Kudos to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who in rolling out the State Department’s annual report on religious liberty, made clear that the Administration opposes the annual effort of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to shut down free speech. According to the Christian Post:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced strong opposition Monday to the proposed U.N. resolution on “defamation of religions,” saying that such policies would restrict free speech.
In opening remarks for the release of the State Department’s Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, Clinton said that while some claim so-called defamation of religions policies would help protect freedom of religion, she “strongly disagree[s].”
“The United States will always seek to counter negative stereotypes of individuals based on their religion and will stand against discrimination and persecution,” Clinton stated. “But an individual’s ability to practice his or her religion has no bearing on others’ freedom of speech.”
Earlier this year, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted an anti-defamation draft resolution that human rights groups warn would protect a religion rather than adherents of religions.
Leonard A. Leo, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, last week testified to Members of Congress that the only religion and religious adherents that are specifically mentioned in the “defamation” resolutions – this year’s and past years – are Islam and Muslims.
The resolution in question is an annual offering from the OIC that constitutes an attempt to get the UN to put its stamp of approval on religious tyranny and other abridgements of the right to free speech that is supposedly guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As Secretary Clinton rightly points out, there is no connection between freedom of religion and the fact that some people have ugly things to say about religion in general or one religion in particular. If you object to something someone says about religion or your religion, say so, show where he’s wrong, insult him if that’s all you can come up with. But don’t shut anyone else down just to protect your feelings.
By the way, for those who think that there’s religious freedom in North Korea, here’s another perspective:
The State Department’s annual report precedes an expected update from the department on the list of “countries of particular concern” – the category for the worst religious freedom violators. The last U.S. list released in January included Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, China, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Sudan and Uzbekistan – the same countries that made the list in 2008.