Saturday, January 02, 2010

To blaspheme is human

Atheist Ireland is challenging the new blasphemy laws in Ireland, starting with 25 Blasphemous Quotes:
From today, 1 January 2010, the new Irish blasphemy law becomes operational, and we begin our campaign to have it repealed. Blasphemy is now a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine. The new law defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted...

Despite these quotes being abusive and insulting in relation to matters held sacred by various religions, we unreservedly support the right of these people to have published or uttered them, and we unreservedly support the right of any Irish citizen to make comparable statements about matters held sacred by any religion without fear of being criminalised, and without having to prove to a court that a reasonable person would find any particular value in the statement.
 They're all good quotations, but Mark Twain is a highlight:
“Also it has another name - The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated by God. It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies… But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy - he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered. He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty… What the insane Father required was blood and misery; he was indifferent as to who furnished it.”
Good luck with fighting this stupid and anti-democratic law. In our own small way, NZ has to deal with this issue too. Consider this story in the latest Werewolf, The Jesus Cringe:
“Christians make me feel safe. They’re less ironic and ascerbic. They’re not as judgmental and don’t make mean or rude statements that throw off a conversation. I like knowing that I’m in the presence of people who have an agreed sense of morality.”

Jon says that he is constantly aware and made to feel awkward by thoughtlessly negative comments towards religion, often around alcohol. He mentions having to point out to people that they are putting down Christianity, in front of Christians. “It is conversation that seems like easy laughs and no laughs come easier than from demeaning people that you don’t know.”
At least we can be thankful that in NZ it's not illegal to hassle the god botherers.