September 30, 2012
America the Blasphemous?
We have been hearing a lot about blasphemy laws of late (see my article Free Speech in Islam to find out about the religious motives behind this push to abridge free speech). But it may not be well-known that America has some knowledge of anti-blasphemy laws, for at our earliest founding the colonial leaders imposed them. In the Puritan document "An Abstract of the Laws of New-England, as they are now established. Printed in London in 1641," recorded by John Cotton, a Puritan (a Puritan is a devout and extra-strict Christian), the laws against blasphemy are laid out. Four rules in this Abstract, in Chapter 7, which pertains to crimes that deserve capital punishment or banishment, are relevant. The very first rule says: "FIRST, blasphemy, which is cursing God by atheism, or the like, to be punished by death." Next, rule no. 7 says that members of the church who do not conform to the church's doctrine "shall be cut off by banishment." Further, a similar rule, no. 8, says, "Whosoever...(Read Full Article)