Monday, June 4, 2012

Spanish Artist Prosecuted for Blasphemy

Add Spain to the disturbing trend of Western countries cowering to religious bullying. The long working Spanish artist Javier Krahe "has been taken to court by a Catholic legal association… for "offending religious feelings" - a little known offense. The Catholic association says the law has never before been applied in Spanish legal history."

And so again the supposedly established liberal value of free speech is eroded by this familiar acid, and the bullies are rewarded with propitiations and deference while the victims are punished.

Any law allowing for the prosecution of "offending religious feelings" sets up a de-facto privileged class, consisting primarily, at least in the Western world, of the two monotheisms Islam and Christianity (one cannot easily recall a blasphemy charge led by Jews).  Inevitably, that power will be abused by the faithful to threaten their way to ever more robust inoculations from challenge and insult, all the while backed and legitimized by the state. 

I'm offended by a good portion of Catholic doctrine, and perhaps even more of Islamic doctrine, but I can't sue the clergy for any offense caused to me. Nor can a rights activist sue a racist (at least not in the U.S., and rightly so), nor a capitalist a marxist.

What's obvious of the religious interests pushing for an internationally enforceable blasphemy resolution at the U.N. is one of two things. Either they don't foresee any complications by the fact that much of the three major religions are, definitionally, blasphemies against one another (will they be taking each other to court, en masse?); or that otherwise, with a wink and a nod, they agree to a sort of absurd mutual immunity to each other's "crimes."

There simply is no freedom of speech without license to offend. And the most important protections are those afforded to the offenders of Dogmas, be they of state or church. 

There exists no human right to unhurt feelings. Grow up.

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