Yes, you do have a right to criticize religious beliefs
As you are probably aware of, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was killed by thugs. They should be caught and brought to justice. Now, it seems they might have been motivated, or just using it as an excuse, a terrible movie promoted by a Terry Jones. The movie is an attack on the prophet of the Islamic religion, Muhammad. Terry Jones is a far extremist Christian theocrat who has threatened, and has burned copies of the Islamic Quran.
I don't find the Quran holy, nor do I any religious text. But burning Qurans does not promote an Enlightenment in the Middle East. Jones definately has a right to burn them, but it would be as counterproductive for me if I burned copies of the Christian bible outside a church, in order to promote humanism.
Now, I have been a supporter of President Obama but one of the things he said in a statement after these attacks (there was also an attack in Egypt) was “we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” Um, with all due respect Mr. President, no. Religions deserve no more respect then any other beliefs.
Drapping silly religious beliefs with supernatural absurdities does not take away from that fact. Religion in the Muslim world has led to so called honor killings (where women/girls who are raped are killed by their families) and women treated as property. In the U.S. it led to gays imprisoned for sex in their own bedrooms and even interracial marriages banned.
Fundamentalism religion is definately harmful to society. It should be challenged at every level. I as an atheist/humanist do not ask that my beliefs be unchallenged. Go ahead and criticize them, I am an adult. I can handle criticism. Why can't religion?
A couple of last points, since Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney believes fully in the protection of critiques of religion when it comes to Islam, will he defend fully those criticisms of Mormonism, with the same vigor? I doubt it. Lastly, those conservatives who defend the principle of opposing a president's foreign policy (or the term I don't like, politicizing it) didn't seem to believe in that concept very much when Bush II was president.
But it is easy to point out right-wing hypocrisy. My major goal of this column is to ensure Americans embrace the right to criticize any belief, be it religious or not. President Obama is much better on church/state issues than a would be President Romney (it is not even close) but on this issue, he was wrong.