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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Laws Against Blasphemy, Apostasy, and Religious Defamation

Previous posts have noted that the United States is unusual in the extent to which it protects all kinds of expression, including deeply offensive statements about race, religion and politics.  The Pew Forum reports:
A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that as of 2011 nearly half of the countries and territories in the world (47%) have laws or policies that penalize blasphemy, apostasy (abandoning one’s faith) or defamation (disparagement or criticism of particular religions or religion in general). Of the 198 countries studied, 32 (16%) have anti-blasphemy laws, 20 (10%) have laws penalizing apostasy and 87 (44%) have laws against the defamation of religion, including hate speech against members of religious groups.