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In my first post of the new year I’m pleased to write about a positive development. Irish evangelical pastor James McConnell was found not guilty. This is a tiny ray of hope in the encroaching darkness of religious censorship.

It’s tragic that charges were brought against McConnell in the first place. Thankfully, the judge had enough sense to not overstep the bounds of his legal jurisdiction, correctly stating, “The courts need to be very careful not to criticise speech which, however contemptible, is no more than offensive. It is not the task of the criminal law to censor offensive utterances.”

Well said, judge. It is not the job of the courts “to censor offensive utterances.” If it were, then speech would simply be judged in the court of public opinion. The problem with Mr. Public Opinion is that he is used by those in authority positions to condemn what they personally find offensive. That’s today’s tyranny.

Today’s tyranny doesn’t don military uniforms. Instead, it parades around in pin-stripe suits.

Today’s tyranny doesn’t pound a podium in the middle of a packed stadium. Instead, It raves and rants about microaggressions and reparations in ivy-league classrooms.

Today’s tyranny doesn’t scream and yell, spittle flying. Instead, it talks in measured and soothing tones while sneering at anger as an inappropriate reaction to the loss of liberty.

Today’s tyranny doesn’t have its detractors disappeared into the night. Instead, it openly, and with a straight face, has pastors prosecuted for “offensive” sermons.

Today’s tyranny doesn’t refer to the perpetrators of religiously-motivated violence as Islamic terrorists. Instead, it demonizes peaceful, evangelical pastors as criminals because they dare to speak their minds.

Today’s tyranny doesn’t take over newspapers and raid its opposition. Instead, it buys off its competition and ridicules “fringe” media.

Today’s tyranny doesn’t blame societal problems on a culture of violence and death. Instead, it projects the illusion that guns themselves are responsible.

Today’s tyranny is the most dangerous yet to be seen because it wears the guise of political correctness. It scoffs at those who disagree as uneducated and backward. It promotes freedom of speech for itself alone.

SO, it’s refreshing to see than in at least in one courtroom in Northern Ireland a judge refused to violate a man’s right to express a personal belief. It’s a small victory for freedom and a not so insignificant chink in the shiny armor of tyranny.

May 2016 see more of the same!