Demonax said that ‘probably all laws are useless; for good men do not want laws at all, and bad men are made no better by them.’ But selective application of laws and universal values or principles is an even serious challenge because it creates an unfair social contract and the pitfalls can adversely impact public peace and harmony.
Speech is not limited to oral speech but includes other forms of expression as well including written and visual. A quick internet search reveals a snapshot of speech that has been deemed blasphemous and consequently banned by national regulatory agencies or by major media outlets of the West in the past. Please see the list below; note that it does not include false or deceptive advertising or crude content (such as nudity, violence, drugs etc) which may get an axe of the regulators otherwise, on a case-to-case basis.
While abuse of free speech is often considered a hallmark of liberty, the snapshot below confirms an accepted precedence of restrain and respect for a particular faith and its associated tenets and symbols. There is clear evidence that the regulators and gatekeepers have acted in the past to restrict and even prohibit publication and/or distribution of materials deemed offensive by followers of a particular faith and belief, in this case both Christianity and Judaism. By corollary, there is a strong rationale in the Muslims’ argument to seek an equal application of hate speech, media laws and defamation laws to any derogatory and vilifying depictions of their faith and associated tenets.
2012 – California State Assembly criminalizes political speech on campus as ‘anti-Semitism’
2012 – Talmud video banned and pulled from YouTube
2012 – Birdcloud’s ‘Saving myself for Jesus’ banned and pulled from YouTube
2011 – ‘Jesus hates Obama’ ad banned at the Super Bowl in the U.S.
2011 – ‘Did it really happen’ Jesus Easter ad for movie theatres banned in California
2011 – ‘I’m not Jesus mommy’ movie trailer banned from TV networks
2010 – ‘Ant Jesus’ banned from the Smithsonian Museum/Institution in the U.S.
2009 – ‘The Evolution of Jesus’ video (original version) banned/removed by YouTube
1992 – ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ video banned by MTV
2011 – Tim Minchin’s Christmas ‘Jesus’ song banned from the ITV, U.K.
2011 – Phones4U ‘Miracle Jesus’ ad banned in the U.K.
1996 – ‘Jesus lives’ Diesel jeans ad banned in the U.K
2012 – L'Antisémite movie banned at the Cannes Marketplace
2005 – French court bans a clothing ad by Marithe et Francois Girbaud depicting the Last Supper
2011 – Michael Hoffman’s video ‘Academic Freedom and Holocaust Denial Newspeak’ banned from YouTube in Germany
2012 – Jesus Christ in new Paddy Power ad/video banned
2005 – Milan bans a clothing ad by Marithe et Francois Girbaud depicting the Last Supper
2012 – Red Bull ‘Jesus walks on water’ ad pulled in South Africa / outrage in Brazil
2011 – Axe deodorant’s ad ‘Even Angels will fall’ banned in South Africa
2012 – ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ rock opera performances banned in Belarushttp://www.christianpost.com/news/jesus-christ-superstar-show-banned-in-belarus-over-lent-outrage-70665/