Because I don't believe in running away from a debate, I'm going to crosspost her reply here and add a few very brief comments of my own just to put it in context. Other than that I really don't want to waste any more time on this.
Over the last 4 days I have been subjected to some vitriolic and nasty comments regarding my post I’m just a Christian.
I defend the right to free speech but I also defend my own right to block people from commenting on this forum who’s views I find offensive to me. I do the same on Twitter and my blog is no different. An entire blog post has been written about my be one such person who decided that I had blocked him because I had lost the argument. That is not the case. I blocked him for a number of comments that I found to be offensive. Whether anyone else finds them offensive or not is for them to decide. The fact is, I found them offensive to me and my faith and I decide who’s views are published on this site.
Comments from that individual regarding my faith such as:
Everything that has been tested and found to work is what we like to call “medicine”. Everything which doesn’t work is called “bullshit”.
I’m just belittling the small group of illiterates who think they should be exempt from the rules that apply to everyone else simply because their particular sacred text tells them that they should.
That’s the argument you’re making. It’s the argument of the level that a child would make
Most Christians, however, don’t think they should receive special treatment. And it is people like you who tarnish their name by association.
I find these comments toward me and my faith offensive so I chose to block the author from this blog. Then there were the tweets.
Now, if you believe in something and your life is governed by it, you too would find comments like these offensive.
Having blocked these people with no drama and no argument, I now find that I am being accused of any many of things including being a coward (for which there is an entire blog post) and a parody account has been set up in my name with the sole intention of harassing me and causing me harm and embarassment.
The sad thing in ALL of this is that those who have been the most offensive have ALL been liberal democrats. Yes members of my own party. If i say something here I am damned for brining the party into disrepute, if I say nothing they are allowed to run rampant and besmirch my name and character unchecked.
What kind of utter hypocrisy is that when all I have done is defend my faith in a polite and reasonable manner and yet chosen not to publish views I find offensive to me and my faith. If you can answer that you are a better person than I because right now, I am very upset and disappointed in all that has happened over the last 4 days.Just to try and briefly cover the points Lisa has made:
1) Lisa's perfectly correct in that she has the right to block people whom she finds offensive. And that's not in any way incompatible with defending freedom of speech. However, when you block people like Nicola Prigg, simply because you asked them for proof that prayer doesn't heal people and they link you to a study proving it doesn't, and then insist that they can't come up with any proof, and yet style yourself a defender of free speech then you are nothing more than a hypocrite.
2) Those comments of mine she's quoted (the ones which aren't screenshots) are taken out of context and, because Lisa's deleted all the comments from the blogpost that started all this (including those by people who never said anything offensive at all) I can't provide the context. However, if you read the quotes you'll note that at no point did I attack Christianity. I criticised Lisa not her faith. I have no objection to her because she's a Christian - my objection to her comes from the fact that she's a coward who runs away from debates, constantly moves the goalposts, is scientifically illiterate and is a class A hypocrite. Not that I said that anywhere near as impolitely on her actual blog.
3) If she wants to deem those specific comments offensive then fine. That's her prerogative. But she moderates all comments on her blog and didn't block any of those comments which, I'll admit, were less polite than my usual ones (though they were not abusive). Instead she chose to block the specific comment which I've reproduced in full here. By any stretch of the imagination, that was not an abusive comment. It was a polite, well reasoned reply to one of her comments and yet that is the one that she blocked while leaving my earlier comments where they were. Not to mention her blocking on twitter of Nicola Prigg who did nothing more than link to a scientific study.
4) That tweet of mine she quotes actually wasn't referring to her at all. It was referring to a bunch of other people I'd been debating with on twitter.
5) Somebody parodying her is beyond the pale - and I tweeted that to the parody account.
6) No one is accusing her of bringing the party into disrepute. She has, however, accused me of bringing the party into disrepute by publicly disagreeing with her on my own blog - and has filed a complaint with the party to that effect. Well I'm afraid that she and I are very small fish in a very large pond and no one outside our little corner of the blogosphere could care less about our disagreements.
7) Has Lisa asked herself why so many Lib Dems have disagreed with her and criticised her? Because there are lots of people who've been on the same side of the argument as she is. People like Stephen Tall, for example. Now he's written two posts about this - one on Lib Dem Voice and one on his own blog. And what you will notice if you read those posts is that, despite him coming from the same position as Lisa, the comments underneath are a polite, civil debate in which people disagree with each other but without any drama. I myself disagree with Stephen quite strongly, and have expressed this disagreement, but it has all been completely civil and I continue to respect Stephen, despite our difference of opinion.
So the question is, why have quite a few, usually perfectly polite, reasonable and civil Lib Dems become critical of and frustrated with Lisa Harding specifically? I'd suggest it's because of the hypocrisy of claiming freedom of speech while silencing the arguments of people of nothing wrong. I'd suggest it's because she constantly moves the goalposts - asking for evidence and then claiming, when evidence is presented to her, that no evidence could ever be sufficient. I'd suggest it's because of her shrill language and the arrogance of her claims of persecution of Christianity as a whole when people disagree with her personally. I'd suggest it's because of the insulting way she labels people illiberal and bigots and abusive simply for having different opinions.
I'd also suggest it's because Liberal Democrats tend to dislike it when one select group of people demand special treatment and exemption from the laws that apply to everyone else.
A minor piece of wisdom is that, if perfectly normal, reasonable people seem to be disagreeing with you and getting irritated with you en masse, then it might just be the case that it is you who is at fault.
8) Lisa has not defended her faith in a polite and reasonable manner. This is a) because her faith was never under attack - merely the suggestion that one group should demand exemption from the same rules that apply to everyone else - and b) because there is nothing reasonable about yelling "abuse!" at anyone and everyone who disagrees with you, or making complaints to the party because they disagree with you, or blocking people like Nicola Prigg who, by any stretch of the imagination, never did anything to her.
9) I've already mentioned the point about how ludicrous it is to claim to be protecting freedom of speech while deleting comments by people (I'm excluding myself here) who committed the "crime" of disagreeing with you. So all I'm going to say that, when it comes to Lisa calling people hypocrites, it is at best a case of the pot calling the kettle black.