Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, Nothing New to Christianity

I thought this was a good article from Christianity Today called “The Curse of Blasphemy Laws”–both Pakistani and from Christian history. The author makes a comparison between western Christianity’s disbelief in how such blasphemy laws can exist in the Muslim world and incidents from Christianity’s past. What really seems to be happening is that Islam is finding a need to catch up to secularization, something western Christianity takes for granted. Oh, those damned secularists.

On this issue, we should give the pope some credit as he has stepped in on the behalf of Aasia Bibi, sentenced to die in Pakistan for what else–blasphemy! Blasphemy laws “served primarily as a pretext for violence against religious minorities” summarizes the pope’s position in the article. Now Aasia Bibi (first name also spelled Asia) is Christian, surprise, surprise, so would the pope step in for other religious minorities and be as vocal? Maybe.

In Christendom, the article covers the story of James Nayler, who “led a splinter group within George Fox’s rapidly growing Quaker movement.” There was a relatively close vote in the then Puritan Parliament to execute Nayler, but thankfully his sentence was reduced to being whipped through the streets of London. That’s 310 lashes–oh, and to have his forehead branded with the letter “B” for Blasphemer, have his tongue pierced with a hot iron, more whipping, and imprisonment for life with hard labor. I think I would have rather been hanged.

The Christianity Today post gives credit not to “enlightened deists” (referring to many of our founding fathers) for eradicating blasphemy laws, but to Quakers and Baptists. But then it is quick to throw in government secularization. …Okay.

I believe I could research the effect our enlightened deist founding fathers had on America, including the constitution, but I really have no problem with giving credit to Quakers and Baptists. It is the personalizing of religion that has led to religious freedom–Americans don’t want to be told what to believe, even by the heads of their own churches. After watching PBS’ God in America you find out about how many internal struggles were required before individual Christian denominations woke up to the fact their efforts to control everyone wasn’t working. After all, freedom of religion, which is part of secularization, is beneficial to us all. Now if we can just dispense with the nonsense of putting the Ten Commandments on our courthouse steps, I think we might have something.

2 thoughts on “Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, Nothing New to Christianity

  1. Pingback: Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws, Nothing New to Christianity | Freethunk - Pakistan Real Estate Industry Resources - Pakistan Realtor

  2. While criticising any law, the local cultural, social and religious sensitises must be kept in view. Pakistan is in state of covert and overt war since 1979, when USSR occupied Afghanistan. 9/11 gave it an other turn as USA also jumped in physically. This has adverse psychological effects on people which a person living in peaceful environments thousands of miles can not understand. Taliban, Killers of Christian Minister Violate Prophet Muhammad’s [pbuh] written Everlasting Promise with Christians. In 628 AD, a delegation from St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, came to Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] and requested his protection. Prophet responded by granting them ever lasting charter of rights, unprecedented protection, tolerance and freedom to Christians living among Muslims. The Muslims respect the precedent of their Prophet [peace be upon him], violation of the written charter/commandment of Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] is blasphemy. Mr.Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for Minorities have been gun down by the extremists Taliban, who are killing Muslims worshiping in mosques. They spare no one, any one who disagrees with their view, they feel free to kill. They follow their own desires. The Muslims of Pakistan and all over the world condemn their heinous crimes. Killing of innocent human being is strictly forbidden by Qur’an;5:32.In many societies blasphemy in some form or another has been an offense punishable by law. In the Christian religion, blasphemy has been regarded as a sin by moral theologians; St. Thomas Aquinas described it as a sin against faith. For the Muslim it is blasphemy to speak contemptuously not only of God but also of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]. The Mosaic Law decreed death by stoning as the penalty for the blasphemer. Under the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (reigned 527-565) the death penalty was decreed for blasphemy. In the United States many states have legislation aimed at the offense. In Scotland until the 18th century it was punishable by death, and in England it is both a statutory and a common-law offense. It was recognized as the latter in the 17th century; the underlying idea apparently was that an attack on religion is necessarily an attack on the state. This idea probably has been the reason why penalties have been laid down for blasphemy in some secular legal codes.[Encyclopedia Britannica]. During last 23 years, total 964 cases were registered under this law:
    a. Against Muslims 479 cases, 50% of total.
    b. Christians, 119 cases, 12%
    c. Ahmadi’s [a deviant group] 340 cases, 35%
    d. Hindus 14 cases 1.5%
    e. Others 12 cases, 1.2%
    Misuse of any law can not be overruled, we know there are false cases registered for murder, robbery, corruption, rape etc, no one has ever demanded that these law should be dropped. Always efforts are made to improve upon the judicial and investigation process to nullify the misuse of any law. It must be understood well that Muslims [practicing or non practicing] love Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] and Qur’an more than their lives. While disciples of Prophet Jesus Christ [peace be upon him] deserted him at the time of crisis [Mt 26:56, Mr 14:50 ] , the companions of Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] remained steadfast in critical times and even laid down their lives. Muslims believe and also love all Biblical prophets from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses till Jesus Christ [peace be upon them all], though there is slandering against them in Bible [Genesis;Chapter5-15, Genesis;19:30-38, Genesis;9:20-27, 2 Samuel;11:4, 6-25, 1 Kings 1-11 and 1 Kings;11:4-7, 9-11].Every one must respect the law of the land and sentiments and sensitivities of local population. West has abandoned the Bible and law, they have allowed gay marriages, according to the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, no law can be made repugnant to Islam [Qur’an and Sunnah]. This is our country every one must respect the law. Any law can be misused, but there are safeguards, in the tiers of judiciary, that’s the reason in 23 years not a single person was hanged. Asia Bibi, who was convicted in lower court shall get justice, the judicial process must be allowed to be followed.

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