(First Thoughts blog) David Mills–Anglican Bishops Against Free Speech

Four Anglican bishops serving in northeastern Africa and Cyprus have written the United Nations asking that “an international declaration be negotiated that outlaws the intentional and deliberate insulting or defamation of persons (such as prophets), symbols, texts and constructs of belief deemed holy by people of faith.” They make this proposal in response to the recent movie on Muhammad and “similar offensive incidents [which] have occurred in some European countries” and ”evoked massive and violent responses worldwide.”

It is a bad idea, a very bad idea, on many levels. For one thing, such a law would violate the Western ideal of free speech we should not give up. For another, it would quickly be used to suppress not only “deliberate insulting or defamation” but reasonable criticism and disagreement. One man’s well- and kindly-argued belief that another man is in error can be to that other man insult and defamation, especially if he has no natural appreciation for the free exchange of ideas.

Read it all and make sure to read the letter the bishops wrote if you have not before today.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, History, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

One comment on “(First Thoughts blog) David Mills–Anglican Bishops Against Free Speech

  1. Cennydd13 says:

    Let’s be clear: Muslim extremists have no respect for the freedom of speech that we enjoy in the Western world. They look upon it as a weakness when we react with hand-wringing in response to their acts of terror. The only freedom of speech that they respect is their [i]own.[/i] The difference between them and us is plain for all to see; when anyone says anything which might in any way reflect upon their prophet Mohammed, they react typically with violence, but when they say the same thing about us and our beliefs, we tend to react in an entirely different manner: [i]we do it peacefully, and with no harm to anyone.[/i] If any such declaration passes, the Islamic terrorists will simply [i]ignore it,[/i] and they’ll keep right on doing what they’ve been doing.