Am I missing something? Some religious people seem to think that their belief systems should have a privileged status in society and I can't think of a single reason why. In light of the recent fiasco with the Florida preacher wanting to burn Qurans on September 11th, many Muslims were outraged that this might happen, and are now pressing the UN to make "all forms of offense against religions" illegal. Others are calling for the preacher to be arrested and his church permanently shut down. Now I don't agree with his reasons for burning the Quran, but do I care that he's doing it? No, and why should I? The Quran is absolutely meaningless to me. It's a piece of literature from another culture that I haven't read and don't really ever plan on reading it. I can understand why Muslims would be upset by this, but to have the man arrested, and make free speech a crime? Grow some balls.
On a similar note, an Australian University lawyer's job is in danger, as some people took offense to his smoking of the bible and Quran. He didn't hurt anyone or damage anyone else's property so what's the fuss about? Religions have been shitting on everyone else's front doorsteps for millennia, and now that some individuals are deciding that enough is enough, the religious are screaming bloody murder. I challenge every single person out there reading this, to try and think of one single reason why religious belief deserves to be exempt from criticism. On top of that, I cannot think of any reason why anyone should have the right to not be offended, and why should causing offense be illegal?
I would never demand that people respect my individual values and beliefs, only that people respect my right to hold them. I would never demand that someone be jailed for desecrating something of great importance to me (like reason itself). In fact, every day I am encountered by desecrations of reason, they're called creationists. I find their sheer stupidity quite offensive, as they reflect badly on the competence of the human race. However, I am all for their right to believe whatever anti-intellectual vomit they want to believe in, as long as I have the right to be able to criticize them for believing it.