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Combating the Defamation of Religion

The world just keeps sliding slowly into a quagmire of human rights abuses.  Ireland recently passed a Blasphemy law that prohibits anyone from talking bad about another’s religion and wouldn’t you know it the Muslims are behind it.  In most (or probably all) Muslim controlled countries it’s against the law to write or speak against the religion or its founder Muhammad…fact is it’ll probably get you killed.

The United Nations has this non-binding resolution on “Combating the Defamation of Religion” that is intended to curtail speech that offends religion — particularly Islam.  Pakistan and the Organization of the Islamic Conference introduced the measure to the U.N. Human Rights Council in 1999. It was amended to include religions other than Islam, and it has passed every year since.

The non-binding Resolution 62/145, which was adopted in 2007, says it “notes with deep concern the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of 11 September 2001.”  It “stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement of religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently came out strongly against this resolution and laws around the world that make religious defamation a crime, saying that freedom of speech and religion should be equally upheld.

“Some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement so-called ‘anti-defamation’ policies that would restrict freedom of expression and the freedom of religion,” she said

“I strongly disagree. The United States will always… stand against discrimination and persecution… But an individual’s ability to practice his or her religion has no bearing on others’ freedom of speech,” Clinton said.

“The protection of speech about religion is particularly important since persons of different faith will inevitably hold divergent views on religious questions. These differences should be met with tolerance, not with the suppression of discourse,” she added.

Other critics of the resolution believe this is a dangerous threat to freedom of speech everywhere.  There are some religious groups and free speech advocates banding together to fight this resolution which they say is being used to spread Sharia Law in the Western world and will intimidate those who would criticize Islam.

“It’s obviously intended to have an intimidating effect on people expressing criticism of radical Islam, and the idea that you can have a defamation of a religion like this, I think, is a concept fundamentally foreign to our system of free expression in the United States,” said former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.

Kevin Hasson, who is founder and president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a public interest law firm in Washington that opposes the resolution says “It is a slap in the face of human rights law.”

“The whole idea of the defamation of religion is a Trojan horse for something else,” Hasson said. “When you talk about defamation, you talk about people being defamed and people being libeled, but ideas can’t be defamed. Ideas don’t have rights, people have rights.”

He added that “the resolution is a shield for Islamic fundamentalists who retaliate against perceived offenses and want to make Islamic Sharia law the law of the land.” He said the resolution passes under the guise of protecting religion, but it actually endangers religious minorities in Islamic countries.”

“It provides international cover for domestic anti-blasphemy laws, and there are a number of people who are in prison today because they have been accused of committing blasphemy,” said Bennett Graham, international program director with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

We have to remember that many of the governments that are pushing this idea are not democratic governments.  Citizens of Egypt or Pakistan who have been two of the prime ringleaders of this movement, are frequently put in prison or arrested for blasphemy or other “crimes” against the Muslim religion, and even if they’re not arrested (rare), the fear of being arrested creates an environment of self-censorship.”

Western democracies are arguing that a religion cannot enjoy protection from criticism because that would require a judicial ruling that its teachings are the “truth.” (I can see fundamentalists jumping all over this)

“Defamation carries a particular legal meaning and application in domestic systems that makes the term wholly unsuitable in the context of religions,” the U.S. government responded on the issue to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

We probably won’t have a problem here in the US with this absurd law because of our Constitutional Right of Free Speech, but you never know, look at what George Bush did to our most precious document.  And by the way, it’s still being abused because most of Bush’s presidential decrees that usurped some constitutional laws haven’t been rescinded.

Look out if you travel overseas though.

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Should Religions be Allowed to Kill?

Warning: one cussword

A few weeks ago I was surfing the web and came across a blog from India. The subject, the murder of a young _______ boy, caught my attention so I read the whole thing.

Seems a young man who’s family was _______, which is fairly uncommon in India, was flirting with a ******* girl. The town this happened in was predominately ****** and they watch their young women quite closely.  There were lots of murmurings and whispers from those who watched the young man and his demeanor with the girl. This went on for a few days and apparently his parents, and others, warned him to stay away from the girl.  One evening he met up with the girl on the road and started talking with her, unaware that a group of men were watching nearby.

They men rushed up to the couple and grabbed the boy and started beating him, as the girl ran away.  Later that evening the boy’s dead body was found lying beside the road…he had been beaten to death.

The police were called and they investigated for a few days, but ultimately said they had no evidence against anybody, and there was nothing they could do.  This was despite there being several eyewitnesses to the beating.  They said they couldn’t see who had done it. The blog writer managed to convey an impression that the police weren’t really doing their job.

The person writing this blog was related, and heartbroken by the death, and was pouring out her sorrow in the blog. I was stricken by the story and thought about the waste that happened here, not only for the loss of an apparently honorable and upright young man, but the loss of an opportunity for two cultures, in however small a way, to approach each other in peace and show humanity to each other. A small rapprochement if you will, that could lead to more friendships and peace between rivals.

Feeling as I do about religious arrogance and the stupidity they show in many matters, I was moved to write a reply to the woman, where I kind of got carried away and called the people involved in the killing some pretty bad names.  Now I did sink my teeth into the *******’s, because its known that ******’s think it’s OK to kill ________ if they cross a very fine line…try to convert a ******* to _______ and its open season on your hide…literally.  ****** in this case really condones murder.  Pretty much the same outlook applies to a _______ man trying to get too friendly with a young ******* woman.

I don’t care what kind of logic or reason you try to apply in making this OK in the light of your religion…it is totally wrong.  There is no real God anywhere who would allow this to be the norm.

Anyway, it took about three days for the woman who wrote the blog to answer back.  I forget the actual words (I deleted her reply), but the gist of it was, I was talking ‘hate speech’ and she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, put my reply on her blog. For a split second I was mad, but then I got to thinking that the rules for public speech and writing were not the same in India, and my bad reply could/would put her in harms way if she published it.  So I tried to dismiss the matter from my mind.  But it wouldn’t go away.  I didn’t dwell on it, but my subconscious chewed on it for days and days.

Finally a few days ago the thoughts burst forth, fully formed in my mind.

Yes, I had written some bad things about a religious group and called it and the men who hid murder behind it some bad things, and yes by today’s standard of PC’ness, I was wrong…totally wrong.

I ask you though, who was more hateful and did more to upset the public order and well being of the citizenry?  Was it me, who called the men and their religion out for what they are…a murderous bunch of half-wits and imbeciles, and the religious mandate they think they were working under barbaric and hideous in its teachings?

Or, were the men who ganged up on, and murdered a young innocent boy in cold blood… the more hateful.  If I see or hear someone doing a totally wrong thing to a fellow human being, I will not say nice things about them. And I will not stand silently by knowing a particular religion seems to give some men the moral authority to kill the innocent. This is not right no matter what you say.  If the men and religion they practice that empowers them is not lashed out against, they will keep doing it…over and over.

In a “civilized” 🙂 world, one does not allow the citizenry, or a religious representative, to go around and kill people by their whim for religious reasons. Any Religion that allows this should be banned.  There is no room in today’s world for such a thing.

Do you think we should stand idly by and let such things happen without speaking out against them?  We know that the ******* religion allows murder of innocents.  Should we not speak against this?  Should we speak nicely about matters such as this…or should we rip them a new asshole?

Continuously give in and be nice to that kind of behavior and we all know who wins the game of life.

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