letters | referencing god

The uses of blasphemy are cudgel-like

Our country was founded on freedom of speech and freedom from religious imposition. And yet, there are still people like Jennifer Graham (“Blasphemy is the new ‘wow,’ ” Op-ed, Oct. 21) who feel justified in trying to impose their religious reverence upon those who do not share their beliefs.

Blasphemy is, at best, a contrived religious offense using fear to maintain control over the flock and, at worst, an excuse to condone violence against nonbelievers. History is replete with examples on this point.

As a nonbeliever, I use the term “oh my God” when referring to something unbelievable. It makes perfect logical sense in my secular world-view because its use never has slanderous intent. Furthermore, I have created a superb moral life without any gods or Bronze Age religions. I therefore strongly oppose anyone who advocates any physically abusive act — even something as seemingly benign as washing out one’s mouth with soap — merely because it upsets their hyper-sensitive religious disposition. It is the intent of violence, not the mere nature of it, which is abhorrent and immoral.


Graham’s insistence that her religious blasphemy problem, and our lack of “reverence and restraint,” must become my secular problem is the kind of dogmatic rhetoric I would expect in the Tehran Times. In our free society, mutual respect is a two-way street on which Graham seems to prefer a one-way sign, pointing only in her direction.

Lew Nathan