This is outrageous. A scandal. They claim to be offended by a play that is said to mock the bible, and by their offence they claim the right to shut-down that play. In a pluralist, democratic society there exists no right to not be offended. Free speech provides a license to offend.

The hardline Calvinist and Caleb religious tradition speaks for a minority in Northern Ireland (although a disproportionately large segment of political unionism) and makes very grand claims for itself. That the bible is the infallible word of God and that it is not to be made fun of. That the bible is the first, last and only book and that all reason, scepticism and inquiry must capitulate to one man's niche interpretation of a religious text. 

Claims that are to many absurd, outrageous and preposterous. Claims that are outright offensive to many people. 

Upon this conflict of ideas between the religious and irreligious, and by their grand claims, the religious open themselves up to scrutiny, criticism and mockery. A basic right and function in a healthy liberal democracy. 

However, not only do these religious fundamentalists claim to know the absolute and last word of god, but they hold their grand claims to be immune from scrutiny, criticism or mockery. They claim a special right, a special privilege and special protection. 

Again. This is outrageous. For too long people in Northern Ireland have bent the knee to this kind of madness and religious fundamentalism. It's high time people said no more. Up with this we will not put. 

One, on the matter of free speech. Since John Milton in the 17th Century the freedom to entertain and express opinions, no matter how offensive to others, has been cherished as a necessary pre-condition for a political society. 

And here's the first irony. John Milton wrote his famous defence of free speech in Areopogitica during the English Civil War, and directed it against Calvinist Presbyterians who were trying to turn the country into some sort of Presbyterian theocracy. 

Since then free speech has been defended and built upon in the face of religious moralists by great men and women like John Stuart Mill, Thomas Paine, Rosa Luxemburg and many others. It has been upon their work and upon the known rules of ancient liberty that have given us our distinctive western culture and freedoms. 

And here's the second irony. The Protestant tradition is supposed to be an authentic expression of the hard won civil and religious liberties gained through England's Glorious Revolution. Yet why do they deny others their basic civil liberty? Why oh why have the age old lessons of the Enlightenment and classical liberalism continually escaped evangelical Protestant theo-unionism in Northern Ireland? 

Two, on the matter of church and state, we should aspire to a secular Northern Ireland. To a naked public sphere. No lawmaker should attempt to create a legal code upon a religious code. No lawmaker should attempt policy or civic action upon a religious code. Because as Andrew Sullivan said: "All faiths, even the most popular, are by definition sectarian." In Northern Ireland we aspire to a secular democracy where we protect, defend and uphold religious freedom - as a private matter of faith, not as a public matter. As Thomas Jefferson said:

"History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose. "

Three, we secularists have strong beliefs, strong principles and strong convictions too. We secularists too are offended by what the religious preach. But we don't go into churches and ban those preachers who preach anti-intellectualism, anti-science and virulent religious bigotry. 

Four, to be "British" is to lead in the world. Yet theo-Unionists seem utterly committed to opting out of modernity, to shutting the door on progressive legislation, and to keeping Northern Ireland as an "outcast from life's feast" as James Joyce put it.  

It's like the American Dad episode, Stan of Arabia. Stan the archetypal misogynist, super-religious Republican suddenly finds himself right at home in Saudi Arabia where there exists oppressive laws against women, gays and basic liberties.

Four, by the decision to ban the play, people have make a rod for their own back. They have given a license to every Muslim and religious fanatic who wants to ban every last piece of art & writing that could be deemed offensive to their precious feeling and religion. By doing this, Christians have elevated religious freedom far and away beyond freedom of expression. 

They would have it that the dumbest things be pumped into people's heads, and that nothing be said of this. We owe it to ourselves to have a media and civic debate that is not staid, dull and conformist and terrified of offending people; but that is disputatious, uncivil, rude and even offensive. 

There is a difference between disapproving of something and banning it and in that difference lies a free society.

Now the DUP have decided what you can and can't see. They've done the thinking for you. Are you happy with that? Will you stand for that?

We need to be extremely vigilant against any encroachments on our hard-won freedoms to express and entertain opinions. Matters of public interest are routinely chilled by litigious ministers. The DUP have upheld an old speech law that was described as a "national embarrassment" and as "repugnant" to the US Constitution. 

The urge and impulse to censor will always be a strong one, that is why Christopher Hitchens is right to say free speech needs to be defended by every generation. 
Before the LAD bunker had even warmed up this morning, a call came through on the Twatphone (strange, as it's only the Chief of Police who has that number) from none other than top local hunger striker, failed rally driver and messenger of God, Jamie Bryson.

He was talking that way five year olds do when they're trying to tell you everything they did on holiday, in no more than 5 minutes, you know, all excited and can't quite coordinate their breathing with getting the words out, which made it quite difficult to understand what he was trying to say.  Eventually, after the offer of a bag of jelly babies and a kids meal from MacBurgers, he slowed down and the story unravelled.

It would seem Jamie has been working in conjunction with a secretive republican cover group, known as  Faisean Nuacht (FN).  While FN has been sending members deep cover in front line and civilian roles within the PSNI, Bryson has led a social media campaign to shame Chief of Police, Mark Bartlett, into giving up on trying to convert the proud upstanding men and weemin of Loyalist Ulster, into kind and neighbourly liberals.

Although Barratt has managed to resist this double pronged attack, the revelation that finally broke him is Bryson's discovery of a secret plan involving the PSNI, An Garda Síochána, dissident publicans and the Irish government.  In a recent blog, Bryson has exposed the PSNI as being a publican organisation, infiltrated to the highest level by the FN and EMI.  This is the first stage in a publican cue, with the backing of the Irish government, to overthrow the Loyal and Pradistan people of Ulster and impose a publican Roaming Cathlic state on us.
Pradistan Unionist Loyalist People
Bryson can prove that the war has already started, pointing to the obvious evidence that the Sinn Féin/IRA/PSNI murder squads have already eradicated the UVF in Ulster.  This means us good  Pradistan Unionist Loyalist People (PULP) have been left defenceless, at the mercy of themmuns marching all about the place on Saint Patrick's Day, culminating in the genocide of the PULP just before the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016.

Yes, good Loyalists, heed what Bryson says.  He has all the proof right there inside his head and he can prove it.  Given the overwhelming evidence, is it any wonder Baggott doesn't want to work in this land of crazies anymore?

LAD would ask that everyone thank Jamie for ridding us of the oppressor of the PULP.  Now we can rely on the PSNI only removing publicans and GARCs from the road and letting us march as we used to.

This is a guest post by Ann Travers. We communicated with Ann on Twitter last week when she (again) suffered an enormous amount of online abuse. As a result we offered Ann the opportunity to write a blog for us. These are her words and her story.

The 2nd April 2011 was a beautiful Spring day, much like the 8th April 1984 when my beautiful sister Mary and gorgeous parents were walking home from Mass at St Brigid's Church. They were approximately a couple of hundred yards away from our home when two IRA gunmen approached, one shooting Mary fatally once in the back and then walking over to my mum, who was on the ground cradling her dying daughter and held the gun to her head, the bullets jammed twice, a miracle, the other shot my Dad at point blank range 6 times, seriously injuring him but miraculously he survived. Life was never the same again. I was 14 at the time.

On the 2nd of April 2011, Mum and I were driving home from visiting Mary's grave, it would be her anniversary in a few days and I was up for the weekend, which also happened to be Mothering Sunday weekend. The radio was switched on and the sun was shinning, when the news came on , telling of the murder of a young PSNI officer, Ronan Kerr. We felt so shocked and saddened, I couldn't help but think what a waste and draw similarities with Mary; she was 23 and in her first teaching job and he was only 25 and not long in the police. We got back to Mum's house and switched on the news, where Martin McGuinness was on rightly condemning the murder of a young man just going to work. I wondered why he couldn't say the same for my family and 1000's of others, but I was glad he had changed. At the time of Mary's murder it was described in the Belfast Telegraph by Sinn Fein spin "Miss Travers death was regrettable but understandable as her father was a member of the British Judiciary." Dad was a Resident Magistrate, he didn't carry a gun as he couldn't take a life and he refused police protection as he said he couldn't live with himself if a policeman was killed because of him. My Dad was a good, honest man, who treated everyone as a unique individual. Nobody had the right to murder him. 

On the way back to my home in Wicklow on Monday 4th April, I tuned into Joe Duffy's Live Line programme; they were discussing Ronan Kerr's murder. I don't know what made me do it but I phoned in and told my story and how hurt we felt that the attack on our family is still justified. I said it was to be welcomed that SF were condemning Ronan's murder. I had never spoken publicly before about our story and after I hung up I thought I never would again. Then on Wednesday 18th of May 2011 after doing the school run and just about to have 1st coffee of the day the phone rang, it was a BBC Researcher for Radio Ulster Talk Back programme. She asked me if I'd seen the front of the Irish News, I hadn't so she told me that Mary McArdle had been appointed Special Adviser to the SF Culture Minister. Hearing Mary McArdle's name after all these years was like being punched in the stomach, she was the only person convicted for Mary's murder, she carried the guns and wigs, I could barely breath, I asked the researcher to phone me back, I dropped the phone and panicked, I was back running out of our home in Windsor Avenue and seeing my sister lying awkwardly in the dirt, very still yet gurgling, my dad lying conscious, trying to take off his watch and my mum kneeling beside him "somebody help my poor husband, please somebody help my poor husband ". The box containing my grief and loss that had been kept for 27 years in the back of my head had been forced open . I can't describe adequately here just how I felt, I thought I'd "moved on" but all the healing I thought I had experienced was undone in one fell swoop.

The following days were manic, I spoke to the media, opening my heart in the hope that the new Sinn Fein would listen, the same Sinn Fein that had condemned Ronan Kerr's murder, hoping that Mary McArdle would listen, that they would realise and understand the renewed trauma they had caused and how devastating it was. I didn't think and don't think they went out on purpose to hurt us. It wasn't to be. There was no statement, no, " Mary is standing down as Special Adviser, not because we think she shouldn't have the job but because we didn't realise the very real hurt that would be felt by the Travers family" that would have been it if there had, instead it dragged out, Mary's murder was described as "regrettable " The DFM described the incident as obviously having a "neuralgic effect" on me. Meanwhile the flashbacks continued and the stress levels raised.

I didn't know what to do.

I spoke with SDLP MLAs including Alban Maginness who was very kind and we had many long conversations. But ultimately there was nothing they could do to help except offer support and understanding. I decided to phone Peter Robinson's constituency office to get his email so I could write to him, I thought because he was First Minister he might be able to do something, I was surprised when his secretary offered an appointment to meet him, I was happy to accept, although a little worried as I'd criticised him on Joe Duffy's programme in the April for all the 3rd Force stuff and wearing his "wee beret" but I didn't think he would be listening to RTE1. That first meeting was nerve racking, it was in his constituency office and as I waited I looked at the walls which had lots of Unionist memorabilia, it was very alien to me, a Catholic. His Special Adviser came out to bring me in, I asked him if he had "ever murdered anyone", it was out of my mouth before I thought, he laughed and said no. Peter Robinson was very kind and helpful, he spoke about what they could do to help prevent this from happening to another family but whatever they did, it wouldn't be retrospective. I left feeling pleased another family wouldn't have to go through this but my heart was sinking, this was so wrong, so disrespectful to the memory of my gorgeous sister who didn't ever have the chance to marry, have children, or have her career... I returned home disappointed but determined not to give up.

I saw on the news an MLA who was supportive of our family, Jim Allister. As I had lived in Wicklow for 15 years and England 5 years previously, I didn't know much about Jim or the TUV, but I wrote to thank him for his support just as I wrote to everyone who had been supportive. He replied, told me as a young barrister he had appeared in front of Dad and not to worry he thought there may be a way to have legislation applied retrospectively. He gave me hope! We had quite a lot of email contact then we met for the first time in Stormont on the day it was announced that the SPAD Bill was launched. People were surprised to see me with Jim Allister, they talked about him being a " bigot", sectarian, hating Catholics. This wasn't the man that I had met. He told me he condemned all terrorists both loyalist and republican , there was no doubt how much he disliked SF but then again considering what had happened to my family and now this, I was hardly in love with them. Many of those who were surprised told me I was right to do all that I had to do.

I didn't and don't agree with all the TUV's policies but I am grateful to them for the support they have given me. I know many wont like to hear it but its true, there is no point in me saying things just to curry favour. I can only remain true to myself and the memory of my sister. Jim Allister was and is very kind to me but just because you are friends or associates with someone does not mean that you are responsible for them or agree with everything they do and say. I am positive there are things which I say or do that Jim Allister doesn't agree with.

I carried on with the Spad Bill, even though I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2012, because of the love for my sister. All the name calling to me by those who are unhappy that I spoke up and the Spad Bill succeeding in being passed will never stop my loyalty or love for my family or many of my new friends which include republican and loyalist terrorist victims.

All murder was wrong and that includes any murder of innocents carried out by the state or those who used their job to discredit their colleagues and pass information or guns onto Loyalist Terrorists.

Looking back now I realise what an immense journey I have come on in the past 3 years. I have spoken to people who I would never in a million years thought I would ever have spoken to. I have listened to them and they have listened to me. We have agreed to disagree on some issues but agreed on others. We have shown compassion towards each other and started the building blocks of understanding. 

All of this however will be worthless if the justification of past murders continues; if the lack of tolerance, understanding and compassion continues. I don't understand why some victims attack other victims, mostly on social media, we are all the same! We all grieved, our religion shouldn't matter, neither should it matter which terrorist organisation made us victims. Some of us want truth and justice, others just truth - this is fine, neither opinion is wrong. Why can we not support each other instead of abuse each other. I am not perfect, I've made mistakes, but hey I'm human.

In 2014 my wish would be more compassion, respect and tolerance could be shown. That there could be an acknowledgement that terrorism happened here and it was wrong, no justification, whether Loyalist or Republican. ALL WRONG.

Ah yes and one more thing, no more abuse on twitter after writing this, but maybe that's pushing it! 

Ann Travers