September 30th is the first International Blasphemy Day. It is set to be an annual day on the calendar. Why September 30th? It was on this date in 2005 that a Danish newspaper published an editorial cartoon that lampooned Islam’s Muhammed. After the publication hit the streets, many were upset about this type of editorial cartoon. Extremists in the Islamic community called for the death of the cartoonist and the editors and publishers of the newspaper.
I do believe that publishers, editors, cartoonists and writers have the freedom to print what they will (within certain limitations). But just because somebody has that freedom does not mean that it is right or wise. Opponents also have the freedom to voice their dissent.
The purpose of this day, in part, is to promote free speech and the right to criticize and satirize religion. In fact, the website promoting this day indicates that you should support this day if you support free speech and the rights of people to disagree with religious views. This is certainly a faulty logical leap. I support free speech and the rights of people to disagree with religious views. I, however, cannot support a day of blasphemy.
In fact, in the paragraph after identifying who should support the day, they link to another page with ideas on how to support the day. The ideas include:
- Gather on a public place of a college campus with a megaphone. Encourage people to voice 90 second blasphemies.
- Have a blasphemous art display. We have already seen what the results of this are.
- Play the game “Blasphemy.” This game is one in which participants convince other players that they are Jesus. They are to act Messiah-like until they get themselves killed. The winner is the first player to get his Jesus nailed on the cross. The website for this game indicates that “Blasphemy is the race to the cross.” Playing time is 90-120 minutes.
- Offer a soul exchange. This is where people are invited to trade their souls for home-baked cookies.
As you can see, this is not for those who love our freedoms. It is an abuse of the freedoms which we have. With freedom comes responsibility. Being free to speak implies that we have an obligation to speak responsibly. I defend the rights of these blasphemers to speak. I also defend the rights of others to say that they are wrong. Ultimately, they will not answer to you or to me. A day will come when they will stand before God. He is more than capable of dealing with them. I pray that, like Saul on the road to Tarsus, they will see the resurrected Jesus and be changed forever.
For those of us who are Christian, we should become more committed to knowing Jesus and making him known. Remember this: one website for blasphemy day has a tagline “…because your god is a joke.”