Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

The UK Knows How To Put Religious A-Holes In Their Place

No, it's not the dad from American Chopper. I thought that too.

And that place, sadly, is America.  Ok, the UK certainly didn’t “put” the ridiculous Terry Jones here – he’s a total American product – but they are doing their best to try to keep as much of his crazy from spreading across the pond as possible by keeping him out of their country:

Controversial US pastor Terry Jones has been barred from entering the UK for the public good, the Home Office says.

The pastor, who last year planned a Koran-burning protest in the US, had been invited to address right-wing group England Is Ours in Milton Keynes.

The Home Office said Mr Jones could not enter the UK as the government “opposes extremism in all its forms”.

Mr Jones told BBC Radio 5 live he would challenge the “unfair” decision and his visit could have been “beneficial”.

Mr Jones – who is pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, which has fewer than 50 members – came to prominence last September when he announced plans for his “International Burn a Koran Day” on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

His plan was internationally condemned and sparked many demonstrations around the world before he eventually called off his protest.

‘Unacceptable behaviour’

A Home Office spokesman said: “Numerous comments made by Pastor Jones are evidence of his unacceptable behaviour.

“Coming to the UK is a privilege not a right and we are not willing to allow entry to those whose presence is not conducive to the public good.

You know what?  They have a point.  The kind of rhetoric Jones seems comfortable spewing ISN’T conducive to the public good.  Encouraging people to disrespect one form of nonsense while trying to sell another, equally aggressive and potentially dangerous form of nonsense doesn’t help anyone.  This whole situation is akin to a Boba Fett groupie rallying against IG-88 fans because in the Fettites opinion, IG-88 isn’t a true bounty hunter.  Except with Star Wars, everyone recognizes that the topic is based in fiction so no one (except maybe that one guy) takes it too seriously.

This isn’t the first time Jone’s has been invited to Britain and the first time it happened, they had considered banning him from entering the country but never had to make that decision.  Why?

In December, Home Secretary Theresa May said she was “actively looking at” whether Mr Jones should be banned from entering the UK after the right-wing English Defence League (EDL) had invited him to share his views on Islam at a rally in Luton in February.

However the EDL later withdrew the invitation to Mr Jones. A spokesman said it was because of his critical views on homosexuality and race.


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The Home Office said Mr Jones could not enter the UK as the government “opposes extremism in all its forms” …and yet we allowed the pope into the country. It’s hard to come up with a group more extreme than the catholic church. Personally, I don’t think we should bar people fropm entering the country for ‘thought crime’ We have laws against incitement to violence, if he said something that fell under that law, then he could be punished. If he just said something objectionable, then he could have been challenged on those views and shown to be the bigotted… Read more »

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