03 February 2006 Austin Dacey, in one half of a pair of New York Times op-ed responses to Pope Benedict XVI’s new God-is-Love encyclical (the second written by Father Lorenzo Albacete), takes up an idea missing from “Deus Caritas Est”: Benedict’s pre-papal statements about the secular-humanist “dictatorship of relativism” which, the argument goes, rejecting moral absolutes, organizes its morality solely around...
An excerpt from Austin Dacey's review of Christopher Hitchens' new memoir, Hitch-22:
The Christian West, after all, did not migrate towards secular government by mass conversion to atheism. The leading public arguments and examples came from Christian minorities—Anabaptists like Balthazar Hubmaier; Puritans like Roger Williams, John Milton, and John Locke. Even Spinoza’s case for secularism...
Nora Connor: Water cooler talk around The Revealer offices keeps circling back to human rights these days (yes, we are a rock-and-roll lot). As in, what are they? Who gets to say what they are, and when and where? Are they “real” in themselves, out there in reality somewhere, waiting their turn to step forward,...
by Austin Dacey The trick with monotheisms is that competition comes not just from neighboring gods, but even from our own ideas about the One.
By Austin Dacey The claims of the believer and the claims of the blasphemer, so-called, are symmetrical.The value motivating us to protect the believer’s beliefs from desecration is the very same value manifested by the desecrator: freedom of conscience.
By Austin Dacey The Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards was meeting to address “gaps” in an international human rights treaty on racism and racial discrimination.
By Austin Dacey F. M. Husain was hounded out of his native India...by Hindu conservatives outraged by his nude portaits of Hindu goddesses.
by Austin Dacey Fifty-six years before Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses thrust blasphemy into the spotlight of Western public discourse, the literary debut of a young medical doctor named Rashid Jahan was generating more excitement than she could have imagined.
by Austin Dacey The Indian Penal Code was drafted in 1837 by the Indian Law Commission...In their commentaries, the commissioners observed that India is “pregnant with dangers” because of a susceptibility to “religious excitement” peculiar to Muslims and Hindus.
By Austin Dacey Opponents of hate speech laws contend that there is no evidence to suggest that the state can successfully bring about ethical behavior by the force of law. Bigotry is flourishing across Europe, for example, despite its robust hate speech laws.