Ending blasphemy

The case of Gillian Gibbons — the “Sudan teddy bear teacher” — makes me sick, but I’m a little disturbed how the law is given a pass in the editorial pages, focusing instead on Gibbons’s misunderstanding, naiveity or somesuch.

I don’t have much hope in the Sudanese legal system, it being a failed state. But perhaps this is the kind of episode that can lead to the repeal of the Britain’s blasphemy law. Unitarian blogger Stephen Lingwood (Reignite) wrote about this last year.

3 Replies to “Ending blasphemy”

  1. Read Nick Cohen’s essay on Maryam Namazie to understand why the focus on Gibbons and not the crowds demanding Gibbon be shot or beheaded.

    Namazie is on the right side of the great intellectual struggle of our time between incompatible versions of liberalism. One follows the fine and necessary principle of tolerance, but ends up having to tolerate the oppression of women, say, or gays in foreign cultures while opposing misogyny and homophobia in its own. (Or ‘liberalism for the liberals and cannibalism for the cannibals!’ as philosopher Martin Hollis elegantly described the hypocrisy of the manoeuvre.) The alternative is to support universal human rights and believe that if the oppression of women is wrong, it is wrong everywhere.

  2. Were I British I would not be protesting the blasphemy laws (which have hardly ever been enforced in the twentieth century) and would protest actively the DORA (Defense of the Realm Act.) The DORA was enacted during the First World War to prevent protest and dissent from the war effort. After the war against the dread Kaiser the British government never rescinded the DORA. Under the DORA publications have been censored, individuals persecuted and human rights violated, all of this for “defence of the realm.” Often the government uses the DORA to prevent politically embarassing information from being leaked–and both major parties when in power have abused this law. It needs to be repealed and as it is more potentially damaging in reality for British liberty than the blasphemy laws.

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