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Why Anti-Blasphemy Laws Ban All Religions

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Ergo, those who promote anti-blasphemy laws are not thinking beyond their noses. That's because their true priority is to gain the upper hand over those who dare disagree with them. Which is arrogance by threat of the highest order. Theists are engaging in incredible speculations as to the existence and nature of supernatural entities that they cannot even demonstrate exist. Yet a substantial number of them want to punish those who do nothing more than point out -- whether it be careful but damning analysis or biting satire -- that one, more or all theist doctrines are false. It's a crass power play dressed up as prevention of upsetting the sensibilities of believers that for some reason so delicate that they must be protected by threats legal or otherwise.


The contention that blasphemy must be banned because it incites violence is particularly cynical. It's censorship by riot. It is giving the mob the power to determine what others can and cannot say. It places the blame on those who engage in their human right of free speech, rather than upon those who display the immaturity of the mob by throwing a mass tantrum. Nor did the Mohammed-bashing video include the kind of demand for violence that is necessary to have the chance to qualify for incitement.


It is all the more rich that blasphemy-driven violence (which was once standard Christian fare) is currently primarily Muslim, when much of the Islamic culture is riven with vile print and media assaults upon Jews, Christians, pagans, Hindus, and atheists. Few Christians riot when they feel Jesus is slandered, nor do atheists when they are yet again disparaged for their absence of supernaturalism (click here). President Morsi shows his ignorance of civilized norms when he stated that "we expect from others, as they expect from us, that they respect our cultural specifics and religious references and not seek to impose concepts or cultures that are unacceptable to us." Morsi is like most Muslims who are like most theists in that they are whiners who think that because their unsubstantiated beliefs are so precious and sacred to them that every one else has to exhibit at least some degree of respect for what they think. No. Theists are like children who are so insecure about their speculative opinions that they defend them not with intelligent arguments that they do not have, but gripe about being offended. Free peoples do not automatically demand respect and noninterference. We expect criticism and are open to considering alternative views. Those portions of the Muslim world that do not yet get it need to understand that in the modern world mature adults when offended either suck it up, or protest in an appropriate, nonviolent manner. (The anti-Holocaust denial laws and other religious-sensibility regulations in some western nations are correspondingly ill advised.)


There is a pathetic aspect to the attempts to save Islam from criticism by trying to lower the rest of the world to the anti-freedom level of Islam. When President Morsi says that because "insults against the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, are not acceptable," that "we will not allow anyone to do this by word or deed," not only does he superciliously try to put his beliefs beyond criticism, just how does he expect to impose the will of those Muslims who agree with him on blasphemers outside those nations who oppress their citizens? Muslims can continue to demonstrate and riot around the Islamic world, but so what? The increasingly secular prosperous democracies are running the most successful societies in history ( , ones vastly better run than anything Islam has produced. So the most civilized societies are expected to do what the failures want them to?


And there is no way the United States is going to overturn the key premise of its democratic founding by enacting an anti-blasphemy amendment that guts the First Amendment.


So get real those who wish to use mob rule and law to protect supernaturalism against freedom of speech and thought. You do not get to determine what the rest of us can say in the modern world; we can all say what we like.

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Gregory Paul is an independent researcher interested in informing the public about little known yet important aspects of the complex interactions between religion, secularism, culture, economics, politics and societal conditions. His scholarly work (more...)
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