1st December 2010
The United Nations: a united voice against freedom?
The more I read and think about the United Nations, the less impressed I am with its output. There might be a few minor achievements to its credit, but we have paid too much to get too little out of this mammoth talk-fest with its bloated bureaucracy (not to talk of questionable organs like IPCC). Another problem is that it has deviated into activities that are simply none of its business.
This one, for instance, takes the cake – steps to actively destroy freedom of expression across the world.
In March 2009, "A United Nations forum passed a resolution condemning "defamation of religion" as a human rights violation" (source). On 23 November 2010, "The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday voted in favor of a resolution, “Combating defamation of religions" (source).
In an article in The Age today (1 December 2010), Barney Zwartz reports that "the United Nations General Assembly this month is likely to approve a non-binding resolution against 'defamation of religion'". The resolution is sponsored by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Apparently this conference seeks "an international blasphemy law that will make it a criminal offence to disparage Islam".
This is a highly retrogressive proposal, and one can only hope that the General Assembly will trounce this ridiculous resolution.Freedom has many enemies, and religions have rarely been its friend. Even the thought of proposing such a resolution can only come from religious fanatics who don't understand simple things like the following:
a) Humanity MUST be free to make use of its thinking capacity to analyse and question EVERYTHING. That includes questioning not merely material matters through science, but religions and even God Himself. Nothing is outside the realm of human questioning, and nothing can be kept outside its reach. We must remain free to find the truth. And if, upon careful consideration, a particular religious belief is found to be false, then humans MUST have the rights to express that opinion – including comments that DENY the scriptures totally and comprehensively. God did not give us a brain (assuming that God exists) for us to lock it and throw the key into the ocean.
b) If God is omnipotent then let God decide whether something is blasphemous or not, and let Him take care of that on his own. It is not for us, mere mortals, to block freedom of speech of our fellow humans for the sake of protecting God! ‘For’, as Emperor Tiberius remarked, ‘if the gods think that they have just claims for grievance, they can surely take care of themselves’’.
Through such a resolution the UN is effectively demoting God and bringing him under HUMAN protection! Surely God can protect Himself from "blasphemers" like Salman Rushdie or Asia Bibi (- the poor woman, caught up in the primitive part of the world known as Pakistan) – without the UN.
Let the United Nations not make itself TOTALLY IRRELEVANT and even DESPISED by considering such matters which are none of its business. It has no business to adjudicate on matters related to religion. All it can say is that religion is a personal private business of each individual, who must also be ensured freedom of thought and expression.
Its job is therefore purely to advance human freedom and security.
Let it stick to its knitting.