The Vatican’s observer to the UN addressed the General Assembly yesterday on the subject of religious freedom and made quite a mess of it. The occasion was the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. There was plenty of hypocritical double talk. Like this:
Every individual and group must be free from coercion and no one should be forced to act in a manner contrary to his or her beliefs, whether in private or public, whether alone or in association with others. It is important here to pay particular attention to the needs of the weakest groups, including women, children, refugees, religious minorities and persons deprived of their liberty.
Sounds good, but they don’t mean it. They certainly don’t mean it when a woman wants access to contraception, which the Church has actively sought to block all over the world. The Vatican spokesman waxed eloquent about the need to protect “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”, but they obviously do not mean it. Just look at their response to the Danish cartoon controversy:
The right to freedom of thought and expression, sanctioned by the Declaration of the Rights of Man, cannot imply the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers. This principle applies obviously for any religion.
This is quite absurd. Of course the right to freedom of thought and expression not only implies but demands the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers. Just because you label your views religious does not make them immune to criticism or ridicule. And if you’re going to take the position that anything that “offends” your “sentiments” is grounds for punishment, you really need to shut the hell up about freedom of thought; you clearly don’t believe in any such thing.