In the mid-13th century, the future Byzantine emperor Michael Paleologos was charged with a crime. The archbishop declared that if Michael were able to carry a red hot iron ball in his hands without burning them, it would prove his innocence. Burned hands would be a sign of his guilt. The astute Michael told the archbishop that he would gladly do so if only the archbishop personally handed him the hot iron ball. After all, being a holy man of God, the archbishop obviously need not worry about his own hands being burned. Needless to say, the archbishop declared that the charges were dropped.
Now on to the present.
The Kuwaiti parliament recently voted on a proposed law that would apply the death penalty to those found guilty of blasphemy against the Islamic faith. However, perhaps in response to international pressure, it was softened a bit.
"The draft now includes a new clause which will mean the death penalty will only be applied if the person stands by their actions when questioned by a judge.
This would give defendants the opportunity to repent and face a prison term or a fine instead."
As an atheist, I object to blasphemy laws on two grounds. The first and obvious reason is that I do not believe in the existence of a deity that can be insulted by humans. What is going on with laws like these is that certain religious believers want to immunize their religion to public criticism or ridicule. The second reason is that if such a deity exists that is offended by the mockery and insults of a mere human being, said deity can easily dispatch that person by sending down a fireball from the heavens to consume that person and thereby send a clear message to all other would be blasphemers.
That being said, I am a practical man. If these primitive people want to have a blasphemy law, let them have one, on one condition. Any person charged with blasphemy should have the right to request that God be the one to carry out the death sentence by lightning bolt within one hour of the imposition of the sentence. If the time passes without the alleged blasphemer being struck dead, then all charges are dropped and the person walks free. Or do these religious believers lack enough faith in their god to do the deed?