A Danish man is being charged under Denmark's blasphemy laws for burning a Quran and posting a video of doing so on the internet.
This is the sort of headline that gets my attention immediately. It drives me nuts that someone could be prosecuted for the crime of not believing in someone else's fairy tale, but that is what is happening here. Blasphemy laws are a disaster wherever they are found, in spite of the fact that what they do is make it so that if a bunch of people believe something ridiculous they can get the state to attack anyone who dares voice disbelief of the ridiculous belief. It doesn't apply if beliefs are reasonable or provable, because that isn't religion. Perfectly fine to insist that climate change is a myth, because we can prove that using science. Insult the idea that a person walked on water and rose from the dead? A crime!
Of course one must consider that the man in question will not do any jail time even if he gets convicted. He will only be fined, in what I assume is the courts trying to placate the religious nuts without actually wanting to do something serious.
Perhaps I ought to be focusing instead on more serious events like war, or famine, or whatever it is that Trump did today. You know, things that result in thousands of deaths and massive upheaval.
I don't though. Trump said another disastrous thing, war still exists, people are dying. But blasphemy laws in a progressive western state being enforced? That is interesting, not least because it could very well be me getting dragged into court next time.
I suppose this makes it rather selfish of me to focus on this sort of news since it is insignificant compared to many other things I could talk leap upon.
However, I do think it is a good thing to keep in mind that we ought not to accept small erosions of our basic liberties in stride. The freedom of expression of religion is important. That includes the right to not be religious, and in fact to do the opposite of what other religions want. When the state decides to recognize some religions and not others and is willing to prosecute people for following the wrong one we step ever closer to a theocracy, and that is an awful place for anyone who doesn't happen to be following the chosen religion.
People need to be free to talk about how their book is the literal word of the creator of the universe and post that message online. Also people need to be free to set books on fire and post that online. The state should have no concern about either, except insofar as people obey the laws about fire, of course.