Monday, June 19, 2006

Punishing 'blasphemy' in Bavaria


Edmund Stoiber (picture to the left) the leader of the CSU party in Bavaria and the state's first minister has announced an initiative aimed at increasing penalties for 'severe blasphemy' (or Gotteslaesterung in German). I have always wondered how one could possibly be blaspheming something the very existence of which remains uncertain...
Mr Stoiber proposes to increase penalties for blaspheming religions, religious views etc to up to 3 years in prison, depending on how seriously the religious views of religious people have been hurt. If this was the yardstick, it would follow that the same type of blasphemy could lead to different types of penalties, subject to the severity of the 'injury' protested by the recipient of the blasphemy. Say, if I would make a derogatory remark about Judaism to a secular Jewish person that person would less likely take offense than an orthodox Jewish person (substitute Jewish for any other religion if you wish), or if that person would take offense he or she would likely be less seriously offended than a more orthodox believer.

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