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Reader feedback: Using a sledgehammer to crack nuts

Re: Palko protests Swedish verdict on anti-gay pastor, Flash news briefs, July 12-18, Vol 10, No 27

Gay people need protection from physical abuse and intimidation but not from people who just don't like them. I accept that Pastor Green contributed to a "culture of prejudice" that could support violence, but the law is the wrong way to deal with such a vague thing. It's like using a sledgehammer to crack nuts. Destroying a culture of prejudice takes years of work in the media and daily life to persuade people to change their opinions. You can't legislate people into civility and to try to do so makes an open goal for homophobes like Palko. By the way, when I saw Palko's remark in the daily SME that the high incidence of AIDS in the gay community proved that homosexuality was evil, I thought that this was the sort of remark that an interior minister would be fired for in a civilised country. But homophobes have to be pressed out by popular pressure, not law.

Another interesting British example: Holocaust denier David Irving was finally defeated not by a law against holocaust denial on the French model, but by becoming embroiled in a civil action where a judge, based on documented evidence declared that he was a liar. In France he could claim to be a silenced martyr but in Britain his lies were on show for all to see. I would recommend writing a newspaper article calling Pastor Green a homophobe and seeing if we can get him to sue. The resultant publicity would probably finish him and his paranoid nonsense, at least in a normal country it would. I'm not sure if Slovakia is ready for it yet though.

Roger,
Žilina, Slovakia

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