Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool Humanist Group’

Harry Taylor sentenced for de facto blasphemy at Liverpool Crown Court, 23 April 2010

25/04/2010

manicstreetpreacher reports on the fate of a “militant atheist” who took freedom of speech too far.

I commented a few weeks ago that a self-proclaimed “militant atheist”, 59 year old Harry Taylor from Salford, Manchester, had been convicted of causing religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress for leaving provocative and “offensive” religious images on three separate occasions at the multi-faith room at Liverpool John Lennon airport.

I received an email from one of the committee of Liverpool Humanist Group that he was being sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 23 April 2010 and whether any of us would like to go along and show our support.  Since I was home from my job at the other end of the country and doing nothing of note that day, I decided to attend my very first protest / show of support for a complete stranger.

The Daily Telegraph reports on Mr Taylor’s sentencing:

Judge James told him: “Not only have you shown no remorse for what you did but even now you continue to maintain that you have done nothing wrong and say that whenever you feel like it you intend to do the same thing again in the future.”

Taylor’s Anti-Social Behaviour Order bans him from carrying religiously offensive material in a public place.

He was sentenced to six months in jail suspended for two years, ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 costs.

Aside from the bare facts of the sentencing, I would like to add that Mr Taylor seemed like a perfectly rational, intelligent and calm man who wanted to put his point across and was certainly not the “crackpot” that several bloggers, including myself to an extent, had presumed him to be.  He was clearly still deeply affected by his horrendous childhood experiences of a strict Catholic upbringing by the Christian Brotherhood and was so distressed by the prospect of receiving a custodial sentence that he had to leave the courtroom midway through the hearing after nearly fainting.

Following the hearing, Liverpool Humanist Group’s Peter McKenna told a reporter from Radio City that the Asbo sentence was absurd since it prevented Mr Taylor from purchasing copies of say, New Humanist or Private Eye in a newsagent since there was a risk that they would contain images of the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed or other “offensive” religious images similar to those he left in the prayer room!

While I am pleased that Mr Taylor did not receive an immediate custodial sentence, I am still appalled that the establishment has shown such favouritism in protecting religious views from criticism.

Podcast Interview for Skepticule

22/10/2009

by

manicstreetpreacher

Skepticule

The clue is in the title.

Just a quickie this time to post the podcast of an interview I did for the blog, Skepticule.

I recorded it over Skype with Paul S Jenkins, who runs the blog, Notes from an Evil Burnee (because he’ll surely roast in hell), and who has posted some superb comments on my blog in recent weeks.

It lasts for about 20 minutes and we discuss my journey from passive agnostic to passionate atheist debating on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable?, my live debates at Liverpool University and my online blogging and debating.

PaulSJenkins

Further reading

Hitchens and Fry versus the Catholic Church: Post Mortem – manicstreetpreacher witnesses first-hand a rhetorical massacre of Vatican hench(wo)men by the cream of British intellectualism.

Merseyside Skeptics Society Lecture on Paranormal Experiences – 17/09/2009 – manicstreetpreacher learns about how the truth is not out there…  it’s up here.

Debates with David Robertson and Richard Morgan on Unbelievable? – manicstreetpreacher goes head-to-head with one of the most determined Christian opponents to the New Atheists.

More Than I Could Chew? – manicstreetpreacher licks his wounds after his encounter with a bunch of fundamentalists at Follow My Way, Liverpool University 12 March 2009.  The rest of the panel weren’t too rational either…

An Open Letter to Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein manicstreetpreacher enquires of a former recent debating opponent on a few points.  Such as whether there is any evidence outside the texts themselves for a group of half a million people being dragged around the desert for decades to the only place in the Middle East that has no oil.  And how could the scribes of the King James Version have botched up so badly that Yahweh has been transformed into a moral abomination…

Peter S Williams: Up Close – Part I – manicstreetpreacher’s review of I Wish I Could Believe In Meaning following his live debate with the author at Liverpool University, 19 February 2009.

Peter S Williams: Up Close – Part II – manicstreetpreacher’s review of A Sceptic’s Guide to Atheism following his live debate with the author at Liverpool University, 19 February 2009.

My Debates on Premier Christian Radio Against Theologian Andy Bannister – manicstreetpreacher’s afterthought piece on his first two formal debates on religion in the light of further research and online debate.  Make sure you check out the comments section at the end.  There are some very interesting responses, not least from my “scholarly” opponent himself…