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A return to blasphemy laws?

Could be, but it's not the workings of Bush, Rove and the religious right. Rather, it's coming from the office of illiterate Michigan Democrat John Conyers, Jr.

Text of My Resolution Regarding Relgious [sic] Intolerance

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives condemning bigotry and religious intolerance, and recognizing that holy books of every religion should be treated with dignity and respect.

Whereas believers of all religions, including the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, should be treated with respect and dignity;

Whereas the word Islam comes from the Arabic root word meaning "peace" and "submission";

Whereas there are an estimated 7,000,000 Muslims in America, from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds, forming an integral part of the social fabric of America;

Whereas the Quran is the holy book for Muslims who recite passages from it in prayer and learn valuable lessons about peace, humanity and spirituality;

Whereas it should never be official policy of the United States Government to disparage the Quran, Islam, or any religion in any way, shape, or form;

Whereas mistreatment of prisoners and disrespect toward the holy book of any religion is unacceptable and against civilized humanity;

Whereas the infringement of an individual's right to freedom of religion violates the Constitution and laws of the United States: Now, therefore, be it

1 Resolved, That the House of Representatives --

(1) condemns bigotry, acts of violence, and intolerance against any religious group, including our friends, neighbors, and citizens of the Islamic faith;

(2) declares that the civil rights and civil liberties of all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith, should be protected;

(3) recognizes that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, as any other holy book of any religion, should be treated with dignity and respect; and

(4) calls upon local, State, and Federal authorities to work to prevent bias-motivated crimes and acts against all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith.

Whereas John Conyers, Jr. is a moron, be it resolved that we're going to do a little thought experiment. Read the above resolution, and replace "Quran" with "Holy Bible" and "Muslim" with "Christian." Let's further imagine it originated from (say) Rick Santorum's office, but was identical in every other respect.

Do you think Conyers would sign on to such a resolution? Or do you think he and his lefty loony brigade would be screeching "Theocracy!!" from the top of their lungs? I'm pretty sure I know the answer.

I swear, up until now I've found the whole notion of flushing a Koran down the crapper a bit distasteful, but reading Conyers' resolution actually makes me want to do it.

(Hat tip: lgf)


I'm all for preaching tolerance of religions and points of view, but I'm leary of putting such tolerance into law (although I realize this is just a resolution, without the power of law). I see serious First Amendment issues with this. We already have laws that protect people against religious discrimination with regards to hiring practices, workplace harrasment, etc., and those should be sufficient.

If I dislike a certain religion, I should be able to talk badly about it, write nasty stuff about it, even flush books down a toilet if I so desire. If not, I think my freedom of speech is being abridged too much. I should be able to flush a Quran, a Bible, an American flag, a picture of President Bush, or anything else I desire to flush without fear of reprisal.

What we should punish severly is those who act violently if they feel their delicate sensibilities have been offended. They should have the right to protest and write or say nasty things about me, even flush my picture down the toilet, but violence should never be tolerated.

I believe I have the right to believe what I choose, and practice whatever religion I choose, as long as I don't affect the rights of others. I do NOT, however, have the right to demand that others respect my religion. If I decide to start a religion that says I believe we all are descendants of aliens from Neptune, and that every other Tuesday I must sacrifice a lamb in my backyard while wearing a blue kimono, I should expect to be ridiculed, by voice or by print. However, I should be allowed to practice the religion, and even proselytize. But I don't believe I should have the right to DEMAND respect. Respect is something you must earn, not demand.

Conyers is not thinking this through very carefully. Most of this resolution is just a rewording of laws we currently have on the books already (civil liberties, civil rights, etc.). He can't realistically think we would ever pass laws saying you can't trash a religion if you don't agree with it. That's an EXTREMELY slippery slope we don't want to go down. What motivated all this from him anyway? He knows the Newsweek story was not true, right?

But just to be clear, I think Santorum is part of the religious right, and if were up to him there would be a lot fewer separations of church and state.

As a Michigan resident, I think it would be a good idea to flush John Conyers, electorally speaking...

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