Religious moderates censor the public

David Jenkins

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In every religion you have your moderates and you have your extremist. You have zealous Christians who shoot up abortion clinics or Israeli Jews who believe in building settlements in Israel while pushing out the Palestinians because they believe it’s their divine right, to Muslims who would want nothing more then to turn the globe into an Islamic theocratic hell hole known as the “caliphate.”

These are the extremists and many moderates who belong to these religions condemn the actions of these people. However, there’s one thing I constantly find the two have in common– that’s the idea of blasphemy laws.

Blasphemy is to speak sacrilegiously about God or the ideologies surrounding that particular religion. Questioning it or mocking it is considered forbidden, and thus a crime within that religion.

It may be that the extremist take the route of having this particular act to be punishable by death to invoke fear on others.

The moderates on the other hand don’t take that route, thankfully. They go about it in a different way, they claim to be offended and then shame the so called blasphemer as being a bigot.

Over the past weekend, comedian and actor Stephen Fry was under investigation by the Irish police for statements he made two years ago. He described God as “capricious”, “mean minded”, “stupid”, and a “utter manic” during an appearance on a Irish television show called “The Meaning of Life.”

The investigation has been dropped, however, the fact that this charge was even filed in a western country is something that should be treated with ridicule and contempt. An absolute betrayal to the European enlightenment.

We shouldn’t surrender our right to openly criticize ideologies for the sake of hurt feelings. This is a free speaking society and each and every idea that is held and expressed is allowed to be questioned, challenged and yes even mocked. Whether the idea is political, philosophical or in this case religious. It’s all fair game.

The best way to fight extremism in any religion, the moderates must drop the shaming tactics and get behind the precious values of free expression and the freedom of inquiry. If someone draws a picture of Muhammad and the cartoonist gets slaughtered because of it, don’t blame and shame the cartoonist, blame the theocratic thugs and shame them!

The godless and the godly can come together and fight against the ungodly extremist by allowing the free flow of ideas and letting go of the ideological barrier that is blasphemy laws.

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