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Category Archive: Free Speech

Aug 08 2013

Bangladesh is a Secular Country?

Here’s a rather baffling report from the New York Times: Bangladesh’s High Court on Thursday disqualified the country’s largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, from taking part in next year’s general election, saying the party’s charter conflicts with the principles of the nation’s secular Constitution. You’re prosecuting several bloggers for blasphemy and you think you have a …

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Aug 07 2013

Pakistani Human Rights Groups Want End to Blasphemy Laws

A coalition of human rights advocates and organizations in Pakistan is demanding an end to that nation’s barbaric laws against blasphemy, which have been used to imprison and even kill those who dare to offend the delicate religious sensibilities of Muslims.

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Aug 02 2013

Today in Blasphemy Barbarism

Here are a couple of disturbing news items from around the world involving the barbaric and unjust enforcement of blasphemy laws. In Saudi Arabia, a man was sentenced to 7 years and 600 lashes for starting a website where people could discuss Islam.

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Jul 26 2013

PA Police Chief Needs to Be Fired

The chief of police of Gilberton, Pennsylvania needs to be fired. Immediately. The mayor says she can’t do that because of the First Amendment, but she’s wrong and I’ll explain why. But take a look at how this police chief is behaving toward the people he is sworn to protect:

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Jul 11 2013

The White House Gets a Petition Response Right

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I find the Obama White House’s “We the People” petition website to be mostly a joke. Most of the petitions are pointless and most of the responses little more than a string of nonsensical platitudes. But I like part of their response to petitions demanding that the …

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Jul 11 2013

Pakistani Senate to Review Blasphemy Laws

I suppose it’s good news that a committee in the Pakistani Senate has formed a panel to examine that nation’s blasphemy laws, but it’s hard to be optimistic about the results of that examination given the country’s history. Of course, the idea that there is a human rights committee in Pakistan is almost Orwellian in …

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Jul 03 2013

Christian Authoritarians Wanted Solstice Festival Stopped

A festival to celebrate the summer solstice last weekend had the clergy and Christian folk of Pahokee, Florida up in arms. They packed a city commission meeting and demanded that the city prevent the festival from taking place because OMG pagans! Devil worshipers!

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Jul 02 2013

USCIRF Condemns Russian Blasphemy Law

The Russian Federation Council approved a bill earlier passed by the Russian Duma that provides criminal penalties for insulting religion, sending it to Putin for his signature. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is strongly criticizing the law:

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Jul 01 2013

PA Republicans Use ‘God’s Law’ to Silence Colleague

In the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, time is set aside when the members can take the floor to speak on whatever subject they like (like the U.S. House does with “special order” speeches). But they can be stopped from speaking if just one of their colleagues objects. Look what happened when a gay legislator got …

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Jul 01 2013

‘Disorderly Conduct’ Squashes Free Speech in Pennsylvania

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Here’s another great example of a disorderly conduct charge being used to do stomp on free speech, this time in Pennsylvania. A guy protesting Gov. Tom Corbett’s decision not to expand Medicaid wrote in chalk on the sidewalk, “Governor Corbett has health insurance, we should too.” The citation he received for disorderly conduct says he …

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Jun 25 2013

SCOTUS Says No to Speech Restrictions on Funding

The Supreme Court on Thursday, in a surprisingly lopsided decision, ruled that the federal government could not put restrictions on statements made by recipients of funding. The case involves a Bush-era requirement that foreign groups receiving funding to combat AIDS had to take a position opposing prostitution. Lyle Denniston explains the ruling:

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Jun 24 2013

Malik on the Importance of Free Speech

Kenan Malik has a terrific essay on freedom of speech, by which he means the freedom to say something that offends someone. He argues that this freedom is never more important than in a pluralistic and diverse society, despite arguments to the contrary.

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Jun 20 2013

More Blasphemy Convictions in Egypt

The government in Egypt continues to destroy the notion of free speech and send people to prison for “insulting” religion, and not just Islam. They convicted a reactionary Muslim Imam for tearing up a Bible and sentenced him to a very long prison term:

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Jun 18 2013

Rand Paul Cares About Christian Persecution

Rand Paul spoke at this weekend’s Faith and Freedom Coalition conference and demanded an end to aid to countries that oppress Christians, noting that blasphemy laws are often used to persecute Christians in Muslim countries, especially those who convert from Islam to Christianity.

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Jun 18 2013

Supreme Court Restricts Speech Again

On June 11, a federal district judge declared a law forbidding any protests on the grounds of the Supreme Court, overturning 40 U.S.C. § 6135. Two days later, the Supreme Court itself reasserted that same ban in a new regulation based on 40 U.S.C. § 6102, which says:

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