All of You Who Harshly Condemn Anti-Homosexuality Religious Beliefs, Take Note

And same for all of you who mock young earthers, or devout Scientologists, or believers in miracles — and all who say that, for instance, racist or sexist religious beliefs are contemptible — and maybe even all those who, even politely, contend that rival religions’ views are wrong and will deny salvation to the holders of those views:

The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.

So says the Secretary of State, in quite categorical terms. After all, in all the examples given above, you would presumably be intentionally denigrating the religious beliefs of others: saying that they are immoral and foolish. The U.S. government deplores your speech. It’s not just that the government doesn’t endorse the speech, not just that it deplores a limited and narrow category of blasphemous acts (e.g., burning a Koran, treading on a crucifix, and the like), but rather that it deplores any attempt to denigrate religious beliefs. Religious beliefs, which are routinely used by billions as a guide to private action and a guide to lawmaking, are supposed to be somehow immune from the denigration that is a commonplace and necessary part of debate about ideological beliefs generally.

The government statement also rightly condemns the murder of American diplomats and soldiers, but in the process deplores anti-religious speech as well. And, yes, I understand the context in which the statement was made, the demands of diplomacy (which often include the need to lie), and the reality that the State Department likely cares only about denigration of those religious groups that contain a substantial extremist fringe likely to respond to the denigration with murder. But the statement says what it says, and deliberately goes beyond an expression of nonendorsement to an expression of official governmental condemnation.

Here, by the way, is the English version of the U.S.-government-deplored movie trailer that has led to the most recent round of murder and other violence by extremist Muslims: