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Author Topic: Indian skeptic charged with 'blasphemy' for revealing a fake miracle  (Read 1661 times)
IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« on: June 07, 2012, 01:25:00 pm »
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http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/1045
http://boingboing.net/2012/04/13/indian-skeptic-charged-with.html

You can read the articles for the full deal, but to summarize the order of events are like this:

1. Water starts dripping from the feet of a crucifix.
2. Local Catholic officials bill it as a miracle and try to get a lot of attention for it.
3. Sanal Edamaruku, Indian skeptic, is asked by TV-9 to investigate the miracle. He shows how it was caused by capillary action.
4. He accuses church leaders of 'miracle mongering' and those leaders demand he apologize. He refuses. They threaten to file a blasphemy case against him.
5. They file the charge.
6. Sanal is refused anticipatory bail, so if arrested he will have to spend entire trial period in jail.

The official complaint is that he was "deliberately hurting religious feelings", which is in Section 295A of India’s Penal Code.
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politicus
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2012, 02:29:53 pm »
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Not surprised. Indian laws regarding religion are completely unreasonable for a democracy.
Hope the poor guys gets of the hook somehow.
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2012, 05:01:29 pm »
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Not surprised. Indian laws regarding religion are completely unreasonable for a democracy.
Hope the poor guys gets of the hook somehow.

It's completely outrageous to misuse these laws to silence a critic. But in a country like India where religion has too often been used to promote violence and hatred, there is a place for them in order to preserve the peace.
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patrick1
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2012, 06:46:33 pm »
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Absolutely ridiculous. I'd think the local bishop will get called on the carpet for this.
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2012, 01:00:26 am »
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India's religious laws are generally terrible, remember that some people want to outlaw converting to a different religion altogether.
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2012, 05:09:45 am »
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India's religious laws are generally terrible, remember that some people want to outlaw converting to a different religion altogether.

It's so easy to say that in a country generally without religious violence and where religion is taken for granted as a personal choice. But in a country like India where religion has too often been used to provoke violence and hatred, it makes perfect sense to have laws to prevent them. Having said that, these laws shouldn't be used to silence critics of a powerful organization and hopefully the court will tell the Catholic Church to get lost.
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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2012, 07:01:58 am »
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It's so easy to say that in a country generally without religious violence and where religion is taken for granted as a personal choice. But in a country like India where religion has too often been used to provoke violence and hatred, it makes perfect sense to have laws to prevent them. Having said that, these laws shouldn't be used to silence critics of a powerful organization and hopefully the court will tell the Catholic Church to get lost.

US law doesn't allow you to use religion to provoke violence either. Provoking violence is not protected speech under the US Constitution. Stopping people from "hurting religious feelings" is not the same thing as disallowing the provocation of violence - laws like that are supported by religious organizations specifically so they can silence criticism.
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2012, 07:56:34 am »
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Quite.
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2012, 04:27:17 pm »
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US law doesn't allow you to use religion to provoke violence either. Provoking violence is not protected speech under the US Constitution. Stopping people from "hurting religious feelings" is not the same thing as disallowing the provocation of violence - laws like that are supported by religious organizations specifically so they can silence criticism.

But the US has never had a (significant) legacy of religious violence. India has been plagued by religious violence for centuries, and therefore religion is justifiably a sensitive topic. These laws are intended to prevent, for instance, a Hindu fundamentalist sect from insulting Islam and provoke violence that way. They were never intended to be used by a well-funded global organization to silence a critic.
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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2012, 06:22:19 pm »
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US law doesn't allow you to use religion to provoke violence either. Provoking violence is not protected speech under the US Constitution. Stopping people from "hurting religious feelings" is not the same thing as disallowing the provocation of violence - laws like that are supported by religious organizations specifically so they can silence criticism.

But the US has never had a (significant) legacy of religious violence. India has been plagued by religious violence for centuries, and therefore religion is justifiably a sensitive topic. These laws are intended to prevent, for instance, a Hindu fundamentalist sect from insulting Islam and provoke violence that way. They were never intended to be used by a well-funded global organization to silence a critic.

The law in question was put into place by the British Empire in 1860 - I think it was very much intended to be used by a well-funded global organization to silence critics.
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2012, 06:30:13 pm »
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US law doesn't allow you to use religion to provoke violence either. Provoking violence is not protected speech under the US Constitution. Stopping people from "hurting religious feelings" is not the same thing as disallowing the provocation of violence - laws like that are supported by religious organizations specifically so they can silence criticism.

But the US has never had a (significant) legacy of religious violence. India has been plagued by religious violence for centuries, and therefore religion is justifiably a sensitive topic. These laws are intended to prevent, for instance, a Hindu fundamentalist sect from insulting Islam and provoke violence that way. They were never intended to be used by a well-funded global organization to silence a critic.

The law in question was put into place by the British Empire in 1860 - I think it was very much intended to be used by a well-funded global organization to silence critics.

Last I checked, India gained independence in 1948, in an environment when the British whipped up hatred between Hindus and Muslims in a last ditch attempt to hold onto power and which resulted in the partition of India. So, regardless on who initially passed the law, there is a somewhat justifiable rationale for having a law against whipping up hatred. As always, this doesn't justify this particular case. If I were an Indian nationalist, I would be using this case as propaganda against the Vatican and the church in general.
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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2012, 06:33:30 pm »
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Last I checked, India gained independence in 1948, in an environment when the British whipped up hatred between Hindus and Muslims in a last ditch attempt to hold onto power and which resulted in the partition of India. So, regardless on who initially passed the law, there is a somewhat justifiable rationale for having a law against whipping up hatred.

That does not require giving special protection to religion.

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If I were an Indian nationalist, I would be using this case as propaganda against the Vatican and the church in general.

In which case you would be "hurting religious feelings" and breaking the blasphemy law.
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politicus
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2012, 06:41:33 pm »
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US law doesn't allow you to use religion to provoke violence either. Provoking violence is not protected speech under the US Constitution. Stopping people from "hurting religious feelings" is not the same thing as disallowing the provocation of violence - laws like that are supported by religious organizations specifically so they can silence criticism.


But the US has never had a (significant) legacy of religious violence. India has been plagued by religious violence for centuries, and therefore religion is justifiably a sensitive topic. These laws are intended to prevent, for instance, a Hindu fundamentalist sect from insulting Islam and provoke violence that way. They were never intended to be used by a well-funded global organization to silence a critic.

The law in question was put into place by the British Empire in 1860 - I think it was very much intended to be used by a well-funded global organization to silence critics.

Last I checked, India gained independence in 1948, in an environment when the British whipped up hatred between Hindus and Muslims in a last ditch attempt to hold onto power and which resulted in the partition of India. So, regardless on who initially passed the law, there is a somewhat justifiable rationale for having a law against whipping up hatred. As always, this doesn't justify this particular case. If I were an Indian nationalist, I would be using this case as propaganda against the Vatican and the church in general.
Its 1947, not 48, and you cant really blame the British for stirring up religious hatred. The Indians where perfectly capable of doing that themselves.
Anyway, India is a democracy and no democracy can justify having such a law, no matter what the original intent of this legislation was.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 06:44:32 pm by 中国共产党=criminals »Logged

Sbane
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 06:54:39 pm »
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The British can certainly blamed for stirring up religious hatred. They did not create it, but they did exploit it. Repeatedly.

I support the existence of these laws but it really should be used judiciously. This guy did not do this to fan anti-Christian fervor nor did he do this to provoke a violent reaction from Christians.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 06:59:29 pm by Senator Sbane »Logged
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2012, 06:56:19 pm »
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Its 1947, not 48, and you cant really blame the British for stirring up religious hatred. The Indians where perfectly capable of doing that themselves.
Anyway, India is a democracy and no democracy can justify having such a law, no matter what the original intent of this legislation was.
The Hindu/Muslim bad blood is indigenous, but this isn't the first time the British fanned the flames in order to cling to power even while risking (and in this case failing) millions of deaths during partition.

And in addition, democracy is not an end in itself in any country in the world. It's merely a means to most effectively provide governance. Restricting speech which *genuinely* intends to foment hatred against a group is not the most unreasonable restriction in a democracy out there. In most of Europe, anything which might remotely be seen as neo-Nazi could earn serious jail time.

Finally, if the Catholic Church has such thin skins they can't tolerate being called out for a massive overreaction against a person who really isn't fomenting hatred against Catholics, then their religious feelings are perhaps too easily hurt to exist in a pluralistic society. One final thing, if there is evidence that the Vatican is directly interfering in this case, the Indian government should view this as interference by a foreign government in their internal affairs and act accordingly.
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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2012, 08:44:49 am »
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Another victory for blasphemy laws - an Indonesian atheist who was attacked and then arrested after posting "God does not exist" on his Facebook page has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

http://www.atheistalliance.org/news-a-articles/archive/480-atheist-alliance-international-condemns-jail-sentence-for-alexander-aan
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Torie
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2012, 09:27:27 am »
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The British can certainly blamed for stirring up religious hatred. They did not create it, but they did exploit it. Repeatedly.

I support the existence of these laws but it really should be used judiciously. This guy did not do this to fan anti-Christian fervor nor did he do this to provoke a violent reaction from Christians.

You don't favor a First Amendment for India sbane? Enforcing a law "judiciously" sounds like a recipe for enhancing government power, favoritism and abuse. That runs the risk of opening up Pandora's Box, as authorities decide what is PC, and what is not.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 09:30:15 am by Torie »Logged

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« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2012, 01:29:13 pm »
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The British can certainly blamed for stirring up religious hatred. They did not create it, but they did exploit it. Repeatedly.

I support the existence of these laws but it really should be used judiciously. This guy did not do this to fan anti-Christian fervor nor did he do this to provoke a violent reaction from Christians.

You don't favor a First Amendment for India sbane? Enforcing a law "judiciously" sounds like a recipe for enhancing government power, favoritism and abuse. That runs the risk of opening up Pandora's Box, as authorities decide what is PC, and what is not.

I do favor free speech but not hate speech that stirs up violence. Of course we can see the problem of the existence of such laws in this very case where something minor is being prosecuted under this law. And the interpretation of what is covered should be something defined by the courts I would think. Considering the history of violence over religion in India, some things should not be allowed to be said in certain contexts. Like how you can't scream "fire" in a crowded movie theater.
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Torie
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2012, 04:09:58 pm »
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The US standard is that the speech has a clear and present immediate danger of hurting folks (I think it is called the "imminent harm" standard or something). What India is doing is a long way from that. And hate speech is protected in the US (Nazi's have a right to march in Jewish Skokie, Ill, which has or had a fair number of holocaust survivors), absent it falling into the clear and present danger zone. Heck under the India standard, a dozen posters here would be in legal danger for what they post about the LDS, don't you think? And how does one separate out what may be painful truths from hate?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 04:12:50 pm by Torie »Logged

IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2012, 09:19:13 am »
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An update on this:

http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2012/07/sanal-edamaruku-update-indian-catholics.html

1. Sanal Edamaruku has fled to Europe to avoid arrest and imprisonment.
2. Some Indian Catholic groups have stated they will drop the complaint if Sanal apologizes for exposing their miracle to be a leaky pipe. Sanal has refused.
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2012, 12:57:04 pm »
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Apologize for what? All he did was reveal the truth.
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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2012, 01:19:38 pm »
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Apologize for what? All he did was reveal the truth.

That's essentially what they want him to apologize for.
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