"Free speech is a 'gift given to us by the [Universal] Declaration of Human Rights,' said Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson during a press conference on October 2nd at UN headquarters in New York. It is 'a privilege,' Eliasson said, 'that we have, which in my view involves also the need for respect, the need to avoid provocations.' ”
Something about this statement makes me wish to say to the author, using my full right to free speech, "Stuff it, scrunge-o".
It is neither a "gift" nor a "privilege"; it's a right. Once free speech is re-defined out of existence, then freedom of religious practice will be re-examined, too, I imagine.