Skepticism and freedom
It’s hard to find a more pressing example of the problems that skeptics can face when powerful institutions threaten freedom of speech than that of Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Indian Rationalist Association. On May 10th, Sanal went on Indian TV to debunk a purported “miracle” at a Catholic Church in Mumbai. Now, after local Catholic groups reported him to the authorities, he is facing a criminal prosecution for “deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class or community”.
The Rationalist Association have set up an online petition calling on the Catholic community to withdraw their complaint, and urging the Catholic authorities elsewhere in the world to speak out against the prosecution.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales has a Twitter account here if you would like to send them a polite message urging them to speak out against the persecution of Sanal Edamaruku.
Things are also reaching a critical point here in the UK as the Libel Reform campaign seeks to ensure that the government’s proposed changes to our laws really do ensure that people asking difficult questions are properly protected from vexatious prosecutions. The Libel Reform Campaign are now appealing to all those concerned about freedom of speech in Britain to contact their MP and join a mass lobby of Parliament on June 27th.