How Free is Speech?

Bishop Richard Williamson says that no Jews were murdered in gas chambers during World War II; that the Twin Towers were brought down by American explosives on September 11, 2001; and that Jews want to dominate the world “to prepare the anti-Christ’s throne in Jerusalem.” Should he, and other hate-mongers of his ilk, be punished for their words?

NEW YORK – Bishop Richard Williamson has some very peculiar, and frankly odious, views: that no Jews were murdered in gas chambers during World War II; that the Twin Towers were brought down by American explosives, not by airplanes, on September 11, 2001; and that Jews are fighting to dominate the world “to prepare the anti-Christ’s throne in Jerusalem.” And these are just some of his opinions on secular matters.

On questions of Roman Catholic doctrine, his views were considered so out of line with the modern Church that the Vatican excommunicated him in 1988, along with other members of the ultra-conservative Society of St. Pius X, founded by the fascist sympathizer Marcel Lefebvre. Supporters of Williamson include the British historian David Irving, who was recently jailed in Austria for glorifying the Nazis.

The bishop, then, does not strike one as an attractive man. But does he deserve everything now hanging over his head? As a consequence of the views he expressed on Swedish television, he was denied re-entry into the Church, as was promised earlier by Pope Benedict, which is probably just as well. But he was also kicked out of Argentina, where he lived, and is threatened with extradition to Germany, where preparations are made to prosecute him for Holocaust denial.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/RTgpDxk;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.