Reasons to Celebrate International Blasphemy Rights Day

Why should you take part in (or at least acknowledge) International Blasphemy Rights Day tomorrow? The members of the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers (UNIFI) made this awesome video with their answers:

As the saying goes, blasphemy is a victimless crime. So take the time to appreciate your free speech rights on Friday.

(via UNIFI)

***Update***: This is what they’re doing at the University of Illinois:

Illini Secular Student Alliance members will be inviting passersby to add their own blasphemous ideas to our “Wall of Blasphemy” poster and to sell their souls for tasty, tasty cookies. Our goal is not only to raise awareness about nonbelief and nonbelievers on campus, but to illustrate the importance of First Amendment rights, no matter the topic of one’s speech.

It goes without saying that not everyone who encounters our activities will enjoy them. Perhaps some students might even condemn us, and that’s okay. We realize that we’re a minority — that’s the very reason we need to make our voices heard. We hope to demonstrate how fortunate you and I are to live in a country where such behavior is legal, when so many countries worldwide have laws condemning those who publicly state their nonbelief (or, frequently, simply the wrong belief) to death.


About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Denis Robert

    “as the saying goes…”; well no. The saying is wrong. Blasphemy is not (or shouldn’t be) a crime at all.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry I can’t blaspheme.  When I look up the word it says to “To speak of (God or a sacred entity) in an irreverent, impious manner.” and as I don’t believe in the divine I can’t be irreverent toward it.  This is sort of like committing treason against a made up country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki Joe Zamecki

    Awesome! :)

  • David McNerney

    Is it blasphemous to say that “blasphemy is a victimless crime”?

  • Anonymous

    Victimless? You’re offending and potentially harassing tens of thousands of people. You’re pathetic.

    • guest

      Theists offend and harass atheists every single day.  You’re pathetic.

      • OverlappingMagisteria

        I hope we have better responses than “An eye for an eye.”

      • Indoril Nerevar

        Yeah! Mr. Dawkins is an egocentric freak!

        Stalin and Pol-Pot were atheists, too!

        Atheism sucks for ever!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      - citation needed – how does blasphemy harass anyone?

    • Anonymous

      “I don’t think gods exist”
      “Help! I’m being oppressed!”

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      If you’re “harassed” by mere words about your imaginary friend, then you really need some counseling or something. If your faith is so weak that any words spoken/written against your god(s) can’t be tolerated, then you need to find another hobby, my friend.

    • OverlappingMagisteria

      You’re right that, technically, blasphemy is not truly victimless. Anyone who is bothered by blasphemous statements is a “victim.”
      Similarly, playing Justin Beiber music in public bothers many people who become victims of hearing awful music.
      The word I disagree with is “crime.” It is not a crime to say things that are offensive anymore than it is to play bad music in public. You do not have a right not to be offended.

      • Anonymous

        Anyone who is bothered by blasphemous statements is a “victim.”

        No, they’re simply someone who has chosen to be offended by certain statements that are not inherently offensive.

        • OverlappingMagisteria

          Eh.. potato, potahto. My point is that some people get (or choose to get) offended by it, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing. In many cases, blasphemy is necessary and should be encouraged in the criticism of religion. We can haggle over the definition of “victim” and who falls under that term or not, but I don’t think it really gets us anywhere. Whether or not we call them victims or not is irrelevant as to the question of “should blasphemy be permitted?”

    • Anonymous

      Do you know what “blasphemy” means?  It is the act of speaking sacrilegiously about gods or sacred things.  Sacrilege, of course, is irreverence towards something that is held sacred.  I submit that if you are offended when someone speaks out against your particular sacred cow then it is you who have the problem.  If you are offended because others don’t find your deity sacred then take a moment to ponder why you place such reverence on such things.  Perhaps you are treating them as idols.  

      If your particular deity does exist and it is offended then let it come down from it’s cloud, mountain, volcano or wherever it lives and say something.  It surely doesn’t need an anonymous poster on the Internet to intervene on it’s behalf or is omnipotence not all it’s cracked up to be these days?

    • Rich Wilson

      Nobody has the right to not be offended.

      And have you ever considered how impossible it would be to live life not offending anyone?

      I find your comment offensive!

    • Anonymous

      You don’t have the right not to be offended. Harassing?  Just stay away from the “Blasphemy Wall” at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or if you have to go past it, simply avert your eyes. Problem solved.

      • Rich Wilson

        Or better yet, post your own blasphemy.  There must be some religion out there you think is wrong?

        • Samuel Shore

          ISSA member here, not all the blasphemy posted on the wall last year was even religious in nature! Someone walking by stopped to write, “Final Fantasy VII wasn’t a good game”.

          It is my sincere belief that those who are offended by this holiday are simply expressing a kneejerk reaction and haven’t bothered to take the time to understand exactly what it is we’re advocating: Speech should be free, one’s right to expression should not be violated by the tastes of the majority.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

            Whoa. That’s right up there with “Ozzy sucks!”

            (The Unholy Trinity: Ozzy, Dio, and Bruce Dickinson…)

    • Anonymous

      Oooo… a drive-by insult by “Anonymous.”  I will take your criticism seriously if you choose to use a valid name and face us honestly.  Until then, it’s all just beeps and whistles.

  • Donalbain

    Recite Bible get discount = Bad
    Recite blasphemy get cookie = Good

    ?

    • Anonymous

      Providing cookies isn’t an essential service. Not getting one doesn’t cause any inconvenience

      • P. J. Reed

        To be fair, providing oil changes isn’t an essential service.  You can easily choose to not drive, go somewhere else, or change your own oil.

      • Donalbain

        Neither is a discount on your oil change.

    • Anonymous

      Providing cookies isn’t an essential service. Not getting one doesn’t cause any inconvenience

    • Rich Wilson

      You’re permitted to pick your own blasphemy (e.g. “The Devil can kiss my ass!”) so it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of religion.  The only possible complaint would be “my religion doesn’t allow me to offend anyone, even Satanists”.

  • Guest
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=743326139 Dan Moody

    In Britain you cannot be prosecuted for blasphemy (since 2008).
    Love what theyre doing but they need to get the justifications accurate or look like fools

    • Anonymous

      Only in England and Wales were the blasphemy laws abolished.  In Scotland and in Northern Ireland they still exist.

      • http://blog.anarchic-teapot.net anarchic teapot

        The way the Scots and Irish swear, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. ,I don’t know about NI law, but in Scotland the last prosecution was in 1843 or thereabouts, so it’s probably fallen into desuetude and no longer enforceable.

  • Debbie Goddard

    The Blasphemy Day International Facebook page has been highlighting student group activities to celebrate the event:

    http://www.facebook.com/blasphemyday

  • http://twitter.com/MyAtheistBible Anonymous Atheist

    A brave campaign and one to be commended. I wish them the best, and only hope they tread lightly. I’d hate for anything detrimental to come from what seems a peaceful protest.

  • Jason

    I love that this also falls on my birthday.

  • Oneaboveall

    UHM! OBJECTION!

    In the Netherlands the blasphemy law is still on the books this is true, It hasn’t been successfully prosecuted since WW2. Basically the law on that is dead. So there’s not a huge bone to pick there. Hell, The Dutch were an inch away from getting rid of it entirely a couple of years ago.

    Regards,
    Rhysz

  • Hermann o

    In Germany blasphemy is not punishable! It can only be prosecuted if it  is capable of disturbing the public peace. But then this is always actionable no matter what you do or say…

    Shalom
    Hermann

  • Warrior3147

    You think that because you put your picture on the interent this makes you something special don’t you know it’s the FOOL who says there is no God enjoy standing in your own shoes on judgment day

    • HughInAz

      Whosoever sayeth, thou fool, shall be in danger of Hell fire – Matthew 5:22.


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