The Advertising Standards Authority, a minor government body which exists to stop dodgy businessmen running dishonest adverts, has started to engage in some curious activity lately. For instance it recently told a Christian group that it couldn’t mention God’s healing powers on its website (why?). Of course there must be some specific person — an atheist, perhaps? — responsible. I wonder just who the evil-doer is?
Today I learn via the eChurch blog that the ASA has decided to threaten the Cranmer blog, on the grounds that an advert that appeared on his site supporting marriage is “homophobic”.
Oh, and they demanded that he keep quiet about the threats. Being a brave man, he rightly told them to go to hell. Bullies love silence!
I do hope that this is raised in Parliament. The ASA clearly needs reform, once it starts behaving like the Gestapo. For there can be no free speech, when this kind of thing is going on.
Read the post in which Cranmer — well done! — blows the gaff on this. The tone of the communication from the ASA is sickening.
Apparently there have been a number of complaints about one of the advertisements His Grace carried on behalf of the Coalition for Marriage. He has been sent all manner of official papers, formal documentation and threatening notices which demand answers to sundry questions by a certain deadline. He is instructed by the ‘Investigations Executive’ of this inquisition to keep all this confidential.
Since His Grace does not dwell in Iran, North Korea, Soviet Russia, Communist China or Nazi Germany, but occupies a place in the cyber-ether suspended somewhere between purgatory and paradise, he is minded to ignore that request. Who do these people think they are?
In the US and Canada, it is a recognised form of attack on someone to denounce them for their opinions to some officious “human rights” body, which will then solemnly harass them for months or years for daring to say something inoffensive. In real courts people are considered innocent until found guilty; in the kangaroo courts like the ASA, they are guilty until they can prove that they are innocent of Wrong Thinking. And so, we see, Cranmer is required to “justify” what he wrote.
In this process, it matters not whether the victim is found guilty — because “the process is the punishment”, as Ezra Levant — himself attacked in this way — put it. Few will dare to volunteer for months or years of harassment, merely for expressing an opinion.
It reminds me of the bad old days in the reign of Charles II, when Samuel Pepys was kept hanging on and hanging on under arrest, by his political enemies, who simply kept deferring the hearing (at which, in the end, he was found not guilty of being inclined to Roman Catholic opinions — the ridiculous charge made against him).
So … who was it that denounced this UK blogger to the authorities? Well, we’re not told. Anonymous accusations … the lovely fruit of the hater and the bigot.
The ‘Issue’ here is that 24 anonymous complainants, ‘including the Jewish Gay & Lesbian Group’ (doubtless disclosed to give weight to the allegations), challenged whether the claim ‘70% of people say keep marriage as it is’. However, His Grace is not required to respond to that point, since he did not conduct the research. But it transpires that 10 of these 24 complainants objected that the ads were ‘offensive’ and ‘homophobic’, and he is requested to respond to these allegations ‘under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 4.1 (Harm and offence)’.
And so the punishment begins.