There’s a Facebook group called “Blasphemy Day International” that’s advocating the 30th of September as Blasphemy Day, “a national day to promote free speech and stand up in a show of solidarity for the freedom to mock and insult religion without fear of murder, violence, and reprisal.”
The MediaWatchWatch blog says, “Blasphemy is a joyous, funny, socially progressive, and profoundly moral act.”
Characteristically, PZ Myers is promoting it, adding, “I only have one reservation. Every day should be Blasphemy Day.”
You all know, of course, how I feel about religion. You might think I’m whole-heartedly in favour of this. Up with blasphemy! Down with religion!
As I’ve said before, my own opinion of religion as fantasy and superstition is one thing. Insulting my friends and neighbours is another. And this just strikes me as gratuitous insult. Mocking and insulting people may feel joyous to some, but it’s not funny, not “socially progressive”, not “profoundly moral”.
Everyone must, of course, have the right to say what they like. The ads on the buses are fine, though I wish they were unnecessary — I’d like things to be back as they were when I was young, and people kept their religion to themselves, mostly. Of course we must all be free to write opinions, draw cartoons, and say whatever we want to say for or against religion, “without fear of ... reprisal.”
Organizing a day when we encourage people to “mock and insult” others is not the way to do that. It will have quite the opposite effect, steeling “believers” against the attack. This isn’t productive, and it’s not the way to treat our friends and neighbours, most of who will be targets of Blasphemy Day mockery and insult.
Shall we next have “Laugh at the Badly Dressed Day”? “Kick a Cripple Day”?
I’d love to live in a world where everyone saw things in a way I consider “sensible”. This is not that world. And I’m not going to turn it into that world by shouting insults to people who don’t agree with me.
Update, 10 Mar: In the comments, Natalie Jones gives a perfect explanation of what this is really all about, and why it’s necessary. Go read that comment.