Happy International Blasphemy Rights Day
Posted in the Vermont Forum
Greydon Square - "Stockholm Syndrome"
Your faith is a joke
The Continuing Battle Over Blasphemy Laws
Adam Lee on September 28, 2012
"I'm surprised to still be writing about blasphemy laws, but it seems the idea just won't die. At the United Nations this week, the elected leaders of newly democratic Egypt and Yemen called for restrictions on free speech, in addition to similar demands from Turkey and other Islamic-majority nations. Russia, too, is advocating for laws that would criminalize criticism of religion, saying that "the feelings of the faithful must be protected by the state" (HT: IHEU). Unfortunately this doesn't surprise me, since under Vladimir Putin, Russia has basically reverted to the theocratic dictatorship it was in the days of the czars. Even Greece is prosecuting a man for the most harmless poke at religion imaginable, using archaic blasphemy laws.
It's cropping up in my home city too: in New York, a right-wing group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative wanted to put an anti-Islam ad in the subways that read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." The MTA initially refused to run the ad, so its backers sued and won - and that, I think, was the correct decision. I think the message of these ads is deplorable, but it's not the government's business to decide whether or not it should be permitted. The proper response to bad speech is better speech, not censorship or violence.(Almost as soon as the ads were up, the Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy was arrested for spray-painting one of them. While I don't advocate vandalism as a rule, I think peaceful civil disobedience is a legitimate tactic of protest, so long as the person doing it willingly accepts the consequences.)" ...
Though unenforcible under the 1st Amendment and not used for a very long time, many states still have blasphemy laws, it is time for us as a nation to grow up and erase those laws from our lawbooks!
Blasphemy law in the United States
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