Balancing law and religion discussed at BYU conference

by | Oct. 08, 2010

Everything Else

For a few days in September, a pastor from Florida captured the world's attention after proclaiming his intent to burn a Quran, the holy Islamic book, on Sept. 11.

Government and military officials reacted swiftly to condemn the proposal, and many religious communities joined together in a show of solidarity for their Muslim neighbors, said Ted Stahnke, director of policy and programs for Human Rights First at the recent International Law and Religion Symposium held at BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School.

"American leaders ... confirmed their commitment to tolerance and drowned out the hatred and rhetoric of an isolated extremist," Stahnke said. "The leaders presented a clear message and a united front. Instead of creating international binding obligations ... politicians should confront hate speech with the mightiest weapon in their arsenal — their voices."

Yet, organizations continue to bring to the United Nations anti-defamation resolutions aimed at stopping religiously directed hate speech, especially toward Muslims.

Read the rest of this story at
Comments and feedback can be sent to