Think Friday: OMG
I really do dislike the use of OMG and bristle at people taking God’s name in vain. This week we look at three different blasphemy stories that have been in the news.
The first is the recent referendum in Ireland to remove their blasphemy law. The second is the story of Asia Bibi, a Christian, who was released this week from prison in Pakistan. She was falsely accused of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. She was sentenced to death and has spent much of the past 8 years in solitary confinement.
The final story is that judges in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decreed that European citizens can be convicted for blaspheming against Islam. This relates to an incident in which a woman provocatively referred to the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, who was six years old when they were married and was nine by the time of consummation.
The irony is that as one set of blasphemy laws is being removed, a whole new set seem to be cropping up. David Smyth explores the new ‘crimes’ that will have you accused of bigotry or secular blasphemy in an article on our website.
There is power in the name of Jesus. Blasphemy laws were to protect those who misunderstood or misused that power. When such laws are made and enforced by the state they can lead to an unhelpful interference by the state in matters of the church. These cases might lead to some interesting discussions on the importance of God’s name, but why blasphemy is not ultimately a matter for the state.