Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Blasphemy Day!

Dear sweet Jebus in blue jeans! What, pray tell, is Blasphemy Day?

The objective of International Blasphemy Day is to open up all religious beliefs to the same level of free inquiry, discussion and criticism to which all other areas of academic interest are subjected.

Why September 30? The last day in September is the anniversary of the original publication of Danish cartoons in 2005 depicting the prophet Muhammad's face. Any visual depiction of Muhammad is considered a grave offence under Islamic law.
Sadly, we live in a world peopled with fanatics who consider "offenses against [insert religion]" to be of greater importance than the right to free speech. Such people are wrong, and this is a day to step back and remember that.

Put differently, Blasphemy Day is all about celebrating, manifesting, and effectuating the primacy of the following, better known enactments:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
For good or bad, the aspirations of the US Bill of Rights exceed their jurisdictional reach, so for those outside its range, there's this one:
Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Read the documents as closely as you may; you'll search in vain for exceptions to free expression for claims that the Bible, Koran, Torah, and other holy texts belong in the nearest toilet, that praying to god is exactly as sensible as praying to an expired old jar of cocktail sauce, that god is a tasteless joke played on the gullible, that your religion is a dumping ground of human longing, and that blasphemy is a victimless crime.

If you're so inclined, pick the holy books back out of the toilet, wipe off the residual scat, and revere them as you wish; do so with the sincerest expectation that your favorite god will favor you for doing so, but know that blasphemy is a human right to which each and every one of your emotional states -- delusions, wishes, outrage, pity, scorn -- is rightly and absolutely subordinate.

2 comments:

Zennalathas said...

Just thought I'd pop in to tell you that I'm still reading your blog. Happy Blasphemy Day!

Dale said...

Always appreciated, Zen, and btw, right back at ye. (I'm not much of a commenter, as you've surely come to realize.)