July 4, 2015

Iceland abolishes the crime of blasphemy.

The reform was proposed by the Pirate Party:
The bill said it was "essential in a free society that the public can express themselves without fear of punishment".

As three members of the Pirate Party stood before parliament on Thursday, each said: "Je Suis Charlie", an expression used globally to express solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo victims.
The Church of Iceland supported the reform, but it was opposed by the Pentecostal Church, the Church of Iceland's eastern province, and the Catholic Church of Iceland, which said:
"Should freedom of expression go so far as to mean that the identity of a person of faith can be freely insulted, then personal freedom - as individuals or groups - is undermined."
Get that? Somebody should go to prison so that somebody else should not suffer the loss of freedom that consists of have one's "identity" insulted. That's the thinking there. The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association offered the assurance that hate speech is still a crime. It's only blasphemy that's been legalized.

I was interested to see the list of the religions of Iceland. 80% are Lutheran, 5% are other Christian denominations, and 5% are Asatru.

Asatru? Here's an article from last February: "Iceland's Asatru pagans reach new height with first temple."

Norse paganism was the common belief in Iceland until 1000 AD, when its lawmakers conceded to Christian demands that Christianity should become the country's official religion. This compromise saved the nation from a bloody civil war. All that pagans asked was to be allowed to practise their religion privately. But once Christianity had established itself, paganism was suppressed and forced underground.

However, thanks to the literary endeavours of 13th Century Icelandic scholar and chieftain Snorri Sturlason, the old Norse myths were preserved and widely read by Icelanders through the ages....

And in spring 1972 a few individuals came together in a cafe in Reykjavik to bring it back to life by establishing the Asatru association....

Today the Asatru has close to 3,000 members and is one of the fastest growing religions in Iceland. Its principles are non-authoritarian and decentralised, with no sacred text or official founder. Its philosophy promotes tolerance and individual liberty. It costs nothing to join and is open to all irrespective of race, cultural background, gender or sexuality.
And — in case you're wondering — there is Asatru in the United States. That link goes to Wikipedia, which says there is some controversy about whether it's a racial religion (whether it's "universalist" or "folkish"). And: "Some groups identifying as Ásatrú have been associated with neo-Nazi and 'white power' movements." So I guess the ancient gods can be resurrected for left-wing or right-wing purposes. But this seems unpolitical and possibly charming...
A central ritual of Ásatrú is the sumbel, a drinking-ritual in which a drinking horn full of mead or ale is passed around and a series of toasts are made, usually to gods, ancestors, and/or heroes of the religion. The toasts vary by group, and some groups make a distinction between a "regular" sumbel and a "high" sumbel, which have different levels of formality, and different rules during toasting. Participants may also make boasts of their own deeds, or oaths or promises of future actions. Words spoken during the sumbel are considered carefully and any oaths made are considered sacrosanct, becoming part of the destiny of those assembled.

20 comments:

Gahrie said...

Get that? Somebody should go to prison so that somebody else should not suffer the loss of freedom that consists of getting insulted.

Barbaric.

I wonder what the Muslims do to people who insult them and their religion? I wonder if it would be interesting enough for a post? Nah, probably not.

Gahrie said...

Christianity was the common belief in the United States until 2015 AD, when its judges conceded to Leftist demands that Progressivism should become the country's official religion... All that Christians asked was to be allowed to practise their religion privately. But once Progressivism had established itself, Christianity was suppressed and forced underground.

Hagar said...

When was the last time the State of Iceland prosecuted someone for blasphemy?

Kevin said...

"Get that? Somebody should go to prison so that somebody else should not suffer the loss of freedom that consists of getting insulted."

Here we just fine them. "State of Oregon fines Christian bakers $135,000 over a wedding cake"

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/07/03/happy-independence-day-state-of-oregon-orders-christian-bakers-to-stop-talking-about-their-faith/

Paco Wové said...

"...each said: "Je Suis Charlie", an expression used globally to express solidarity..."

Except where it's not.

Deja Voodoo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deja Voodoo said...

Modern Ásatrú was started as a tax protest. The Church of Iceland (EV Lutheran) is supported by taxes, ministers receive a salary from the government. At that time there was no way to opt out, now there is. Taxpayers select which religion to subsidize. Some of them actually believe it.

jr565 said...

Blasphemy here would be saying marriage is a man and a woman.

Fritz said...

Meanwhile, in the United States, the left is working on plans for instituting blasphemy laws against anyone speaking out against gay marriage.

I don't mind the gay marriage, but I do mind the blasphemy laws.

Phil 3:14 said...

Blasphemy

Dr.D said...

Paganism is on the rise across the world, particularly in the USA. As we reject God, the God of Christianity, there is a rush to other gods of all sorts to fill the vacuum. Sex has become a god, money is an old reliable, power and authority are old staples. Whatever you worship, whatever is your highest priority in life, that is your god. We have quietly become a pagan nation, while still pretending to be Christians for the most part. It is a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, its the Christians and their blasphemy laws we have to worry about.

cubanbob said...

Iceland must now be in great shape if this is now a concern that the parliament now feels the need to address.
Our founders were right. We need to be mindful of inadvertently creating a State Church which is what the left-PC crowd appears to be doing and along with it blasphemy laws disguised as hate speech laws.

J2 said...

See documentary "Until the Light Takes Us" - Norwegian Death Metal Pagan Bands

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1014809/

a cross between "Spinal Tap" and "The Devil's Rejects"

michael chellman said...

Why legalize blasphemy and keep hate speech laws? Even for a liberal, that can't make any sense.

CarlF said...

I suspect you still will get into trouble with blasphemy against the state or higher forms of religion like global warming.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why legalize blasphemy and keep hate speech laws? Even for a liberal, that can't make any sense."

It may not be the best idea but it does make sense. You limit hate speech to speech that is designed actually and immediately to inspire hateful actions against a specific category of persons. That's distinguishable from speech that expresses the "wrong" ideas about religion, such as the belief that's there is no God or the notion that Jesus wasn't anybody too special.

Hate speech doesn't hinge on the government taking a position on which religious beliefs are true. In fact, hate speech laws could aim particularly at protecting people who have religious beliefs that the govt thinks are false.

Gahrie said...

You limit hate speech to speech that is designed actually and immediately to inspire hateful actions against a specific category of persons

Hate speech in the US today does not require you to attempt to inspire someone to action, merely that you hold an unwanted opinion, and express it.

In fact I would argue that hate speech codes and hate speech laws fulfill precisely the same function as blasphemy laws, hate speech laws protect the religion of Progressive secularism.

hombre said...

"Get that? Somebody should go to prison so that somebody else should not suffer the loss of freedom that consists of have one's "identity" insulted. That's the thinking there. The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association offered the assurance that hate speech is still a crime. It's only blasphemy that's been legalized."

So, it sounds like it's okay in Iceland to say, "Jesus is gay," but to say "Sorry, to bake a cake at your gay wedding violates my religious beliefs," perpetrates a "verbal rape," assaulting someone's sexual identity, and constitutes a hate crime.

Sounds familiar.

EMD said...

Hate speech doesn't hinge on the government taking a position on which religious beliefs are true.

Unless you live in the U.K.