Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blasphemy May Be Offensive, But Blasphemy Laws Kill

I was just talking about this with my wife this morning....

"If we do not have the freedom to think, to choose what to believe, to change our beliefs, to question the beliefs of others, to share our beliefs with others without coercion, or to decide not to believe, we have no freedom. In the course of thinking, questioning, exploring, it is legitimate - indeed essential - to ask probing questions of religions and beliefs, our own and others. Sometimes those questions may be awkward, uncomfortable, challenging. That is the nature of freedom of thought. Legitimate inquiry and debate, and disagreement, cannot be held ransom by prohibitions on insult."

Also...                                                Both quotes above and below are by....  
Benedict Rogers

Poste on 10-7-13: Huffington Post
"As a Christian, there is one thing I dislike even more than blasphemy, and that is legislation that prohibits it. Such laws invariably contribute to increasing intolerance, violence and injustice, and are widely open to misuse. And the key point is, if your God needs man-made laws to protect him from insult, he must be a pretty small and weak deity."

Read on     
Yet laws criminalising blasphemy, defamation of religion or insulting religious belief are included in the criminal code of several countries, with Russia becoming the latest. On 26 June, Russia's State Duma passed a bill on "causing offence to the sentiments of religious believers", with punishment of up to three years in prison. Countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Turkey and Indonesia have had such laws for many years and in some cases it carries the death penalty. The UK repealed its blasphemy law in 2008
In Pakistan, for example, at least 79 people have been arrested for blasphemy. Some have been jailed for life, or sentenced to death, and while to date no one has actually been executed for blasphemy by the State in Pakistan, even if acquitted or released from prison eventually, a person accused of blasphemy is in danger of being murdered by extremists. Two prominent Pakistani politicians, the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, and Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs and someone I was privileged to call a friend, were assassinated because they called for reform of the law.
In Indonesia, three people are currently in jail for blasphemy: two are Shia, and one is a Christian. In May, I visited one of them, a Shia cleric called Tajul Muluk. I also returned to see Alexander Aan, an atheist charged under both the blasphemy law and the Electronic Information and Transactions Law because he declared himself an atheist on Facebook. He was eventually sentenced to two years under the Electronic Information and Transactions Law.
Read the rest       blasphemy laws

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