Blasphemy: Hate Speech or Human Right? A Lecture by Austin Dacey

Thursday, April 22nd 2010 at 7:00 pm
Thursday, April 22nd 2010 at 9:00 pm
NYU, Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, Room 405

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which turned 60 years old in December of 2008, guarantees everyone the right to freedom of expression, even on sensitive religious subjects. Shockingly, instead of working to uphold this right, in recent years the United Nations has passed resolutions "combating defamation of religions" that urge U.N. member states to limit free speech out of respect for religious beliefs.

Capitalizing on concerns about discrimination and "Islamaphobia" in the post-9/11 climate, a political coalition of Islamic states called the Organization of the Islamic Conference has effectively hijacked the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, squelched dissenting voices, and declared its intentions to criminalize blasphemy under international law.

In his former capacity as a U.N. representative for the Center for Inquiry, Austin Dacey has been at the frontlines of this struggle at the Human Rights Council. In this talk, he shares insights from his behind-the-scenes experience and explains what is at stake for the future of human rights and international law. After his talk, Dacey will sit down for a conversation and audience question-and-answer segment with Michael De Dora, executive director at the Center for Inquiry | New York City.

Austin Dacey is a philosopher whose writings have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, USA Today, and Science. In 2008 he released The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life, a book that "lifted quite a few eyebrows" according to the New York Times.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Inquiry | New York City and the student group Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers at NYU.