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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Columns

Law against religious dissent is intolerant


The United Nations was formed under the ideals of promoting world peace, social progress, economic development and human rights on a world scale to help ensure the human race would move forward on a road where wisdom and logic would be the foundation to enact these principles in an appropriate manner.

Though the United Nations might begin to stray from this path as the General Assembly may again vote in favor of an anti “defamation of religions” or “anti-blasphemy” resolution, primarily championed by Islamic countries who want it elevated into international law.

The resolution would shield religion from verbal abuse and be an official approval of blasphemy laws, which vary from fines, lengthy jail sentences, or even death for the accused.

The resolution is presented primarily under the idea of counteracting anti-religious violence and cutting down of what some see as extensive bias against Islam in the West, though it protects all religions.

Yes, it will take care of those who burn copies of the Quran or use violence as a means of showing opposition to a religion or a religious denomination, but it will also unjustly affect the peaceful.

Many of the critics note the difficulty or impossibility of actually enforcing this law. It’s argued that religion cannot have protection from criticism as that requires a judicial ruling that a religious denomination’s belief is truth over another, and for something to be defamatory it must also be false. Where does this leave the religions denounced as false?

Catherine Loubier, spokeswoman for Canada’s foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon made a wise statement saying, “The focus (here) should not be on protecting religions, but rather on protecting the rights of the adherents of religions, including of people belonging to religious minorities, or people who may choose to change their religion, or not to practice religion at all.”

For every issue that has been brought to a forefront and has any trace of affecting free speech, words of resistance and caution always emerge that strive to remind us of a dystopia where our thought is limited, ideas oppressed, and freedom devastated.

It is not social progress when tolerance is forced through law, particularly when it’s this shortsighted and ineffectively done. The United Nations has a long way to go to achieve its goals; hopefully they will see that this path is not the right direction.

Marcus Smith is an English freshman and may be reached at [email protected].


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