Egypt is again showing the world that it is regressing into medieval religious orthodoxy under the enforcement of Islamic values through criminal laws. The latest victim of religious orthodoxy is actress Rania Youssef who may go to jail for wearing a revealing dress. That’s right, she is facing criminal charges for wearing a dress at the Cairo Film Festival. Just for the record, I hate the dress. But that is a stylistic matter. The case is an attack on free speech and what is most disturbing is that it is the work of two lawyers who seem to relish being vehicles of repression and intolerance. Continue reading “Egyptian Actress Faces Incarceration Over Wearing Revealing Dress To Film Festival”
While President Donald Trump repeatedly denounces the “witch hunt” in Washington, it may becoming more and more easy to find them. According to a report from the Christian Post, the number of witches and wiccans has increased dramatically since the 1990s. Indeed, the figures is taken from studies from a Trinity College and the Pew Research Cente that found that there are at least 1.5 million witches in the United States,. That would put them 100,000 over the 1.4 million mainline Presbyterians in the country. Continue reading “Report: Witches Now Outnumber Presbyterians In The United States”
Some 144 Turkish mosques in the Netherlands are demanding that Twitter bar any tweets from conservative politician Geert Wilders due to what they alleged are hateful and disparaging comments. As many on this blog know, I hold to a robust view of free speech protections. I tend to oppose censorship through both governmental and private means. This is no exception. It has nothing to do with Wilders’ views. I remain committed to the view that the best way of dealing with bad speech is good speech — not the censorship or criminalization of case. Continue reading “Mosques Demand Twitter Bar Any Tweets By Geert Wilders”
Ireland has voted to remove blasphemy as a punishable offense from the country’s constitution — a move that could allow the repealing for Ireland’s long-controversial crime for speech deemed offensive to religious sensibilities. Ireland has held the ignoble distinction as one of the few non-Muslim countries still criminalizing blasphemy. I have previously criticized the law (here and here and here). Some 65% of the voters supported the removal of the blasphemy reference in the Constitution. Continue reading “Ireland Votes To Remove Blasphemy As An Offense From It’s Constitution”
A new decision from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) confirms the all-out assault on free speech that has taken hold of Europe. In a chilling decision, the ECHR upheld a fine levied against an Austrian woman who called Muhammad a pedophile for his arranged marriage with a young girl while in his 50s. The court ruled that such views are not protected by free speech because they violate “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected.” The decision confirms the near complete subjugation of free speech to religious and other views in society. Continue reading “European Court Upholds Prosecution Of Woman For Comparing Muhammad’s Marriage To A Six-Year-Old Girl To Pedophilia”
This October twenty-sixth, voters in Ireland will decide at the polls if the country’s prohibition on blasphemy should be removed from the nation’s constitution. It comes for me as a welcome sign of some progress against what otherwise was a trend in Western Europe toward establishing an international blasphemy standard that many regard as censorship and a vehicle for possible criminal prosecution of speech and expression.
While the Irish government has insisted that no persons have been successfully prosecuted for blasphemy since the 1850s, the existence of any such statute serves as leverage by the state to control what its citizens may say or what behavior it considers objectionable. The time for repeal I believe has arrived.
The intolerance of art and free expression in many Islamic countries was particularly and painfully evident in the Maldives last week. A beautiful and powerful underwater sculpture by British artist Jason DeCaires Taylor was ordered destroyed by the government after objections by Islamic leaders for its depiction of human forms. Ironically, the art highlighted the dire risk of rising sea levels for the Maldives. Instead, its demise will forever symbolize the risk of rising intolerance of religious orthodoxy. For some tourists who flock to the Maldives, this outrageous attack on art just might be a deterrent to future vacation plans.
I have previously written about the continued use of blasphemy laws in the West, including Spain and Ireland. The continued enforcement of medieval concepts of blasphemy as evidenced by the detention of Willy Toledo, who was accused of ridiculing God and the Virgin Mary in court. Toledo is being targeted due to comments made on social media in support of three women who are being prosecuted for blasphemy. It is chilling to think that an actual judge would hold such a hearing in modern times. The nation that gave us the Spanish Inquisition still claims the right to imprison people for insulting God.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws as well as blasphemy laws. Continue reading “The Spanish Inquisition: Actor Becomes Latest Blasphemy Target In The West”
Among some fundamentalists in the Jewish and Christian faiths, there has been an obsession of the coming of a flawless red heifer as a divine harbinger. Both Jewish and Christian breeders have been trying to engineer the harbinger by breeding a flawless red heifer in order to bring about the building of the Third Temple and/or the second coming of Christ. Continue reading “Birth of Red Heifer Hailed As The Harbinger Of The End Of Times In Israel”
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Nature can be mesmerizing when we afford ourselves the opportunity to believe such. Often we keep ourselves at a distance to the outdoors and view each element only as an abstraction: too ordinary and mundane and something simply to drive past.
In such as this example of nature before us, from afar we only see stumps in a drying reservoir. Yet for a small investment in our time and close attention, a century of nature’s craft shows some true woodworking.
Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan quit their jobs in Washington, D.C. to experience the world in their late 20s. Austin wrote on the trip how he had found great decency everywhere they had gone. He wrote: “Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own… By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind.” That inspiring world adventure came to the end in Tajikistan when they and two other cyclists were hit by a car filled with ISIS fighters who jumped and stabbed them to death as “nonbelievers.”
Students at Cambridge are objecting to the hiring of American Aron Wall, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California-Santa Barbara who studies “quantum gravity and black hole thermodynamics.” It is not Wall’s academic credentials or theories that are controversial. Rather, three years ago, Wall wrote a blog post critical of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, the decision protecting the right to same-sex marriage. Wall’s criticism was of non-monogamous relations in the gay and lesbian communities. One can easily see the objections to such arguments but critics have gone further to object that Wall’s personal views create a hostile or threatening environment. Continue reading “Cambridge Under Fire For Hiring American Physics Researcher Who Advocated Monogamy On Blog Three Years Ago”
Below is my column in the Washington Post on the implications of the resignation of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy and his own decisions setting aside prior precedent. Indeed, Kennedy’s last week before announcing his resignation reenforced the very arguments that could be used by a new conservative majority to strip away his legacy. Indeed, Kennedy spent the last week eagerly sawing away on the branch on which he and his legacy rests.