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On god. And damn. - Variations on a Theme
People watching, writ singular
On god. And damn.

"I'm in a pretty good mood lately. I think it can be pretty well summed up by a Susan Cooper in Silver on the Tree: "...it's was hard to despair for long over the eternal fallibility of mankind when confronted with homemade bread,... raspberry jam, scones and Mrs. Stanton's delicious, delicate, unmatchable sponge cake." "

Plus some other random things, like seeing Asterix as the logo on the side of a construction vehicle in the middle of Chicago. (For those of you that don't know, my icon is of a character from the Asterix comic books: Getafix)

But I'm mostly posting now mostly for this article on blasphemy, generally how it's a good thing for democracies and specifically why the Muhammed cartoons were healthy:

The Righteousness of Blasphemy

It's simply not acceptable for a participant to enter public debate, have such a powerful effect upon it, and then claim immunity from the sort of treatment to which other participants are subject. As distasteful as it may be to those invested in religious belief, mocking Mohammed, or Moses, or Jesus, is therefore no more improper than mocking Karl Marx or Adam Smith or Rush Limbaugh or Hilary Clinton. The religious can't have it both ways.

Indeed, critical silence entails a kind of improper deference and even subjugation of political opinion. Flemming Rose, the culture editor of Jyllands-Posten , the Danish newspaper that originally published the cartoons, put it succinctly when he wrote: “if a believer demands that I, as a non-believer, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.”

In fact—and here's something many will find particularly hard to swallow—it's important not only that people be free to criticize and mock religion. It's important that they actually do so, from time to time.
2 comments or Leave a comment
rightwinger From: rightwinger Date: May 17th, 2006 07:54 am (UTC) (Link)
"Blasphemy is an artistic effect, because blasphemy depends upon a philosophical conviction. Blasphemy depends upon belief and is fading with it. If any one doubts this, let him sit down seriously and try to think blasphemous thoughts about Thor. I think his family will find him at the end of the day in a state of some exhaustion." - G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, Ch. 1
somebodyelse From: somebodyelse Date: May 17th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd call this pretty blasphemous. I could also say something about Thor and Loki that I'm fairly sure would qualify. Then again, I'm pretty weird in that I'm as firm and as thorough about my non-conviction of existance or non-existance of every other deity as I am about the Christian one. It's just that the Christian one keeps coming up more than the rest, for some odd reason. And because nobody cares, jokes about Thor hold a lot less punch. I'd still call them blasphemous.
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