transgender parents. Notice how the host introduces the segment: she signals that one is to be jumping for joy over it. Seriously, watch the segment. The host is the creepiest thing about it, the way she directs the emotions of the viewer. There is no question at all about how British television wants us to think about this situation.

 

Hannah, born male, and Jake, born female, had the baby using one of Jake’s eggs (when she stopped taking testosterone to harvest and freeze them), which they had implanted into the womb of a surrogate. According to the couple, they have been working with Channel Four for the past year to document all parts of it, including the “embryo transfer,” for the sake of making what they have done more acceptable. It works, too.

Think about it: in the UK, you can say anything you like about God, but you cannot blaspheme against transgenderism. The Scottish police have been vigilant about defending progressive illiberalism for a while:

This is what I’m talking about when I talk about “soft totalitarianism.” Again, the breakfast television presenter is the most unnerving aspect of that interview. She’s a merry Scots version of Ri Chun Hee, the North Korean newsreader who lays down the party line with stentorian vigor.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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