Saturday, March 28, 2009

I hawk the Loogie of Disrespect upon your backward superstition!

The U.N. Human Rights Council decided that people's oh-so-tender religious sensibilities need to be protected from the likes of me:

GENEVA (Reuters) - A United Nations forum on Thursday passed a resolution condemning "defamation of religion" as a human rights violation, despite wide concerns that it could be used to justify curbs on free speech in Muslim countries.

The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted the non-binding text, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic states, with a vote of 23 states in favour and 11 against, with 13 abstentions.


It called on states to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols are protected, to reinforce laws "to deny impunity" for those exhibiting intolerance of ethnic and religious minorities, and "to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs".

(via vastleft) Emphasis added. Certainly I agree with some of this. Religious places should be protected from vandalism, adherents of a religion should not suffer persecution or discrimination, etc. But that doesn't mean that all possible religious beliefs should automatically be respected. Indeed, given the incompatible nature of many religious beliefs, I don't think it's possible to harbor respect for all religions simultaneously.

Sometimes I marvel at humanity. What an odd lot we are. Not only do we want to cling to the most outrageous supernatural absurdities, we want to be protected from mockery for doing so. Humanity's propensity for supernaturalism is a bug I intend to correct before the update is released.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say it's a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, as noted, there's a real chance that countries with certified state religions (yes, there are more out there than just Islamic countries) will use it to curb the free speech of those who do not adhere to the state's world-view.

On the other hand, there's a real chance that human rights groups -- including the U. N. Human Rights Council -- can use this resolution as leverage to help protect those very people: apostates from Islam; Tibetans who believe Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama and their rightful spiritual leader; atheists who want to rid the U. S.' currency and "Pledge of Allegiance" to references to any deities; etc.

It's also quite possible to respect contradictory beliefs and be tolerant thereof. The impossibility is believing them all.

Of course, this is all non-binding -- toothless. And I'm sure there are those who would use it for personal gain (e.g. suing for damages when prevented from engaging in ersatz religious practices). So I admit, I can't but view this all with a bit of cynicism, myself. But it's in my nature to be hopeful, just as it is to be respectful -- even when friends may be hocking* the Loogie of Disrespect at my backwards superstitions ;)

* I've only seen the verb 'to hawk' refer to A) hunting with said animals, and B) advertising and/or selling goods. Maybe it's a regionalism. It's fairly inconsequential anyway, since even in my idiolect the two words are homophonous.

10:49 PM, March 28, 2009  

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