March 26, 2007

Catholic Archbishop wants laws against religious "hurt feelings"

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, head of the Vatican permanent observer mission of the Holy See to the U.N., has stated that

Anti-religious fanaticism threatens religion and believers with insult, discrimination, persecution and injury that stands in contradiction to the promise of freedom hailed by democratic societies.

"Insult"? That contradicts democracies' "promise of freedom"? On the contrary!

"Abuse of rights of believers, even outright violence against them, state restrictions, undue impositions and persecution, public insult to religious feelings, unfortunately persist and call for remedy," he said.

Democracies must beware of the drive to "set aside the respect of concrete religions" in the interest of granting the "rights of religious freedom and freedom of expression," he said.

"One cannot consider the ridicule of the sacred as a right of freedom," the archbishop said.

I'm sorry, your eminence, but Western democracies separate the state from religion. And, one of those state legal functions, especially here in the United States, is a pretty far-reaching definition of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not have as its antithesis the right not to be offended. If someone wants to ridicule something sacred about Christianity, Judaism or Islam, that is their First Amendment right to do so. Only if this ridicule includes a direct threat of, or incitement to, violence against people of any of those faiths would there be an infringement of the law.

Such statements by the Archbishop (and at least they are just statements -- no violence) unfortunately bring to mind some of the mindset that pissed off many Muslims when those Danish cartoons were published. A good many Muslims believed (and still believe) that newspapers do not have the right to publish such material. Now we have a Catholic Archbishop expressing the same sentiments.

That is what is known as "not a good thing" for freedom and democracy, Archbishop.

Posted by Hube at March 26, 2007 03:29 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

To tie this in with your previous post about Muslim workers at Target refusing to check pork products, have you ever seen a show on Discover called Dirty Jobs? I propose a new show called Dirty Muslim Jobs, where every week the host has to do things like sell womens shoes, or work the concession stand at the ballpark. "Cold beer here! Hot dogs!"

Posted by: G Rex at March 26, 2007 05:50 PM