Hemant Mehta, ever in search for stories that feed his confirmation bias, hosts a blog entry that draws attention to Amos Yee:
He’s the 16-year-old Singaporean YouTuber who had been arrested and convicted of “wounding religious feelings” and “obscenity” after making a video that lampooned Christianity and Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kwan Yew.
Since then, he’s been sent to prison for re-uploading the offending materials and now waits for the court to decide on whether or not he should be sentenced to “Reformative Training” — an ostensibly “rehabilitative” sentence that would involve being held in a prison for up to three years:
Yes. Up to three years in prison. For “wounding religious feelings.” In a Youtube video.
If this all sounds creepily Orwellian to you, that’s because it is. Singapore has had a long history of speech restriction and censorship — a nervous holdover from its formative years, when racial and religious riots caused plenty of bloodshed in the country. The current World Press Freedom Index ranks the island nation #153 out of 180 countries surveyed.
So, while none of this is particularly surprising, it’s still a depressing reminder of what happens when religious vanity eclipses individual freedom. 16-year-old Yee is now a political prisoner because fully-grown adults couldn’t handle snark on the Internet. Instead of encouraging potential rioters to express their religious discontent in non-murderous ways, the authorities have opted to try to scrub society clean of dissent and offense instead.
Of course, the Gnus at the Friendly Atheist lap this up and begin to snarl and gnash their teeth:
However, one person demonstrates an ability for critical thinking.
While Singapore doesn’t like religious controversy, I suspect the “making fun of Lee Kwan Yew” is the driving factor here, with the “hurting religious feelings” bit largely as a cover (considering his son is the current freely-elected dictator).
Y’think? Here’s the YouTube video that got the kid in trouble with his government. It’s over 8 minutes long. If you watch it, he criticizes and mocks the dead leader for most of the time, while devoting a mere 30 seconds to comparing the leader’s followers to Christians – both are dumb and dishonest.
So here is what is probably happening. The kid gets arrested for mocking and criticizing his country’s dear, dead Leader. Yet the bureuacrats in the government try to make it look like it is because he said a few words criticizing Christians. This perfectly fits the narrative of the Gnu atheists, who mindlessly lap up the government spin and begin to lash out at Christians. Given the way the Gnu atheist community is fueled by hate, it is easily manipulated.