This Week In Blasphemy

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while commenting on the infamous anti-Islam film, said “When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way.”

Note that Ki-moon goes beyond just religious values and beliefs and includes all values and beliefs. That view is nonsense.

Four North African and Middle Eastern Anglican bishops have urged U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to adopt “an international declaration against religious defamation.” The bishops claim that such a declaration would not be a violation of free speech since people would be “responsible and self-restraining in expressing or promoting offensive or malicious opinions with regard to the religions of the world.” The bishops appear to be claiming that self-censorship under the threat of force does not constitute a free speech restriction.

The International Business Times is reporting that a 27-year old man in Greece has been arrested on blasphemy against Eastern Orthodox monk Elder Paisios, who died in 1994. The suspect had set up a Facebook page using the mocking name “Geron Pastitsios,” which is a Greek pasta dish. Greek Penal Code Article 199 calls for a maximum of two years in prison for anyone who “publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church.” Reports claim that the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn was instrumental in pushing Greek authorities to make an arrest.

In Cairo, Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah is going to trial for tearing up a Bible while protesting outside the US Embassy. Oh, sweet irony! Egypt has called for an international law criminalizing contempt for religion.

Any spoken or written thought that opposes religion can be blasphemous. Religion surely needs protection from opposition since it receives no protection from reason and logic. As Martin Luther famously said:

Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but–more frequently than not –struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.

That’s an effect of blasphemy laws, criminalization of reason.

H/T: Ken (Popehat), Howard Friedman, Eugene Volokh, AP.

36 thoughts on “This Week In Blasphemy”

  1. I think Frankly said it correctly. When your so-called religious beliefs control your every thought and action and your government, bad things are sure to happen.

  2. The problem (which Darren touched upon) is organization. The first rule of organization is perpetuation and perpetuation in a religion necessitates proselytization. If your religion has sufficient merit behind its teachings then conversion of others should not require any organized effort by a group. The teachings should draw in converts according to individually perceived merit, not be forced by social pressure or physical coercion (to cover the range used by organized religions in the past). This is why Constantine backed the Pauline Christians instead of the Gnostics. The Paulines had an organization of bishops, cardinals and priests he could use to his political advantage for manipulating the public whereas the Gnostics decentralized almost non-structure was antithetical to political coercion and control.

  3. “Congress shall make no law……!” And would that not include approving treaties?

    So get your friggin’ hands off religion or anything touching on it. Religion is a no-no for the government.
    And that means also protecting it from opposing opinions.

  4. Isn’t it amazing that religion has been here for so many years and still has failed to give us peace in the world? I say don’t give it a second term.

  5. WOW! Dog is right. There would be no protestants if this view had been law back in the day. Martin Luther would have been, well what, stoned? I mean, what is the PENALTY for criticizing someone’s religion? The wages of sin is death? Perhaps chop off the arms and then the head? And of course, if this should be put into play, how long before it would expand? And what would be next? Anyone who is insulted in any way? I could give someone a look and that could be considered an insult? Where in the hell would this end????

  6. Humanity would be better off if we all abandoned organized religion and followed our own beliefs without forcing them upon others.

  7. I really want to watch the Vikings game today, but this latest post has forced me to pull out my DVD of Dreyer’s “Passion of Joan of Arc.” At least Antonin Artaud is more interesting than the Vikings offensive game plan. This afternoon both Joan and the Vikes will go out in a “blaze” of glory. Over and out.

  8. ” … because who makes the critics has no previous knowledge of the inner teachings of the other religion, so they have no right to say what the “other one” is doing wrong, or right. It’s simple like that!” (Paulo)

    Well, not quite.

    What about the critic who comes from within the religion and has much previous knowledge? One example I can think of off the top of my head is Martin Luther who spoke most disrespectfully of his Pope and fellow clerics addressing forthrightly the issues of right and wrong within his Catholic Church.

  9. Frankly, above, said it perfectly. This dog is sick and tired of dog blasphemy. All we hear in the media is crap like dog-gone, dogma, doggedness. Well, Dog spelled backwards is God and if you dont like me saying it then enact your laws and rules. Meanwhile, if you have any videos or photos of pedophile priests, wicked muslims beating women, scriptures describing the Prophets nine year old wife getting her marriage “consumated”, or other blasphemous items, please post them on the internet and flood the world with this stuff. We need lots of it. Shoot bibles out of canons and canon law out of airplanes. The world needs tracts to be defiled, exposed, turned into litter and used in outhouses for toilet paper. In the outhouse at our marina we have freedom of choice: a Sears Roebuck Catalogue, a Sears Roebuck Bible and a Koran. One is free to choose which tract to tear out a sheet to wipe with. Us dogs dont need no papers to wipe with. And we dont believe in dumb humanoid godmas. None dare call it dogma around here. Barry Goldwater had it wrong–blasphemy is not treason. Now I have to get back to my Sunday morning television and see if Jimmy Swaggert has any new girlfriends.

  10. OK, these are grown-up men and women (thank god mostly men) going to a very expensive place, traveling on tickets purchased by real governments that have police branches and armies and stuff that carry real guns around and sometimes shoot them, and these grown-ups are now fussing and mewling about what somebody else SAYS or what movies somebody MAKES that they are not even required to go SEE, much less buy a ticket for. OMG OMG! And then we hear that “nobody has a right to not be offended,” and I think, “I have a right to not be offended.” People can do and say dumb things all day long and I still have a right to not be offended. I can ignore them, laugh at them, write stand-up routines about them, make idiot films about them, whatever I want, and I can be as not-offended as I want, and these guys are still spending SOMEONE ELSE’S hard-earned money on getting together and whining! OMG OMG OMG. Say it ain’t so.

  11. DeborahS, Any person w/ an understanding of history knows more people have been killed in the name of God than have been saved. However, we are talking about organized religion which I reject. People w/ a very simple belief as I have, and many others have, would NEVER make a judgement about you. Our belief tells us that we are on this earth to help each other. Just tell those who tell you that belief in God is required to be a good person to go sh!t in their hat.

  12. The discrimination against non-believers is just as pervasive as blasphemy. We are all humans and should treat each other with respect regardless of religious belief or non-belief. I find humor in most so called blasphemous acts. My coming out as an atheist has been traumatic for those who know me and continue to pray for me. They have trouble believing that you can be a decent person without God to reward you for good behavior in the afterlife. Blasphemy laws are to control the populous and keep them looking to heaven instead of at the mess religion and the elite have made of our world. Religion does do good but at what cost? We have to make a difference because we are all connected by being human not by man made belief in a God.

  13. Paulo, I love Brazil. I studied your beautiful country in college. You have handled the issue of race much better than the US. That said, we cherish freedom of speech and religion. That means anyone may worship as they wish, and anyone can say what they want about a religion. This has worked well for us and we will never give it up.

  14. Can’t legislate against all moronic acts…… If you did…. Well…. No one would be capable of watching the inmates……

    This story is a twixt of sweet ironies…..

  15. I keep wanting to ask these people who are offended by “blasphemy” one questions: You believe your Hairy Thunderer is the most powerful entity in the universe, omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. Why would He be the least bit bothered by the nattering of these insignificant creatures?

    If allowed a follow up it would be: If He is in control of everything on this planet can’t you just leave it to Him to deal with?

    The truth is these people are afraid their beliefs will be exposed as fraud and their Cosmic Muffin powerless in the real world.

  16. Bla! Bla! Bla! People talk too much and remain circling the main causes, instead of addressing them directly. Of course! addressing the true causes will open people’s eyes to the real causes and this is no good for the “elite”. In Brazil there’s a law against discrimination in general. Not only race or religious, but discrimination as a whole. That movie is a clear discrimination case. Any critics to the beliefs of anyone else is a clear discrimination case because who makes the critics has no previous knowledge of the inner teachings of the other religion, so they have no right to say what the “other one” is doing wrong, or right. It’s simple like that! This whole discussion is nonsense.

    Cheers.

  17. There is NO right, I repeat NO right not to be offended, humiliated, laughed at, mocked or derided. In a perfect world these negatives are @ a minimum. You cannot legislate this, and if one tries there will ALWAYS be a backlash. A government can, and should, create laws to protect rights such as speech, religion, etc. As cultures evolve laws to protect the rights to housing, employment, etc. are needed. I speak about my disdain for victimhood and pc. This good post by Nal shows why. They’re all connected, and it’s painfully obvious to those who want to see it.

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