Today is the sixth annual International Blasphemy Rights Day and (not coincidentally) the tenth anniversary of the
Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. Here is a bit of background on why this day needs to exist:
CFI's Michael De Dora on why we launched International Blasphemy Rights Day and the Campaign for Free Expression: http://t.co/mBNpeUtXXl
— Blasphemy Rights Day (@BlasphemyDay) September 28, 2015
Somewhat more succinctly, my fellow SINner Notung has argued as follows, “The best response to demands that a particular form of expression should be stifled is to actively defy those demands.” I could not agree more.
Blasphemy laws, the Jyllands-Posten riots and subsequent death threats, and the Charlie Hebdo mass shooting are all examples of force or threats of force directed against public displays of impiety. Other examples include the various threats and/or fatwas against Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Molly Norris, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, not to mention all of these atheist bloggers. (These are just the people who spring immediately to mind, feel free to add more in the comments.)
It is probably not a coincidence that the most violent threats tend to originate from a particularly virulent subset of one specific world religion, but other faiths will also find ways to threaten and harass those who dare to defy their universal proscription on blasphemous displays. Right here in my backyard, not long ago, the Catholic League tried to use the “community standards” gambit to shut down a Black Mass performance, and the archbishopric filed a frivolous lawsuit in order to prevent the performance from including a certain sacred foodstuff. These methods are far more civilized than death threats and murder, naturally, but they are intended to achieve the same result: Immunizing ancient ridiculous ideas against the possibility of public mockery.
As freethinkers and skeptics, we cannot let this aggression stand. Ridiculous ideas must be ridiculed, bad ideas refuted, untruths rebutted.
Go forth and blaspheme.