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A U. N. Victory For Reason PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Proposals that would have banned "defamation of religion" were formally rejected by United Nations international bodies this week. The  contentious "blasphemy" resolution presented by Pakistan, introduced at the UN and supported by some of the Middle East regimes, called upon all governments to forbid critical, insulting or defamatory statements about religion, especially the Islamic faith. The proposal failed to earn sufficient votes in the UN General Assembly to become a binding resolution, and it will not be on the agenda at the next conference, slated for Geneva in April. Doubtless, it will be again proposed in the future, as zealots seek to promote their discriminatory agendas.

This Pakistani resolution was designed to legislate personal opinions and expression, and had nothing to do with the stopping the clearly intolerable acts of violence perpetrated against ethnic and religious groups. The basic principle of freedom of speech, conscience, and expression – so far as the UN is concerned – has been once again upheld.

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written by MadScientist, March 25, 2009
I'm glad there are sensible people in the UN who refuse to make special exemptions and agree to be the morals squad for religions. Imagine the horrors if the resolution had been accepted; religions would have been gloating that they have entered the "golden age" (age of slavery, ignorance, misery and barbarism) again. Is there any religion that doesn't believe that Free Speech is fine as long as it's 100% in agreement with what the religious tyrants dictate?
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written by Mandarb, March 25, 2009
That's excellent news. I was very dissappointed to learn that my country(South Africa) voted for the resolution originally. But then the last year our reputation for standing up for human rights have degraded severely. Quiet diplomacy smilies/sad.gif
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written by BillyJoe, March 26, 2009
Good, because rights are for individuals not their ideas.
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written by bosshog, March 26, 2009
From the sound of it this little proposal was intended not to have protected the world's religions from criticism so much as to confer upon Islam a special status among them. If the Islamist zealots are so concerned about religious tolerance how do they explain their undying, hysterical and genocidal loathing for the Jews?
"The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic." -H.L. Mencken
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written by frankwomble, March 26, 2009
A bit off topic, but related. This has to be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever come across:

http://informationageprayer.com/

Oh, well -- the sheep are there to be shorn.
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written by Alan3354, March 26, 2009
There's no more reason to respect a person's religion than to respect a person's belief that there's a Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny.

Religion = Superstition + $$$$$
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What a relief
written by Trish, March 26, 2009
Hurray!

I put "respect for religion" in the same category with "family values" in that both try to twist the protections afforded to individuals into something that can be used by groups to oppress individuals. While it's important to protect the right of an individual to choose the beliefs they would espouse or live by, respecting specific beliefs and/or organizations that cultivate beliefs creates a situation that reduces the freedom of the individual.

"Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." George Orwell
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written by metzomagic, March 26, 2009
@frankwomble

Thanks for sharing that link to informationageprayer. A bit off-topic, but it made my day ;-)

I was most interested in the 'Unaffiliated' button there. Does that mean prayers for atheists? Of course, that's an oxymoron... and following the 'Unaffiliated' link leads to prayers that do mention 'God', just not a denominational one.

Perhaps if you replaced 'God' with 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' in those prayers...

Regards,
MetzO'Magic
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written by Willy K, March 26, 2009
A question for all.

Is it possible for an individual to petition the UN as we can petition our congressional representatives? In the USA I mean. smilies/grin.gif
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written by Wizard, March 26, 2009
Religion + freedom of speech = USE ONLY AS DIRECTED ! smilies/cry.gif
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Please tell me it's a joke
written by Alencon, March 26, 2009
Please tell me that http://informationageprayer.com/is a joke. It's a satire right? PLEASE tell me that it's a satire. People can't possibly be that dumb can they? smilies/cry.gif
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U.N. follies
written by Realitysage, March 26, 2009
Due to the ineffectual nature of U.N. occupations as demonstrated by their own police raping and looting West African communities for example, plus their infamous overall ineptness, perhaps the U.N. should forget about religious policy and stick to something they're actually good at.....humanitarian aid. Anything they do to discourage woo-woo in developing nations is bound to be futile anyway. And remember, freedom includes the freedom to think like an idiot as long as its peacefully lawful.
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written by deavman, March 26, 2009
@ Alencon
Sadly, it appears as one more manifestation of the utterly deluded.
See link below:
http://www.abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=7148839&page=1
Also it is not sillier than the site that offering to insert wishes or prayers within the stones of the "wailing wall" in Jerusalem.
(http://www.aish.com/wallcam/Pl...e_Wall.asp)
The funniest part was that prayers would not be accepted without a valid email address....E-God anyone ???
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Prayers for Hire
written by StarTrekLivz, March 27, 2009
the informationageprayer doesn't appear to be a joke: it seems to be an updated version of various devices, like the statues of the worshipper that ancient Egyptians set up in Temples to pray by proxy, or the monks & nuns who would say masses or prayers or psalms for $ for those too otherwise occupied (especially with war & carnage) to do their own praying, Tibetan prayer wheels with motors installed, etc. etc.

If there were a god, don't you think he/she/it would notice an electronic repetition of the prayer instead of an actual human with sincere intent mouthing the words?

On topic, the UN rejection is a good thing, since the intent was clearly to establish Islam in a favored position. There would have been no Englightnment, Age of Reason, or even Reformation in Europe if similar laws were applied -- oh, wait, I forgot, the Church did try to apply those kinds of laws ..... Hence the lists of martyrs & Inquisitions.
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Two words for Islam:
written by BillyJoe, March 27, 2009
They wanted OTHERS to lose some liberty because of THEIR religious belief.

Two words:

|=v
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written by BillyJoe, March 27, 2009
I've got no idea how the autocensor picked that up.

Let me try again:

mFoUhCaKmOmFaFd

BJ
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written by tmac57, March 27, 2009
When are people going to learn that respect isn't something you can demand or legislate. It has to be EARNED !
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@ tmac
written by BillyJoe, March 27, 2009
I don't think you've quite got it.

This has nothing to do with respect.
It is about protection.
They want to protect religion.
(In particular, they want to protect Islam).

And the point is that protection is for INDIVIDUALS.

Ideas, dogmas, ideologies and religions are fair game.

BJ
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written by bosshog, March 28, 2009
This all ties in with the idea of "hate crimes". If hate is an aggravating factor in the commission of a crime and merits additional punishment then hate itself is ipso facto a crime. To outlaw hate is to enforce love.

"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

-George Orwell "1984"
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written by tmac57, March 28, 2009
@BillyJoe,
I agree totally with the idea that this is about protection of their ideology.I do however believe that religion , and Islam in particular has the conceit that their beliefs must be 'respected' by others, and the radical elements would like to enforce this 'respect' by threats or acts of extreme punishment or death.
It's a little like abusive persons that become increasingly insecure of their relationships because they know that their actions are driving others away, so they escalate their abuse to try to maintain control.
The problem that people that think this way have , is that they believe fear and wariness equal respect.
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written by BillyJoe, March 28, 2009
Okay, yes, they want respect and, you are right, respect must be earned, but the purpose of the UN resolution, which, by the way, was defeated by one less vote than last time it came up for consideration, was to give them protection from criticism, insult and defamation. But the point is that it is individuals that need protection, not ideologies.

Also there are forms of islam that are quite benign. And of course then there is the fundamentalist element which is perhaps only slightly less abhorent than christian fundamentalism, but a whole lot more powerful.

BJ
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written by tmac57, March 29, 2009
@BillyJoe: I think we are in agreement. And the only form of extremism that I might condone, is extreme reasonability , although someone could probably find a counterexample to even that position.
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Was Not Rejected.
written by Astone, March 30, 2009
According to the World Association of newspapers:
The Council’s resolution, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and approved by the Council on Friday, calls for a global fight against “defamation of religions.” Islamic countries argue that criticizing or lampooning religions is a violation of the rights of believers and leads to discrimination and violence against them.


And Reuters:
GENEVA (Reuters) - A United Nations forum on Thursday passed a resolution condemning "defamation of religion" as a human rights violation, despite wide concerns that it could be used to justify curbs on free speech in Muslim countries.

The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted the non-binding text, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic states, with a vote of 23 states in favour and 11 against, with 13 abstentions.



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written by Trish, March 30, 2009
BJ says, "there are forms of Islam that are quite benign."

I'd say, "There are people who profess Islam who do not engage in or support violence, even though Islamic scriptures & teachings support & promote violence."

Are there followers of Islam that reject scriptures that encourage violence? Or try to depict such scriptures as metaphors for a "spiritual" struggle? Do nonviolent members of Islam confront those who espouse violence? Where are the Muslims who said, "Cut it out, they're only cartoons" when Danish embassies & products were being attacked?

I'd ask this of followers of all religions: If the scriptures you base your beliefs on encourage violence, if people engage in violence in the name of those scriptures, is your peaceful behavior really a result of - or is it in spite of - what the scriptures teach?
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Trish
written by BillyJoe, March 31, 2009
I don't disagree with anything you said. smilies/smiley.gif

BJ
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written by Trish, March 31, 2009
BJ,
Thanks
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