Criminalize This

September 21, 2012

Your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Another day of troubling developments concerning the perilous position in which free expression finds itself around the world.

The EU, OIC, Arab League, and African Union release a joint statement [PDF] condemning the “Innocence of Muslims” video and “religious hatred that constitutes incitement to hostility and violence,” without calling for specific measures. The OIC on its own, however, is re-upping its calls for criminalization of blasphemy.

But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono does get specific, asking the UN and the OIC to “mull over international protocol to prevent things like this from happening again.” Indonesia, you’ll remember, is about to undergo UN human rights review, and is where Alexander Aan is sitting in jail for saying he had doubts about God.

Pakistan Prime Minister joins his president in calling for international blasphemy laws

Reuters reports on a new study that says “three-quarters of the world’s population live in states where practicing their faith is restricted in some way.” 

Paramilitary forces mustered in Kashmir to tamp down unrest over the video. 

Deutsche Welle: Germany may ban the video, and generally bolster free speech restrictions, thanks to a “blasphemy paragraph” in its penal code.

The editor of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, which is publishing cartoons of Muhammad, is defiant:

The accusation that we are pouring oil on the flames in the current situation really gets on my nerves. After the publication of this absurd and grotesque film about Muhammad in the US, other newspapers have responded to the protests with cover stories. We are doing the same thing, but with drawings. And a drawing has never killed anyone. 

WaPo’s Charles Lane applauds:

One cheer for Charlie Hebdo. I doubt that its cartoons are either laudable or responsible. In fact, I’m sure that they are neither. But if free speech means anything, it’s the right to say and publish things that other people find objectionable and irresponsible, even blasphemous.  

The Pakistani cleric who accused Rimsha Masih of blasphemy has been found guilty of conspiracy. 

The Age: Rimsha’s case may be changing minds in Pakistan about blasphemy laws. 

In other news… 

Vlad Chituc takes Dave Silverman to task for his recent tweets about Islam, saying he’s practicing a kind of “soft bigotry” we often see directed at our own kind. 

IHEU posts its joint statement with CFI to the UN condemning Saudi Arabia for “its 30-year record of funding and promoting Islamic extremism.” 

Science Daily reports on a new study that looks at why misinformation is so “sticky.” 

Religion Dispatches reports on Atheism+. 

Now here’s a lede for you:

. . . the domineering leader of a renegade Amish sect, and 15 of his followers were convicted  on Thursday in Cleveland of federal conspiracy and hate crimes for a series of bizarre beard- and hair-cutting attacks . .  

Rebecca Watson talks to Vue Weekly about the big issues skeptics tackle, including fighting anti-vax nonsense:

This has a serious, real-world body count to it. This is something that is actually helping to spread disease and to kill people, particularly babies. 

CFI Institute opens registration for its course “Critical Inquiry: The Appeal to Reason,” with instructors John Shook and David Koepsell. 

Jacques Berlinerblau: “An America ‘where the separation of church and state is absolute’ is no longer a core Democratic conviction.” 

District judge: No, you may not sue your neighbor for $1 million because you think their wi-fi router is making you sick. 

Fr. Dwight Longenecker at Patheos calls “authentic atheists” a “human sub-species“:

They plod through life eating, working, shopping, breeding and sleeping, and God never seems to flit across their consciousness. 

Jacquielynn Floyd at the Dallas Morning News, following Rick Perry’s bizarre assertion that church-state separation in Satan’s doing, says the governor’s “gibberish” is beginning to “test the limits of our tolerance.” 

Mayor of Harri
sburg Linda Thompson, who prays with city staff on the job, will address the Pennsylvania State Atheist/Humanist Conference.

Legislative action in Washington state begins to reverse the decline in vaccination rates. 

Holy crap, it’s Annie Laurie Gaylor talking to Oprah Winfrey about atheism in 1984

Quote of the Day        

Unrelated to skepto-atheism, but hilarious (and I say this as an unabashed Apple devotee and follower of The Steve, peace be upon him). As iDevice users upgrade to iOS 6, they find their maps aren’t as useful as they used to be. From the London mass transit system:


(Found here.)

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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