September 30th is designated as International Blasphemy Rights Day. This is when we bring awareness to efforts to censor dissent using the false cover of “protecting religious beliefs”. Although very rare in the US, jail time and even death comes to people deemed to have committed Blasphemy. In the US, public bullying sometimes results in “voluntary” self-censorship. Blasphemy laws are bad for freedom. A vibrant society needs and allows dissent in all forms so that the people are able to make informed choices in their lives. And how tolerant we are of dissent says a lot about how we view our country and our freedoms.
What is blasphemy? The dictionary says:
President Obama spoke to the United Nations on September 25th and the topic of the anti-Muslim video that was posted to the Internet came up as well as the strong protests, some violent riots, that happened in Egypt, Libya, and even in Australia. His message was to reinforce the US Constitution protection of speech and the need to meet dissent not with censorship but with more speech.