Religion is mental illness

CNBC’s Joe Kernen: At Worst Climate Change Is ‘A Socialist, Global Wealth Redistribution Scheme’
  • Joel Krugler's profile photo
    Why worry about Kernan’s non-expert view of climate change? He’s a well established idiot.
  • Nina Tryggvason's profile photo
    the lawyers from tobacco deniers work for the oil companies,
The Problem with Liberal Opposition to Islamophobia
The Problem with Liberal Opposition to Islamophobia
  •  All religions need to be flushed down toilet
  • Nina Tryggvason's profile photo
    the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend; and christian and islam is the same bad copy of judaism… and yes. all religions have the same zero evidence and the same sub optimal social impact.
  • David Allee's profile photo
    Those religions are inhabited by real people you know.
  • Nina Tryggvason's profile photo
    +David Allee not when they do not allow others personhood and oppress them as a result of said religion
  • Nina Tryggvason's profile photo
    Public Education is supposed to compensate for family failures to reach civil and social responsibilities, and religion does not deserve any special consideration and it has never made a person or people better.
  • Curtis berger's profile photo
    public education is nothing but a prison system…to get sheep in line to follow
  • David Allee's profile photo
    Then how are you any better than they? Where is your moral high ground when you would kill them or put them in camps?
  • Nina Tryggvason's profile photo
    +David Allee I already explained public education, this is why religion does not confer personhood, when genocide is to go to assumption. My moral high ground is the Canada Charter of Rights and is evidenced by the better quality of life in Canada than in the USA. religion, with it’s money hoarding and pedophile priests along with social oppression has no moral ground.
  • Nina Tryggvason's profile photo
    +Curtis berger American education, yes, it also fails to qualify the average person for meaningful work since it sends more students to prisons than careers
  • . – COMMENTARY: At long last, Canada’s blasphemy law is dead

    COMMENTARY: At long last, Canada’s blasphemy law is dead

    COMMENTARY: At long last, Canada’s blasphemy law is dead
  • 12m
  • David Allee's profile photo
    You haven’t answered my question. How is YOUR moral ground higher?
  • Nina Tryggvason's profile photo
    +David Allee you need to re-read the entire thread, because I already explained before you accused me of being genocidal – which says everything about your morals applied.
  • David Allee's profile photo
    Nina Tryggvason's profile photo and +Curtis berger You both seem pretty young and a bit naive. I have been an atheist since 1979 and have seen many changes and know that people are people whether religious or not. I still understand what I not longer accept.
  • Nina Tryggvason's profile photo
    +David Allee and yet, you continue to not understand how to have a civil conversation, can you do anything other than emotional value judgements and dom/sub circle jerks? failure to recognize the humanity in the person with whom you are conversing is the Gobottery of saying respect and demanding reverence. Actually intelligent moral/ethical people do not lead with demeaning disrespect of your POV being better than unknown education/experience of others.
    Pity you for being raised in it in the first place, it explains why you play more atheist than thou, as if there’s a contest. You have clearly more to learn about being a humanist.
    Those who Oppress Others, do not get to claim to be victims when they are told they may not.
  • David Allee's profile photo
    I still understand what I no longer accept. Rant noted – good riddance.

Canada’s strangest laws: From witchcraft to blasphemy to sleigh bells

COMMENTARY: At long last, Canada’s blasphemy law is dead – National |
COMMENTARY: At long last, Canada’s blasphemy law is dead
COMMENTARY: At long last, Canada’s blasphemy law is dead

In Denmark, it took the looming spectacle of a man facing trial for burning a Koran to convince that country to scrap its centuries-old blasphemy law.

In Ireland, it took a police investigation into actor and comedian Stephen Fry (who said in a television interview, among other things, that “the god who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac”) to prompt a conversation about whether that country’s blasphemy law makes any sense. It’s still on the books, at least for now.

Fortunately here in Canada it didn’t take any sort of outrageous prosecution to convince the government to scrap our blasphemy law. In fact, it was accomplished with relatively little fanfare.

On Tuesday, the Liberals unveiled Bill C-51, which aims to “clean up the Criminal Code” by further clarifying sexual assault laws and also by eliminating a number of provisions that have been found unconstitutional, are similar to those found unconstitutional, or are simply obsolete and/or redundant.

READ MORE: Government bringing sexual assault law up to speed with the courts, times 

That includes section 296 of the Criminal Code, which is the prohibition on publishing a “blasphemous libel.” It will now be relegated to the ash bin of history, along with other such relics as “challenging someone to a duel,” “possessing or publishing crime comics,” and “fraudulently pretending to practice witchcraft.”

A law prohibiting blasphemy should be anathema for any country that purports to value freedom of expression and freedom of religion — and that includes Canada. It’s arguable that it never should have been drafted in the first place, but it certainly should have been scrapped long ago.

Canada has had a blasphemy law on the books since 1892. It’s been 90 years since the last person was convicted: Toronto atheist and Rationalist Society member Ernest Victor Sterry was convicted of blasphemy in 1927 and sentenced to 60 days in jail.

READ MORE: Canada’s strangest laws: From witchcraft to blasphemy to sleigh bells

But the charge itself has been used as recently as 1980. The owners of a movie theatre in Sault Ste. Marie were charged with blasphemous libel for the “crime” of screening Monty Python’s Life of Bryan, a British satire film about the life and death of Jesus Christ.

Fortunately, Ontario’s attorney-general stepped in to put a stop to the case. Had he not, though, how far would it have gone? How much would the theatre owners have had to bear in terms of legal costs to simply assert their basic rights as Canadians?

It’s all but certain that a charge under section 296 would not have held up in court, but it should never have to get to that point. The Liberals deserve credit for making this long overdue change.

As one Danish lawmaker recently put it, “Religion should not dictate what is allowed and what is forbidden to say publicly. It gives religion a totally unfair priority in society.” As it happens, of course, there are numerous countries when religion does in fact dictate what it forbidden to say publicly. In countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, blasphemy is punishable by death.

READ MORE: Duel challenges, fake witchcraft and crime comics, finally, may soon all become legal

If Canada is going to be a voice for human rights on the world state and speak out against the abuses of these regimes (which certainly we should), it undermines our cause when our own laws concede the point that blasphemy is a crime. To that end, the elimination of section 296 sends a strong message.

Furthermore, though, it demonstrates the clear and obvious correlation between the countries where blasphemy laws are most vigorously enforced and those countries where freedom religion is most nonexistent. Abandoning this law helps to strengthen freedom of religion in this country.

That freedom guarantees one’s right to believe, but it bestows no obligation upon anyone else to respect those beliefs. “God is great” and “God is a myth” should be equally protected speech. Freedom of religion entails the freedom to reject a religion or reject all faith entirely. The state itself must remain neutral on such matters — what we might also refer to as “secularism.”

It’s unfortunate that’s it’s taken 125 years to figure this out, but it’s a victory worth savouring.

Rob Breakenridge is host of “Afternoons with Rob Breakenridge” on Calgary’s NewsTalk 770 and a commentator for Global News. 


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