Pat Robertson and a large bulk of American Fundamentalists today believe that Christianity is under attack. Robertson himself has said it is currently “more terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history.” But not only is the hyperbolic degree of this persecution silly, the question of what ethnic or religious group is persecuted internationally the worst is highly debatable.
It is true that the last person to be executed in England for blasphemy was 20 year old university student Thomas Aikenhead all the way back in 1697. But the crime of not believing in a Deity is still around. Blasphemy is still on the books and is being enforced by governments and courts of law for a long list of countries.
Whether it is mainstream Christians, Mormons, Ahmadis, or some other religious sect, public expression and assembly of some kind is usually possible. And while mobs are always an issue, they are not legally sanctioned. However, for many atheists official blasphemy laws make even stating one’s belief that God doesn’t exist a crime.
For example, back in January, Alexander, an Indonesian atheist from West Sumatra, questioned the existence of God on his Facebook. For this crime he faces up to 5 years in prison. You can read the English language report about it at the Jakarta Post.
The most recent blasphemy case to make the headlines is India’s professional myth buster, Sanal Edamaruku, who is President of the Indian Rationalist Association and travels around India exposing frauds, miracles, and mystical powers. The Catholic Church has recently filed legal proceedings under Section 295A of India’s Penal Code against Sanal for exposing the ‘Bleeding Statue’ outside of a Mumbai Church in March. The ‘blood’ turned out to be leaking sewage.
If convicted Sanal can serve 3 years in prison for “deliberately hurting religious feelings.”
To help Sanal out please consider donating to the Sanal Edamaruku Defense Fund.
~ by Paul Chiariello