Letter to Senator Serphin Maltese,

cc: maltese@senate.state.ny.us

Timothy J. Madigan
Editor, Free Inquiry
P.O. Box 664
Amherst, New York
Senator Serphin Maltese,

Recently I read in the godless magazine _Free Inquiry_ that you wish to pass legislation that would make it a misdemeanor to (and I quote from the godless magazine) "hold... up the deity or the religious beliefs of any religious class of people to ridicule." Did the godless magazine represent you correctly?

If so, I have a question. Are you evil, or merely stupid?

Let’s first address the "evil" possibility: Your proposed legislation would make one a criminal when one preaches against Satanism and Satan in New York. Who the bloody Hell are YOU to say one may not do so, upon threat of a fine or jail time?! Just who do you propose should call the police and have these ministers fined or jailed?

What about the religions that actively harm people such as Scientology with their RPF (forced labor prison camps)? Under your proposed legislation, every time I denounced Lisa McPherson’s brutal death under Scientology’s religious practice known as "Baby Watch," you would have me fined?!

How can you not realize how evil such proposed legislation is?

Or consider the "merely stupid" possibility. Do you really expect the producers of Xena Warrior Princess (Renaissance Pictures) to be charged a fine every time they ridicule people’s religions?! In that show, the God Ares and the Goddess Hera are constantly being ridiculed; there was even an episode where the deity Loki was ridiculed and denigrated. Do you really want my Asatru friends (who worship Thor and Loki, as well as the other Norse Celtic Gods and Goddesses) to have Xena’s producers fined? Or fine the cable companies that deliver the show to a million citizens of New York every week?

There are some 80,000 Wiccans and neo-Pagans (such as myself) in the United States who worship Goddesses and Gods that are denigrated and ridiculed from countless Christian pulpits every weekend; many of those pulpits will be in New York. Do you have enough police officers in the state to go out and fine these ministers every weekend?

What if one’s religious practice requires that one denigrate and ridicule someone else’s religion and that religion’s God / Gods? Your proposed legislation would unjustly interfere with that religious right / duty.

So which is it? Are you evil, or merely stupid?