Defamation of Religion

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Ceisiwr
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Defamation of Religion

Post by Ceisiwr » Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:59 pm

Does anyone have any thoughts on the UN "Defamation of Religion" resolution thats being debated?


http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/media/d ... alert/683/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Myself I think its a bad idea. Not being able to criticize an ideology never leads to anywhere good

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:34 pm

I think that that is an unacceptable atack to freedom of speech. And it can allow for religious fanatism to grow.

The bible promotes killing gays and stoning the sons who don't obey to their parents and are very stuborn. The koran allows husbands beating their wifes and the killing of the enemies of Islam. These things must be allowed to say.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

notself
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by notself » Sat Nov 06, 2010 8:56 pm

With many of the Tea Party saying that there is no Constitutional separation of church and state, we will soon have religious anti-defamation laws in the USA. Atheists will be further harassed and freedom of speech will be further curtailed. Avowed atheist are not eligible to hold public office in some States and things are going to get much worse. Yes, I am a political pessimist.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:31 pm

notself wrote:With many of the Tea Party saying that there is no Constitutional separation of church and state, we will soon have religious anti-defamation laws in the USA. Atheists will be further harassed and freedom of speech will be further curtailed. Avowed atheist are not eligible to hold public office in some States and things are going to get much worse. Yes, I am a political pessimist.
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:04 pm

I cannot stand intolerance :rules:

Buddhists shouldn't be worried about such laws. They should not defame other religions anyway. Neither approving, nor disapproving, one should just teach Dhamma.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:44 am

"Violence and discrimination against Muslims – as well as members of other religious minorities – is a real concern and more should be done to confront and counteract this problem," said Human Rights First's Tad Stahnke. "But creating new international norms restricting freedom of expression is not the way. Instead, governments and communities need to join forces to speak out and condemn acts of bigotry and hatred. Governments should also do more to combat violence motivated by religious intolerance."
This is from the Human Rights First press release linked in the OP and I completely agree with it.
Legislation against incitement of hatred is justified (though it's sad that it should be necessary) but legislation protecting *any* belief system from examination and debate is not. In fact, it will usually be counterproductive: members of each religion can and will dig in behind their legislated protection and try to gradually expand its ambit to the point where no action of anyone claiming to act according to their religion can be criticised - and that's a very scary thought.
:namaste:
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Hoo
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Hoo » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:14 am

Well said, Kim.

I actually had a death-threat intimidation laid on me some years ago by one of the very fundamentalist types, in a state where attempted and successful abortion doctor asassination attempts took place. FBI got the ring of religious stateside supporters who helped the assassin escape and were supporting him in Europe. Interpol caught the perpetrator in Europe. Some time later another hate group engaged in a road show of demonstrations and parades in the area - they were best known in earlier times for hangings, burnings, and warning select groups to leave or be killed.

With respect to Bhikkhu Pesala, I agree that we should not defame others, of any persuasion, but speaking the truth of a threat that may affect others is a duty, IMHO. I cannot teach Dhamma, having no authority or sufficient knowledge. But I chose the lay life decades before I came to Buddhism so I have earlier vows to honor. Others depend on my vows to them.

IMHO, the Buddhist layperson does pay attention to laws and events that impact others. To do otherwise, to pay no attention, is to be unaware if my family, children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors, world, etc., become exposed to a high risk environment. IMHO, that makes me a contributor to whatever violence befalls them. I am also a contributor to whatever violence befalls others when I do nothing to prevent it or to safeguard others. So these days, I vote for those who practice peace, I practice peace myself, but I remain aware of those who do not intend peace for others.

OK, off the soapbox :)

Hoo

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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by notself » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:22 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I cannot stand intolerance :rules:

Buddhists shouldn't be worried about such laws. They should not defame other religions anyway. Neither approving, nor disapproving, one should just teach Dhamma.
Anti defamation laws curtail free speech. Although the laws are called anti-defamation they are really forbidding criticism. One can be critical of a religion without defaming it. Yet these laws call all criticism, defamation. An example would be the cover-up of pedophiles by the Catholic Church which certainly deserves criticism yet one of the Cardinals responsible for responding to the concerns of laypeople called this just criticism, defamation. It certainly was not. There was no defamation of any Catholic religious beliefs.

It is admirable that in most instances Buddhist monastics stay out of the public arena. However it is one of the responsibilities of laypeople to engage in the public arena for the benefit of all.
Last edited by notself on Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Nov 07, 2010 2:24 am

Greetings
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I cannot stand intolerance
Some quality Bhikkhu Pesala wit, there. 8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

alan
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by alan » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:00 am

Toleration is a wonderful idea, until it is applied to things that should not be tolerated.

Dan74
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Dan74 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:11 am

We have Anti-vilification laws in Victoria for nearly 10 years now. There was only one complaint made under them in this time as far as I know and it was settled out of court.
The main bit states:
A person must not, on the ground of the religious belief or activity of another person or class of persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speec ... _Australia

They don't include criticism or works of art as far as I know and as I said have not been used much at all (luckily!). But they are a statement that religious hatred will not be tolerated which I kind of agree with.
_/|\_

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:57 am

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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Paññāsikhara » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:18 am

To me there often seems to be some kind of internal contradiction in some of these situations.
On one hand, some religious teachings encourage forms of violence towards certain members of society, including censorship of them, and even hatred.
On the other hand, the modern human rights notion tries to safeguard freedom of religion.
But this freedom of religion includes religious ideas that themselves do not support freedom of religion, sexuality, etc. for others.
By upholding these religions, one effectively upholds these forms of institutionalized (even sanctified) intolerance.
By by pointing this out, one is accused of not promoting freedom of religion.

It is for this reason that for a long time, although I feel the basic notion of human rights is very good, I often really cannot understand the basic ideas on which it is based. And nobody has yet provided me with a convincing argument about these "rights" actually are / what the idea means. (Please don't take this last point in the naive sense.) It always seems to come down to - who has power.
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Dan74
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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Dan74 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:44 am

I don't think anyone would seriously legislate against pointing out "issues" with certain religious doctrines.

But perhaps it is good to keep in mind that most religions are a hodge-podge of often contradictory teachings some of which are emphasized and some de-emphasized. So finding a line in some holy scripture that appears to endorse violence is not "proof" that that religion endorses violence. These things are often quoted out of the historical context in which they arose and this is quite unfair, IMO.

On the other hand if one is so inclined one can still point such passages and doctrines out and criticise. This would not be forbidden under the Hate Laws in Australia, I believe.

I recall on Master Sheng-Yen's visit here, we were shown a short clip of this address to the UN (while the organizers were getting themselves organized) where he called for religious leaders to emphasize teachings that promoted harmony and tolerance. I think every religion has those and this is a very sensible thing to do which many are already doing around the world.

So for an outsider to criticise a religion (like Hitchens in another thread) is a slippery slope and rarely constructive. best to positively affirm the values we see as important and let religions that struggle with them, deal with these in their own way.

Of course when a conflict of values arises (lie the burka debate, female circumcision, rights of women, homosexuality, etc) this needs a open debate that should involve hearing each side out carefully and humbly rather than talking down to an "inferior" culture like is often the case. This is not constructive, IMO, and just leads to further division.
_/|\_

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Re: Defamation of Religion

Post by Laurens » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:56 am

Blasphemy laws are a restriction upon free speech and expression. Freedom of speech does, of course come with a cost--idiots who say hurtful things, however we are free to rebut their statements through exercise of the very same freedom. Laws against defamation of religion, are a last resort of a weak cause. Legitimate criticisms of the three main monotheistic religions have reached such a point where they are decidedly difficult to refute, it's a last ditch attempt to silence opponents--which is something that the church has always done through various means. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of free society, no laws should be made that infringe upon it. Especially not when the very same freedom allows religious groups to openly express homophobia and bigotry.

I strongly feel that when religion learns respect it will earn respect, until then it will have to deal with criticism.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

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