In a stunning setback against humanity and the Enlightenment, a United Nations committee has passed a Combating Defamation of Religions resolution that will restrict speech critical of or mocking religions. This passed 85 to 40 with 42 abstentions.
But while the draft’s sponsors say it and earlier similar measures are aimed at preventing violence against worshippers regardless of religion, religious tolerance advocates warn the resolutions are being accumulated for a more sinister goal.
“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, a think tank aimed at promoting religious liberty.
“Those arrests are made legitimate by the UN body’s (effective) stamp of approval.”
Passage of the resolution is part of a 10-year action plan the 57-state Organization of Islamic Conference launched in 2005 to ensure “renaissance” of the “Muslim Ummah” or community.
Also discussed at Katzenjammer and Pharyngula, this resolution, spearheaded by Islamic countries largely fundamentalist in nature, seeks to protect religion from criticism. So now ridiculing somebody’s imaginary friend can be considered a crime? This whole resolution is totally at odds and incompatible with the notion of free speech and the open marketplace of ideas.
I’m all for international cooperation, which we do need more of, but this latest blunder by the United Nations is ill considered. I hope that if I do end up in jail, there’s a good secular library and cable t.v.