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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Credit where credit is due

In this statement by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi it appears that the Vatican is currently giving some (admittedly mild) opposition to the "defamation of religion" push by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). It's all very lukewarm, and we know that the Vatican has supported various kinds of restrictions on free speech in the form of blasphemy laws and/or religious vilification laws. Still, the concept of "defamation of religion" goes further, and it's nice to know that even the Vatican opposes it, or at least wants it clarified. I've suggested in various places - at least in the occasional comment on the interblogs - that the Vatican supports the idea, but it looks like I was wrong.

Doubtless the Vatican's take on the issue will become clearer over time. But for the moment at least, I withdraw any claim that it supports the OIC concept. That doesn't appear to be right. I must give credit where credit's due.

Edit: That said, I'm not much comforted when I see a Catholic country such as Ireland attempting to enact a law like this.


mace said...

I'm not sure that credit is actually due to the Vatican, the Catholic objection seems to be rather that the "defamation" regulation would be used by Islamic countries to intensify the oppression of religious minorities, with UN approval. Nothing would be gained by the Church in the West as( I'd like to believe)) no legislative support for the "defamation" of religion would be forthcoming. I'd say the Vatican's objection is based more on calculation than high principle.

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