Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blasphemy is Not a Crime

by Catherine Giordano
The statue in the church yard

Blasphemy, stupidity, and disrespect are not crimes. Getting freaky with Jesus is not a crime. What should be a crime is arresting a 14 year-old boy for doing what 14 year -old boys do—act like a doofus.

By now, you have probably heard about the teen-aged Pennsylvania boy who was arrested and facing up to two years in jail because he posted a picture on facebook which showed him crouched over a statue of Jesus in such a way as to make it look like the statue of Jesus was fellating him. The charge is “desecration of a venerated object.” Or in other words, blasphemy.

First of all the statue was not desecrated or vandalized. No statues were hurt during the commission of this stunt. The statue is sitting in the churchyard.  Are we going to send the pigeons which have undoubtedly done far worse to this “venerated object” to jail. 

Bill Maher addressed this issue on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 330 which aired on 9/26/14. Maher said that this picture made “his heart swell with patriotism because this kid is not going to get killed for this. He’s not even going to go to jai.” (We hope.)  Bill added, “It may not be in good taste. I don’t condone this type of behavior—praying I mean.” Bill then made the point that America is better than Muslim countries because we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech and that means freedom to get freaky with “venerated objects.”   

The church is not pressing any charged. The boy apologized. It should have ended right there. This should be laughed out of court. 

Bill discussed this as part of a larger issue about “cultural relativism” in a New Rules segment titled “Fellate Show.” Here’s a clip of the whole segment. This bit makes my heart swell with pride that we have people in this country like Bill Maher who will speak truth to power. And make us laugh while he does it.
Bill Maher's Guests September 26, 2014
General Anthony Zinni: Retired United States Marine Corps General, author of several books, including his latest book, Before the First Shots Are Fired: How America Can Win Or Lose Off The Battlefield (with Tony Koltz)
Naomi Klein: Critic of corporate globalization and author of several books, including
John Feehery:  Republican political commentator, former aide to Dennis Haster, President of Quinn Gillespie Communications and Director of QGA Government Affairs. 
Charles M. Blow: Journalist, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and author of Fire Shut Up in My Bones