Open letter to the Justice Committee regarding new blasphemy laws
The Justice Committee meets this afternoon to discuss the Defamation Bill, which includes the ridiculous blasphemy legislation. I sent this letter to every member of the committee.
I object in the most strenuous fashion to the proposed anti- freedom of expression legislation, whereby a victimless crime such as blasphemy may become punishable by fines, etc. I remind you that freedom of expression means the freedom to be offended–the state should not seek to protect its citizens from mere offended sensibilities.
As it happens, I believe that everyone in this country deserves a decent education and proper healthcare. And I am truly offended by the prevailing conditions in our schools and hospitals. But where is the rush to defend my beliefs? To correct the offence caused to me and those who think as I do? Silence.
Please reconsider granting fairy stories and folk tales precedence over real world issues. Religion is an antiquated control mechanism based on fear and superstition; don't grant it any more rights than you would to, say, Cinderella or to practitioners of witchcraft and voodoo. The religious organisations in this nation have benefited enough from government largesse in recent times, let's not put a cherry on top.
May I remind you that the very people who, for example, call for the beheading of cartoonists, are the same who will seek redress though this legislation under the guise of persecution. (I also include those who seek to stall same-sex marriages and adoptions, and cover up the paedophile cover-ups, all while hampering condom use in AIDS-ridden countries.)
Apologies for the bluntness of this missive, but this may be an evolutionary turning point for our nation. Do not find yourself on the wrong side of history. Accusations of blasphemy were also quite popular during the Inquisition and the Salem witch trials. I trust we have all grown up since then.
Will it turn any heads? We'll have to wait and see.