One might also wonder where, in the European Convention on Human Rights, “feelings” are mentioned. Following the court’s logic, would it be appropriate to cover the windows of steakhouses not to hurt the feelings of animal activists? Or only if they threatened to riot? Is the new ruling just a capitulation to extortionistic threats of violence?
The supposition seems to be, “If you had just kept quiet, these bad things (fill in the blank) would not be happening.” It is both a false premise — the “bad things” might have happened anyway, as they did, for example, when the Bataclan Theater in Paris or the Brussels airport were attacked — and it is a demand for enforced self-censorship. Moreover, who gets to decide who is accountable? Who watches the watchers?
How soon will the public be asked to stop other activities — drinking alcohol, men and women dancing together, ringing church bells, art that depicts the human image, separation of religion and state, and equal justice under the law for women, to name just a few — that also might hurt “religious feelings?”
Will the ECHR’s Grand Chamber — the only authority that could reverse the decision — correct this treacherous path?