July 17, 2009
from Examiner Website
There's an ill wind in the air that should chill the blood of any thinking person: The odor of censorship based on "religious" sensitivities.
The recent debacle in Ireland over
"blasphemous libel" being criminalized there highlights this
controversy and its odious implications. Although the Irish
situation evidently is not what it seems - i.e., a return to the European Dark Ages, when
the Catholic Church reigned supreme and terrorized
non-believers into submission - the brouhaha does underscore a push in
many parts of the world either to enact anti-blasphemy laws or to
increase their scope.
As it turns out, the anti-blasphemy statute has been in the Irish Constitution for decades, as have other such laws in various Westerns countries, including the rest of the United Kingdom.
Indeed, it was only in 2008 that these laws were overturned in Great Britain, where they had actually ensnared not a few people in prior centuries. In the 1820s, for example, popular Church of England minister Rev. Dr. Robert Taylor was imprisoned twice on blasphemy charges for preaching that Jesus Christ was a mythological figure based on numerous other gods, goddesses and heroes in the ancient world.
His punishment was so infamous and
Charles Darwin expressed concern about suffering
the same fate for his writings on evolution. Yet, compared to
past eras, Taylor got off lightly; indeed, when we hear of
anti-blasphemy censorship, sinister images of the Inquisition
immediately come to mind.
Concerning the phrase "causing outrage," Irish Times writer Michael Nugent wryly remarks,
Moreover, under such a law, practically
any book could be called "offensive," including the Bible, which
possesses much offensive language about a wide variety of people,
including non-Israelites, women and homosexuals.
Although this U.N. Resolution is "non-binding," and the words "defamation of religion" were removed from it in April 2009, free-speech watch groups fear that it is only a matter of time, in consideration of the increasing Islamist dominance, when it will become "binding."
What such a development would mean is
anybody's guess: In addition to "offensive" websites being shut down
and bloggers being arrested - acts already occurring - will U.N. troops
be allowed to enter into homes and seize "blasphemous" literature or
The hate speech and insults, of course, come into play when nonbelievers are called "heathens," "heretics," "blasphemers," "sinners," "satanists," "infidels" and so on.
The sleep deprivation rears its ugly
head when people are forced out of slumber at various times of the
day - as people sleep at different times, having diverse jobs - by loud
and obnoxious noises designed to force them to pray.
Calling Christ the "Son of God," however, is viewed as "blasphemous" within Islam, as is not believing in Mohammed as Allah's final and most important prophet.
Under such anti-blasphemy legislation, therefore, all christian
literature could be confiscated and christians arrested, because at
its very core, Christianity would represent "blasphemous material"
that could cause - and has caused - outrage many times in the muslim
world, explaining in part why the Bible is banned in such
fundamentalist islamic countries as Saudi Arabia.
Obviously, many people would object strenuously that there is any relationship between God and all this bigotry, cruelty and gore - to suggest otherwise would be extremely offensive to them and cause them outrage.
This notion of a violent, cruel and
enslaving God who approves of such behavior would offend
their religious sensibilities, leaving its purveyors themselves open
to charges of "blasphemy."
Based on the recent stellar rise of the "New Atheism," it is clear that a significant segment of society fervently rejects religious doctrine that has caused an untold amount of misery and suffering.
fanaticism continues to destroy humanity's civil rights with an
endless string of atrocities.