“Sorry, Father – But I have Sinned Again!”


I know it’s only two weeks since my last confession

But it seems that the effects of your instant absolution deal are not long lasting.

A Confessional box built in 1952 in Immaculate...

“Father – I’M IN HERE!” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may recall that my previous confession was also my first attempt at confessing, after I decided that I couldn’t wait until the next Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement). I really don’t understand how the inventors of Judaism ever imagined that people could hoard their sins for an entire year – and then release all of them inside a day.

A fundamental design fault!

So,I thought your ” forgiveness on demand” was a much better idea, and more in line with modern day needs.

But, here I am, back again. Well, to be fair to the system, I’m not confessing to the same sins. Last time it was the Jews, but now I am accused of being beastly to the Muslims.

You must understand that for an Atheist, like me, the world is like a battlefield:

Religions to the left of me,

Religions to the right of me,

Religions in front of me,

And still I blunder on regardless

(with due apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson).

So, what are my sins?

Well, for a start, they got a bit upset that I took issue with their desire to execute those who they considered had said naughty things about Allah, or his lackey, Mohammed. I had pointed out in a previous article that blasphemy was still  a capital offence in some Muslim states.

Kuwait Elections_DSC3387

“So, you think Allah will be happy with us?”
“What, you mean because we are now the laughing stock of the civilised world?” (Photo credit: Kuwaitelections2012)

A few days after publication, the National Assembly of Kuwait, as if in a gesture of defiance, passed a law which not only demands execution for insulting Allah and Mohammed, but also extends to saying unkind things about the various Mrs Mohammeds:

“The law also prescribes the death penalty for those who curse the Prophet’s wives or claim prophetic abilities.

Today, we lead the world through this law,” MP Faysal Al-Muslim told Kuwaiti establishment daily Al-Watan. “It is a triumph for the Prophet to execute those who harm him and his wives, and especially Aisha the pure. Cursing them shames us all.”

Endowments Minister Jamal Shihab told Al-Watan that the government does not intend to block the law, and will act to implement it.” (1)

I think that they also got a bit upset that this article followed so closely on the heels of another article, in which I intimated that proposed legislation in the Egyptian parliament – to legalise intercourse after death – seemed a little out of synch with the general thrust of world opinion (pun intended).

But, to be fair to the Egyptians, they did understand that there would have to be practical limits applied to this law, so intercourse with the “Dear Departed” would be limited to a period of not longer than 6 hours after death.

Apart from my reaction, the internet comedians could not let such a gem of a story pass without comment. Consequently, the blogosphere became saturated with hundreds of tasteless jokes, from which I selected and reprinted my favourite “Top Twenty”.

These included:

“gives new meaning to the word frigid”.

“my wife has been “dead” in bed for years. but at least she still cooks”.

“If they’re anything like my ex-wife, you wouldn’t notice the difference”

For the full list, just click on the link below(2)

For reasons that totally escape me, some Muslims thought I was treating the subject without due reverence. For a society that follows the practice of female genital mutilation  – meaning surgical removal of the clitoris – to ensure that a woman couldn’t enjoy sex to the full when she was alive, I thought that their concern for her body after death was somewhat bizarre.

I realise that, as a Catholic priest, you haven’t the faintest idea why a woman needs a clitoris at all: I suggest a quiet word with a few nuns could enlighten you in that department. Given their situation, I don’t know what they would do without one, but that’s a whole different subject.

So, there you have it.

Jews one week, Muslims the next, and I haven’t really got around to Christianity yet. But, I guess you’re not the best person to deal with that.

A hindu holy man in Kathmandu, Nepal. He seems...

Maybe him? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know of a good Hindu confessor?

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

References

(1)http://www.timesofisrael.com/kuwaiti-parliament-legislates-death-sentence-for-cursing-the-prophet-muhammad/

(2)http://andyboy1.com/2012/04/27/islam-sex-before-marriage-no-way-sex-after-death-maybe/

 

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Oh My God – Blasphemy is Still a Capital Offence in the 21st Century!


Unbelievably, in this second decade of the 21st century, there are still countries that have a death penalty for blasphemy.

afghanistan

Dying to defend the faith in Afghanistan (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)

And in one of those countries, at least, American and British soldiers are fighting, and dying, to defend the option of a government to enforce that law.

I am referring to Afghanistan – specifically the clause in its Penal code, which states as follows:

Sharia permits the authorities to treat blasphemy as a capital crime. The authorities can punish blasphemy with death if the blasphemy is committed by a male of sound mind over age 18 or by a female of sound mind over age 16. Anyone accused of blasphemy has three days to recant. If an accused does not recant, death by hanging may follow.“(1)

Afghanistan is not unique: Saudi Arabia has a similar law.

But, most countries satisfy themselves with less drastic forms of punishment such as imprisonment and/or fines. Surprisingly, even some European countries still have anti-blasphemy laws, but these are rarely enforced.

Only as recently as March 2008, was the blasphemy law repealed in the UK; the last successful prosecution for blasphemy was in 1977 – only 35 years ago! Interestingly, the law only applied to Christianity.(2) The last execution for blasphemy actually took place in Scotland in 1697 with the hanging of the unfortunately named Mr Thomas Aikenhead. He must have had a real aching head after that experience. (sorry!)

In America, it’s a whole different ball game, (to use the local vernacular). Under the First and Fourteenth amendments to the constitution – pertaining to free expression – it is impossible to bring a Federal prosecution on the charge of blasphemy, as part of the legally defined separation of  “church” and state.  However, the situation regarding individual states is not so clear. (3)

And, I discovered much to my surprise and consternation, that there are laws protecting religion here in Israel:

In Israel, blasphemy is covered by Articles 170 and 173 of the penal code:

Insult to religion
170. If a person destroys, damages or desecrates a place of worship or any object which is held sacred by a group of persons, with the intention of reviling their religion, or in the knowledge that they are liable to deem that act an insult to their religion, then the one is liable to three years imprisonment.
Injury to religious sentiment
173. If a person does any of the following, then the one is liable to one year imprisonment:
(1) One publishes a publication that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others;
(2) One voices in a public place and in the hearing of another person any word or sound that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others.

The law is traced back to the British High Commission “The Abuse and Vilification (religious invective) Order No. 43 of 1929”, enacted in efforts to suppress the 1929 Palestine riots. The order contained the language: “Any person who utters a word or sound in public or within earshot of any other person that may be or is intended to offend his religious sensitivities or faith can expect to be found guilty and eligible for a one-year jail sentence.” (4)

CDC raspberry

Blowing one of these can get you into big trouble in Israel! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article 170 says that the reviling or insulting of the religion is a separate crime from the specific act of destruction or vandalism, since it refers to intent.

Article 173 presumably includes, for example, “blowing a Raspberry” as a sign of comment or disagreement.

So – does any of this really matter?

Since few countries actually punish people for this “crime”, and even fewer execute convicted blasphemers, why should anyone be concerned?

To me, the concern should be obvious. All of the examples listed above, and, indeed, all laws relating to blasphemy, place religion in a different category from any, and every, other element of the fabric of society.

Discussion, debate and disagreement can be heated and/or offensive about any subject, other than religion and religious belief.

Why?

Expressing oneself passionately about anything else does not lead to imprisonment, or the threat of it. Demonstrations, and other political acts, are covered by different laws related to public order. So, again, why religion?

There can be only one logical reason.

Since religion, and the various form of God, were invented by man, those charged with the responsibility to nurture, protect and maintain it, understood from the beginning that fear was the greatest form of power enforcement.

History has proved them right.

Nothing will concentrate a man’s (or woman’s) mind more than the threat of being burned alive at the stake, or stoned to death.

Persecution of witches

Burning of witches - not good on YouTube!(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, one must acknowledge that religion has moved with the times and adjusted to the 21st century. Realising that burning and stoning doesn’t play well on YouTube, and even hanging is seen by some as a bit gruesome, more and more regimes and governments have settled for imprisonment.

At least there, the transgressors can rot away out of the public eye!

As for me – I’m going to have a quick flip through some of my previous articles to check that I am not in contravention of the local laws. I hope that implied “Raspberries” don’t count.

And at least I can be thankful that I’m in Israel – not Afghanistan!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

Blasphemy set to music!

References

(1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_Afghanistan

(2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_the_United_Kingdom

(3)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_the_United_States_of_America

(4)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law