If You Can't Beat 'em, Shut 'em Up

The atheist movement is all about open debate.  We think our ideas are better, infinitely more supported by the evidence, and will eventually win out on their own merit.

Religions, on the other hand, lead to people censoring what the rest of us get to see out of some misguided sense of propriety.

Social websites including Google and Facebook have been ordered by an Indian court to remove all ‘anti-religious’ and ‘anti-social’ content within six weeks.

On Saturday a Delhi Court ordered 22 social networking sites, including Yahoo and Microsoft, to wipe the objectionable and defamatory contents and file compliance reports by February 6, 2012.


On December 22 Judge Kumar had issued summonses to the social networking sites, demanding they remove photographs, videos or texts that might offend religious sentiments, the Hindustan Times website reported.

They even tell us who such measures are protecting.

Qasmi had objected to a number of images on the websites which he complained would cause ‘irreparable loss and injury to the people who are offended by them’.

Show me one time in the history of humanity when being offended caused loss or injury, let alone irreparable loss or injury.  What a feeble excuse.

But hold the phone!  They’re not censoring anything…

The minister insisted he was not smothering free speech but was suggesting screening possible ‘incendiary’ material.

Yes, and I’m not kicking him in the balls, I’m just swinging my boot into his groin with all the force I can muster.

News flash to minister Kabil: nobody needs protection for inoffensive speech.  Freedom of speech is designed to protect speech that may offend somebody.  Don’t censor things for being incendiary and then tell us you’re all buddy-buddy with freedom of speech.

Added Kabil, “Come on free speech, you know I only hit you ’cause I love you.”

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Nick Johnson

    Censorship just gives more room for people to spread nonsense. Good ideas, exposed to scrutiny, usually win out.

  • http://donaldmorton.wordpress.com juju

    Maybe it’s time we started picking on Hinduism a little more.

  • Beaux

    This might be the end of my current FB account because, well fuck Facebook. And religion too.

  • Andrea

    Added Kabil, “Come on free speech, you know I only hit you ’cause I love you.”

    We aren’t supposed to slowly murder our loved ones?? …

    … oops.

  • http://bigthink.com/blogs/daylight-atheism Adam Lee

    I’m curious to see how these websites are going to respond to this order, since actually doing what the court demanded is obviously impossible.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/VeritasKnight VeritasKnight

    Now, there are laws on the books in India supporting this interpretation, but I don’t know if it’d pass appeal. Those sites are very powerful.

    I expect an Ed Brayton post on this eventually, too.

    For those interested:


  • http://grahamshevlin.com/current Graham Shevlin

    I think the technical term for this judge’s ruling is “pissing into the wind”…

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Is this that unanswerable sophisticated theology we keep hearing about?

    And why didn’t the Panzerpapst think of it first?

  • http://intwaste.blogspot.com Dale

    Well, I don’t expect Google to follow through, considering its past record with China. I do have my copy of the bagavad-gita I have been meaning to rip apart. Maybe I should start sharing my opinions of it.

  • rob

    hey, India, why don’t you just censor the whole fucking internet? don’t let anyone in the country access it. i am sure that would go over just great. no one would have the chance to be offended. problem solved!

  • rikitiki

    I would love to see those entities simply block ALL of India from themselves. “See? We don’t want to offed, so we’ll simply take our presence out of your country.” Or, better yet, everyone in India should be presented with a single webpage stating: “Due to censorship laws enacted in your country, you are prevented from access to this site.”