The curious persistence of blasphemy

Article


Patrick, Jeremy. 2011. "The curious persistence of blasphemy." Florida Journal of International Law. 23 (2), pp. 187-220.
Article Title

The curious persistence of blasphemy

ERA Journal ID33328
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorPatrick, Jeremy
Journal TitleFlorida Journal of International Law
Journal Citation23 (2), pp. 187-220
Number of Pages34
Year2011
Place of PublicationGainesville, FL. United States
ISSN0882-6420
1556-2670
Abstract

Despite expectations to the contrary, blasphemy laws and their modern-day counterparts persist in a surprising number of jurisdictions around the globe. This article discusses four examples: the 'defamation of religion' movement at the United Nations, the surprising resurrection of blasphemy law in Ireland, the Australian trend toward enacting 'religious vilification' laws, and the problem of formal illegality and private violence for blasphemous speech in Pakistan. Next, blasphemy is considered from three conceptual angles: the religious, the legal, and the secular/cultural. Last, the curious persistence of blasphemy is examined through an inquiry into why people blaspheme to begin with, and what harms (real or perceived) are caused by blasphemy. The conclusion here is that as long as societies hold something sacred - religiously or culturally - blasphemy will remain an operative concept and legal or social pressure to suppress blasphemous statements will continue to persist.

Keywordsblasphemy; blasphemous libel; religion
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020489999. Other law and legal studies not elsewhere classified
480302. Comparative law
480499. Law in context not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsYork University, Canada
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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