While I respect the right of any person to believe as they wish, I also believe that the right to speak our minds freely and without fear of reprisal, intimidation or sanction is a hallmark of Western democracy. We should not surrender our rights in order to provide uncertain security in the face of violent opposition to contrary opinions. Ben Franklin wrote, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”.
There is no reason to provide special protection to religious beliefs. The fear that religious believers will suffer “incitement, discrimination, hatred and violence against them” is nonsensical. The majority of people on the planet are religious. Religious believers hold most of the positions of power in both the East and West. They have no reason to fear the opinions of the minority. The most immediate danger to any believer in a particular god are those who believe in another god.
Criticism is not necessarily an act of hatred. Quite often criticism is an act of love. If a family member has become enslaved to drug addiction, is it an act of discrimination or hatred to criticize their addiction? If I firmly believe my country, a country I willingly served to defend, is headed in a dangerous and unconstitutional direction, should I remain mute?
Religious belief in a generic sense is predominant among humans around the globe. But there is little agreement as to the nature of the god the religious believe in. What anti-blasphemy resolutions seek to achieve will result in the inability of Baptists to speak out against the Catholic Church or reasonable people to object to the foolishness of Scientology. We will have to remain silent when Iran decides to execute those who oppose their theocracy or happen to be homosexual. Any theocratic government will be exempt from criticism by anyone for any reason.
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