From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"I should like there to be perfect freedom to deride them all [all religions]; I should like men, gathered in no matter what temple to invoke the eternal who wears their image, to be seen as so many comics in a theater, at whose antics everyone may go to laugh. [...] I cannot repeat it to you too often: no more gods, Frenchmen, no more gods, lest under their fatal influence you wish to be plunged back into all the horrors of despotism; but it is only by jeering that you will destroy them; all the dangers they bring in their wake will instantly be revived en masse if you pamper or ascribe any consequence to them. Carried away by anger, you overthrow their idols? Not for a minute; have a bit of sport with them, and they will crumble to bits; once withered, the opinion will collapse of its own accord."--"Yet Another Effort, Frenchmen, If You Would Become Republicans", 1795, Marquis de Sade
Blasphemy is the defamation of the name of one or more gods. These may include using sacred names as stress expletives without intention to pray or speak of sacred matters. Sometimes blasphemy is used loosely to mean any profane language, for example in "With much hammering and blasphemy, the locomotive's replacement spring was finally fitted."
In a broader sense, blasphemy is irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable. In this broader sense the term is used by Sir Francis Bacon in the Advancement of Learning, when he speaks of "blasphemy against learning".
The word "blasphemy" came via Middle English blasfemen and Old French blasfemer and Late Latin blasphemare from Greek βλασφημέω, from βλάπτω = "I injure" and φήμη = "reputation". From blasphemare also came Old French blasmer, from which English "blame" came.
Abolishing blasphemy laws
- Eternal sin
- Freedom of speech versus blasphemy
- Minced oath
- Gerard Reve
- Verbal offence
- Victimless crime