Thursday, April 02, 2009

Defaming Religion

I suppose everyone knows by now that last week the grotesquely misnamed Uniited Nations Human Rights Commission has voted through a declaration that "defaming religion" is a human rights violation. It received 23 votes in favor (including various Muslim states and Hugo Chavez' Venezuela), 11 against, and 13 abstentions. I would love to know who the thirteen quivering weasels are who abstained, but I can't seem to find that information. Last November, the General Assembly passed a resolution calling on the governments of the world to punish people who "defame" religion.

I have been slow to comment on these developments because everything I could think of saying was pretty obvious, even hackneyed, viz:
  • The notion of "defaming" an idea is a sinister and illegitimate concept.
  • Individuals have rights, religions do not.
  • Defaming religion is a human rights violation is a human rights violation.
  • What do you expect from a club (the UN) all of whose members are states?
  • It is no surprise that the UN Human Rights Commission has fallen into the hands of people who abuse, trample, and urinate on human rights.
  • When countries like Canada and Germany (both of which have national hate-speech laws) vote against an attack on free speech, you know it's got to be outrageous.
  • First they came for Alec Rawls, but I didn't agree with Alec so I didn't speak up...
... well, I still can't think of anything to say about this that hasn't been said before. There doesn't seem to be anything to be learned here that we didn't already know. However, sometimes the obvious must be said. Originality is a lot less important than freedom.

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