Blasphemy is the act of showing irreverence or contempt for religious deities or beliefs.

And it’s in the news, as Muslims around the globe are protesting a blasphemous film. Should some ideas be off-limits for criticism? Can blasphemy be constructive? And what are you doing for Blasphemy Day?

Linguist and infidel Daniel Midgley explores blasphemy on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

Muslims worldwide protest blasphemous film, using violence and murder.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/14/islam-film-muslim-protests

Violent clashes in Sydney
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/police-use-pepper-spray-on-anti-islamic-film-protesters-in-sydney-at-the-us-consulate/story-e6freuy9-1226474744811

A girl and her family in Pakistan are threatened with death because it is alleged she burned pages of the Qur’an.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19565707

“Hasa Diga Eebowai” is the most blasphemous song I know, but then I don’t listen to much black metal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IjBi1eEaAA

Not everyone has to lose their shit when you send up their prophet. The Mormon church’s response to “The Book of Mormon”.
http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/joannabrooks/4209/lds_church_responds_to_south_park_mormon_musical

They’ve even taken out ads in the Playbill for “The Book of Mormon”.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-mormon-church-lds-ads-book-of-mormon-playbill-20120906,0,51504.story

Other religions have pulled this crap when they could get away with it.
Blasphemy laws in the UK
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_religions62.html

Blasphemy laws in Colonial America
http://goodreasonblog.blogspot.com.au/2007/03/swearing-class-observations.html
http://genealogytrails.com/newham/laws.htm

A good article on same, with a scan of that law
http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/homepage-feature/item/45356-anti-blasphemy-laws-have-a-history-in-america?Itemid=1&linktype=hp_featured

Blasphemy is not against the law in Australia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_Australia

but hate speech is.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_Australia

Blasphemy laws are largely being overturned, but Ireland shows the opposite trend.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/01/irish-atheists-challenge-blasphemy-law

As does the UN.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation_of_religion_and_the_United_Nations