Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of God in Vain: Blasphemy Laws

As part of my Ten Commandments series, it has been rather difficult finding laws dealing with blasphemy. Unlike a number of countries such as Sweden, Saudi Arabia, etc., the United States specifically is a secular nation with a Constitution banning the government from establishing a specific religion.  Thus, it is challenging at best to have a secular law banning blasphemy.  Yet, six states in 2009 had statutes mentioning blasphemy. I was able to find a New York Times article mentioning blasphemy statutes tied to a Pennsylvania court case that eventually overturned that state's blasphemy law.  Moral of the story:  if your government doesn't have an official deity, it's hard to blaspheme against Him/Her/It/Them.

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