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Should blasphemy be outlawed by the UN?

Some Islamic countries are pushing for ''international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred''

http://www.smh.com.au/world/blasphemy-campaign-threatens-to-derail-un-20120925-26jh5.html

Essentially this is making protection from blasphemy a human right. Making it a right not to be offended by someone critiquing or mocking your religious views.

Essentially, if you hold genital mutilation of children sacred or any other harmful religious belief sacred it is proposed to make it illegal to condemn this.

I hope Australia does not sign this.

What a clash of values. What a clash of civilisations. Western enlightenment values versus medieval religion.

I suggest most human rights are human constructs that are granted rather than intrinsic. They aim t improve the human condition. Also none are absolute. The most difficult ethical issues often involve a clash of rights or values. Freedom of religion to lock up women versus equal rights and freedom of movement. Freedom of speech versus slander and liable.

I support individual freedom of religion up to the point it harms other people or when people try and force their religious taboos on others who do not believe. If there is a secular argument in parallel fair enough.

I suggest the world is better off allowing blasphemy, allowing religion and theocracies to be criticised or mocked. While I don't see the point of mindless provocative put downs, religion should not be off limits.

Perhaps the trickiest aspect is where the comments have a rascist aspect to them.

Isn't it interesting how freedom from religious insult is now being positioned by some alongside the right to life, freedom from slavery (what if slavery is sanctioned by your religion?), freedom from torture, equality before the law.

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief (not in some religions),

Freedom of opinion and expression - not if this gets up.

What do you think

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  • Oct 2 2012: This post made me wonder whether there is, or could be, some kind of 'stacking' system in human rights. Kind of like rules in CSS, or layers in Photoshop.

    For those not knowing what I mean, a rule in CSS is valid unless a rule later in the document overrules it.

    Of course, laws work like this to an extent. If a new law is written that contradicts an old one, the new one is followed.

    But it seems like people either ignore this fact, or don't understand, especially when talking about things like free speech. Why do laws or rules have to be so absolute? What's wrong with saying "Everybody has the right to free speech, UNLESS they are offending somebody."

    I think the key is in defining when a person has a right to be offended. It's probably impossible for both parties (the offender & offended) to take *every* possible action to stop the offence being taken, but what if we judged these things by how much the 2 parties have done to avoid offence being taken? For example, if a vegetarian walks into a Butcher's and is offended by the sight of raw meat, the vegetarian has clearly not done very much to avoid being offended. However, if a person knowingly shows up to that vegetarian's house with a basket of meat, that person must surely take the blame for any offence.

    Maybe this is already how the law is judged, I don't know. I just think following these principles solves a lot of debate.
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      Oct 3 2012: Interesting concept Sanjay.

      My view is humans identify and bestow "human rights and responsibilities"

      These rights are not intrinsic, but ideally work to improve the human condition and reduce suffering.

      I dnt think any are absolute and different rights will clash. Freedom of religion shopuld not mean freedom to kill others who do not follow your religious taboos.

      This is the sort of issue that deserves deep consideration as you suggest.

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