UPDATE: QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"Secondly, the ECLJ wants to recall that the concept of “defamation of religions” is incompatible with Human Rights. More than that, that concept is a threat to Human Rights, in particular to the rights of religious minorities.
"To accept the use of the concept of “defamation of religions” would give an international legality to repressive laws working against religious minorities, such as the laws against proselytism and blasphemy. We should not forget that in many countries, the simple public expression of the content of a minority religion, most of the times Christianity, can be considered as an offense, a “defamation” of the State’s official religion. Thus, to accept the concept of “defamation of religions” would in fact, reinforce, straighten, the arsenal of repressive laws directed against religious minorities.
As a conclusion, it should be greater respect for religious freedom, as provided by the existing international law. Only respect of religious freedom can effectively help to combat the growing “bipolarization” of the world." From Presentation to UN Human Rights Council by European Centre for Law and Justice,
The above quote and the current post below may seem unrelated, but with all the push by the Alliance of Civilizations, The European Union, the World Economic Forum and others for a type of "New World Religion" where everybody in effect bows down to everybody else's god, it was refreshing to see that others recognize the dangers inherent in this type of forced syncretism and are boldly and eloquently pointing them out.
Nothing seems to have gone that well for the European Union since Javier Solana "retired" or maybe "laid low" in December 2009. Things haven't been going all that great on this side of the Atlantic either and the global governance crowd is making real hay over both. This is what a hard hitting editorial in THE GUARDIAN (United Kingdom) said today:
The summit faces trouble from three directions. The first is the enfeebled condition of many European governments. To pick the news almost at random, this week the Romanian government narrowly survived a confidence vote; talks on the Portuguese budget collapsed and President Sarkozy was battling (successfully) to pass his pension reforms. Ireland is preparing for another round of spending cuts; Belgium hardly exists at all. These are not promising times for effective deal-making between strong leaders.
Second, the European Union is in the middle of an indulgent institutional upheaval. The Lisbon treaty was necessary, but some of its consequences were not. Lady Ashton, Europe's new foreign minister, announced the other day that she will spend £10.5m a year on new offices; the European parliament has voted for a 6% increase in EU spending next year, including a 4.5% rise in administration costs. At a time when most EU governments are cutting their domestic budgets, such things are provocative – and British Tories have been duly provoked. Yesterday Lord Tebbit warned Mr Cameron that he risked a "Vichy-style surrender" if he agreed to a budget rise. Last week 37 Tory backbenchers voted against one. The coalition provides some ballast: Mr Cameron is playing a more co-operative role at the summit than he ever could have done as a purely Tory prime minister. But his freedom is limited: even conceding a 2.9% increase in the EU budget will bring him trouble in his party at home.
Third, and most serious, is the European Union's response to economic crisis. Germany, with a growing economy and unemployment now below 3 million for the first time in 18 years, fears being dragged down by its EU partners. Germans bailed out Greece and stabilised the eurozone. Now the German government wants to overhaul the rules to prevent future budgetary implosion. But the existing rules were not the reason Greece went bust and Ireland overspent. Changing them – which could require a controversial reopening of European treaties – is a distraction.
Britain is still hoping to secure a freeze in the EU budget – which would be a success for Mr Cameron. He could tolerate the more probable 2% rise. But these things are trifles compared to Europe's search for economic growth. That is the challenge the EU is facing – and failing.