An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Friday, December 07, 2007

Blasphemy, Blasphemy, they've all got it in for me

There is a petition here - The Downing Street petitions site that I have recently signed - I urge you to do the same. The petition calls on the government of the UK to repeal the Blasphemy Law that has come down in UK law from the canon law into common law. For those who want a fuller understanding of the operation and scope of the law itself this Wikipedia entry will enlighten.

Some people have asked me what it is that I find objectioable about this archauc piece of legislation ans why it should be removed from the statute book. Let me count the ways.

IT LIMITS freedom of speech - one of the fundamental human rights to which I subscribe. If I publicly scoff at the notion of trinitarianism (a very strange piece of theological sophistry that teaches that god the father, god the son and, god the holy spirit are separate and yet indissoluble), if I deny that the Xtian religion is true or, if I assert that the "Holy Scriptures" do not have divine authority then I am breaking a law (the Blasphemy law) which overrides not only my right to freedom of speech but has previously been adjudged to override my protection under the Act of Toleration (itself a privileging law). For this reason alone The Blasphemy Act must be repealed.

IT PRIVILEGES one set of beliefs over and above any other set. It is an odd law indeed that protects a creed or set of beliefs and is in that manner reminiscent of Sharia law. That it is the only UK law that protects a belief set rather than individuals or groups it privileges. Science has no such protection under law - and nor should it have. No self respecting belief should be so fragile in its adherence to its tenets that it cannot argue those beliefs in public nor should it seek parliamentary protection or privilege.

IT PRIVILEGES one set of religious beliefs over and above all others. In this it is not unique, in UK law there are several similar laws that afford unique privileges to this set of beliefs and the church to which they belong. It is widely and mistakenly believed among British "subjects" (another UK legal nicety that is far from nice) to have been enacted to protect the Xtian faith and that it continues so to do. In point of fact it protects the Church of England and its dogmas, its behaviours and its priesthood at the expense of every other religious faith. When Muslims wanted to use this bizarre piece of legislation against Salman Rushdie it immediately became crystal clear that Islam is not protected by its strange contingencies. Given that this law has been used in past times to prosecute Quakers and Freethinkers, Unitarians and atheists, it is clearly a piece of legislation that has no place in a modern, rational, post enlightenment society.

Enough of this nonsense. Let us have away with this ridiculous 17th century import from church law. It would be a good first step on the road to disestablishing the Church of England and bringing the separation of religion and state that most modern democrats see as fundamental a little closer,

1 comment:

  1. Already signed it, thanks, but your link to the petition doesn't work, so forgive me if I repost it here. Click this.