Gentle reader, here I sit in the kitchen of Casa McDonagh typing this post and sipping a cup of coffee in quiet contemplation prior to retiring for the night after a most interesting evening.
I was at a special meeting laid on by Atheism Ireland to highlight the story of an Indian gentleman by the name of Sanal Edamaruku.
To cut a long story short (you can read more here) Sanal and his group are famous for exposing fraudsters, hoaxes and debunking myths in India. He and they are equal opportunity rationalists and will debunk nonsense where ever they find it be it Christian, Hindu, Muslim or indeed secular.
In the city of Mumbai there is a chapel where a supposed miracle was happening, holy water was seeping from the feet of a statue of Jesus on the cross. 100’s would flock to this church daily where the attendant priests would collect the water and distribute it with due reverence to their swollen congregation who would sing hymns of praise for this gift from God and leave blessed by this miraculous foot centric exudate.
Sanal did some basic research and was able to prove to the priest, bishop and assembled faithful the holy water was not a gift of heavenly podiatric joy juice from a celestial Dr.Scholl loving deity but the contents of a blocked sewer pipe that ran under the crucifix. Once a plumber had been called and the blockage removed the holy toe jam beer stopped and needless to say the contents of the collection plate rather dried up when the congregation discovered they were genuflecting and in some cases drinking the contents of a Mumbai toilet.
The Bishop for the area took umbrage at Sanal and accused him of “deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class or community” which under a legal anachronism is blasphemy. This law comes from a time when the English strode into India, burnt down villages,made the natives grow tea and by good fortune discovered cricket. All done for the glory of a white Anglican God, the dynastic pleasure of a fat German Queen and to correct the affront to all civilized men in the home countries – Johnny Foreigner’s trains being late. Being a fair and just system this statue requires no formal trial, the police come around arrest you and you go straight to jail for 3 years, do not pass go,do not collect £200.
Seriously 3 years in pokey for stopping people drinking sewage? All be it piss and poo from the nether regions of priests which I suppose must count for something although I would hazard a guess that it comes complete with the full gamut of bugs, beasties and undigested bits of sweetcorn. Being of a scientific bent this is only a guess because I have not partaken in the natural evacuations of any bottom whether it has been sanctified by ordination or not.
Now while Sanal is no shrinking violet when it comes to rational explanations he has not actually as far as anyone can see transgressed the blasphemy law he has only annoyed a bishop of the catholic church who very magnanimously has offered to forget the whole thing if Sanal apologises.
Were it me i can see it now .. “Bishop please accept my heartfelt apologies for not realizing that your priests and congregation where partaking in a symbolic sacred feast where the fallen, sinful, debased nature of man is remembered by the ingestion of a suspension of shit, piss and toilet duck – As a token of the sincerity of my apology I have liquidized some of my own effluent gathered while saying the Hail Mary. This is good stuff as I am as big a sinner as you are likely to find in the whole of Ireland” … perhaps I am not the best one to be making THAT apology.
What is worrisome is that Ireland stands alone in Europe at the minute as the only country to have got rid of it’s blasphemy laws and then like an ecclesiastical yo-yo brought them back in again. All you Norn Iron folks need to be careful too – if you casually let slip a “Jesus Christ!!!” when you next drop the settee on your toes when you are looking for the change that has mysteriously worked it’s way to the furthest reaches of the lair of the dust bunny they you too could be had up for blasphemy. The Law Lords, bless their big red cloaks and periwinkle wigs, when getting rid of blasphemy in England and Wales felt that the good people of Northern Ireland would rise up and very probably smite something, we do have a reputation for that sort of thing. Never let it be said that all those hours spent in Sunday School were wasted.If those lessons on the bloody end of The Canaanites, The Amelikites et al taught us anything it was the effectiveness of a damn good smite!
Now wait a minute … Blasphemy is illegal here …hmmmm … Big Ian and the congregation of the sacred bleeding martyred turnip and other dur humourless vegetables are for ever going on about the Pope being the antichrist and being a papist equates to already having a demonic poker up your bum. That HAS to be blasphemy … it certainly offends me … so the RCs could take the Free-Ps to court and the Free-Ps could counter charge the RCs for being the personification of the whore of Ballymena (or was that Babylon … I am sure it begins with a B) Let’s face it the Free-Ps don’t like line-dancing or swinging on a swing in a park on a Sunday so being a whore must be really offensive and potentially blasphemous … that could tie up the courts for decades …. hmmm time to change careers and become a barrister.
Seriously though why is it that one religion can hold another as heretical, evil or just down right wrong and it is not blasphemy, but when an atheist shines a candle into a religions dark corners it is blasphemy – makes you think doesn’t it.
Anyway time for bed – One last thing Sanal is in exile in Europe he refuses to aplogise and the threat of prison still hangs over him. Go visit his site and if you can lend your support to try and get this sort out as soon as possible.
To sign the Petition against Sanal’s case, click here.
To donate to the Sanal Edamaruku Defense Fund, click here.
Thanks to Atheist Ireland for a very thought provoking evening and thanks to Sanal for sharing his experience with us!