Religious Blasphemy Laws, East and West
How Cancel Culture Creates a Bond Between the Woke West and the Sharia-Law Abiding East
Religious blasphemy laws are fashionable again in the West, at least when it’s a fashionable regime-approved religion, like Wokeism, enforcing them. You won’t find Christian fundamentalists doing it: Christianity has not been stylish among the West’s cultural elite for several generations.
Every now and then Christians object to explicitly sacrilegious “modern art,” like Andres Serrano’s 1987 grifterpiece endearingly titled “Piss Christ:” a photograph of a crucifix in a jar of the “artist’s” urine. The ignorant masses hated it, partly because it was offensive to them on religious grounds, but also because it was difficult for them to see anything really artistic about it. Regular rubes could look at something by Norman Rockwell and immediately appreciate the skill and effort required to create such a lifelike painting, but when shown a purported modern art masterpiece, they typically replied with something like, “This looks like some mess made by a toddler.” And when the regular people found out that the taxpayer-funded National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) had decided to award thousands of dollars in government grant money to the “artist” for making Piss Christ, they called their elected officials and wrote angry letters to the editor (the pre-internet way of doing social media). The offending image was never censored, but due to the public outrage, the NEA’s funding was (temporarily) reduced.
Of course, the cultural elite loved it, precisely because it so deeply offended the religious and artistic sensibilities of ordinary people. The intelligentsia mocked Christians for being backwards, bigoted, humorless, zealots who needed to lighten up and stop getting so offended any time their backwards, bigoted beliefs were challenged by important, avant-garde forms of “artistic” expression. They talked about the importance of free speech and artistic expression.
In the decades since the Piss Christ controversy, however, religious censorship has made a comeback in the West. And this time, it’s the cultural elite, rather than the ignorant proles, supporting blasphemy laws and publicly condemning anyone who transgresses them.