Should Blasphemy laws remove death penalties?

What is blasphemy law?

Blasphemy Law is a rule banning blasphemy, where blasphemy is the act of abusing or showing hatred or lack of reverence to a deity, sacred things, or towards something deemed inviolable or sacred. In other words, in blasphemy law, an individual can be prosecuted for abusing or questioning Gods. According to the latest research, about 26% of the world’s countries have anti-blasphemy laws. 

Blasphemy laws are prevalent in many religions around the world.

Sharia Law: In many nations where Islam is the state religion, Islamic sharia law is the primary legislation, or concerns the land’s laws. In Islam, blasphemy is the sinful utterance or action concerning God, Muhammad, or anything considered sacred in Islam. The Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, admonishes blasphemy but does not define the punishment. The hadiths, which are another source of sharia, suggest various penalties for blasphemy. Punishments include death by stoning, beheading, flogging, hanging, and beheading.

Christianity and Judaism: In Christianity and Judaism, historically, people were often hanged to death for blasphemy. Christian belief punishes blasphemy. It is written in Mark 3:29, where blaspheming the Holy Spirit is talked of as unforgivable—an eternal sin. However, there is a dispute over what form this blasphemy may take and whether it passes as blasphemy in the general sense; and over the meaning of “unpardonable.” In 2 Kings 18, the Rabshakeh gave the king of Assyria the message, dissuading trust in the Lord, asserting that god is no more able to deliver than all the gods of the land. In the 20th Century, the death penalty for questioning gods was outlawed in most Christian countries. The law has become a little more liberal to concerns of infringing civil rights. 

Three Countries with the worst punishments

  1. Saudi Arabia: Saudi monarchy follows Sunni Islam. The kingdom’s laws are a blend of rules from royal edicts, sharia, and fatawa from the Council of Senior Religious Scholars; they designate penalties up to the death penalty for blasphemy.
  2. Pakistan: More people are on death row for blasphemy in Pakistan than in any other nation. Those executed are minorities such as Ahmadiyyas, Christians and Hindus. Persons involved in blasphemy and the lawyers, judges, and police, have been subject to threats, harassment, attacks, and murders when blasphemy is the argument. 
  3. Iran: The law against blasphemy in Iran involves rules against probing the Islamic government, mocking Islam and publishing materials that differ from Islamic standards. Punishment mostly involves the death penalty.
Infographic Source: The Economist

My take on blasphemy laws:

I believe abusing Gods is wrong. However, the rules are so vague that most countries end up punishing the innocent. Blasphemy laws are often mixed with anti-government activities in countries like Iran and Yemen, and people are stoned to death for no reason. Questioning the government is not abusing God. There are numerous documented cases mostly from Sharia-law abiding nations where innocent people who have doubted the ruling government have been blamed for abusing religious laws and executed. In countries where constitutional freedom doesn’t exist, most of the judgments are passed by religious figures, which is unethical. I love all religions. Being a conservative Christian, I respect all the Prophets and attend Sunday masses. However, respecting and following a religion is different from making it a forever rule book. Laws change according to time, and we must also adapt and look forward to providing a liberal environment for the next generation. 

Should Blasphemy laws remove death penalties?

Yes, death penalties must be removed. No God wants a human to be killed in his name. Jesus died for our sins. Allah saved Mecca from ruthless kings. Gods spread love and peace. We must love Gods and respect them. Abusing a faith or a religion is wrong, but there is nothing wrong in questioning the ones we love. The death penalty must be abolished, else regressive countries will continue using it as an opportunity to destroy the opposition. Dictators know that your opposition grows, the best way to silence them is execute them under such laws. They will continue executing ethnic minorities. 

This is not what our Gods wanted. 

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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