Recently I wrote a piece titled "Obama Pushing Secular UN Anti-Free Speech Resolution," wherein I reported on Barack Obama's support of a Muslim-inspired United Nations anti-blasphemy resolution. In it I cited a liberal professor named Jonathan Turley, who wrote the following:
While attracting surprisingly little attention, the Obama administration supported the effort of largely Muslim nations in the U.N. Human Rights Council to recognize exceptions to free speech for any "negative racial and religious stereotyping." The exception was made as part of a resolution supporting free speech that passed this month, but it is the exception, not the rule that worries civil libertarians.... It is viewed as a transparent bid to appeal to the "Muslim street" and our Arab allies, with the administration seeking greater coexistence through the curtailment of objectionable speech. Though it has no direct enforcement (and is weaker than earlier versions), it is still viewed as a victory for those who sought to juxtapose and balance the rights of speech and religion.
Shortly after I submitted the piece for publication, I learned that Hillary Clinton said the following, as reported by MSNBC:
"Some claim that the best way to protect the
freedom of religion is to implement so-called anti-defamation policies
that would restrict freedom of expression and the freedom of religion,"
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton said the United
This prompted the criticism that I was peddling a lie, a claim which itself is untrue. I had every reason to believe that the story reported by Professor Turley — who I will emphasize again is in Obama's camp ideologically — is true, and I still have no reason to believe it is completely off base. Yet there is a contradiction here that needs to be reconciled.
So I did a little more research. There are many news organs that were criticizing the Obama Administration for advocating the blasphemy resolution, including the Weekly Standard here, although, admittedly, most of them seem to cite Turley as their source. So, what gives? Did Turley get it wrong and did many of us in the "right" media take the bait? Not so fast.
In this WorldnetDaily.com piece, Bob Unruh perhaps clarifies Turley's point, writing:
Vessey said the move was an effort on the part of the U.S. to advocate for free speech in a way that would defuse the threat of "defamation" proposals. However, critics of the resolution said even that would be a failure.
Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation told WND the issue is not about free speech at all but about installing international precedents to stifle any criticism of Islam – the same goal as the defamation proposal.
So let us be clear on the issue here: The Obama Administration has co-sponsored a second resolution, one that, as Turley said, is weaker than the first.
And here is the crux of the matter: Presumably, the administration would claim that the measure does no violence to the principle of free speech. Critics claim that this isn't the case, that it still constitutes a capitulation to the Islamic states.
So what is the truth? It won't come as a shock to you to hear that I trust Obama and company about as much as a merchant in an Arab bazaar. It's entirely possible that President Hussein is trying to have it both ways, pandering to the Arab street and lending support to another hate-speech principle on the one hand, while having his secretary of state issue a bold proclamation in defense of free speech to mollify critics at home on the other. Note, though, that at the end of the day, Hillary Clinton's words are just that, words. Actions speak far louder.
Of course, it should also be mentioned that such "weakened" resolutions with fuzzy language are subject to interpretation and make rationalization, that liberal bailiwick, easy. Thus, it's entirely possible that the Obama Administration believes its rhetoric.
It's also possible you're being manipulated.
Whatever the case, if my report can be shown definitively to be in error, I'll gladly print a retraction. As of now, however, it would be premature.
Yes, it is confusing, but that is always the case when dealing with ideological shape shifters.
© 2009 Selwyn Duke — All Rights Reserved