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Hold on to Your Holy Books! It's International Blasphemy Rights Day!

"so that you can draw all the blasphemous images you want"

Cover your ears and cling tightly to your Bible/Koran/Book of Mormon/Bhagavad Gita/Talmud because today, September 30, is International Blasphemy Rights Day. The festivities are afoot mostly on college campuses:

Born in 2009, the growing worldwide movement commemorates the publishing date of the controversial Muhammad cartoons depicted in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in 2005.

You may recall that reaction to the cartoons was varied and widespread. First, Danish Muslim groups held public protests against the cartoons. Then they were reprinted in many publications in more than 50 countries. This led to violent demonstrations throughout the Muslim world.

Some protestors were fired upon, leading to more than 100 deaths, and soon there were attacks against Danish embassies in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. Then many Western groups responded with various "Buy Danish" campaigns in support of free expression.

The goal of today's International Blasphemy Rights Day is "to support free speech, support the right to criticize and satirize religion, and to oppose any resolutions or laws, binding or otherwise, that discourage or inhibit free speech of any kind. The focus on 'blasphemy' is simply because it is such a salient issue, and one for which a lot of consciousness-raising is necessary," according to the Center for Inquiry on Campus, which spearheads the event.

Students at the University of Illinois are planning to celebrate on the campus quad:

So, what will we be doing on the Quad? Are we looking for trouble or seeking to convert others to the secular persuasion? Far from it! We’ll be out enjoying the same fundamental right our religious counterparts practice in the same location almost daily … the right to free speech!

Illini Secular Student Alliance members will be inviting passersby to add their own blasphemous ideas to our “Wall of Blasphemy” poster and to sell their souls for tasty, tasty cookies. Our goal is not only to raise awareness about nonbelief and nonbelievers on campus, but to illustrate the importance of First Amendment rights, no matter the topic of one’s speech.

The Agnostic & Atheist Student Association at the University of California Davis is raising money with a Blasphemous Bake Sale, which includes (of course) devil's food cake and other treats.

At the University of British Columbia, the Freethinkers student group is providing folks with paper and markers "so that you can draw all the blasphemous images you want!"

Happy Friday, everybody.

One last thing…
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