Blasphemy is the disrespectful use of the name of one or more gods. See also List of deities A deity is a Postulated Preternatural or Supernatural Being, who is always It may include using sacred names as stress expletives without intention to pray or speak of sacred matters; it is also sometimes defined as language expressing disapproved beliefs, or disbelief. Sometimes blasphemy is used loosely to mean any profane language. The original meaning of the adjective profane (from the Latin for "in front of or outside the Temple " was to refer to items not belonging to the church
In a broader sense, blasphemy is irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable. In this sense, the term is used by Sir Francis Bacon in Advancement of Learning, when he speaks of "blasphemy against learning". Francis Bacon 1st Viscount St Alban KC QC (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626 was an English Philosopher, Statesman, and author
Many cultures disapprove of speech or writing which defames the deity or deities of their established religions, and these restrictions have the force of law in some countries. A state religion (also called an official religion, established church or state church) is a religious body or Creed officially A religion is a set of Tenets and practices often centered upon specific Supernatural and moral claims about Reality, the Cosmos
From Middle English blasfemen, from Old French blasfemer, from Late Latin blasphemare, from Greek blasphemein, from blaptein, "to injure", and pheme, "reputation". Middle English is the name given by Historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of Old French was the Romance Dialect continuum spoken in territories which span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium Vulgar Latin (in Latin sermo vulgaris, "folk speech" is a Blanket term covering the popular Dialects and Sociolects of the Latin Greek (el ελληνική γλώσσα or simply el ελληνικά — "Hellenic" is an Indo-European language, spoken today by 15-22 million people mainly Blasphemy, which was opposed to "euphemy" (see euphemism), and has also given "blame" from Old French blasmer. A euphemism is a substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener or in the case of doublespeak
There has been a recent tendency in Western countries towards the repeal or reform of blasphemy laws, and these laws are only infrequently enforced where they exist. The term Western world, the West or the Occident ( Latin: occidens -sunset -west as distinct from the Orient) can have multiple meanings
Blasphemy laws exist in the following countries (incomplete list):
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg adopted on 29 June 2007 Recommendation 1805 (2007) on blasphemy, religious insults and hate speech against persons on grounds of their religion. Pakistan () officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country located in South Asia, Southwest Asia, Middle East and Spain () or the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España is a country located mostly in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Sudan (officially the Republic of Sudan) ( السودان al-Sūdān is a country in northeastern Africa. Switzerland (English pronunciation; Schweiz Swiss German: Schwyz or Schwiiz Suisse Svizzera Svizra officially the Swiss Confederation The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE which held its first session in Strasbourg on 10 August 1949, can be considered the This Recommendation set a number of guidelines for member states of the Council of Europe in view of Articles 10 (freedom of expression) and 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Council of Europe (Conseil de l'Europe is the oldest International organisation working towards European integration, being founded in 1949 The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (also called the "European Convention on Human Rights" and "ECHR" was adopted under the In this area, there is also considerable case-law by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The European Court of Human Rights ( ECtHR) (Cour européenne des droits de l’homme in Strasbourg was established under the European Convention on Human Rights
Some US states still have blasphemy laws on the books from the founding days. Chapter 272 of the Massachusetts General Laws states, for example:
The history of Maryland's blasphemy statutes suggests that even into the 1930s, the First Amendment was not recognized as preventing states from passing such laws. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress An 1879 codification of Maryland statutes prohibited blasphemy:
According to the marginalia, this statute was adopted in 1819, and a similar law dates back to 1723. In 1904, the statute was still on the books at Art. 27, sec. 20, unaltered in text. As late as 1939, this statute was still the law of Maryland. But in 1972, in Maryland v. Irving K. West, the Maryland Court of Appeals (the state's highest court) declared the blasphemy law unconstitutional. The Maryland Court of Appeals is the supreme court of the US state of Maryland. 
The last person to be jailed in the United States specifically for blasphemy was Abner Kneeland in 1838, as decided by the Massachusetts case Commonwealth v. Kneeland. Abner Kneeland ( April 7, 1774 &ndash August 27, 1844) was an American evangelist and theologian who advocated many views religious Commonwealth of Massachusetts v Abner Kneeland was an 1838 Massachusetts state court case notable for being the last time a court in the United States jailed a defendant for  However, this was prior to the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868 incorporating the Bill of Rights to apply to the states and not just the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment ( Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution is one of the post- Civil War Reconstruction Amendments, first Incorporation (of the Bill of Rights is the American legal doctrine by which portions of the Bill of Rights are applied to the states through the From 1925 onward, the Supreme Court began a consistent application of the Bill of Rights to the states. 
The last U. S. conviction for blasphemy—at least that of any significance—was of atheist activist Charles Lee Smith. Charles Lee Smith (1887–1964 was an Atheist activist in the United States and an editor of the Truth Seeker until his death In 1928 he rented a storefront in Little Rock, Arkansas, and gave out free atheist literature there. Little Rock is the Capital and the most populous city of the U The sign in the window read: "Evolution Is True. The Bible's a Lie. God's a Ghost. " For this he was charged with violating the city ordinance against blasphemy. Because he was an atheist and therefore couldn't swear the court's religious oath to tell the truth, he wasn't permitted to testify in his own defense. The judge then dismissed the original charge, replacing it with one of distributing obscene, slanderous, or scurrilous literature. Smith was convicted, fined $25, and served most of a twenty-six-day jail sentence. His high-profile fast while behind bars drew national media attention. Upon his release he immediately resumed his atheist activities, was again charged with blasphemy, and this time the charge held. In his trial he was again denied the right to testify and was sentenced to ninety days in jail and a fine of $100. Released on $1,000 bail, Smith appealed the verdict. The case then dragged on for several years until it was finally dismissed. 
The US Supreme Court in Joseph Burstyn, Inc v. Wilson, 343 U. Joseph Burstyn Inc v Wilson, 343 US 495 ( 1952) was a Landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court which largely marked S. 495 (1952) held that the New York State blasphemy law was an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of speech. The court stated that "It is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine, whether they appear in publications, speeches or motion pictures. "
Among Muslim-majority countries, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws. The Blasphemy law in Pakistan is found in several sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, including Section 295 B and C and 298 A B and C Pakistan () officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country located in South Asia, Southwest Asia, Middle East and In 1982, President Zia ul-Haq introduced Section 295B to the Pakistan Penal Code punishing "defiling the Holy Qur'an" with life imprisonment. General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq ( Arabic: محمد ضياء الحق) (b In 1986, Section 295C was introduced, mandating the death penalty for "use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet". Capital punishment, the death penalty or execution, is the Killing of a person by judicial process as Punishment.
In 1990 the Federal Shari’ah Court ruled that the penalty should be a mandatory death sentence, with no right to reprieve or pardon. This is binding, but the government has yet to formally amend the law, which means that the provision for life sentence still formally exists, and is used by the government as a concession to critics of the death penalty. In 2004, the Pakistani parliament approved a law to reduce the scope of the blasphemy laws. The amendment to the law means that police officials will have to investigate accusations of blasphemy to ensure that they are well founded, before presenting criminal charges.
However, the law is used against political adversaries or personal enemies, by Muslim fundamentalists against Christians, Hindus and Sikhs, or for personal revenge. Especially Ahmadi Muslims are victims of the blasphemy law. Ahmadiyya ( احمدیہ Ahmadiyya) is a movement that arose out of mainstream Islam towards the end of the 19th century They claim to be Muslims themselves, but under the blasphemy law, they are not allowed to use Islamic vocabulary or rituals.
The Pakistani Catholic bishops' Justice and Peace Commission complained in July 2005 that since 1988, some 650 people had been falsely accused and arrested under the blasphemy law. Catholic is an Adjective derived from the Greek adjective '' / 'katholikos' meaning "whole" or "complete". Moreover, over the same period, some 20 people accused of the same offense had been killed. As of July 2005, 80 Christians were in prison accused of blasphemy.
Christians in Pakistan protested Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code as blasphemous, with support of Muslims as well. Dan Brown (born June 22 1964 is an American Author of Thriller fiction, best known for the 2003 bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code The Da Vinci Code is a controversial mystery / detective Novel by US author Dan Brown, published in 2003 by Doubleday On 3 June, 2006, Pakistan banned the film. The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 Feature film, which is based on the bestselling 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown Culture Minister Gulab Jamal said: "Islam teaches us to respect all the prophets of God Almighty and degradation of any prophet is tantamount to defamation of the rest. "
The blasphemy law in the UK is to be abolished, with effect from 8 July 2008. This article describes the blasphemy law in the United Kingdom.
Blasphemy laws in the United Kingdom were specific to blasphemy against Christianity. The last attempted prosecution under these laws was in 2007, when the fundamentalist group Christian Voice sought a private prosecution against the BBC over its broadcasting of the show Jerry Springer: The Opera (which includes a scene depicting Jesus, dressed as a baby, professing to be "a bit gay"). There is an unconnected organisation called Christian Voice in the USA. A private prosecution is a criminal or Provincial offence case initiated by an individual or organization other than the state-funded Prosecutor. Jerry Springer The Opera is a British musical written by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, based on the Television show The charges were rejected by the City of Westminster magistrates court. The City of Westminster ( is a borough of London with city status. Christian Voice applied to have this ruling overturned by the High Court, but the application was rejected, with the court finding that the common law blasphemy offences specifically did not apply to stage productions (s. For the Cameroonian court by this name see High Court of Justice (Cameroon, for the Israeli court of this name see Supreme Court of Israel. Common law refers to law and the corresponding legal system developed through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive 2(4) of the Theatres Act 1968) and broadcasts (s. The Theatres Act 1968 abolished Censorship of the stage in the United Kingdom. 6 of the Broadcasting Act 1990). The Broadcasting Act 1990 is a law of the British parliament, often regarded by both its supporters and its critics as a quintessential example of Thatcherism 
The last successful blasphemy prosecution (also a private prosecution) was Whitehouse v. Lemon in 1977, when Denis Lemon, the editor of Gay News, was found guilty of blasphemous libel. Whitehouse v Lemon was a 1976 court case involving the Blasphemy law in the United Kingdom. Gay News was a pioneering fortnightly newspaper in the United Kingdom founded in June 1972 in a collaboration between the Gay Liberation Front See also Blasphemy Blasphemous libel was a Common law criminal offence in England and Wales. His newspaper had published James Kirkup's poem The Love that Dares to Speak its Name, which allegedly vilified Christ and his life. James Kirkup (born April 23, 1918) is a prolific English Poet, Translator and Travel writer. The Love that Dares to Speak its Name is a controversial Poem by James Kirkup. Christ is the English term for the Greek ( Khristós) meaning "the anointed " Lemon was fined £500 and given a suspended sentence of nine months imprisonment. A suspended sentence is a legal construct Unless a minimum punishment is prescribed by law the Court has the power to suspend the passing of sentence (generally It had been "touch and go", said the judge, whether he would actually send Lemon to jail.  In 2002, a deliberate and well-publicised public repeat reading of the poem took place on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, but failed to lead to any prosecution. St Martin-in-the-Fields is an Anglican church at the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, London. Trafalgar Square is a square in central London, England. With its position in the heart of London it is a tourist attraction its trademark is Nelson's
The last person in Britain to be imprisoned for blasphemy was John William Gott on 9 December 1921. John William Gott (1866–1922 was the last person in Britain to be sent to prison for Blasphemy. Events 536 - Byzantine General Belisarius enters Rome while the Ostrogothic garrison peacefully leaves the city He had three previous convictions for blasphemy when he was prosecuted for publishing two pamphlets which satirised the biblical story of Jesus entering Jerusalem (Matthew 21:2-7), comparing Jesus to a circus clown. He was sentenced to nine months' hard labour.
The last prosecution for blasphemy in Scotland was in 1843. 
On 5 March 2008, an amendment was passed to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill abolishing the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel (common law is abolished, not repealed). Events 363 - Roman Emperor Julian moves from Antioch with an army of 90000 to attack the Sassanid Empire, in a 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common The Act received royal assent on 8 May 2008, and the relevant section is to come into force two months later.  
In the third book of the Torah, Leviticus 24:16 states that those who speak blasphemy "shall surely be put to death", see also List of capital crimes in the Torah. term " Torah " ( Hebrew: תּוֹרָה "teaching" or "instruction" sometimes translated as "Law" most commonly refers to Leviticus (from Greek Λευιτικός, "relating to the Levites " According to the Torah (or Mosaic Law) these are the offenses which may merit the Death penalty in a Jewish major court of 23 judges
Christian theology may condemn blasphemy, as in the Luke 12:10, where blaspheming the Holy Spirit is spoken of as unforgivable - the eternal sin. Theology is the study of a god or the gods from a religious perspective The Gospel of Luke (Gk Κατά Λουκάν Ευαγγέλιον) is a synoptic Gospel, and is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels of the The Eternal Sin, or unpardonable sin, is a concept of Sin in Christian theology, whereby Salvation becomes impossible However, there is dispute over what form this blasphemy may take and whether it qualifies as blasphemy in the conventional sense.
In the time of Jesus, when Christian ideas relied upon the influence of natural authority against the then secular religious power of the Second Jewish Temple, this admonishment may be interpreted as warning against an actual reaction from the Holy Spirit in the form of a curse that can irreparably harm a person (and thus be unforgivable but not by dictate). The Second Temple (בית המקדש romanized 'Beit HaMikdash' meaning 'Holy House' was the reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem which stood between 516 BCE and 70 CE In mainstream Christianity, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is one of the three entities of the Holy Trinity which make up the single substance A curse (also called execration) is any manner of Adversity thought to be inflicted by any supernatural power (such as a spell, a Prayer, an This statement in effect establishes the importance of this aspect of the Godhead, rather than setting an arbitrary law.
The Catholic Encyclopedia has a more extensive article on blasphemy. The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to today as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language Encyclopedia published by The Encyclopedia
In the Catholic tradition, there are specific prayers and devotions as Acts of Reparation for blasphemy. In the Roman Catholic tradition an Act of Reparation is a prayer or devotion with the intent to repair the " sins of others " e  For instance, The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion (Prayer) first introduced by Sister Marie of St Peter in 1844 is recited "in a spirit of reparation for blasphemy". The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion is a prayer in the Roman Catholic Church which is believed to have been dictated by Jesus to Sr Sister Marie of St Peter (1816 - †1848 was a Carmelite nun who lived in Tours, France. This devotion (started by Sister Marie and then promoted by the Venerable Leo Dupont) was approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1885. Venerable Leo Dupont (1797 – †1876 also known as "The Holy Man of Tours" or the "Apostle of the Holy Face" was a religious figure in the Pope Leo XIII ( March 2, 1810 – July 20, 1903) born Count Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci, was the 256th Pope  The Raccolta Catholic prayer book includes a number of such prayers. The Raccolta is a book of Roman Catholic prayers for which specific indulgences have been pledged by Popes It contains a number of prayers and novenas 
The Holy See has specific "Pontifical organizations" for the purpose of the reparation of blasphemy through Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ, e. The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, commonly known as the Pope, and is the preeminent Episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Roman Catholic tradition include specific prayers and devotions as Acts of Reparation for insults and blasphemies against Jesus Christ g. the Pontifical Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face
Blasphemy in Islam constitutes speaking ill of any other prophet mentioned in the Qur'an. The Pontifical Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters of the Reparation of the Holy Face is a Roman Catholic order whose focus is providing Acts of Reparation Blasphemy in Islam constitutes speaking ill of God of Muhammad, of any other prophet mentioned in the Qur'an, and of any the Biblical prophets (Jesus For other meanings including people named 'Islam' see Islam (disambiguation. The Qur’an ( القرآن, literally "the recitation" also sometimes transliterated as Qur’ān, Koran, Alcoran The Qur'an also states that it is blasphemy to claim that there is more than one god or that Jesus Christ (the son of Mary) is the son of God (5. 017). Speaking ill of God is also blasphemy. God is the principal or sole Deity in Religions and other belief systems that worship one deity. In Islam, blasphemy is considered a sin. The Quran says "He forgives all sins, except disbelieving in God (blasphemy)". In Islam if a person dies while in blasphemy, they will not enter heaven, except if said person repented before death. However, in Islam, interjections such as "God!"; "Good Lord"; or "for God's sake" are not considered blasphemy, unless the word "God" is replaced with another name that implies worship to someone or something other than God. For example "Jesus!" or "Holy cow" are considered blasphemy because they denote worship to something other than God.
The following Qur'anic verses appear to suggest that there is no worldly punishment for blasphemy, controverting the notion that blasphemy is punishable by death:
|“||When ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme. [Qur'an 4:140]||”|
|“||And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: "to us our deeds and to you yours; peace be to you. [Qur'an 28: 55]||”|
|“||Hold to forgiveness, command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant. [Qur'an 7:199]||”|
|“||Have patience with what they say, and leaves them with noble (dignity). [Qur'an 73:10]||”|
|“||And the servants of Allah . . . are those who walked on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say 'Peace' [Qur'an 25:63]||”|
|“||Allah is with those who restrain themselves. [Qur'an 16: 128]||”|
|“||. . . But they uttered blasphemy . . . if they repent, it will be best for them, but if they turn back, Allah will punish them. " [Qur'an 9:47]||”|
In contemporary language, the notion of blasphemy is often used ironically, as a form of hyperbole. As an example, one might express that doubting Wikipedia as a good source of information is blasphemous. This usage has garnered some interest among linguists recently, and the word 'blasphemy' is a common case used for illustrative purposes.