What's wrong with the National Prayer Breakfast? 2-11-16
The plague of biblical literalism: 2-13/14-16

Another bad blasphemy law proposal: 2-12-16

The country (not the state) of Georgia in eastern Europe is considering adopting a law that would punish people who commit what that law describes as religious blasphemy.

Georgia_mapGovernment-approved anti-blasphemy laws are ridiculous, whether they come from nations like Georgia, whose citizens are predominantly Christian Orthodox, or nations like Pakistan, whose citizens are predominantly Muslim.

What blasphemy laws reveal is that their proponents are full of fear that the religions they are trying to protect are so weak that they cannot stand up for themselves without government assistance.

Georgia's proposed law is especially problematic in that way because of the vagueness of what it says. The law would limit religious expression that results in "insult of religious feelings." And the fines for such a sloppily worded crime would be quite substantial.

I certainly am not a proponent of insulting the religious feelings of others. Indeed, healthy religion should help to create people who are loving and respectful of all people, regardless of faith or the lack of faith.

But to suggest that a religion is so weak and threatened that it cannot survive without a state law designed to protect the delicate sensibilities of its followers is itself to insult that religion.

Blasphemy laws have been widely misused, especially in predominantly Muslim countries. To adopt such laws in a predominantly Christian Orthodox country like Georgia would lead to additional abuse of the freedom of speech.

How about we all grow up, act as respectful adults and get government out of the business of having to defend the honor of any religion anywhere? I'd vote for all that.

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The Wheaton College professor who said Christians and Muslims worship the same God has left that school under pressure. But, as David Gushee of Religion News Service notes in this piece, in the end this was about more than the professor and the school. Rather, it was about the future of Christian evangelicalism. Gushee thinks the wrong side prevailed in the Wheaton matter. I think he's right.


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