- A contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a sacred entity.
- The act of claiming for oneself the attributes and rights of God.
I define it as a fun past time when performed in the presence of easily offended theists.
In the US, a number of states still have blasphemy laws on their books, even though in 1952 the Supreme Court set precedence by declaring New York State’s blasphemy law illegal, since it basically preempts free speech and violates the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. There has been no successful prosecution of a “blasphemer” anywhere in the US since 1928. That guy, an atheist and Evolution advocate, was fined $25 by the state of Arkansas (no surprise there).
Massachusetts’ blasphemy law is a sterling example of theists’ delusional need to protect their Supreme Space Monkey’s sensibilities. It goes back to the early 18th century, is still on the books, and is particularly onerous:
“Whoever willfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, His creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.”
Yikes!! Three hundred dollars back then wasn’t chicken feed, and the prison conditions left much to be desired. Simply declaring that you deny the existence of God was blasphemy!! Never mind calling Jesus gay, publishing pictures of Jesus in less than a flattering light, or laughing out loud at the contradictions and idiocy of the bible.
Is it any wonder that atheists were in no hurry to come out of the closet, declare their position, much less write “Ye Olde Atheist Blog” and hand them out on Sundays?
Well, times have changed a lot. But there are still God Fearing-Bible Banging-Tongue Talking-Reality Denying- Re Birthed Christians who would absolutely LOVE to get those laws enforced. And guess what … they practically can.
Many US institutions, and even some governmental and quasi governmental authorities have written “Hate Speech” prohibitions into their polices. There are “hate speech” polices in some state universities, even though it is recognized as a violation of the 1st Amendment. While intended to quash anti-Semitic, anti-gay, or anti-minority rhetoric which could ignite hostility, it’s a short step from there to some fanatical Born Again Christian nut case demanding a college’s Freethinkers Club be disbanded, or atheist sticker be removed from a private car because it’s offensive to their beliefs.
It hasn’t happened yet, but just wait; it’s only a matter of time. When it does happen my reaction will be exactly what every Free Thinking person’s should be:
“Phuck - Que and the Man-God you rode in on!”