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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

United Kingdom's Blasphemy Laws


After a look at recent cases and the history of the UKs blasphemy laws, the conclusion reads:

"Unused for decades, the UKs blasphemy laws have come to the fore since 1979. Blasphemy laws are invoked when closed-minded religious bigots want to stifle the free speech of others.

The blasphemy laws are used to stifle artistic expression and free speech, such as in R. v Lemon 1979 when a poem about Jesus was published in a gay magazine. In Pakistan they are used to, for example, block any scholarly discussion of any aspect of Muhammad's life [Watt, 1989, p32]. The publications in question are not personal insults or hateful literature; they are not professional or political, they are largely expressive, emotional or scholarly. That blasphemy laws are used in such a way - to protect concepts from being questioned - is not only wrong and closed-minded, but undemocratic.

The final straw is that the UKs blasphemy laws only protect Christians - not Muslims or Jews - and historically only the Church of England. It is deeply prejudice, intolerable and confusing that we still have such laws. Thankfully the European Courts, British legal community, Lobby groups and British politicians have spoken out against the blasphemy laws. We should all make a big of it when it is annulled, as the blasphemy laws are one last legal pillar of Christian intolerance and bigotry."
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Part of me really wants to post the poem [or at least a link thereto] which resulted in the Lemon trial - if only to offend the memory of Hairy WhitemouseMary Whitehouse and her acolytes.

Well you might as well post it!

I would have happily taken Mary Whitehouse into a boxing ring...

I'm in shock. I completely agree with you.

Maybe I should rewrite it...

Even though I am not totally in favour of keeping the blasphemy law as how it is currently, it is totally beyond comprehension how you could believe that blasphemy is not a big a deal!!!

I think that the law should be extended to other religions rather than to scrap it all together.

You have the right of freedom of expression and say what you like but you also have an obligation to live respecting other people's beliefs regardless whether you are an atheists or a committed Christian. Respect includes what you say or don't say about other's people religion.


So you think to avoid blapseming against Hindus we should not eat, harm or kill cows? And the same to pigs, who are not kosher? If what you say is what you really mean, then we need to outlaw clothes made of mixed materials, and re-illegalize homosexuality, because both are blasphemous for the Jews and Christians due to the book of Deutoronomy. I don't believe you've thought through the implication of making religions' illogical, irrational and superstitious blaphemies a matter of civil law.

Do you want all these things made illegal? Where then, would your "respect" be, then?

I don't believe you've thought through the implication[s]

The blasphemy laws did not provide protection in the way you analogise eg in the statement "So you think to avoid blapseming [sic] against Hindus we should not eat, harm or kill cows?". That's a straw-man as sure as day.

It would be more akin to entering a Hindu temple with a cow's carcass and cooking and eating it there in the middle of their meeting. Or throwing bacon at those arriving at the synagogue.

Blasphemy and vocal & public disagreement with the tenets of any particular faith are different positions. Blasphemy laws are akin to defamation laws extended beyond the person to their god.

Whitehouse v. Lemon, not R v. Lemon

This is a pretty facile comment, as I agree with the rest of the page entirely, but there's one citation that's been nagging me. In the 1979 case where Lemon and Gay News Ltd. were taken to court, Mary Whitehouse had taken a private prosecution i.e. the Crown wasn't prosecuting - meaning that the case is "Whitehouse v. Lemon" and not "R v. Lemon"

Re: Whitehouse v. Lemon, not R v. Lemon

Sheila Bone (Osbourne's Law Dictionary) and "Constitutional & Administrative Law" fourth and fifth editions, all state that the case is R v Lemon.

A student laywer informs me that the case could have had a double prosecution, even if it was initially a private prosecution.

Blesphemy Law

We need it like we need traffic light for safe driving and swift running of vehicles. But it should be updated to suit new requirement and also to cover other religion and no religion.

Church of England V Christian

Blasphemy Laws actually apply to tenets and beliefs of the Church of England and do not cover the wider umbrella of Christianity.


Thus the Law also precludes those of Baptist, Methodist, Mormon, Jehovah Witness etc, etc faiths.

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