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Offending the Pope is political speech, because the Pope has decided that he wants to be a political figure.

Calling out the behavior of clerics is political speech insofar as that behavior is sanctioned by the Church, because the Church has decided that it wants to be a political actor.

Defamation of anybody is a crime. But that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about whether there should be a lower standard for what constitutes defamation of religious groups than of non-religious groups. And about whether religious groups should get to decide whether the insult constitutes defamation. Because that's the prerogative you want to arrogate for religious communities. It's a prerogative no other group has - not even under the absurdly frivolous British libel law - and which is deeply corrosive to democracy (again, the best example of how frivolous libel law hurts society is the UK).

Religious people sometimes, erroneously, believe that either of the first two is defamation of themselves and their faith. This is obviously horseshit. But the frequent assertion makes it extremely relevant to a discussion of whether religious people should be allowed to set their own standards for defamation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2012 at 05:07:17 AM EST
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