Feature

When the ‘Free World’ bars free speech

Countries in the West are using hate-crime laws to punish people who “offend” religion, but in nations that revere freedom and pluralism, there should be no “unacceptable” ideas and no such crime as bla

Jonathan TurleyThe Washington Post

“The ‘Free World’ may be losing faith in free speech,” said Jonathan Turley. Westerners are appalled when countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia prosecute citizens for “offending Islam.” But an “equally troubling trend” has been developing in the West, where countries have used hate-crime laws to punish people who "offend” religion.

In France, actress Brigitte Bardot was convicted last June of “inciting religious hatred” by declaring that Muslims were ruining France. Dutch prosecutors last year arrested cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot for insulting Christians and Muslims with a cartoon depicting fundamentalists as zombies. Italian prosecutors are investigating a comedian for making a crude joke about Pope Benedict’s opposition to homosexuality. Britain has barred a Dutch politician from entering the country because he described Islam as a “violent religion.”

Some of these attacks on religion are indeed offensive and ignorant, but that’s not the point. “The purpose of free speech is to be able to challenge widely held views.” In nations that supposedly revere freedom and pluralism, there should be no “unacceptable” ideas, and no such crime as blasphemy.

Recommended

No, we can't just 'vaccinate the world'
Earth.
Picture of David FarisDavid Faris

No, we can't just 'vaccinate the world'

10 things you need to know today: November 30, 2021
Joe Biden
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 30, 2021

Barbados drops Britain and its queen, becomes a republic
Barbados becomes a republic
President Rihanna?

Barbados drops Britain and its queen, becomes a republic

Trevor Noah slams the Omicron-fueled Southern Africa travel bans
Trevor Noah
The Daily Showdown

Trevor Noah slams the Omicron-fueled Southern Africa travel bans

Most Popular

7 cartoons about Thanksgiving inflation
Political Cartoon.
Feature

7 cartoons about Thanksgiving inflation

Who pays America's taxes?
Taxes.
Briefing

Who pays America's taxes?

Chris Cuomo delivers Thanksgiving tirade on XM show
Chris Cuomo.
woah there

Chris Cuomo delivers Thanksgiving tirade on XM show