There is good news in the recent UN resolution on religious intolerance.
For the first time in more than a decade, the U.N. General Assembly on Monday [that’s last Monday] condemned religious intolerance without urging states to outlaw “defamation of religions,” an appeal critics said opened the door to abusive “blasphemy” laws. The call on countries to prohibit “defamation” had been included in a non-binding resolution on combating religious intolerance passed annually by the 193-nation assembly.
The resolution approved on Monday declares that “discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes a violation of human rights.” It also expressed concern about the incitement to religious hatred and the failure of some states “to combat this burgeoning trend.”
The General Assembly adopted the resolution by consensus without a vote. The versions passed in previous years had enjoyed increasingly less support in assembly votes due to Western and Latin American opposition to the “defamation” idea. The resolution barely received a majority of yes votes in 2010. [Reuters]
It is good to see the nations move away from language that would urge states to outlaw “defamation.” These calls to outlaw “defamation of religious” by their very nature restrict free speech. What we need now is positive action to eliminate all “blasphemy” laws wherever they are found. No matter how much the holder of some idea may feel offended, there is not a single idea or thought that deserves legal protection other ideas or thoughts.
Checkout what Human Rights First has to say. Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars.