IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
By Larry Peterson
Asia Bibi, a mother of five and a Catholic, languishes in a Pakistani prison. She has been there for five years. She waits for them to come and drag her to the gallows where she will be hanged by the neck until dead. Why? Because to the Muslims working alongside her in the fields, she was an “Infidel”. They demanded that she bring them water and she “defiled” them by drinking some of it. They mocked her and cursed her religion and Jesus and she defended Him and her faith. She was summarily accused of “mocking” Allah. Her crime? Blasphemy. In Pakistan “Blasphemy” is a capital crime punishable by death. Asia Bibi’s death sentence has been upheld by the Pakistani Supreme Court. May the God of Love help her.
We are quite the interesting species, aren’t we? The fascinating twist in all of this Blaspheming thing is that our highly sophisticated and secular world mocks the idea of “Blasphemy” as a non-existent “sin” and “crime”. Instead, when people of this upscale, modern era blaspheme, they choose to call it “free speech”. The French publication, “Charlie Hebdo”, mocked and ridiculed Allah. They also have mocked and ridiculed Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Pope, and all connected to Jesus. This publication continually strikes and cuts deeply at the very heart of a person’s innermost core beliefs. But hey, it is OK because it is “Free Speech”. This is an absurdity.
Blasphemy is defined as an “impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things” or “an act of cursing or reviling God”. Freedom of Speech is defined as “the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc. Seems to me that they are two totally different things.
We sojourn back 2000 years and we remember a certain High Priest named Caiphas, symbolically tearing his robes when Jesus, asked if he was the Son of God, answered, “I am”.
“Blasphemer!” he screamed. “Blasphemer!” And they took the Man who simply preached love and forgiveness away to be tortured and crucified. They even traded Jesus for the release of a convicted murderer and seditionist. Ah, Blasphemy, so vague, so ambiguous, so diabolical and so convenient to use as an excuse to do murder and/or get rid of political foes.
Asia Bibi loved Jesus and her Catholic faith. Who do these people think they are to judge her and condemn her to be hanged for thinking differently than they do? Whoever gave them the right to deprive her five children of their mother? Who do they think they are to be able to decide her faith makes her a Blasphemer? The fact is, their actions make them the Blasphemers. This mind set is not only distorted and twisted it is just plain wicked. No God of love and mercy approves of this viciousness.
How many people have been tortured and murdered over the centuries as Blasphemers because they followed Jesus Christ? We could never count that high. Ironically, as we have journeyed past the Age of Enlightment and onward into the 21st century with incredible advances in science, medicine, literature and civility, we can look over our shoulders and see people being hanged, beheaded, crucified and killed in unimaginable ways because of the ancient ‘sin’ of Blasphemy.
There is an old cliche that says, “Never discuss politics or religion with your friends”. There is simple wisdom for you. But today, a satirical publication like Charlie Hebdo, can ridicule and mock the things that demean and debase the very core of a person’s heart and soul. And it is not only Charlie Hebdo. It is the entertainment world (Bill Maher says people who believe in God are “idiots”), school systems, city council men and women, school administrators, judges, lawyers, congressmen, senators and all who reject and trample on a person’s religious beliefs by passing rules against these beliefs. When people do this they are, like it or not, blaspheming. So an outraged group of world leaders gather together and march together and suggest it is “Free Speech” that is under attack. The fact is Free Speech had nothing to do with the attack on “Charlie Hebdo”. The paper is a blaspheming publication hiding behind a mask called ‘satire’.
The United States of America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written with God’s Natural Law as their foundation. We have been given by our Founders, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Yet, we have all of these people in power at all different levels trying to squash religion within the same country that, by law, gives them that freedom and to which many swear allegiance and loyalty.
Comes a new day and these same people will turn around and be outraged when blasphemers are viciously attacked and murdered by psychopathic killers who have had their core beliefs mocked and trampled upon and believe that killing the “Blasphemer” is justified. These radical Islamists seem to forget that they also are Blasphemers the only difference being they carry automatic weapons and kill people they have passed judgement upon. It is sure a good thing that Christians believe in forgiveness.
Blasphemy and Free Speech are two different things. Free Speech never was put in place so people could dishonor and publicly mock and defile those whose religious beliefs they disagree with. NOT doing that is called respect. Whatever happened to that? The “sin of blasphemy” needs to be tossed back onto the ash heap of historical hubris and buried forever under all the pain and heartache it has wrought. Those of us who are protected by laws allowing Free Speech need to once again incorporate some common decency and respect in the words we use about those folks we do not agree with. You know, there was a time not too long ago where a mutual respect did exist among people.
Blaspheming others is NOT the exercise of Free Speech. It is the perversion of that God given right. May the God of Love help us all.
Copyright © 2015 Larry Peterson