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Proposed Global Ban on Blasphemy

 
 
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 04:17 pm
Quote:
Proposed blasphemy ban unwise and unworkable
(Ken Paulson, FirstAmendmentCenter.org, Commentary, September 27, 2012)

Criminalizing blasphemy is critical to protecting global peace, the head of the Arab league told the U.N. Security Council yesterday.

“If the international community has criminalized bodily harm, it must just as well criminalize psychological and spiritual harm,” Nabil Elaraby said. “The League of Arab States calls for the development of an international framework which is binding … in order to confront insulting religions and ensuring that religious faith and its symbols are respected.”

The Associated Press reported that Elaraby told the Security Council that “we don’t see any relation between freedom of expression which aims at enriching culture and building civilization (on) the one hand and activities that merely offend and insult the beliefs, culture and civilization of others.”

The assertion that what the world needs now is a global ban on blasphemy is both stunning and absolutely unworkable.

There’s inherent beauty and simplicity in the United States’ guarantee of freedom of speech. At its heart is the guarantee that everyone has the right to to express his or her ideas, with the understanding that everyone else in society enjoys exactly the same right. While there are very narrow exceptions in areas like child pornography and solicitation to commit crimes, free speech in the United States isn’t contingent on the quality, viewpoint or substance of the speech.

Imagine attempting to enforce a worldwide ban on blasphemy. Would that apply to all religions? If so, there’s enough diversity of faith in the world that almost any cultural expression runs the risk of offending others.

Elaraby’s proposal is not limited to direct assaults on other faiths. He is also urging limits on expression that merely offends.

The current discussion of blasphemy was, of course, inspired by the “Innocence of Muslims” video posted by a Californian to YouTube. Although amateurish, it’s essentially a mini-movie that mocks a religion. So does the mammoth Broadway hit “The Book of Mormon.” Even “Imagine,” John Lennon’s biggest hit, urges us to “imagine no religion,” not exactly a faith-friendly lyric.

Elaraby’s assertion that a worldwide ban on blasphemy is needed is as disturbing as President Barack Obama’s speech to the U.N. Journal Assembly was heartening. Obama explained why free speech must be valued in a democracy.

“We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities. We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech — the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect,” Obama said.

Elaraby’s proposal is dangerous on multiple fronts. It suggests that there’s some justification for the kind of mindless violence that erupted after this video was lifted out of obscurity.

There are some in the United States who have asked whether the first Amendment should protect this kind of hate speech.

It was exactly this kind of speech that the First Amendment was designed to protect. It’s been said many times but bears repeating. Popular speech needs no protection. It’s the ideas that provoke and, yes, offend, that force society to reflect. We may not always be able to export our values, but we need to be vigilant in protecting them within our borders.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 29 • Views: 8,708 • Replies: 162

 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 05:05 pm
@wandeljw,
Goddam right. Comit blasphemy and you're going to get stoned to death! What's blasphemy, anyway?
Rockhead
 
  3  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 05:28 pm
@roger,
a crayon drawing of mohammed.

don't you watch southpark?
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 07:16 pm
@Rockhead,
This would interfere with our first amendment rights, almost all of em.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 07:48 pm
@wandeljw,
What the hell. Stone the fukkers. When the Catholic church was all-powerful, they used to have these barbeque feasts where they'd cook the blasphemers over a slow fire. Auto-da-fes. But stoning's good enuff for the infidel riffraff who say or draw or film nasty things about Mohammad (may he whirl in his grave).

Aw ****. Now I've said that, they'll put out a fatwa on me. (Better than a lean wa, I guess.)
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  7  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 08:20 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

Quote:
Proposed blasphemy ban unwise and unworkable
(Ken Paulson, FirstAmendmentCenter.org, Commentary, September 27, 2012)

"... and ensuring that religious faith and its symbols are respected.”


There is nothing about Religion that places it beyond reproach. What's important is to respect a person's right to believe what they want, not necessarily to respect what they believe.
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 08:30 pm
Blasphemy laws only make sense for theocracies.
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 08:32 pm
@wandeljw,
theocracies only make sense if you believe in gods
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 08:32 pm
I agree with every one of you. Blaspheme all you like.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 08:37 pm
@edgarblythe,
you might make sure that they understand that it's not the same as breaking wind, ed.

you'd hate to be the one responsible for stinking up the joint.

what would we do with hawkeyes then...?
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 08:40 pm
@Rockhead,
I personally don't intend to make fun of Islam. Never have, never will. Other religions included. I may go after an occasional fanatic, but not the right to be religious.
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 08:43 pm
@edgarblythe,
I'm an equal opportunity blasphemer, ed.

but I try not to step on other folks's feelings unnecessarily.

we all gotta share this planet until we get our just desserts.

I hope mine is chocolate...
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2012 08:47 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

Blasphemy laws only make sense for theocracies.


Of course. But what do you think Islamic nations are?
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 12:17 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbSr4sQw27M&feature=related
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 12:19 am
@rosborne979,
Now, why didn't I say that, and a long time ago.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 12:44 am

As thay woud nullify the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, if thay coud,
so woud thay void the First one also, if possible.

That is consistent anti-Individualism and pro-Borg.





David
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 01:17 am
@wandeljw,
I wonder how a "global ban" could be instituted ... must be something like "global ban on nuclear testing" or "global ban on landmines" ...
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 02:02 am

I believe that this reveals that thru out the world,
other than in America, personal liberty is held in disdain.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 03:54 am
@roger,
roger wrote:

Now, why didn't I say that, and a long time ago.

You probably did and I just missed it. I rarely create anything on my own, even ideas. The seeds of what I wrote above probably came from Sam Harris, but I'm sure he said it better.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2012 06:27 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

I wonder how a "global ban" could be instituted ... must be something like "global ban on nuclear testing" or "global ban on landmines" ...


In 1966 the United Nations adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 20 of the covenant includes this statement: "Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law."

I do not know how the United Nations enforces this other than monitoring and issuing reports.
 

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