Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Sunday, June 7, 2015

There is a Very Good House Bill Regarding Blasphemy Laws

I don't usually say many good things about Congress, but recently, I read about a bill I very much approve of--a resolution in favor of calling for the repeal of blasphemy laws worldwide.  Now, I know that such a resolution doesn't mean that all nations will decide they need to dump their current blasphemy laws, but as a statement of principle, it's one I'm very in favor of. And one that human rights activists, atheists, agnostics, and free speech fans alike can get behind.

The text of the resolution makes note of the murder of Rashid Rehman. It might as well be talking about Walid Abu al-Khair,  the lawyer of Raif Badawi. The jurisprudence behind a blasphemy or sedition conviction is very like a Potter version of pornography--the powers that be know it when they see it. Which means that blasphemy charges are very much politicized, and the use of them is not about defending the faith, so much, as defending the local political machine.

You bet I find that appalling. Consider the case of the recently murdered bloggers of Bangladesh. In part, their murders are about a scrum of militants who wanted blasphemy laws imposed to protect their Islamic ideal of government.

I have never found this kind of politicization of religion in any way fair. To my mind, sanctifying religious argument is a bit like lese majeste, in that it means that the status quo can't be safely argued, which denies people the right of openly criticizing the very structures that govern them. I may not like to see certain political figures lampooned in certain lazy and stereotypical ways--but I respect the right of people to do so.

I think blasphemy laws are especially ludicrous when found in majority Christian nations. Actually, that any professed Christian should be in favor of blasphemy laws or capital punishment, in light of the Crucifixion, has always struck me as really strange.

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