I live in a place with a blasphemy law. Sure it’s not called “Blasphemy Law” or “God’s Fragile Feelings Need Protecting Law”. It’s a law put in place to protect the secularism of India and prevent attacks from one religious group on another. However it can be used to deal with blasphemy if you can garner sufficient outrage. It is a very openly worded law.
In it’s most recent form? It’s been used and applied to Sanal Edamaruku and Taslima Nasrin. Why? For pointing out that the “tears” of a statute is from a broken pipe containing unclean water (Remember Pilgrims were drinking this) and for pointing out Islam has a terrible track records with women’s rights.
That’s the problem. These two things are true. Do not drink damn sewage water, the church is flogging a real occurrence as a miracle. Do not harm women. These are not stupid stances. These are sensible ones. They have nothing to do with religion.
No I am afraid the reason why these stances are insulting to religion is that they inform and educate people and this makes religion look bad. How bad? Well the Catholic Church’s miracle was a plumbing error. Something so simple. To the point where it begs the question if they knew what the “miracle” was. Were they profiting from faulty plumbing? As for the Islam thing? Well. Muslims can never be portrayed in a bad light lest they realise that they have major problems. There is a massive problem of denial within the Islamic Community. Denial of major problems. Because acceptance of those problems means the realisation that Islam is not the salvation for the world but has a large number of vocal fanatics and apologists who believe in an inerrant and infalliable divine code of law and that any proof to the contrary is simply ignored. It is a non-progressive faith and enforces this with aggression and violence.
And the biggest sufferers are Muslims. No. I am afraid the laws of India are not protecting religion in the long run but harming it.
I agree with Mike Nugent who’s article inspired this. Freedom of Speech is what India was founded on. We are blessed with the Freedom of Speech in the UK. I can declare that the world would be a better place if we took all the priests and quacks and purveyors of non-scientific bullshit and put them into a sack and then beat them with sticks and not care who got the worst of the stick. It is my right. And it is an important right.
And I agree with Nugent. Both India and Ireland have Blasphemy laws that have not helped curtail religious violence.
Instead it is used to infringe on Human Rights. We have Taslima Nasrin who for a long period this year faced an arbitrary arrest charge becaause some Muslims didn[t like the fact that a woman was telling people that Muslims treat women badly. Pakistan’s Asia Bibi case has resulted in the deaths of people who spoke out for her and their murderers lionised. Where there is a blasphemy law, it is easy for the majority belief to take it out on the minority.
Blasphemy laws are the modern blood libel. The same charges that drove the Pogroms or witch hunts are what drives anti-blasphemy attacks across the wworld.
Ireland is not ruled through the power of a holy trinity (Listen Catholics, I had a holy trinity that was older than yours and a lot cooler. WTF is a Holy Ghost?). The power of the government of Ireland is determined by the democratic election of humans by other humans. The people make Ireland function. Not “gods”. Ireland does not need prayer to function any more than rain requires human sacrifice.
India is an explicitly secular nation. It does not need to protect the feelings of religious groups from criticism that many so rightly deserve.