Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Loss of Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech

As a follow up to a previous post, also by the Washington Post, on what the redefining of marriage will cost. World wide, the freedom of speech, long a cherished bullwark of western civilization, is under assault and any many cases has been killed.

For years, the Western world has listened aghast to stories out of Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations of citizens being imprisoned or executed for questioning or offending Islam. Even the most seemingly minor infractions elicit draconian punishments. ...

...Among the new blasphemers is legendary French actress Brigitte Bardot, who was convicted last June of "inciting religious hatred" for a letter she wrote in 2006 to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, saying that Muslims were ruining France. It was her fourth criminal citation for expressing intolerant views of Muslims and homosexuals. Other Western countries, including Canada and Britain, are also cracking down on religious critics.

Emblematic of the assault is the effort to pass an international ban on religious defamation supported by United Nations General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann. Brockmann is a suspended Roman Catholic priest who served as Nicaragua's foreign minister in the 1980s under the Sandinista regime, the socialist government that had a penchant for crushing civil liberties before it was tossed out of power in 1990.... (more)

Beetle has some examples of actual healthcare professionals who have been pressured to violate ethical standards.

And over at Get Religion they're also talking about the WaPo article and have pulled in a number of different viewpoints on the matter like this one from GayPatriot:

Ms. Salmon cites a number of examples where individuals, organizations and entrepreneurs were fired for, fimed for or barred from refusing service to or inclusion of gay people. Now, I personally think these groups are wrong to so exclude gays, but they’re not requiring me to buy their product or participate in their activities.

At the same time, if a gay group wanted to exclude Christians from its membership, it should be free to do so. Their right to do that would come from the First Amendment’s clause on “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” and also possibly the Ninth Amendment.

But, these constitutional protections don’t seem to be a barrier to gay groups in their zeal to reduce the freedom of private individuals and organizations. They are prevailing in courts according to Ms. Salmon “because an individual’s religious views about homosexuality cannot be used to violate gays’ right to equal treatment under the law.”

Say what? That’s not equal treatment under the law. That’s using the law to limit individuals’ freedom, just as it would be if Christians used the law to mandate that gay organizations include ex-gays or gay business serve the Christian Coalition
. (more)

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