Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Courage of your convictions?

I see that Irish police have dropped their blasphemy charge against Stephen Fry, an unsurprising, but somewhat indecisive outcome. When you make the opinions of people a criminal offence for being different from yours, then you're asking for trouble. You would have thought that most legislators would have learned this from the experience of the last 400 years and the general arc of reform in modern democracies, apparently some still remain unconvinced.

Whilst good news for Fry, spare a thought for less fortunate souls around the world who remain under the yolk of religious tyranny. In Indonesia right now a former Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, has just started a two year jail sentence for "blasphemy" against Islam, in what (from the outside) looks just like plain-old political manipulation by Muslim pressure groups there. The majority Muslim activists simply didn't want Basuki to win an election (he was ahead in polls) and so hit him with a manufactured "blasphemy" charge to knock him out of the race. This is the problem with blasphemy or any "hate-speech" laws, because they are always subjective, they become a perfect tool with which to implement "tyranny of the majority" over any minority (religious or otherwise), something that the concept of "free-speech" and Secular and pluralistic forms of government needed to be invented to overcome.

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