The news making the rounds in the last couple of days, is the investigation into Comedian Stephen Fry’s comments made two years ago. The investigation was triggered by a complaint made against him by a member of the Irish public for making Blasphemous remarks. If a decision is made to prosecute Him, Stephen Fry may be facing a fine of about £25,000.
The backlash over this investigation has been making the airwaves with a lot of people calling the investigation silly and irresponsible. I was listening to a radio broadcast and the presenter was obviously livid and you could hear the anger drip from his voice as he berated the Garda Síochána (National Police of Ireland) for such a stupid and unnecessary investigation in this day and age.
I have personally not heard or used the word ‘blasphemy’ in my conversations for quite sometime except when reading the scriptures so I decided to revisit blasphemy with regards to scripture.
Punishment for Blasphemy was first reported in Leviticus 24: 10-16. The son of an Israelite woman married to an Egyptian has got into a row with another Israelite. In the exchange that ensued, the Egyptian’s son blasphemed the Name and cursed. He was immediately arrested and detained until they received divine directives on what to do with him. In verse 13, The Lord spoke to Moses and told him to bring the accused person out and ask all those who heard the man to lay their hands on his head and stone him to death. Following this, God gave strict instructions to Moses, “Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24: 15-16)
In the New Testament, the scribes out of jealousy, accused Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebul (the devil) and that he cast out demons through the prince of demons. This accusation was without any basis and Jesus used that opportunity to warn everyone about the dangers of blasphemy. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3: 28)
Jesus didn’t care much what people said about Him. After all, they called him a glutton, a drunkard and a friend of tax collectors and sinners. (Matthew 11:19) He however gave a serious warning against blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.
I have read and heard some of the excerpts of what Mr Fry said and there is no doubt that if he said the same things during the time of Moses, he would not have lived another day.
I must say though that I was mildly surprised that Ireland has a law against blasphemy but it actually does have a Defamation Act passed in 2009 which contains Section 36; “A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €25,000”
There are other nations that have blasphemy laws such as the islamic countries. I am sure My Fry will not go to such countries and say the things he said. They would definitely not be as forgiving as Ireland. Stephen Fry is angry at a God who allows evil to thrive, who allows wars, sickness and famine. He fails to understand that when God created man, He gave man dominion (authority and responsibility) over all things on earth. Whatever we have become today is not God’s fault, it is ours. Man has made several decisions that has caused death, sickness and wars. We cannot blame God for those things happening, we can only blame ourselves.
The word ’blasphemy’ may no longer be a common word in civilised societies but that does not diminish the seriousness and consequences to anyone who speaks against God the way My Fry has.
As Christians, we can only pray and hope that one day, the likes of Mr Fry will come to understand that God is not who they think He is in their finite imagination. He is the one Who was, Who is and is to come.