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The malicious or wanton reproach of God, either written or oral. In English Law, the offense of speaking disparaging words about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, or the Book of Common Prayer with the intent to undermine religious beliefs and promote Contempt and hatred for the church as well as general immorality. In U.S. law, any maliciously intended written or oral accusation made against God or religion with the purpose of dishonoring the divine majesty and alienating mankind from the love and reverence of God.Blasphemy is a common-law offense and also an offense by statute in certain jurisdictions. It must be uttered in the presence of another person or persons or published in order to be an offense. Mere use of profanity is not considered blasphemy.

Blasphemy statutes are rarely, if ever, enforced today.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


statements, oral or written, that, in an offensive or insulting manner, impugn the doctrines of Christianity, the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer or the existence of God. The crime does not strike at similar conduct in relation to non-Christian religions. Blasphemy is a crime at common law. There is one old English case that suggests the doctrine applies only to the Anglican denomination. In Scotland there has been modern academic scepticism as to its continued existence.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

BLASPHEMY, crim. law. To attribute to God that which is contrary to his nature, and does not belong to him, and to deny what does or it is a false reflection uttered with a malicious, design of reviling God. Elym's Pref. to vol. 8, St. Tr.
     2. This offence has been enlarged in Pennsylvania, and perhaps most of the states, by statutory provision. Vide Christianity; 11 Serg. & Rawle, 394. In England all blasphemies against God, the Christian religion, the Holy Scriptures, and malicious revilings of the established church, are punishable by indictment. 1 East, P. C. 3; 1 Russ. on Cr. 217.
     3. In France, before the 25th of September, 1791, it was a blasphemy also to speak against the holy virgin and the saints, to deny one's faith, to speak with impiety of holy things, and to swear by things sacred. Merl. Rep. h. t. The law relating to blasphemy in that country was totally repealed by the code of 25th of September, 1791, and its present penal code, art. 262, enacts, that any person who, by words or gestures, shall commit any outrage upon objects of public worship, in the places designed or actually employed for the performance of its rites, or shall assault or insult the ministers of such worship in the exercise of their functions, shall be fined from sixteen to five hundred francs, and be imprisoned for a period not less than fifteen days nor more than six months.
     4. The civil law forbad the crime of blasphemy; such, for example, as to swear by the hair or the head of God; and it punished its violation with death. Si enim contra homines factae blasphemiae impunitae non relinquuntur; multo magis qui ipsum Deum Blasphemant, digni sunt supplicia sustinere. Nov. 77, ch. 1, Sec. 1.
     5. In Spain it is blasphemy not only to speak against God and his government, but to utter injuries against the Virgin Mary and the saints. Senen Villanova Y Manes, Materia Criminal, forense, Observ. 11, cap. 3, n

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
He stated that whoever make false accusation of blasphemy on another person, he should be handed the same punishment that a blasphemer is given.
During the show, 18-year-old Malala was allegedly described as a traitor, blasphemer and foreign agent over her campaigns for education for girls.
Ahmed quickly singled him out and called him a "blasphemer" in front of the congregation, Nosher Ali, the head of the local police station, told Reuters on Sunday.
With A Sympathetic Hanging (2000) and The Blasphemer (2010), columnist Nigel Farndale's fiction opened and marked the end of the last literary decade with ethical and aesthetic issues such as political conspiracy and intimate chaos.
Over centuries he has become better known by those who have written about him - as a mentally unbalanced blasphemer.
John Newton, blasphemer and cruel slave trader, experienced a furious storm at sea and desperately prayed for divine mercy.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing, saying the minister had been "punished" for being a blasphemer.
Ashton called for the authorities, who arrested Taseer's bodyguard at the scene after witnesses reported that he fired nine shots into his chest at close range and bragged he was "proud" to kill a blasphemer, to "bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice".
Gravelle, a horror novella,The Temple of the Dead: book 2 of Sepulchral Earth by Tim Marquitz dark fantasy, horror novella, and Blasphemer by Phil Emery, a dark fantasy novella.
In 1998 the Roman Catholic bishop of the Pakistani diocese of Faisalabad, John Joseph, grew deeply depressed over the fact that no lawyer could be found who was willing to defend an accused Christian blasphemer. He decided to dramatize what the blasphemy laws were doing to his flock by killing himself--despite the fact that suicide is a grave sin in the eyes of his church.
THE BLASPHEMER by Nigel Farndale (Doubleday pounds 10.99) ***