INTERNATIONAL BLASPHEMY RIGHTS DAY
or simply “Blasphemy Day”, is held each year on September 30th. It’s a day to show solidarity with those who challenge oppressive laws and social prohibitions against free expression, to support the right to challenge prevailing religious beliefs without fear of violence, arrest, or persecution.
Blasphemy Day is part of Centre for Inquiry’s ‘Campaign for Free Expression’. The campaign was devised in 2009.
In the UK, the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel were abolished in England and Wales by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Since then, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Malta, France, New Zealand, Canada, and Greece have repealed their blasphemy laws too, with the Republic of Ireland and Spain committing to doing the same very soon.
It’s time for Northern Ireland to ditch their blasphemy laws! Join the protest in Belfast (organised by Humanists UK) on 30th September 2019 from 12.00 pm to 1.30 pm.
International Blasphemy Rights Day is observed every September 30th to commemorate the publishing of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons, which angered religious believers around the world, many of whom expressed their disapproval with violent protests, riots, and in some cases, murder.
While many perceive “blasphemy” as offensive, this event is not intended to ridicule and insult others. Rather, it was created as a reaction against those who would seek to take away the right to satirize and criticize a particular set of beliefs given a privileged status over other beliefs. Observing International Blasphemy Rights Day is a way of showing opposition to any resolutions or laws, binding or otherwise, which discourage or inhibit freedom of speech of any kind.
Freedom of expression, including the right to criticise any belief, religious, political, or otherwise, is the only way in which any nation with any modicum of freedom can exist. Without this essential liberty, dissent can be suppressed and silenced by labelling it as “defamation” or “blasphemy.” Even rhetoric that uses the guise of sensitivity, such as “hurting religious feelings” can be twisted to stifle opposition by turning popular sentiment against it.
If you support free speech, and the rights of those who disagree with religious views to voice their opinions peacefully, join the cause and support International Blasphemy Rights Day! Learn more about what you can do on the Center for Inquiry “Get Involved” page.
If you do get involved in Blasphemy Day please let Atheism UK know what you’ve done by leaving a message below.
h/t: Freethinker & Rad
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