Friday, January 23, 2009

Do you like your freedom of speech?

Do you want to keep it?

If you're a Norwegian citizen, you should be aware that your government is working to limit your freedom of speech.

PLEASE take a moment to educate yourself on the proposed new law which will penalize those who offend 'religious feelings' or religions. Getting rid of the 'blasphemy paragraph' is a good thing, but what our government want to replace it with is equally dangerous, if not more so. The proposal for a new & expanded 'racism paragraph' has the stated goal of 'maintaining the need for legal protection against qualified attacks on systems of belief' in order to protect 'different religions and the religious feelings of the individual'.

It makes me sick to my stomach.

Religion is an intellectual crutch for those who are too weak-minded to under their own power endure the thought of their own mortality. I cannot and I will not respect it. Where is our freedom of religion if I am to be made to do so, at the expense of my own personal beliefs?

No one has the right, in our society today, to not be offended for their personal convictions. What kind of society will we get if we do give certain groups that right? I see it as my right, based in my freedom of speech, to criticize, mock and satirize any belief held by any other person. And let's not forget that to a number of people, any form of criticism, no matter how valid, of their religious beliefs is mockery ... and these are precisely the people whom we most need to be able to speak out against.

What is a 'qualified attack' on a religion? No one can say. Our government has no definition - this will be 'up to the courts' to determine. So the chances are very high that this altered law will become a hindrance to the criticism of religion that is vitally necessary to our society; that is becoming more and more necessary the more Muslims we import into this country. I'm not a racist (oh, that expression ... !) but in all seriousness: Can anyone doubt that this alteration to the law would never have been suggested if it had not been for pressure from Islamic groups? In this part of the world, no other religion has followers who believe that their religious feelings are so sacred and so important that they are entitled to protection from the law. Not in any numbers that matter. This does not apply to all Muslims ... but certainly to enough of them to matter. I say again: These are precisely the people we most need to be able to speak out against.

What our government is doing is to attempt to strengthen religious dogma, at the expense of the citizens' freedom of speech. Why is this necessary? How can this be considered right? Religion is subjective, irrational and has no foundation in reality. One individual may 'feel' that a phenomenon/item/person/whatever is 'sacred'. But s/he has no right, under current law, to force other individuals to share that perception. Our government wants to change that. Don't let them!!

Jews can't eat pork ... but I'm not a Jew, and I don't care. Muslims can't draw their precious 'prophet' ... but I'm not a Muslim, and I don't care. Christians aren't allowed to take the name of the 'lord' in vain ... but I'm not a Christian, and oh my fucking god christ on a crutch I don't care!!! To all religious people of the world, let me say this: It is not the task of the state to protect your delusions.


No expansion of paragraph 185!!!
Sign the petition now!


offthed said...

Nice post.
Another thing about this that really annoys me is that religious people are always talking about their gods, even to atheists. We're probably just as "offended" hearing about their gods as they are hearing about our atheism. I wonder if they'll shut up about their beliefs anytime soon.

Leisha Camden said...

My problem with this is that if it passes, it will mean a limitation of my rights to accomodate others. Others whose 'right' to be sheltered from criticism is based on something wholly irrational & subjective ... but that's another story. It's one thing that people are able to say to me that 'god is real and if you don't believe you'll go to hell' ... I can deal with that. I don't like it, but I can deal with it. But this change in the law is literally saying that if my response to the godbothering is 'that's bs and I don't buy it for a second' ... I can actually be penalized for that. If I offend the other person's 'religious feelings'.

What do you wanna bet that it will be up to the person who feels offended to determine whether or not something is offensive enough to look into ... ?

Next step, thought crime.

Calyx said...

Hear, hear. Will sign the petition now. I'd already been bothered by the proposal, so I'm really happy you found something for people to sign. Will post it on my blog. I know lots of religious people who can handle a bit of criticism, and ridicule is water off a duck's back to them. So who exactly is this law supposed to protect?

Leisha Camden said...

Thanks. I'm glad you signed. We should all sign. The whole idea of this revision is completely ridiculous. We don't need it. On the contrary, what we need is more freedom to criticize religions, not less.

As for those who wish such a law to be implemented, well, it really makes me, creature of rationality that I am, think one thing: They know their belief systems won't stand up to critical scrutiny. Deep down, they do know this ... otherwise, what's the harm in talking? >:-)

Paz said...

there is a horrific case just finished yesterday in Ireland where a mother got jail for sexually abusing her son and neglect of the others, these kids would have been spared a number of years of abuse/starvation and sexual assault if a right wing Catholic group had not intervened.
Imagine if we could not damn these groups publicly, the sorrowful thing is that these kids did not escape, but others might be helped now.
In a long winded way I am saying that you have to be able to write about things you see wrong once it is not inciting anything illigal

kccat said...

Wow. Hadn't heard about this. I'm sure its coming our way soon. Great blog.

Leisha Camden said...

Paz: What an awful story. :-( And you're absolutely right - we need to be able to speak out against wrongs in our societies without fear of being penalized because someone else feels that our speaking out is 'offensive' to something that is wholly subjective and that has no proven existence. Where will it stop? And since there is no definition of what is a 'qualified attack', people will hold back for fear of saying something that may be construed as offensive after the fact. This law will be so dangerous, I don't know what they're thinking. It can't possibly get through Parliament with the current wording. I hope. >:-(

kccat: It kind of already is coming your way. o_O A coalition of Islamic groups is currently putting a lot of pressure on the UN to pass a resolution against criticism of religion ... for the very reasons the Norwegian government is citing for its own crazy scheme. To avoid 'offending' 'religious feelings'. Seriously, it makes me sick.

DES said...

It's one thing that people are able to say to me that 'god is real and if you don't believe you'll go to hell' ...

Actually, I think such a statement would be a “qualified attack on your beliefs and life stance”, and therefore punishable under §185.

Leisha Camden said...

I don't think so. Quite the opposite. That's precisely what paragraph 185 will end up meaning - that 'religious feelings' will carry greater weight than the reasoned argument that opposes it.

I have no religious or spiritual feelings to offend - therefore I don't believe that the new paragraph 185 will protect me. Isn't that the fundamental logic in our society, still? That when a godbotherer tells me whatever bs line s/he's been gulled into believing, I may not like it, but s/he means well, so it's alright really ... whereas my opposing argument, that s/he is full of shit, is by its nature potentially offensive, because 'religious feelings' are so 'personal' ...