Sunday, January 03, 2010

Nothing is Sacred

That goes for you, Ireland, where a blasphemy law goes into effect, punishing blasphemous people with a fine of 25,000 euros.
The Defamation Act 2009 makes blasphemy a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine... Blasphemy is defined as “matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion” with safeguards to make it harder to prosecute.
This sounds to me like Ireland is designing this cowardly law in the false hope that it will discourage religious fanatical idiots from blowing it up if someone dares criticize their beliefs. Simply substitute the words Islamic fundamentalist for the word religion in the text and voilá. What's a substantial number of religious, intolerant assholes? How many is substantial? Who decides what's grossly abusive? Some people get bent out of shape by a cartoon. Who is to judge? is wrong in principle for a modern democratic republic to have any type of blasphemy law. Theological thought-crimes belong in the past. Religious and nonreligious people alike should be protected from harm and incitement to harm, but religious and nonreligious ideas alike should be open to any criticism. That is how human knowledge progresses. Blasphemy laws discriminate against nonreligious citizens, by protecting the fundamental beliefs of religious citizens only.
This law also has serious international impacts. Irish citizens could face blasphemy charges elsewhere under the European Arrest Warrant. Also, Islamic States are lobbying at the UN to make defamation of religion a crime internationally.
This is rich. Non-Islamic states should vote in the UN to make Islamic fundamentalism punishable by law. It is certainly more deadly than blasphemy.
The moment we allow these religious savages to curtail our freedom of expression, we are allowing them to drag us back to the stone age with them. I will not live in a world of cavemen. 
Absolutely nothing anybody can say about religion is blasphemous. It may be offensive, disrespectful and in bad taste, but it does not have an extra charge of sin only because it is directed towards God or religious symbols or figures.  They may be sacred to some, but as long as they are not sacred to all, there is no blasphemy. Unbelievers cannot be expected to behave and think as if we believed. Please stop trying to foist your ridiculous notions on us and the rest of the civilized world.
If my thinking about religion offends someone, too bad. Lighten up. Their intolerant, irrational, insane religious opinions offend me equally, but I tolerate them because I have no right not to. 
Reasonable, commonsensical people need to be less afraid of voicing their concerns about the abusive, coercive, fearmongering tactics of religious leaders of all persuasions. Enough with treating religious abuse with kid gloves.

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