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Thu Sep 27, 2012, 11:19 AM

Oklahoma Republican lawmaker says it's time to get rid of state blasphemy law

In Oklahoma, if you speak against God or religion, you can be charged with a criminal misdemeanor. The state's blasphemy law was enacted in 1909 and a Republican lawmaker says it is time to rescind it.

State Rep. Randy Grau told KWTX Channel 10 news, "It says you can't disparage or insult God or Christ or the Holy Spirit or the Christian or any other religion." Referring to recent demonstrations in Muslim countries, he added, "And what we're seeing is people saying, I'm going to react violently if you say something that I don't like about my religion, about whatever it is. That's exactly the type of chilling effect that the United States of America has fought against, what we've been hearing recently, for this call to really crack down on freedom of speech." He told the news station that the blasphemy law was probably well-intentioned when it was enacted in the early 1900s (see video embedded below).

In 2009, GodDiscussion reported on the various state blasphemy laws in the United States. Oklahoma's blasphemy laws include:

21 901. Blasphemy defined.
Blasphemy consists in wantonly uttering or publishing words, casting contumelious reproach or profane ridicule upon God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Scriptures or the Christian or any other religion.

21 902. Serious discussion not blasphemy.
If it appears beyond reasonable doubt that the words complained of were used in the course of serious discussion, and with intent to make known or recommend opinions entertained by the accused, such words are not blasphemy.

21 903. Blasphemy a misdemeanor.
Blasphemy is a misdemeanor.


"Well, it will keep people positive," a woman told News Channel 10 when asked what she thought about blasphemy being a misdemeanor in the state. When asked his views, a man opined, "I think you have some point about freedom of speech there, but then again if it incites riots, then that's another thing."

http://www.goddiscussion.com/101590/oklahoma-republican-lawmaker-says-its-time-to-get-rid-of-state-blasphemy-law/

6 replies, 2042 views

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Reply Oklahoma Republican lawmaker says it's time to get rid of state blasphemy law (Original post)
cleanhippie Sep 2012 OP
Oregonian Sep 2012 #1
kestrel91316 Sep 2012 #2
Oregonian Sep 2012 #3
rug Sep 2012 #4
MineralMan Sep 2012 #5
2ndAmForComputers Sep 2012 #6

Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Sep 27, 2012, 11:35 AM

1. How was this constitutional in the first place???

 

n/t

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Sep 27, 2012, 11:40 AM

2. Oklahomans want to be able to disparage OTHER people's gods, that's

 

what this is about, lol.

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Sep 27, 2012, 11:43 AM

3. The same state where they wanted to outlaw Sharia Law

 

Is there no sense of irony among theists?

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Sep 27, 2012, 01:59 PM

4. It is.

 

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Response to cleanhippie (Original post)

Thu Sep 27, 2012, 03:54 PM

5. All of those blasphemy laws are

officially unconstitutional. Whether or not a state repeals them, they have no effect any longer.

Because of the First Amendment's protection of free speech and religious exercise from federal interference, and the Fourteenth Amendment's extension of those protections against state regulation, the United States and its constituent state governments may not prosecute blasphemous speech or religious insults and may not allow civil actions on those grounds. In Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New York could not enforce a censorship law against filmmakers whose films contained "sacrilegious" content. The opinion of the Court, by Justice Clark, stated that:

"from the standpoint of freedom of speech and the press, it is enough to point out that the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them which is sufficient to justify prior restraints upon the expression of those views. It is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine, whether they appear in publications, speeches, or motion pictures."[75]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 11:52 PM

6. Correct. But refusing to strike them out of the books is a very loud declaration of...

"This State is an Asshole State and proud of it."

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