Country fights blasphemy law overseas, reaffirms blasphemy law at home

Blasphemy laws are not just confined to countries ruled by genocidal, Islamic dictators.

In the United Kingdom, blasphemy has been outlawed for centuries.

In the same way that criticising Judaism in Sudan is unlikely to be met with a change of blasphemy, the UK law only applies to ‘offensive’ speech about the Church of England.

Under the blasphemy law, the BBC was taken to court by Christian Voice for screening 'Jerry Springer - The Opera', in which Christ is depicted wearing a nappy and swearing.

Yesterday the BBC was cleared of any wrong doing as the 1968 Theatres Act and 1990 Broadcasting Act prevent any prosecution for blasphemy in relation to public performances of plays or broadcasts.

[The court] added that it was reasonable to conclude that Jerry Springer - The Opera could not be considered as blasphemous as it was not aimed at Christianity but was a parody of the chat show genre.

So while the ruling may appear a victory for freedom of speech, the court reaffirmed the validity of the blasphemy law. Parody aimed at the Church of England is still illegal.

Now, to oppose the British law must one appeal to the Bible in keeping with the 'cultural milieu' of the United Kingdom, or will arguing from universal human rights suffice?


tina said...

I remember all the hoopla from the YouTube blasphemy video's. I can see how it would be wrong to say something inappropriate at certain times, such as "fire!" in a movie theater etc. but to be killed because you said you don't believe in a god, or be lashed because you blasphemed is ridiculous.

Australian Atheist said...

Of course, as you point, out there are some restrictions on free speech. But criticising political philosophies, including religions, should never be outlawed.