Hate speech legislation violates religious freedom

By July 22, 2008

International (MNN) –It's being called "law-fare." Muslim nations are using the United Nations' system to enact laws that restrict freedom of religion of Christians and other non-Muslims. Resolutions have already been approved by the United Nations Human Rights Council in March and the General Assembly in December.

President of the International Christian Concern Jeff King says this type of legislation in the United States would violate the First Amendment. "People need to understand this: you can't have hate speech laws or anti-defamation laws and have religious freedom. They're in conflict with one another. So if you're going to have religious freedom, we're going to be allowed to say that Mohammad's wrong and our way it right. And then Muslims should have the same right."

This is what's being called a soft jihad. "The defamation suits, especially coming from Islam, are funded from Saudi Arabia in the Gulf. And they've set up a strategy to set up legal precedence to constrict the Christian community, to keep it from criticizing Islam, [and] to inhibit free speech."

However, if religious defamation legislation is approved in the U.S., King says, "You could have pastors who are arrested for saying things about homosexuals, for saying things about Islam. It's happened in other countries. It's coming here. I've talked to legislators on Capitol Hill who've said, 'You just watch. It's coming.' They've already tried to raise it."

King says this should spur American Christians into action. "They need to get on their congressman or congresswoman's website and say, 'I am against hate speech laws and defamation laws. They are anti-freedom.' That would be a good start."

If religious defamation laws are approved, evangelism would be difficult.

Kings says hate speech legislation in Australia affected two pastors who were giving a seminar on Islam. "These seminars largely consisted of opening the Koran and reading from the Koran. There was Saudi money that went into Australia; they hired the best lawyers in the country and sued these guys for defamation."

The pastors were convicted; the case was appealed and was settled after mediation.

King is asking Christians worldwide to pray. "Christians are famous for being the frog in the kettle. The temperature is turned up slowly, and we slowly cook. So because it's a far off threat, we don't take things seriously."

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