Cafe Philos had an interesting article here:
I just heard the news that the Center for Inquiry and its sister organization, the Council for Secular Humanism, have teamed up to sponsor a Blasphemy Day this September 30th. Before you yawn, consider they probably mean well.
Time was when blasphemy was a crime and a blasphemy day might have been a wake up slap to the powers that be. Back then, setting aside a day to blaspheme might have accomplished something. But today? Isn’t every school kid a blasphemer these days?
At least, those were my first thoughts upon hearing of a Blasphemy Day this year. I wondered what the point could be. It’s 2009. Most days, I’m of the opinion that the Judeo-Christian God — “God” with a capital “G” — is too ridiculous to exist, and that the various more sophisticated gods of the philosophers and theologians are unnecessary to explain anything. No one is stopping me these days from expressing those opinions, so what could be the point of my going out of my way to blaspheme?
I’m curious. Any ideas?
The fact that we have the right to blaspheme is so important it can hardly be understated. Unlike most countries in this world, our Freedom of Speech sets us apart from all the chaff. This does not mean that it is appropriate or respectful to blaspheme, just that we have the RIGHT to do so.
From that article I linked to this NYTimes article here:
Back in the fall of 2007, with only the most practical motives in mind, George Kalman took his pen to the standard form for creating a limited liability company in Pennsylvania.
[…] The first line on the document asked Mr. Kalman to supply his chosen corporate name, and he printed it in: I Choose Hell Productions, LLC. In a personal bit of existentialism, Mr. Kalman believed that, even if life was often hellish, it was better than suicide.
A week later, the daily mail to Mr. Kalman’s home in the Philadelphia suburb of Downingtown brought a form letter from the Pennsylvania Department of State. His corporate filing had been rejected, the letter explained, because a business name “may not contain words that constitute blasphemy, profane cursing or swearing or that profane the Lord’s name.”
[…] After a couple more readings, though, Mr. Kalman realized that the rejection was genuine. Pennsylvania, it turned out, indeed had a law against blasphemy. In the short term, Mr. Kalman successfully filed for incorporation as ICH Productions, LLC. In the longer run, he put in a call to the state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union and set in motion a challenge to the state law.
[…] Pennsylvania’s law may be the most idiosyncratic of all, because it covers only the matter of corporate names. And, rather than being a dusty vestige of the 19th century, it was enacted (and overwhelmingly so) only in 1977. A Democratic legislator, Emil Mrkonic, wrote the bill after a mail-order fire-arms dealer filed incorporation papers for the God Damn Gun Shop.
I love that the recent bill was passed in PA in 1977. And who could fault the business entrepreneur for wanting to name his gun shop as he did in 1977, which caused the bill to be introduced by some Fundie? Should we have the right to blaspheme?