Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt towards religious or holy persons or things.
The penalty for blasphemy is death
In the third book of the Torah, Leviticus 24:16 states that he that blasphemes the name of the LORD “shall surely be put to death”.
The Seven laws of Noah, which Judaism sees as applicable to all people, prohibit blasphemy.
Christian theology condemns blasphemy. It is spoken of in Mark 3:29, where blaspheming the Holy Spirit is spoken of as unforgivable—the eternal sin.
Blasphemy has been condemned as a serious, or even the most serious, sin by the major creeds and Church theologians.
The United Nations
The General Assembly passed several resolutions which called upon the world to take action against the “defamation of religions”.
Law of Blasphemy in the U.K.
Imprisonment for life is the law of land for blasphemy.
Blasphemy is defined as the publication, orally or in writing, of matter which is contemptuous of or which denies the truth of the Christian religion or the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer or contains offensive term likely to shock and outrage the feelings of the general body of Christian Believers.
There is no requirement that the accused should have recognized or intended that his words would be blasphemous or to be taken by others to be blasphemous.
In case of public utterance, two reliable witnesses are required to prove the guilt of blasphemy and if it is in black and white then it is obligatory to produce the written words
Two most important cases of British court relating to Blasphemy are White House versus Lemon.
The offense (blasphemy) belongs to a group of criminal offenses designed to safeguard the internal tranquility of the Kingdom. In an increasingly pluralist society it is necessary not only to respect the differing religious beliefs and feelings of all but also to protect them from ridicule and contempt. But other judges were of the view that this blasphemy law does not extends to protect attacks on other religions like Islam.
In Salman Rushdie blasphemous book “Satanic verses” complaint was dismissed on the ground that blasphemy is concerned with Christian religion only.
The Queens’s bench division of the High Court confirmed that the law of blasphemy is only to protect the Christian religion and more specifically the established Church of England.
The Muslim community of England filed a petition in the European Court of human Rights with expectation of getting relief.
The European Court of human Rights noted “It is true that the English Law of Blasphemy only extends to the Christian faith.”
The court believed that United Kingdom was justified as otherwise it was likely to arouse a sense of outrage among those who believe and respect the Christian faith.
The Blasphemy law was replaced by Racial and Religious Hatred Act in year 2006
This shows that Europe is conservative in maintaining its own orthodox laws.
Law of Blasphemy in the United States
Blasphemy is attacking the Christian religion, exposing the Jesus Christ or the scriptures to contempt and ridicule. Blasphemy is an offense and may be committed by spoken or written words.
Religions other than Christianity may be attacked without incurring any liability of the prosecution.
In US Supreme Court case State vs Mocus the judges concluded that by reason of the number, influence, and station of its devotees within our territorial boundaries, the religion of Christ is the prevailing religion of this country and of this state. With equal truth may it be said that from the dawn of civilization, the religion of a country is the most important factor in determining its form of government and that stability of government depends upon the respect which a nation maintains towards its prevalent religion.