The curious persistence of blasphemy

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


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright of Florida Journal of International Law is the property of Florida Journal of International Law and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Law
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2013 00:17
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2017 05:01
Uncontrolled Keywords: blasphemy; blasphemous libel; religion
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180114 Human Rights Law
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180106 Comparative Law
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180119 Law and Society
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/23405

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