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Maronite Patriarch suggests UN policy against blasphemy

Catholic World News - September 20, 2012

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai has joined in calls for a UN policy against defamation of religion.

The Lebanese prelate, reacting to the film “Innocence of Muslims”—which he described as an offense against all faiths, not only Islam—said that religious beliefs should be protected from mockery. He pointed out that Christian beliefs are also frequently the target of public attacks.

Since religious harmony is an important element of world peace, the Maronite Patriarch suggested that the UN should take the lead in preventing blasphemous attacks.

In a related development, four Anglican bishops from northern Africa have joined in an open letter to the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, recommending an international policy “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.”

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  • Posted by: John Chrysostom - Sep. 20, 2012 7:55 PM ET USA

    I disagree with Patriarch Bechara, but I recognize he is responding as leader of a people that has long been persecuted, and that the culture he lives in has never known free speech. Pray for him, his people, and the peoples of the Middle East. Lord, have mercy!

  • Posted by: normnuke - Sep. 20, 2012 7:43 PM ET USA

    I don't doubt for a second that the present and no doubt future leadership of the UN would love to pass a world law which gave them the power to censor everyone on earth (especially in USA). But why, oh why, are so many bishops so dim witted?

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Sep. 20, 2012 5:52 PM ET USA

    This might just be brilliant! Will the liberals agree to stop bashing Christianity as well as Islam?

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Sep. 20, 2012 3:13 PM ET USA

    And to whom would the accused account for an alleged offense? I don't think this is worth pursuing.

  • Posted by: rpp - Sep. 20, 2012 2:55 PM ET USA

    I believe this is a mistake and a very short and slippery slope. If this is passed, then even the works of St. Thomas Aquinas or perhaps this very website will considered as an affront to *somebody's* religion somewhere and therefore shutdown. The only permissible perspective permitted will be secular humanist/atheist. While it can be really annoying and offensive at times, freedom of speech, yes even, and perhaps especially, blasphemous speech, MUST be permitted.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Sep. 20, 2012 2:12 PM ET USA

    It's a stupid idea to start looking to godless entities like the UN to enforce "blasphemy" laws or to even recognize them. For one the UN has no real authority and secondly a law like the one proposed in a world gone mad with subjectivism and relativism opens up a can of worms to define "blasphemy" as pertaining to anything anyone says about anyone that someone happens to find offensive even if one should say bad things about the coke can the neighbor happens to think is God.

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