Friday, September 25, 2015

The Arguments Of The Blasphemer

Nothing Should Be Immune 
from Criticism:

Those who favor the punishment of expression critical of religious beliefs will sometimes refer to the right of believers not to be offended. But there is no such right. Obviously, as humanists we respect the worth and dignity of all persons, but that presupposes that we treat others as our equals and not condescend to them as though they were children who cannot accept criticism of their beliefs. Moreover, it is immediately obvious that if such a right were to be recognized, it would effectively prevent any critical examination of religious beliefs—which, of course, is the real goal of those who advocate for the spurious right not to be offended. Framing laws in terms of protecting religious sensibilities cannot obscure the fact that both the intent and effect of these laws is to protect majoritarian religious beliefs and punish dissent. To quote Robert Ingersoll, “The cry of blasphemy means only that the arguments of the blasphemer cannot be answered.”

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