8:30 PM — Freedom of Speech
In the US, the act of desecrating a religious symbol is protected by the First Amendment
Moreover, it is even protected by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
. This document states that that all human beings have the right to express themselves however they choose. Soverign nations may not prevent
the expression of ideas in any medium. However, they may still punish it as they wish. Included in "legitimate" reasons for punishment are defamation, maintaining order, maintaining national security, and maintaining morals.
Examples of laws limiting Freedom of Speech:
- US Congress Hate Crime law HR 4797 (1992) makes crimes motivated by prejudice punishable by law.
- US Supreme Court's "I'll know it when I see it" Miller Test allows the public to define and punish obscenity.
- Pakistan (Article 295-B of the Penal Code), Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia all have laws on the books punishing Qur'an desecration, with death in some cases.