Freethought Today · April 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF wants blasphemy ordinance struck down

FFRF wants a blasphemy law in a town in Oklahoma taken off the books.

FFRF was contacted by a concerned local citizen about an ordinance in the city of Edmond that criminalizes blasphemy against Christianity. The city of Edmond Code of Ordinances states: "It shall be unlawful and an offense for any person to circulate any literature or use any language within the corporate limits of the City of Edmond, that casts profane ridicule on God, Jesus, or Christianity, which in its common acceptance is calculated to cause a breach of the peace or an assault."

This ordinance, like all blasphemy laws, violates the First Amendment. "The Supreme Court has long recognized that the First Amendment 'mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,' " FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote to Edmond City Attorney Stephen Murdock in February.

FFRF adds that while it may be permissible to put a restriction on speech that is calculated to cause a breach of the peace or an assault, it is not permissible to extend this restriction only to speech that ridicules God, Jesus, or Christianity.

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