Everyone who publishes any blasphemous document is guilty of the offence of publishing a blasphemous libel. Everyone who speaks blasphemous words is guilty of the offence of blasphemy. The Human Rights Act requires the courts to interpret the law in a way that is compatible with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The offence of blasphemous libel is believed by some[ who? However, just before the introduction of the Human Rights Act , a claim that the blasphemy law is inconsistent with article 10 of the Convention providing for freedom of expression was rejected in the case of Wingrove v UK ;  a case brought by solicitor Mark Stephens. The Court decided that it was within the state's margin of appreciation for a restriction on free speech.
When the BBC decided to broadcast Jerry Springer: The Opera in January , they received over 63, complaints by offended Christian viewers who objected to the show's portrayal of Christian icons including one scene depicting Jesus professing to be "a bit gay".
The fundamentalist group Christian Voice sought a private blasphemy prosecution against the BBC, but the charges were rejected by City of Westminster magistrates' court. Christian Voice applied to have this ruling overturned by the High Court , but the application was rejected, the court finding that the common law blasphemy offences specifically did not apply to stage productions section 2 4 of the Theatres Act and broadcasts section 6 of the Broadcasting Act Alderson B.
In the like manner, and for the same reason, any general attack on Christianity is the subject of a criminal prosecution, because Christianity is the established religion of the country. They said that, at that date, there was no authority as to the effect of this, if any, on the law of blasphemy in Wales.
He said it was "shackled by the chains of history" in this respect. It was also held that the failure of these offences to prohibit attacks on non-Christian religions did not violate article 9 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which relates to freedom of religion. Number of prosecutions[ edit ] Before , prosecutions were "much more common".
In , police court proceedings were taken against Harry Boulter for blasphemy uttered at a meeting at Highbury Corner, Hyde Park. An orator with links to the Rationalist movement he was jailed for a month in June and in November he was sentenced to three months for repeating the offence. Many Muslims considered the book to blaspheme against Islam, and Iranian clerical leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in calling for Rushdie's death, "along with all the editors and publishers aware of its contents".
No charges were laid because, as a House of Lords select committee stated, the law only protects the Christian beliefs as held by the Church of England. Despite much discussion surrounding the controversy, the law was not amended. He was forced to resign from his school position due to protests from Christian parents. The report noted that "there is no one agreed definition of blasphemy and blasphemous libel and that it would scarcely be practicable, even if it thought desirable, to amend the common law definition by statute".
The authors added that "it is now clear that none of the arguments for retaining a law of blasphemy are sufficiently strong to support this view and each of them is outweighed by other considerations which persuade us that a law of blasphemy is not a necessary part of a criminal code.
Moreover, we have no doubt that any replacement offence which might be devised would in practice prove to be unacceptably wide in ambit.
In , a deliberate and well-publicised public repeat reading of the poem The Love that Dares to Speak its Name by James Kirkup took place on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square and failed to lead to any prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecutions. An earlier reading in had led to prosecution. Outraged Christians tried to drown out the reading.
The police didn't even take our names and addresses. The blasphemy law is now a dead letter. If the authorities are not prepared to enforce the law, they should abolish it".
After the event, Tatchell said "The blasphemy law gives the Christian religion privileged protection against criticism and dissent. No other institution enjoys such sweeping powers to suppress the expression of opinions and ideas.
The committee's first report was published in April ; it summarised the state of the law in this area, and found that the present law on blasphemy was unlikely to result in successful prosecution. The committee found no consensus on whether a new law against blasphemy was required, but concluded that any law should apply to all faiths. The government consulted the Church of England and other churches before reaching a decision. The move followed a letter written to The Daily Telegraph at the instigation of MP Evan Harris and the National Secular Society and was signed by leading figures including Lord Carey , former Archbishop of Canterbury , who urged that the laws be abandoned.
The peers also voted for the laws to be abandoned during March. It was repealed by the First Statute of Repeal in and revived again in Those denying the Trinity were deprived of the benefit of the Toleration Act The Blasphemy Act enacted that if any person, educated in or having made profession of the Christian religion, should by writing, preaching, teaching or advised speaking, deny that the members of the Holy Trinity were God, or should assert that there is more than one god, or deny the Christian religion to be true, or the Holy Scriptures to be of divine authority, he should, upon the first offence, be rendered incapable of holding any office or place of trust, and for the second incapable of bringing any action, of being guardian or executor, or of taking a legacy or deed of gift, and should suffer three years imprisonment without bail.
In Rex v Carlile ,  Mr Justice Best said: So far as the Statute of William containing provisions so inconsistent with the common law as to operate as a repeal by implication, as far as it applies to the offence of libel, it seems intended to aid the common law.
The rest of the world might with impunity blaspheme God, and prophane the ordinances and institutions of religion, if the common law punishment is put an end to. But the Legislature, in passing this Act, had not the punishment of blasphemy so much in view as the protecting the Government of the country, by preventing infidels from getting into places of trust.
In the age of toleration in which that statute passed, neither churchmen or sectarians wished to protect in their infidelity those who disbelieved the Holy Scriptures. On the contrary, all agreed, that as the system of morals which regulated their conduct was built on these Scriptures, none were to be trusted with offices who shewed they were under no religious responsibility.
This Act is not confined to those who libel religion, but extends to those who, in the most private intercourse by advised conversation, admit that they disbelieve the Scriptures. Both the common law and this statute are necessary; the first to guard the morals of the people; the second for the immediate protection of the Government. Past research on face perception supports the idea that when people visualize faces, these faces reflect assumptions about the minds of those who wear them.
For example, when people visualize welfare recipients versus non-recipients , they view them as having dull eyes to reflect their perceived lack of mental acuity [ 9 ], and when people visualize atheists vs. For example, people will seldom admit that they assume welfare recipients are black but will choose darker faces when asked which of two alternatives looks more like a welfare recipient [ 9 ]. The question is: Which qualities will be conveyed by the face of God? Views of God are certainly shaped by scripture—the Quran describes God differently than the Bible—but even people within a religion may see God differently.
Much of this work indicates that psychological processes may play an important role in how people view God. The role of individual motivation in religious belief is a common theme of 19th and 20th century philosophy. People who lack control in their lives tend to see God as more powerful and influential as a form of compensatory control [ 26 ].
People who feel threatened by intergroup conflict conceptualize God as more authoritarian and punitive, since this kind of God could better regulate a society at war [ 27 ], see also [ 28 ] for a perspective on natural disasters and views of God.
And people with a strong need for a secure attachment tend to view God as more loving to provide themselves with an attachment figure [ 29 ]. Together, these perspectives suggest that people ascribe traits to God that help fulfill salient motivations. Cognitive biases. While early philosophers emphasized the importance of motivation in religious belief, early anthropologists emphasized the importance of cognitive biases. Tylor [ 30 ] suggested that animism—the belief that natural phenomena possess agency—arose from conflating dreams with reality.
Some victims as young as 3 were molested or raped inside pastors' studies and Sunday school classrooms. Reports of sexual abuse are immediately reported to law enforcement officials as required by law. We verified details in hundreds of accounts of abuse by examining federal and state court databases, prison records and official documents from more than 20 states and by searching sex offender registries nationwide.
In the like manner, and for the same reason, any general attack on Christianity is the subject of a criminal prosecution, because Christianity is the established religion of the country. It is blasphemy, Hume wrote when it is done in a scoffing and railing manner; out of a reproachful disposition in the speaker, and, as it were, with passion against the Almighty, rather than with any purpose of propagating the irreverent opinion. The SBC governing documents ban gay or female pastors, but they do not outlaw convicted sex offenders from working in churches. But Greear said in an email that he is limited by local church autonomy.
Sawyer was burnt on 2 March, eight days before the power to inflict such punishment was granted. John Van Beekum Houston Chronicle 'Break her down' Another defendant in the lawsuit against Pressler: Paige Patterson, a former SBC president who, with Pressler, pushed the convention in the s and s to adopt literal interpretations of the Bible. It took months — and the threat of criminal charges — before Forse left his position at the church, according to statements made by Forse's attorney at the time and Schneider's responses to questions in a related civil lawsuit. Paul Pressler, pictured in this photo, is a former Texas state judge and prominent Southern Baptist figure.
Cognitive biases. Three decades later, in , Pittman learned that his alleged abuser was working as a youth minister in Georgia. People who lack control in their lives tend to see God as more powerful and influential as a form of compensatory control [ 26 ]. Amyx denies that he threatened or physically assaulted Vasquez. Church volunteers.
People who lack control in their lives tend to see God as more powerful and influential as a form of compensatory control [ 26 ].
In sentencing Naylor, the judge, Lord Commissioner Whitelock, makes the distinction between heresy and blasphemy. She soon attracted attention from John Forse, who coordinated church pageants and programs at Second Baptist. That didn't happen; the last time any such list was made public was by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
And people with a strong need for a secure attachment tend to view God as more loving to provide themselves with an attachment figure [ 29 ]. The Gilyard case bothered Debbie Vasquez. Its name: Touching the Future Today Inc. Now Playing: Prosecutors, convicted pastors discuss sexual assault. But she's skeptical that the SBC will act decisively.
No charges were laid because, as a House of Lords select committee stated, the law only protects the Christian beliefs as held by the Church of England. All of that makes Southern Baptist churches highly susceptible to predators, says Christa Brown, an activist who wrote a book about being molested as a child by a pastor at her SBC church in Farmers Branch, a Dallas suburb.
He only recently stopped hating God. The minister still works at an SBC church. The rest of the world might with impunity blaspheme God, and prophane the ordinances and institutions of religion, if the common law punishment is put an end to. In sentencing Naylor, the judge, Lord Commissioner Whitelock, makes the distinction between heresy and blasphemy.
We considered these superficial qualities to be particularly interesting because they would show that people view God as like them even in seemingly unimportant ways. Heath Lambert, now senior pastor at First Baptist in Jacksonville, said in a statement that "we decry any act of violence or abuse. The SBC governing documents ban gay or female pastors, but they do not outlaw convicted sex offenders from working in churches. Number of prosecutions[ edit ] Before , prosecutions were "much more common". He was again arrested on 12 February , as a relapsed heretic and was convicted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.