The West is submitting to blasphemy laws. Denmark, for example, has apparently decided that now is the time to invoke a dusty, old blasphemy provision. Denmark still has a provision in the penal code against blasphemy, but until now, it has only been used three times. The last time was nearly half a century ago, in 1971. Denmark’s Attorney General has nevertheless just charged a man for burning a Quran.
In the West, blasphemy as a criminal offence has for centuries generally been considered a relic of the past. In a largely godless society, few people take offense to blasphemous comments or acts. Christians do not descend upon alleged blasphemers with guns and knives, and publishers do not worry about “offending” Christians.
In 1997, Danish public service radio financed an artist burning a Bible and broadcast it on national television. No one was charged, even though there were complaints and the state prosecutor investigated the case.
Yet, a Danish man will be prosecuted. He burned his own Quran in his own garden and then posted the video in a public Facebook group, “Yes to freedom, No to Islam,” with the accompanying text, “Consider your neighbor, it stinks when it burns”. Attorney General Jan Reckendorff stated:
“It is the prosecution’s view that the circumstances of the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Qur’an implies that in some cases it may be a violation of the blasphemy provision, which deals with public mockery or scorn against a religion. It is our opinion that the circumstances of this case require that it should be prosecuted in order for the courts to have the opportunity to take a position on the matter.”
The Attorney General may have been mentioning the Bible only out of politeness. After all, no one has been prosecuted for burning the Bible in Denmark, as not even burning it on national television was considered sufficiently offensive. The Quran is clearly a very different matter.