act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for a religious deity or sacred person or thing

Blasphemy is a word that means speaking badly about a religion, or insulting a god. Some religions see blasphemy as a religious crime. Many countries witha state religion have laws that make blasphemy a crime. For example, blasphemy can be punished with the death penalty in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. In other countries, the punishment for the crime is a fine, or imprisonment.

Of Blasphemy, from the Narrenschiff (The Ship of Fools); woodcut attributed to Albrecht Dürer
The Temptation of St. Antonius is a painting by Félicien Rops

Some countries do not have laws against blasphemy. For example, after the French Revolution, France made blasphemy legal to make sure people would have freedom of religion and the freedom of the press.

The United States, Canada, and many European countries, have laws to protect people who speak badly about religion. Sometimes people do this in a satirical way, like with a movie that makes fun of a religion. In these countries, profanity is often protected by freedom of speech as well.

Related pagesEdit


  • Maledicta: The International Journal of Verbal Aggression (ISSN US 0363-3659)
  • Levy, L. Blasphemy. Chapel Hill, 1993.
  • Dartevelle, P., S Borg, Denis, Ph., Robyn, J. (eds.). Blasphèmes et libertés. Paris: CERF, 1993
  • Plate, S. Brent Blasphemy: Art that Offends (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2006) [ISBN 1904772536]

Other websitesEdit