Scott Pilutik

I am an attorney and consultant living and working in Manhattan, focusing primarily on church/state constitutional law. I'm a recognized expert on the Church of Scientology organization. I also have strong interests in intellectual property law where it intersects with emerging media, and free speech.

I support the efforts of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, Creative Commons, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I am a member of the New York County Lawyers Association and the New York State Bar Association. I also enjoy (watching) hockey and (doing) photograhy.

Online I can be found on Facebook, Twitter. My resume can be viewed here. I can be reached by phone at 212.645.6241 or by e-mail at pilutik[at]

Defamation of Religion

These 3 posts at Volokh cover a very interesting recent push toward the establishment of international law to “combat” the “defamation of religion.” The push apparently owes its head of steam from the Danish cartoon controversy.

What’s especially interesting about the idea of protecting religious speech is that the speech in question would be, by its nature, the trickier per quod standard–religious entities would effectively be able to define the standards by which they could be criticized; what is merely critical of one religion will be another’s cause of action.

I think this can be viewed through another lens too, in that religious groups are slowly becoming very adept at couching community or entity rights and freedoms in terms usually reserved where individual rights are concerned. This may merely be politically sophisticated semantic opportunism, but freedom from defamation of religion isn’t really a freedom so much as a privilege. And of course, these entity freedoms come at the cost of individual freedoms, which is fine so long as the individuals are opting in, but gets far dicier where broadly imposed laws are concerned, both here and abroad.

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