Just a quick one today to let you know about the latest bad decisions made supposedly in our names.
The UN this week adopted a resolution which will encourage member states to take measures against defamation of religion. The resolution, spearheaded by muslim nations, went through the UN’s human rights council and will needlessly restrict freedom of speech in order to protect religious beliefs. If you can stomach a bit of jingoism and tacky American news coverage, Christopher Hitchens had this to say on Lou Dobbs Tonight.
Don’t get me wrong, on the whole I like the UN and I don’t agree with some of the things that have been said in commentary about this issue. But were human rights not made for individuals? Why are we using our human rights infrastructures to protect an ideology? Ideas do not suffer. If they’re criticised and can’t defend themselves on their own merits, then obviously they’re not worth holding. Obviously there are freedom of speech implications, but I also object to their approach to the problem. People are reacting disproportionately to blasphemy or criticisms of their religion, so they stop people blaspheming and criticising religion? How about preventing the disproportionate response? Idiots. People do not have a right not to be offended. There are other, more basic, objection, laid out in the later parts of the second link.
The other thing is that apparently the government is going to hand a peerage to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. This is the man under whose leadership a priest who posed a danger to children was allowed to continue working with them. After the abuses came to light (and the investigations show that Murphy-O’Connor was well aware of it), he moved the priest, convicted paedophile Fr Michael Hill, to a different parish, where the abuses continued. Furthermore the Catholic Church paid off the victims so they’d drop their suits. The Times, the BBC and the Crown Prosecution Service were all investigating him, but after a claim from the Vatican that the media were persecuting the Cardinal, the investigations were mysteriously discontinued.
But what pisses me off most about these two stories is the total lack of appropriate media coverage. The UN story was brought to my attention on the AHS’s forum, Secular Portal, and the only coverage I’ve seen on the Cardinal’s peerage had as the focus the fact that he’ll be the first Catholic bishop to sit in the House, as if this were some kind of victory for the disestablishment movement. It makes me sick.