Sunday, October 25, 2009

Religion, Free Speech, and the Law

Readers who live in or near Washington D.C. may want to take a couple of days off work this week to attend the International Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion.

Regular readers will recognize the names of many of the speakers and participants, and there will be special addresses by Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Tom Rooney, and Sen. Jim DeMint.

The conference will focus on the threat to free speech coming from the OIC via the UN and the EU, as well as on growing de facto censorship by Western governments in the interests of political correctness.


International Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion

October 27 and 28, 2009

Congressional Auditorium
U.S. Capitol Visitors Center
Washington, D.C.


Presented by: The International Free Press Society
The Liberty Legal Project International
The Center for Security Policy
 
Co-sponsored by: The Horowitz Freedom Center
The Florida Security Council
The O’Leary Report

The conference is free of charge to the public. To register, go here.

The jurisdictions to be surveyed include the U.S., Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Sharia-compliant nations. The conference will also analyze international norms under existing conventions, as may be appropriate.

Program Chair: Ann Fishman
 
Moderators: Ann Fishman
Frank Gaffney
Lars Hedegaard
 
Special Appearances By: U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)
U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
U.S. Representative Tom Rooney (R-FL)
U.K. Lord Pearson of Rannoch
EU Member of Parliament Morten Messerschmidt


Conference Agenda:

DAY ONE

9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Opening Statements

Lars Hedegaard — International Free Press Society, President

Ann Fishman — Liberty Legal Project International, Founder and Director

9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Comparative Survey of the Substantive Law Establishing Free Speech
- - - - - - - - -
A. Express guarantees in National Constitutions and Basic Laws, International Conventions and Supranational Conventions
B. Citizen versus Press; Press/Reporters Privilege
C. Insult Laws and Media Crime Laws
D. Survey of Freedom of Press Around the World
E. Hate Speech Laws

David Harris — Canada
Dr. Karin Karlekar — Freedom of Press Around the World
Morten Messerschmidt — EU Conventions
Ellis Washington — US
Elizabeth Samson — International Conventions

10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Technology, Speech and the New Media Outlet: Bloggers

A. Is E Speech Free Speech? Survey of Freedom on the Net
B. Bloggers Rights
C. Now that e companies are insulated from liability, governments can outsource data mining to Social Networking Sites: Facebook and the White House, Facebook and the Florida Bar — Would this even be permitted under EU Directives
D. China and Cisco and Sun Microsystems and the Great Firewall of China and Policenet
E. US Bloggers shut down or filtered for “controversial opinions”
F. What is the impact of the proposed Cyber Security Act of 2009?

Bob Corn-Revere — US
Pamela Geller — US
Dr. Karin Karlekar — Survey of Freedom on the Net
David Sobel — E-Speech

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Limitations on Free Speech

A. Speech versus Conduct
B. Advocacy versus Imminent Incitement of Lawlessness & Violence
C. Advocacy of Terrorism & Sedition; Speech and National Security Issues

David Harris — Canada
Morten Messerschmidt — EU
Robert Muise — US
Diana West — US
David Yerushalmi — US

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Luncheon in the Atrium
Sponsored by the Horowitz Freedom Center


1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Censorship of the Media via the Fairness Doctrine

A. Fair Debate or Free Speech Battle?
B. The Fairness Doctrine: Resurrected via the Durban Amendment or Buried by the Broadcaster Freedom Amendment

Bob Corn-Revere — US
Joyce Kaufman — US

2:00 to 2:30 p.m. Special Address by U.S. Senator Jim DeMint

2:45 to 3:00 p.m. Special Address by EU MP Morten Messerschmidt

3:00 to 3:30 p.m. Special Address by Congressman Louie Gohmert

4:00 to 4:30 p.m. Special Address by U.K. Member of Parliament
Lord Malcolm Pearson, “The Geert Wilders Case From the Inside”


4:30 to 4:55 p.m. Special Video Presentation by Dr. Michael Savage

5:00 to 5:30 p.m. Special Address by Ellis Washington
”Censorship by Banishment: The Michael Savage Case”


DAY TWO

9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Comparative Survey of Freedom of Religion under the law

What is a Religion?

A. U.S. Constitution First Amendment: Free Exercise Clause & Establishment Clause
B. Free Exercise Clause: Beliefs versus Practices
C. Religions that Demand Action
D. Establishment Clause: Separation, neutrality and accommodation
E. Religion in
a. Public places
b. Public schools
c. The Workplace

Horatio Mihet — US
William Wagner — US
Andrea Williams — UK
Elizabeth Samson — International

10:45 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. Limitations on Freedom of Religion

A. The Intersection of Religion and Another Person’s Right to Disbelieve and Criticize
B. Blasphemy Laws: Does the Almighty really need police protection? Do they force nonbelievers to honor what they don’t believe in?
C. Establishment versus Accommodation of Religion
D. Different standards for Christianity and Islam?
i. Sharia compliant financing
ii. Sharia compliant family law
iii. Islamic prayers in public schools
iv. Halal food services in public institutions
v. Segregated gyms and swimming pools
vi. Rifqa Bary Case
vii. Christian homeschooled Amanda forced into public school by New Hampshire judge
viii. Santa Rosa County Consent Order banning prayer

Pamela Geller — US
Robert Muise — US
Horatio Mihet — US
Andrea Williams — UK
David Yerushalmi — US

Noon to 1:00 p.m. Lunch in the Atrium
Sponsored by The O’Leary Report


1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) & Libel

Tourism


Libel Tourism: Is Libel Tourism Destroying the First Amendment by Proxy?

Cases

A. Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
B. Paul Sharkey
C. Dr. Paul Williams
D. Ezra Levant

SLAPP Suits

A. State law legal actions for defamation, interference with advantageous relationship, interference with contract, etc. aimed to chill free speech and public debate
B. Is Event Cancellation the Latest Form of Censorship in cases of controversial or unpopular speakers? What is the remedy?
C. Anti-SLAPP legislation
D. Cases: Joe Kaufman, Ezra Levant, FSC vs. Marriott

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld — US
Brooke Goldstein — US & International
David Harris — Canada
Adam Hasner — US/Florida
Dr. Paul Williams

3:00 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. Special Address by Congressman Tom Rooney

3:30 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. Special Address by Diana West on Academic Censorship

4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Special Panel

A. Is criticism of religion ever permissible?
B. Is religion entirely insulated from public or political debate?
C. Is the Bible Hate Speech?
D. What is the status of Criticism of Islam as defamation (OIC resolutions) and racism (Durban resolutions)
E. Children’s’ Rights of Freedom of Speech and Religion

Brooke Goldstein — US & International
Robert Muise — US
Sam Solomon — Shari’a
William Wagner — US
David Yerushalmi — US

5:00 p.m. Closing Statement

Bjorn Larsen — International Free Press Society/Canada, President

3 comments:

DP111 said...

Geert Wilders's speech at Columbia University, October 21, 2009

Main points here

Ladies and gentlemen, time is running out, we need to act. As I already said, we need less Islam, and more freedom. We have to protect our most important right, our right to free speech. We have to protect our liberties. That is why I propose the following measures, measures to preserve our freedom:

First. We have to end all forms of cultural relativism. For this purpose we need an amendment to our Western constitutions stating that our cultural foundation is the Judeo Christian Humanistic culture, and not Islam.

Second. We have to stop the mass immigration from Muslim countries. Because more Islam means less freedom.

Third. I have a clear message to all Muslims in our societies: If you subscribe to our laws, our values and our constitutions you are very welcome to stay and we will help you to assimilate.

But, if you cross the red line and commit violent crimes or the implementation of shariah law and start practicing jihad, you are not welcome anymore, then we will expel you if possible the same day.

Fourth. We have to strengthen our laws regarding freedom of speech. In Europe we urgently need some kind of American First Amendment. And we have to resist UN-resolutions that intend to weaken our right of free speech in another attempt to appease the Islamic world.

Fifth, last but not least. We have to elect brave leaders. Real leaders. We enjoy the privilege of living in a democracy. Let us use that privilege by replacing weak leaders with heroes. Let us have fewer Neville Chamberlains and more Winston Churchills! In short, ladies and gentlemen, my main message of today is that we have to start fighting back. No defence, but offence. We have to fight back and demonstrate that millions of people are sick and tired of losing, of giving in, of appeasing. We must make clear that millions of freedom loving people are saying: enough is enough.

Geert Wilders's speech at Columbia University

Read it all.

Chechar said...

@ First. We have to end all forms of cultural relativism. For this purpose we need an amendment to our Western constitutions stating that our cultural foundation is the Judeo Christian Humanistic culture, and not Islam. --Geert Wilders, cited above.

One of the reasons that moved me to write the Quetzalcoatl book, which section on the Aztecs is forthcoming, is the omnipresence of cultural relativism in pre-Hispanic studies. In the academia, pre-Columbian Amerindians have been idealized beyond recognition.

The best way to debunk cultural relativism is precisely through psychohistory. All non-Western cultures practiced heinous forms of infanticide before they were colonized by us. Historians, anthropologists and ethnologists have buried their heads deep into the sand as to the psychological consequences of infanticide for the surviving siblings. And this is precisely the rock upon which the psycho-historical edifice rests: unprocessed childhood trauma.

In addition to Wilder’s mention of Islam in the above quotation, the rest of the non-Western cultures should be included.

Fahim kamtan mirza said...

Religious scholars generally agree that writing a single definition that applies to all religions is difficult or even impossible, because all people examine religion with some kind of critical eye, and the term is therefore fraught with ideological consequences for anyone who might want to construct a universal definition. Talal Asad writes that "there cannot be a universal definition of religion ... because that definition is itself the historical product of discursive processes"[5]; Thomas A. Tweed, while defending the idea of religion in general, writes that "it would be foolish to set up an abstract definition of religion's essence, and then proceed to defend that definition from all comers."[6]

The earliest definition of religion is from Johnson's Dictionary, which simply calls it "a system of faith and worship". Friedrich Schleiermacher in the late 18th century defined religion as das schlechthinnige Abhängigkeitsgefühl, commonly translated as "a feeling of absolute dependence".[7] His contemporary Hegel disagreed thoroughly, defining religion as "the Divine Spirit becoming conscious of Himself through the finite spirit."[8] Clifford Geertz's definition of religion as a "cultural system" was dominant for most of the 20th century and continues to be widely accepted today.


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