Religion always refrains from calling freedom of speech a liberty that should be enjoyed by all. Religion says, "say this, ignore this, toe the line buddy or rot in hell." Good for them, making up arbitrary rules of behavior is where it's at. I can't blame them for the thought, if I were to make up some bullshit claptrap for fools to follow, then I should get to make the rules; simple as that.
Normally I am irritated by religion itself. The monstrous institution that lays down nonsensical laws from the main man is always at the top of the list of things I heartily disdain. Religion permeates and entrenches itself into every aspect of society. Given a chance, it will steal the minds of every culture. That is the main reason I despise those whose quest for power centers on belief instead of reason.
It is much easier to gain renown by making shit up than by examining the truth of the world that surrounds you.
At times though I do get pissed at the followers as well. The thought that any person I come into contact with can be so easily led is disturbing. They look like me on the outside. They usually talk like me. They usually love their family, hang on to friends, work and play; all just like me.
I mean really, forget about free speech itself. If your mind is imprisoned, how can freedom exist?
It's a thought that would appear to be true, how else could a reasonable society embrace creationism? How else could you dislike, or possibly even hate, your neighbor if your mind was free to explore a different possibility? Only the mandate of religion would make a seemingly nice person frown upon his nice gay neighbor, or nice atheist neighbor, or even another nice person that believes in his own god nonsense.
John Calvin stated, "that no idolatry, no blasphemy against the name of God, no calumnies against his truth, nor other offences to religion, break out and be disseminated among the people. . . . [Government must] prevent the true religion, which is contained in the law of God, from being with impunity openly violated and polluted by public blasphemy." He rants on, "Those who would spare heretics and blasphemers are themselves blasphemers. Here we follow not the authority of men but we hear God speaking as in no obscure terms He commands His church forever. Not in vain does He extinguish all those affections by which our hearts are softened: the love of parents, brothers, neighbors and friends. He calls the wedded from their marriage bed and practically denudes men of their nature lest any obstacle impede their holy zeal. Why is such implacable severity demanded unless . . . devotion to God’s honor should be preferred to all human concerns and as often as His glory is at stake we should expunge from memory our mutual humanity."
Calvin was a monstrosity, but only because he followed biblical law. So to some extent, followers do moderate some of the worst of the bible. Yet when I hear about anti-blasphemy laws trying to become man's law, not god's law, I think maybe religious culture is not becoming any more tolerant than in his day.
Is it only fear that keeps a rational mind from expressing his doubts? Or is it culture and a society that respects and engages in religion that denies freedom to criticize. Blasphemy laws would allow religion to run rampant, unchecked in it's ability to confuse and demean humanity.
A few states still have old blasphemy laws on the books. Even in Michigan it exists. In 2007 at a city council meeting in Montrose, a gentleman said "god damn" and was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and obscenity. Didn't hold up, but still they try.
The UN has tested the waters entertaining the thought of a world ban on defaming religion; good luck with that one.