Bishop Stabbed in Sydney Church Attack Defends Free Speech in Fiery Sermon

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, stabbed in a Sydney church attack, returns to the pulpit and defends free speech, criticizing the government's censorship approach, sparking debate on balancing free expression and content moderation.

Geeta Pillai
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Bishop Stabbed in Sydney Church Attack Defends Free Speech in Fiery Sermon

Bishop Stabbed in Sydney Church Attack Defends Free Speech in Fiery Sermon

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, who was stabbed in an alleged terror attack at a Sydney church on April 15, returned to the pulpit just two weeks later to deliver a passionate sermon defending freedom of speech and criticizing the Australian government's approach to censorship.

The bishop, wearing a white eye patch, addressed his congregation at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in western Sydney on Sunday. He thanked worshippers for their support and expressed forgiveness for his alleged 16-year-old attacker, saying, "I love you and I will always pray for you. You are my son."

Bishop Emmanuel then turned his attention to the debate surrounding free expression in Australia following the livestreamed attack. He argued that every human being has the right to freedom of speech and religion, stating, "I could not fathom how freedom of speech could not be possible in a democratic country. Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, and Christians all have the right to express their beliefs."

The bishop criticized Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Australian government's calls for censorship and the removal of videos depicting the stabbing. He sided with Elon Musk's social media platform X (formerly Twitter), which has refused to comply with court orders to take down the violent footage. "Global takedown orders go against the principles of a free and open internet and threaten free speech everywhere," the bishop said, echoing X's stance.

Why this matters: The stabbing of Bishop Emmanuel and the ensuing debate highlight the ongoing tensions between free speech, religious expression, and content moderation in the digital age. The incident has sparked discussions about the proper limits of free expression and the role of government and tech platforms in regulating online content.

The alleged terror attack on Bishop Emmanuel shocked the community and led to riots outside the church. A counter-terrorism investigation resulted in the arrest of the 16-year-old suspect, who has been charged with a Commonwealth terrorism offense, and several other individuals. Despite the harrowing experience, Bishop Emmanuel emphasized the importance of forgiveness and unity, while passionately advocating for the protection of fundamental freedoms in Australia.

Key Takeaways

  • Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel returned to pulpit 2 weeks after alleged terror attack.
  • Bishop defended freedom of speech, criticized govt's censorship approach in sermon.
  • Bishop forgave 16-year-old alleged attacker, saying "You are my son."
  • Bishop sided with X (Twitter) in refusing to remove violent footage of attack.
  • Incident sparked debate on limits of free speech, content moderation in digital age.