“Why should I respect these oppressive religions?” by Johann Hari

January 28, 2009 | By | 9 Replies More

Why indeed? Please read this excellent article by Johann Hari at the Independent, detailing the tragic hijacking of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights by religious bigots. Here’s a taste:

Starting in 1999, a coalition of Islamist tyrants, led by Saudi Arabia, demanded the rules be rewritten. The demand for everyone to be able to think and speak freely failed to “respect” the “unique sensitivities” of the religious, they decided – so they issued an alternative Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. It insisted that you can only speak within “the limits set by the shariah [law]. It is not permitted to spread falsehood or disseminate that which involves encouraging abomination or forsaking the Islamic community”.

In other words, you can say anything you like, as long as it precisely what the reactionary mullahs tell you to say. The declaration makes it clear there is no equality for women, gays, non-Muslims, or apostates. It has been backed by the Vatican and a bevy of Christian fundamentalists.


All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don’t respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a “Prophet” who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.

I don’t respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don’t respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. This is not because of “prejudice” or “ignorance”, but because there is no evidence for these claims. They belong to the childhood of our species, and will in time look as preposterous as believing in Zeus or Thor or Baal.

When you demand “respect”, you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade.

This is a great article and should be read by all people concerned with human rights and freedom of speech, regardless of their attitudes toward religion.

These robed thugs are grotesque caricatures of humanity and must be stopped. I’m staggered that the UN is letting the bastards get away this.


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Category: Censorship, Current Events, ignorance, Religion

About the Author ()

Hank was born of bird-watching bushwalking music-loving parents from whom he gained his love of nature, the universe & bicycles. Today he's a musician, non-profit aid worker, beagle keeper and fair & balanced internet commentator - but that just means he has a chip on each shoulder.

Comments (9)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Hank: I was somewhat confused by Hari's article at first. When I first read it, I wondered whether rogue nations had succeeded in amending the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but now it appears that the problem is one of how the UN upholds the UDHR (which is, in my opinion, is a most impressive document).

    It appears that the UDHR is still intact, but that the UN's Rapporteurs on Human Rights (who apparently used to function as a Greek Chorus to berate and taunt those who deprived others of their basic human dignities) are now being handcuffed and gagged. I make this claim because obnoxious movements are so often equal and opposite reactions to other obnoxious movements. The fundamentalist/neocons of the U.S. led the way with their attempts to stifle free speech in the U.S. in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion.

    Therefore, the UDHR is being diminished through degenerate enforcement and non-enforcement rather than by amendment. Same damned result, of course. If the UN doesn't use its people to speak out where injustice exists, the UDHR becomes just another dusty old document sitting in a file cabinet.

    Therefore, the Hari article is quite disturbing, though not really surprising in light of the worldwide wave of fundamentalism that has been triggered and maintained, at least in part, by the loud and obnoxious words and actions of Christian fundamentalists right here in the U.S.

  2. Hank says:

    Yes, you're quite right, it is indeed the enforcing of the DHR and not the DHR itself that's being rendered ineffective by these goons. It's going the way of most UN processes these days – I mean, what's the point of voting on anything when one country in particular (and by proxy its favourite client state) gets to veto or abstain from a vote or just flat ignore the rest of the world's decisions anyway? But I digress.

  3. TheThinkingMan says:

    Excellent article.

    It is interesting that I was having a conversation online with a former friend of mine (she attended a church that I did when I lived in Holland) about the Israeli Occupation of the Gaza Strip and the hundreds of women and children killed on a daily basis by the Israeli army.

    Of course, being the Conservative Christian lackey that she is, she spouted that it was "too bad that those poor Palestinians have to die." Though she offered no real empathy. She said that "they deserve it" because Israel is only "trying to protect her people" and that "that land was given to [the Israeli's] by God."

    Of course, I tried to point out that the Muslims believe the very same thing, and believe they are acting in self defense. I said that she, being a Christian, should understand both sides of the conflict and realize that this war is clearly not what her God/Jesus would want.

    In reply, she said I shouldn't be judging her as a Christian, then proceeded to quote a line from Leviticus and then Romans. Which verses? you ask. Well, those condemning homosexuality.

    So, instead of debating over the substantive argument that I first brought up, she resolves to attack me as a person.

    This, of course, is not surprising given previous conversations I've had with "Christians" but it just goes to show you how so many of these people think, and how they are willing to ignore facts and decide to preach instead of follow their own advice.

  4. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    The personal attack is usually an indication that one has engaged in a battle of wits without being properly armed.

  5. Ebonmuse says:

    The U.N. needs a separation of powers, in my opinion. The way that the world's dictatorships can consistently band together to vote for repressive policy positions is a perfect illustration of the kind of thing America's founders feared and sought to avoid by creating a constitution and different branches of government that would check each other.

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    The zealots have been successful at the United Nations, according to the Center for Inquiry.

    The United Nations Human Rights Council has handed another victory to Islamic states in their decade-long push to limit freedom of expression out of “respect” for religious beliefs.

    Most worrisome, according to CFI, is that the present language equates religiously insulting speech with “advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence,” a category of speech that is prohibited by existing treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which have the force of law.

  7. Erich Vieth says:

    To become NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen will apologize for the Mohammed cartoons.

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