Sunday, 18 May 2008


A few days ago a friend of mine emailed me, pointing to a brief mention in the Telegraph of an attempt to repeal the law of blasphemy. Paul was supporting a view that the church should counter this attempt.

However, I'm not certain it should. I'm a Christian, and I believe that blasphemy offends God, but I don't believe that it means it should be illegal in our society, and carry a penalty. Here's what I emailed back:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your email regarding the 'small print' proposal to abolish the 'ancient laws of blasphemy'.

Thought I'd contribute by being potentially controversial! I disagree that this proposal is a bad thing, and that the church should counter it. I do not believe that there should be a legal penalty for blaspheming. In fact, there's many things that I believe are contrary to God's law / will, which I do not believe should be illegal.

It's possibly hard for us to swallow the fact that this amendment is de facto sponsored by three of the most anti-Christian characters in three of the most opinion-forming sectors of society. However, this doesn't persuade me that they are wrong, merely powerfully remind me that the church is far too reticent about being engaged in public discourse about such issues. And, when it does engage, it far too easily relies on theological and ecclesiastical jargon and assumptions of a superior and naturally authoritative worldview.

And to go further, I believe that it's weak to give the impression that the Christian faith requires protection by law in this way.

Don't get me wrong - I believe that God instituted many things that we should not only cherish, but also seek to codify in law. But blasphemy isn't one of them.

What do you think? :-)

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