Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blasphemy


Teddy Bear Blasphemy case in Sudan (From: Grin and bear it)

"Let us not forget that in 1977 the late and unlamented Mary Whitehouse successfully brought a prosecution for blasphemy against Gay News for publishing this poem by James Kirkup. And just last week, the producers of Jerry Springer - The Opera were taken to court by some Christian extremists who accused them of blasphemy.

"I think it's high time in this country that we got rid of our blasphemy laws, which only protect Christian beliefs. All religions ought to be able to stand up for themselves, without relying on some legal crutch whenever they feel their sensibilities have been offended. Whether it's the naming of a teddy bear, cartoons, poems or inspired satire, those with religious beliefs really should just learn to grin and bear it." - Grin and bear it

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In 1656, the Quaker James Naylor suffered flogging, branding and the piercing of his tongue by a red-hot poker.

The last person in Britain to be sent to prison for blasphemy was John William Gott on 9 December 1921. He had three previous convictions for blasphemy when he was prosecuted for publishing two pamphlets entitled Rib Ticklers, or Questions for Parsons and God and Gott. In these pamphlets Gott satirised the biblical story of Jesus entering Jerusalem (Matthew 21:2-7) comparing Jesus to a circus clown. He was sentenced to nine months' hard labour despite suffering from an incurable illness, and died shortly after he was released.

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