Thursday, February 16, 2006

Blaspheming Blashpemy

I’ve been looking for a good reason to link to my favorite new blog – Security Dilemmas – and this is as good a reason as any.
In the wake of my post on the EU's effort to appease the Mulsims rioting against the Danish cartoons comes this article describing the EU's plans to support a proposal by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to get the UN to action against "blasphemy." The OIC is lobbying to get language banning blasphemy or defaming religion included in the tenets of any new UN human rights body.
How exactly does one define blasphemy anyway? I’m quite certain that any attempt to codify such laws would inevitably lead to “censorship envy.” There are some pretty extreme religions out there, even some relatively mainstream religions could potentially cause problems if the margins were drawn wide enough. For instance, would pagans (who presumably worship nature) get to sue anyone that claims global warming doesn’t exist? Or can Hindu’s sue McDonalds for serving Aunt Bettie on a bun?

I guess I’m radically (l)ibertarian enough to despise censorship on the simple grounds that it is censorship – but even those that don’t respect free speech enough to fight against such blatant attacks on civil rights should at least oppose them on practical grounds. You can’t open your mouth to utter a complete sentence without blaspheming some religion – and if you make blasphemy illegal then you are just encouraging small minded people to expand the scope of what is actually blasphemy. Next thing you know DailyKos will register as a religion and Bush himself will be declared blasphemy incarnate and summarily thrown into jail.

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