If you take the Lord’s name in vain in the Italian city of Saonara, a new law says you could be fined up to €400 ($445 USD) for blasphemy.
The new law is meant to put a stop to “uncivilized behavior.” Though let’s be clear: This law is far more obscene than any curse word or criticism of religion.
“Blasphemy is offensive, it offends me,” [Mayor Walter] Stefan told The Telegraph on Friday.
“With this law you will not be able to cause offence to any religion, we have to respect the faithful.”
It’s unclear how they plan to enforce any of this, especially if the alleged blasphemy occurs online or via text message. Hell, if hundreds of people scream the Italian version of “Goddamn” all at once outside the mayor’s office, police can’t catch them all.
Furthermore, who gets to decide what’s offensive to people of faith? There’s nothing more offensive to Christians than other Christians with slightly different beliefs.
But Stefan insists this is a good idea.
“There may be bigger problems around but we can’t consider civility banal,” he said. “If we let this go, young people will become louts.
“We want to create a courteous community and behaviour that prevents conflict.”
Criticizing bad ideas is a way to prevent conflict. What Stefan needs to explain is what kind of criticism is acceptable, or what words are banned, or what ideas can’t be considered because they’re too dangerous.
Where’s the line? Eventually, his government will realize there isn’t one. There can’t be one. After all, the very premise of Christianity is that believers will be rewarded while non-believers will be tortured for eternity.
That, to Stefan, isn’t blasphemy. But saying it’s a bad idea is.
What an idiotic idea from an idiotic mayor surrounded by an idiotic city council. If anything, this new law will just lead to more people cursing the town and God and religion, even if that has to take place outside the city limits.