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Religious intolerance, and other stories...

Richard Bowen | 19:00 UK time, Tuesday, 13 March 2007

One of the topics that we've been talking about all week came from an article by Nick Cohen (click here to read the full article) in this Sunday's Observer. In it he says, "Freedom of speech includes the freedom of artists and satirists to make fools of themselves as well as their targets, except when they run into religion - and then, more often than not, they turn round and run away."

He also believes…

…the reaction of Muslim extremists to, in particular, the Danish cartoons published in 2005, has inspired extremists from other religions to adopt a similarly violent stance against all those who attempt to criticise or make fun of their religion.

Do you agree with him? Has the issue of religion become too dangerous a topic to satirise? If so is Islam to blame for this? Should all religions be off limits to the critics and comics? Or is this an infringement of a person's right to free speech? Nick will be live on WHYS this Wednesday 12th March putting forward his case and taking calls and questions.

Is there anything else you would like us to talk about on the programme today?

Top of the international agenda on many news outlets this morning, are the protests against George Bush’s tour of Latin America. Hundreds of people have demonstrated outside the US embassy in Mexico City. Earlier this week we asked if Latin America should be more grateful to the US. Yesterday was the final day of the President's six day tour of Latin America – did he achieve anything? Will it be remembered for anything other than the protests that have hampered every leg of his visit?

The United States joint chief of staff, General Peter Pace, has caused a stir this week with his comments that homosexuals are “immoral”. He’s issued a statement since which is far short of an apology, which has done nothing to quell some of the anger his comments provoked. The General strongly supports the pretty self-explanatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy adopted by the US military. Here’s a bloggers view:

Of course General Pace believes in "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He's been key to the Administration's edict, "Don't ask about the war, and don't tell the American people how badly it's going."

Should we talk about gays in the military today? What are the policies of other countries? If you’re in America, is this really getting people talking?

The UK government is calling for it's nuclear weapon system Trident to be replaced. Defence Secretary Des Browne says it’s become "more difficult to explain exactly why we need a deterrent" since the cold war. With a lot of time being spent trying to reign in North Korea’s nuclear capacity, can the UK be accused of hypocrisy?

And back to America, where the first person to utter the words “I don’t believe in God” has entered Congress. George Bush and Tony Blair’s religious beliefs are well known, and accepted, but would you prefer not to mix religion and politics? Is it possible? How will Pete Stark's atheism go down in America?


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