Monday, October 01, 2012

Blasphemy, Heaven, Hell and your First Amendment rights...

Huh?  How can those three things be at all related?

Trust me, we'll get there, keep reading.

First, for your listening pleasure, a video of a priest (Bishop, really) telling an interviewer that hell is a construct of the church for the purpose of controlling people, and that instead of rescuing you from sin, christ was really trying to help you become more of a full and better human being...really, watch it here:

Isn't that amazing?  Anybody want to take bets over how long it takes him to get muzzled by the Episcopal authorities?

Actually, this video reveals an idea that is very close to some interpretations of humanistic ideals.  Ideals that try to help people see how humanism can make them better humans and more devoted to the common good.  Who knew that the Protestant Reformation would ever get so far?

Second, on Freethought Blogs, Ed Brayton has a story about how Egyptian authorities have arrested a man under their blasphemy laws for destroying...wait for it...yes, really...a bible!  There's more at the Saudi Gazette.

Quite amazing, actually, when seen in the isolation of looking at the past.  Once you realize that Egypt (and the UN) is under pressure from Islamic groups to convene a group on a world-wide ban on blasphemy, it makes a certain sinister sense.  The Saudi story, amazingly enough, even covers this aspect of the situation:
In the wake of the anti-Islam video, many clerics and politicians in Egypt have called for an international law criminalizing contempt for religion. Egypt’s new government, headed by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, may be under pressure to show that it is applying Egypt’s contempt law evenhandedly.
Ed's take on it has a distinctly American viewpoint:
This is just as unjust as prosecuting someone for anti-Muslim speech. Blasphemy laws are wrong, period, no matter what religion is being offended or what country it takes place in.
True, insofar as it goes, and I have no complaints about that, in fact I wholeheartedly agree.  But this doesn't stop there.

These two things are linked to your First amendment rights, not only because blasphemy laws are wrong in that narrow sense, but because both blasphemy and the heaven/hell construct are invented for one purpose and one purpose only:

To control YOU, to prevent you from dissenting against the Religious Powers That Be.  To ensure that those Powers can remain in power and in Authority over you and the rest of humanity, for as long as they can.

This relates to the Separation of Church and State, and eventually, to every right protected by the constitution.

Why? Because the Islamists have one purpose:  Bringing the world under their domination.  Also, because there is a group of christians, called, aptly enough, Dominionists, who have the same goal, although they are happy to begin with the US - why, after all, should one start small?  Both groups, in line with their separate goals, subscribe to the same tools:  Religious rules and being able to use the power of a national government (and eventually, the UN) to enforce those rules.

Why should this alarm you?

Because, as I've written here before, when one mixes religion with politics, both get confused and muddled.  Religion gets tied to secular causes that violate their most basic tenets, and politics gets so constrained by religion that their opponents are equated with Satan, and so can no longer compromise - who, after all, can compromise with Satan?

I hope, after this, you can recognize the Republican Party.  They haven't bought into the blasphemy thing yet, but they are and have been full on with the heaven and hell thing!  They've already had at least one Catholic authority tell people they'll go to hell if they vote for Obama.  Any bets over how long they buy into making blasphemy illegal in the US?

After all, one has to shut up those pesky bloggers...

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