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Tiresome teenager pilloried for pestering Pagan

The Manningtree and Harwich Standard carried a story in its 4 May 2012 edition about a teenager given a restraining order for harassing a Pagan who worked at a branch of McDonald’s in Colchester.

The Standard‘s own website doesn’t carry the story. However, two national newspapers did pick up on it – the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail:, 3 May 2012: Teenager convicted for harassing Pagan, 4 May 2012: I didn’t know it was a religion, says teenager, 16, who harassed a Pagan

The story itself is unpleasant but relatively mundane in its essentials – an unpleasant lout of a teenager repeatedly bullying someone for being different. But it’s something of a landmark case in that it’s believed to be the first case of religious harassment against a Pagan to be tried in the UK.

What does give some grounds for wry amusement is the collection of comments underneath the Mail‘s article. A substantial number of them seem to think that the fact that the victim was a Pagan is the only reason the case was brought and that if she’d been a Christian then it would have been ignored. Others ignore the case altogether and decide to embark on a discussion of whether Paganism is even a proper religion or not. And yet others even appear to think that the fact she was a Pagan somehow validates her treatment at the hands of this young thug.

Thankfully, there are a few people commenting who seem to realise that the bullying behaviour is unacceptable, whatever its pretext. But guess what? At least one of them is an interloper rather than a regular reader.

Daily Mail readers’ comments. Supplying the Web with bucketfuls of bile since at least 2005.

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