Victory! The people of Ireland legalize honesty in an historic vote, amending their constitution to legalize blasphemy. Votes matter. If you are an American, your vote matters too. Please vote Tuesday, November 6th.
As we hoped for, we got our Samhain gift to the world! In a stunning display of freedom and unity, the people of Ireland voted to remove the prohibition against blasphemy from the constitution. Every single Irish Constituency – out of 40 of them – (somewhat similar to states in the United States) voted to legalize blasphemy (ranging from over 76% “Yes” to a low of 51.5% “Yes”). The overall vote was 65% “Yes”, to 35% “No”. There is still progress to be made, as the current Irish Constitution describes a woman’s place as being “in the home”, and promotes Christian privilege, starting with “our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ”.
Of course, the removal of this blasphemy law is one small victory, one ray of light amid a vast darkness of injustice. Many areas still have blasphemy laws, and people are still hacked to death for blasphemy. Even as a write this, thousands of people are demanding the death of a woman (Aasia Bibi) for blasphemy in Pakistan. These hard line Muslim protesters have successfully gotten the Pakistan government to prevent her from leaving the country, making it more likely that she’ll end up killed – either by the government or the religious mobs – before all this is over (her lawyer has already fled for his life). Dozens of people have been killed in Pakistan for blasphemy in recent decades, and Christians are being increasingly targeted (Aasia is Christian).
This example just came up as I wrote this. Of course even if Aasia survives*, there are dozens of other similar injustices going on now, and there are at least hundreds in the future. Hopefully each of us can help in some small way to continue to make these less common, less “normal”.
Though the wave of progress is likely to continue, just as it has been doing for literally millennia, we only make the world a better place through our struggles and action. Working to make a better world (sometimes dismissively called “politics”) requires our continued effort. It’s not a spectator sport, and it is an important part of any reality based spirituality. The attacks on our freedom and our future will continue in the future just as they have in the past, both because of history and due to many human emotions we carry from our evolutionary past.
Here in America, recent developments show how dangerous our own country is becoming for non-Christians (Pagan, Atheist, Jewish, Naturalistic Pagan, etc.), and even that pales in comparison to the threats against many other people. These include both physical and economic threats against women, blacks, LGBTQA people, immigrants, and many more. Trump’s continued urging of violence has begun to bear toxic fruit, with hate based attacks on blacks, Jews, women and more, just in the past week and a half. These attacks practically define a list of those that Trump has verbally attacked. Similarly, it’s no surprise that the majority of Republicans literally want to establish Christianity as the national religion. Depending partly on your votes, these are the people who will be making laws, normalizing hatred, and enabling Trump.
Last week, as I do every day, I thanked my Ancestors and pledged to help make a better world for future generations. I followed that with one of my most important spiritual practices. I voted. If you haven’t voted yet, please remember to do so on Tuesday, November 6th.
* A joyous update! Aasia has survived, and escaped from Pakistan. She could of course be tracked down and killed at any time (that often happens in blasphemy cases), but at least is a lot safer now outside of Pakistan.
Starstuff, Contemplating by Jon Cleland Host
We are assemblages of ancient atoms forged in stars – atoms organized by history to the point of consciousness, now able to contemplate this sacred Universe of which we are a tiny, but wondrous, part.
Dr. Jon Cleland Host is a scientist who earned his PhD in materials science at Northwestern University & has conducted research at Hemlock Semiconductor and Dow Corning since 1997. He holds eight patents and has authored over three dozen internal scientific papers and eleven papers for peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the journal Nature. He has taught classes on biology, math, chemistry, physics and general science at Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University. Jon grew up near Pontiac, and has been building a reality-based spirituality for over 30 years, first as a Catholic and now as a Unitarian Universalist, including collaborating with Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow to spread the awe and wonder of the Great Story of our Universe (see www.thegreatstory.org, and the blog at evolutionarytimes.org). Jon and his wife have four sons, whom they embrace within a Universe-centered, Pagan, family spirituality. He currently moderates the yahoo group Naturalistic Paganism.