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Humanists of the Treasure Coast Message Board › Blasphemy Laws

Blasphemy Laws

Andrew P. S.
user 11000438
Port Saint Lucie, FL
Post #: 7
I came across an interesting article in the May/June issue of The Humanist. This article "Strategies for Fighting Blasphemy Laws in a Post-Tolerant World" is written by Luis Granados and can be found at http://thehumanist.co...­. It deals with the disturbing increase in the amount of blasphemy laws outside of the United States. We are all familiar with the strict blasphemy laws in many Muslim countries. But there are laws popping up elsewhere as well. Both the United Kingdom and Ireland have recently resurrected laws against defaming the religious beliefs of others. The United Nations has also floated the idea of passing resolutions prohibiting offending anyone's religious beliefs. In the Unites States, the Supreme Court invalidated blasphemy laws in 1951. However, there is no telling where this current socially conservative court may take us. I find that this issues is particularly important to Humanists. Many theists argue that our beliefs are offensive to them. By stating that we can be moral without god, they say we are insulting their god. Imagine if we could be prosecuted for saying such things. Joe mentioned that some of his neighbors objected to the Humanist and atheist bumper stickers on many of our cars. What if they could, instead, sue us for displaying such messages? I'm curious to what everyone else thinks. Personally, I think that the only safe thing to do is to keep the first amendment's free speech clause intact. Noone has a legal right to not be offended. It might be rude of me or anyone else to publicly slander the beliefs of Christians, Jews, or Muslims, but I should still be legally able to do so in the same way they can. Besides, such a law could also turn on them. What if a Muslim is offended that Christians are calling Jesus Christ the son of god instead of a profit?

So, what does everyone else think?

Andrew
A former member
Post #: 7
I agree that this could lead to the persecution of atheists in the U.S. It worries me that the world's leaders would encourage religious extremists by validating their claims that drawing a cartoon depicting Mohammed is punishable by death.

"THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up."
Ken T.
user 10999550
Port Saint Lucie, FL
Post #: 1
Traditionally, the only legitimate restrictions on free speech are to prevent injury ("yelling fire in a crowded theater", "inciting to riot") or in the case of direct threat on a population ("Nazis marching through a Jewish neighborhood"). Any restrictions other than these, especially to prevent feeling offended, will eventually gut the free speech portion of the first amendment. Everybody is offended by something. The list of potentially banned speech is enormous.

I may have a little more confidence in the present Supreme Court. For example: This "conservative" court, has been very clear that fetuses have no enumerated rights under the constitution, no citizen has any rights until birth, thus frustrating the anti-abortion crowd. They have ruled firmly in favor of the Bill of Rights. They have knocked down restrictions on pre-election political speech by various groups. I am more concerned about these new blasphemy laws outside the US.

How do we approach attacking this problem outside the US?
A former member
Post #: 2
It just goes to show that everyone is becoming less and less intolerant and more and more apt to take offense. Why is it so important what someone else thinks about your religion? Because it forces one to think about aspects of his or her's religion that are not comfortable to think about. Either that or people seem to think that it is an insult to God. I'd assume that He'd have more important things to think about than what someone said yesterday. As far as attacking this problem outside the US I don't know if we as American citizens can or should do that any more than christian missionaries should go imposing their beliefs on other people. It's their culture, their religion, and their country. If the citizens are not willing to fight it then we shouldn't either. What we can do is encourage like minded people of those nations to stand up and work to change their cultures and laws if they themselves desire to do so. We can do it through the internet, through other Humanists group if they exist in other countries, etc. But the people in the countries need to want to change the laws themselves.
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