Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Muslim Business Card of Death edition.

One leg up Christianity has over Islam is that most practitioners have long ago abandoned the prosecution of blasphemy laws whereas it’s still a serious crime in many Islamic nations. It doesn’t help when the authorities take a zero-tolerance approach to anything that could possibly be conceived as being blasphemous whether that was the intent or not. Take, for example, the otherwise innocent act of disposing of an unwanted business card:

Naushad Valiyani, a Muslim doctor in the southern city of Hyderabad, was arrested Friday after a complaint was lodged with police alleging his actions had insulted the Prophet Muhammad, said regional police chief Mushtaq Shah.

The case began Friday when Muhammad Faizan, a pharmaceutical company representative, visited Valiyani’s clinic and handed out his business card. He said when the doctor threw the card away, Faizan went to police and filed a complaint that noted his name was the same as the prophet’s.

Shah said police were investigating whether Valiyani should be charged with blasphemy.

How convenient for Mr. Faizan that he just happens to share the name of the prophet and thus can exact retribution against people who piss him off.

Dozens of Pakistanis are sentenced to death each year under the blasphemy law, though most cases are thrown out by higher courts and no executions have been carried out. The law, however, is unlikely to be repealed because the government’s ruling party — largely secular — relies on the support of Islamist groups.

Which is one of the bigger problems with laws like this is that they often are used to settle petty grudges rather than actually defend the honor of some long-dead prophet or mythical deity. Not that the latter is any more acceptable than the former.

They must believe in a pretty weak God if he needs to be defended by his followers from perceived insults against him. You’d think any God worth worshiping would be able to handle that on his own or, even better, be above worrying about it to begin with.

My last minute entry into Everyone Draw Mohammed Day!

This little exercise was a lot more painful than I expected it to be. Not because I’m worried about offending someone’s religious sensibilities or because I have some heretofore unknown deeply held respect for the “prophet” Mohammed, but because it reminded me of my total lack of talent at drawing anything. This became especially obvious to me after seeing both ***Dave’s and DOF’s entries for the day. Compared to them alone, I have the artistic ability of a retarded fruit fly that’s been dead for a week.

So I did what everyone who lacks any ability to draw a straight line does in this situation. I resorted to a stick figure. And here it is:

A stick figure Mohammed.

I did this all by myself!

Yes, I believe I’ve managed to create a spectacularly offensive depiction without really trying. That’s supposed to be a turban on his head, but it looks more like a pile of shit. I modeled the beard on my own and it’s probably the most realistic thing in the picture. That’s supposed to be a sword in his right hand even though it looks like a giant leaf of some sort. Based on my drawing, Mohammed was a stunningly short man with a surprisingly huge head and an arm span of at least 10 feet.

So there we go. With just two minutes to spare. My not-meant-to-be-offensive-but-probably-is-anyway entry for Everyone Draw Mohammed Day.  It’s sad to think that this means I have bigger balls than all the people at Comedy Central.

Blasphemy Day

Cafe Philos had an interesting article here:

I just heard the news that the Center for Inquiry and its sister organization,  the Council for Secular Humanism, have teamed up to sponsor a Blasphemy Day this September 30th. Before you yawn, consider they probably mean well.

Time was when blasphemy was a crime and a blasphemy day might have been a wake up slap to the powers that be.   Back then, setting aside a day to blaspheme might have accomplished something. But today? Isn’t every school kid a blasphemer these days?

At least, those were my first thoughts upon hearing of a Blasphemy Day this year.  I wondered what the point could be.  It’s 2009.  Most days, I’m of the opinion that the Judeo-Christian God — “God” with a capital “G” — is too ridiculous to exist, and that the various more sophisticated gods of the philosophers and theologians are unnecessary to explain anything.  No one is stopping me these days from expressing those opinions, so what could be the point of my going out of my way to blaspheme?

I’m curious.  Any ideas?

The fact that we have the right to blaspheme is so important it can hardly be understated. Unlike most countries in this world, our Freedom of Speech sets us apart from all the chaff. This does not mean that it is appropriate or respectful to blaspheme, just that we have the RIGHT to do so.

From that article I linked to this NYTimes article here:

Back in the fall of 2007, with only the most practical motives in mind, George Kalman took his pen to the standard form for creating a limited liability company in Pennsylvania.

[…] The first line on the document asked Mr. Kalman to supply his chosen corporate name, and he printed it in: I Choose Hell Productions, LLC. In a personal bit of existentialism, Mr. Kalman believed that, even if life was often hellish, it was better than suicide.

A week later, the daily mail to Mr. Kalman’s home in the Philadelphia suburb of Downingtown brought a form letter from the Pennsylvania Department of State. His corporate filing had been rejected, the letter explained, because a business name “may not contain words that constitute blasphemy, profane cursing or swearing or that profane the Lord’s name.”

[…] After a couple more readings, though, Mr. Kalman realized that the rejection was genuine. Pennsylvania, it turned out, indeed had a law against blasphemy. In the short term, Mr. Kalman successfully filed for incorporation as ICH Productions, LLC. In the longer run, he put in a call to the state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union and set in motion a challenge to the state law.

[…] Pennsylvania’s law may be the most idiosyncratic of all, because it covers only the matter of corporate names. And, rather than being a dusty vestige of the 19th century, it was enacted (and overwhelmingly so) only in 1977. A Democratic legislator, Emil Mrkonic, wrote the bill after a mail-order fire-arms dealer filed incorporation papers for the God Damn Gun Shop.

I love that the recent bill was passed in PA in 1977. And who could fault the business entrepreneur for wanting to name his gun shop as he did in 1977, which caused the bill to be introduced by some Fundie? Should we have the right to blaspheme?

SEB is now illegal in Ireland.

It seems they’ve passed a new blasphemy law in Ireland that makes it illegal to criticize any religion under penalty of fines up to 25,000 Euros ($35,000):

Here is an excerpt from the Blasphemy Clause:

Section 36

(1) A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000. [Amended to €25,000]

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

This part of the bill makes it illegal to criticize any religion either verbally or in writing. Saying anything in which a “substantial number” of followers might find offensive would now be a crime in the Ireland. But the bill goes even further. Here is another excerpt:

Section 37

(1) Where a person is convicted of an offence under section 36, the court may issue a warrant (a) authorising any member of the Garda Siochana [the police] to enter (if necessary by the use of reasonable force) at all reasonable times any premises (including a dwelling) at which he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that copies of the statement to which the offence related are to be found, and to search those premises and seize and remove all copies of the statement found therein, (b) directing the seizure and removal by any member of the Garda Siochana of all copies of the statement to which the offence related that are in the possession of any person, specifying the manner in which copies so seized and removed shall be detained and stored by the Garda Siochana.

So saying that Mohammad was a pedophile who enjoyed buttseks would certainly be grounds for me to be arrested and charged in Ireland. So too would my saying that Jesus is a myth built by stealing legends from other religions who never actually existed outside of the minds of the easily deluded who worship him. Catholics are a cannibal death cult that believe their eating the literal flesh and blood of their savior? Yeah, that’d get me brought up on charges. Yahweh is just a figment of the Jew’s imagination that they cling to to salve the wounds left from centuries of being fucked over by everyone else in the world? That’ll probably do as well. 

In this entry alone I’ve committed four counts of blasphemy worthy of fines up to 25,000 Euros each. I can only imagine what the total would be if they dug through the nearly 6,500 entries I’ve got here. Not all of them would count as blasphemy, but more than enough would to ensure I didn’t see the light of day anytime soon. Guess I won’t be visiting Ireland in the near future.

Incidentally, I have no idea if simply reading SEB would be grounds for being charged in Ireland. If any of our regulars are in Ireland, you may want to check on that.

LOLTheist: Blasphemy is Teh Funneh

SEB reader Felicity sends along a link to LOLTheist: Blasphemy is Teh Funneh which is what you get when you combine the hilarity of LOLCats with Christian icons. A sample:

Click to embiggen!

The number of submissions is pretty low at the moment, can’t imagine why, but I’m sure it’ll grow in time. I especially like the one that suggested Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus are actually space aliens.

In honor of Easter…

… and Last Hussar’s ongoing campaign to have me elected God, I figured updating the side bar pic and my avatar seemed in order.

Go now, and spread my word.