-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while commenting on the infamous anti-Islam film, said “When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way.”
Note that Ki-moon goes beyond just religious values and beliefs and includes all values and beliefs. That view is nonsense.
Four North African and Middle Eastern Anglican bishops have urged U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to adopt “an international declaration against religious defamation.” The bishops claim that such a declaration would not be a violation of free speech since people would be “responsible and self-restraining in expressing or promoting offensive or malicious opinions with regard to the religions of the world.” The bishops appear to be claiming that self-censorship under the threat of force does not constitute a free speech restriction.
The International Business Times is reporting that a 27-year old man in Greece has been arrested on blasphemy against Eastern Orthodox monk Elder Paisios, who died in 1994. The suspect had set up a Facebook page using the mocking name “Geron Pastitsios,” which is a Greek pasta dish. Greek Penal Code Article 199 calls for a maximum of two years in prison for anyone who “publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church.” Reports claim that the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn was instrumental in pushing Greek authorities to make an arrest.
In Cairo, Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah is going to trial for tearing up a Bible while protesting outside the US Embassy. Oh, sweet irony! Egypt has called for an international law criminalizing contempt for religion.
Any spoken or written thought that opposes religion can be blasphemous. Religion surely needs protection from opposition since it receives no protection from reason and logic. As Martin Luther famously said:
Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but–more frequently than not –struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.
That’s an effect of blasphemy laws, criminalization of reason.