Thursday, September 30, 2010


Today is one of my favourite days of all time, (despite being a tradition that started last year). Today, September 30, is Blasphemy Day.

It would be fair to say that I fucking love being blasphemous. But, contrary to what you might think, this is not simply about the fact I like making fun of other people's gods. This is about freedom to express your opinions.

A few weeks ago, there was this huge thing about some idiot who wanted to burn Korans during the anniversary of the WTC attacks. Now, I hate book burning. I hate it with a passion I rarely experience. The symbol of book burning is the symbol saying "your ideas don't deserve to exist". Saying "We must destroy them". In a day where we have printing presses and e-books and etceteras, destroying one book (one you already own) has little to no effect on whether someone else will ever read it. It is, like I said, a symbol. A message. An opinion. One I happen to find repulsive and idiotic.

But you know what was worse than Pastor Fucktard saying he was going to burn a book? The reactions from people who think that book has magical powers. People who sent ungoddamned death threats to someone over burning books. It is at this point that people need to get a fucking sense of scale. Guy sending stupid message: Bad. Rabid fundies calling for his death: Orders of magnitude worse. The two don't even compare. They are not on the same scale.

Another idiot also decided to burn a Koran that same day. What happened? Someone stole it from him. My first reaction was "Good for the kid!". My second reaction was "Wait, did he steal a book from someone because he disagreed with him?". I got into an argument with several people over that one, whether it was the right thing to do or not. And my reply is no, it's not. Even though the idiot was arguing against free speech, freedom of opinion applies. Freedom to speak your mind even when people will find your opinion disgusting.

The reason I hate book burners is the same reason I defend their right to do it. Because I think that there's no such thing as an opinion that shouldn't be expressed. Book burners state their disagreement with that, and while I think they are hateful morons, I believe they have that right. People who violate a book burner's rights because they disagree with those views cross a line. The line that says "bad argument gets counter-argument, ideas are fought with ideas, and never do you challenge someone's views with force". I like that line. It's one of the few things that can come close to an absolute moral principle , in my philosophy. So, when people cross that line without a really fucking good reason, I get upset. And when people cross that line, and others defend them, in the name of free speech, something breaks in my brain.

You don't defend free speech by banning speech against it. It's a contradiction of epic proportions. It makes the whole point of free speech meaningless. While "defending free speech" sounds nice, people seldom realise what the term implies. It doesn't just mean you get the right to state your controversial ideas when they challenge the mainstream. It also means that everyone else does too. It means that, let's just throw a purely hypothetical situation here, when Phred Felps wants to protest a soldier's funeral say that fags burn in hell, you defend him against those trying to ban that. When William Richardson wants to say that Jews are trying to take over the world, you defend him against those trying to ban that. No mater how repulsive, or wrong, or offensive, or hateful, or bigoted, or retarded you find someone's opinion, if someone else tries to silence them by force, you defend them. That's exactly what you are agreeing to do when you say we should defend free speech.

In multiple countries around the world, there are laws against blasphemy. The UN has passed resolutions to "combat the defamation of religion", and I say, to hell with that. Blasphemy is a victimless crime. I have a right to tell you exactly how little I think of your religion, and so does everybody else. Even Koran burners, no matter how idiotic their motives. And that is what this day aims to remind us, that we should never let anyone stop anyone's right to express their opinions under the cause of "respecting other's beliefs". I will not respect beliefs that have not earned it. I will not demand that anyone respect my own, if they think I'm wrong. And I will continue to call your gods lies, imaginary, tyrants, evil, toddlers, excuses, fabrications and delusions. I will continue to call your religion superstition, bullshit, myth, fairy tale, moral abomination, philosophical absurdity, and anything else I think applies. And I will defend anyone else's right to do so.

So, remember, when you fight for free speech, you fight for yours and everyone else's. Remember that, every time you give your consent to violations of rights based on opinion, it is your own freedom you are condemning. Whenever you see someone saying something colossally stupid, and others move one single nanometre across the line, be very careful about whose side you take.

Happy Blasphemy Day, imaginary readers. May your prophets and gods be fucked sideways.

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