Indian publishers of the newspaper The Statesman, have been arrested for offending Muslims after republishing an article by Johaan Hari entitled “Why Should I Respect These Oppressive Religions?” (Hari, btw, wrote the article I recently linked on internships. I like this dude). As many have done recently, especially since the Dutch Danish Mohamed Cartoon debacle, he denies that religious sensibilities deserve any more respect than, say political opinions. I like this part:

All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don’t respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a “Prophet” who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.

I don’t respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don’t respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. This is not because of “prejudice” or “ignorance”, but because there is no evidence for these claims. They belong to the childhood of our species, and will in time look as preposterous as believing in Zeus or Thor or Baal.

When you demand “respect”, you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade.

That is one helluva nice line (emphasis mine obviously). That’s what real respect means. Not forcing anyone, by forcing them into silence, to participate in, support, enable, or turn a blind eye to, belief systems that oppress. Ever. Anywhere.