OK Gets Bill to Repeal Blasphemy Laws

The Oklahoma House of Representatives is considering a bill to repeal that state’s blasphemy law and a committee has passed it and sent it to the floor (if the speaker choose to schedule a vote for it, I imagine). But I find it disturbing that the sponsor had to go out of his way to assure people that he isn’t actually in favor of blasphemy:

Grau, R-Edmond, had better luck with HB 1088. The measure, which passed 6-4, would remove blasphemy as a misdemeanor.

The existing law adopted in 1909 is outdated, he said.

“I am not pro-blasphemy,” Grau said. “I’m for everyone to freely exercise their religion. But that law prohibits the free exercise of religion as well as free speech. Under that law, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor for making fun of another person’s religion. Now, again, I don’t support going around disparaging other people’s religion, but it’s not a crime.”

Well I am pro-blasphemy (though that doesn’t mean being in favor of every blasphemous thing anyone ever said or did). Satire is a powerful weapon against irrationality.

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  • I’m trying to imagine the ways they’d try to screw it up. The first that comes to mind is they’d try to slip in a part where it’s okay to blaspheme, just not against Christianity, ‘cuz it would violate their Freeze Peach if people were allowed to criticize Christians.

  • OOOOOKLAHOMA where the fear blows straight across the PLAAAAAINNN…

  • Bronze Dog: I’m guessing there’d be something about “community standards,” with the assumption that the “community” will always be right-wing Christian regardless of what certain individuals think.

  • iknklast

    I grew up in Edmond. You can’t go a block without seeing 3 or 4 large churches. They are still angry that a federal court made them remove a Christian cross from the city seal in the 90s. I imagine this guy had to say he wasn’t in favor of blasphemy; even this much might give him trouble getting re-elected. My father is probably out there right now going “Get a rope!”

  • Wes

    Meanwhile, another Oklahoma legislator has proposed a bill that would restrict divorce: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-lawmakers-bill-would-restrict-divorces/article/3754596

    The only good I see coming of it is that now you can go to those who oppose gay marriage and say, “See? THIS is what it feels like to have the government fucking around with your personal life.”

    I’m also from Edmond, and would just like to corroborate iknklast’s observation that it is a ridiculously conservative town. I’m actually surprised that a representative from Edmond would even touch a bill like this. But good for him–at least he understands the first amendment well enough to recognize that blasphemy laws are unconstitutional. Can’t say even that much of a lot of other politicians.

  • Sastra

    If this bill is coming from a legislator who is normally conservative, I think the odds are that he’s afraid that the coming Muslim invasion will use blasphemy laws to silence any criticism of the coming Sharia laws. He’s simply being preemptive.

  • Ichthyic

    OOOOOKLAHOMA where the fear blows straight across the PLAAAAAINNN…

    …and the bullshit’s as high as an elphant’s eye…

  • Ichthyic

    Oklahoma trivia:

    Shot on location in and around Sonoita, Arizona, because the real Oklahoma in 1955 was so heavily farmed and developed that few suitable areas could be found that resembled the highly-rural and undeveloped Oklahoma of the turn of the century when the musical is set.