Fields: Blasphemy An American Tradition



In the USA, blaspheming “un-American” religions is as American as apple pie.

And make no bones about it, that in the GOP, Islam is about as an un-American religion as you can get.

If you have any doubt about that check out Mitt Romney’s screed against the State Department officials for joining in the denunciation of Innocence of Muslims. This flick, if it actually exists, portrays Mohammad as a murderer and child molester. [Nobody’s perfect?]

Would Romney have said the same thing if it was rioting Hassidic or Catholics protesting a so-called blasphemous film?

While Romney wants to defend The Innocence of Muslims in American in terms of American values, I am pretty sure he would take a different tack if it was Mormon rioters in Salt Lake City attacking The Innocence of Mormons. I have no doubt he attack the movie if it portrayed Mormon patriarch Brigham Young.

That movie could also show that in its early days Young ran Mormon/Utah-like a”commie commune” that sought to secede from the United States.  His treasonous plan was set up a Mormon theocracy to be called “Deseret”.

Ultimately, President James Buchanan had to send the army into Utah to quell a rebellion and remove Young as territorial governor.

Blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder.  In this case “he be holdin’ the GOP nomination for Prez.”

The truth is that blasphemy laws with criminal penalties were on the books in every state back when the Constitution was adopted.

They are still on the books in Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania. And in case you think it’s always a carryover from bygone times don’t be so sure. Pennsylvania enacted its law in 1977!

In 1952 in Burstyn v Wilson, the Supreme overturned a New York law that allowed the state to ban a movie called The Miracle for being “sacrilegious” to Catholics.

Don‘t bet that the current Supreme Court would see it that way.  Under the “originalist” philosophy of Justice Antonin Scalia, if a law was constitutional in 1792—which might have been the case with blasphemy laws—then it’s constitutional today unless it was amended out of the Constitution. Think the 13th Amendment and slavery.

Funny thing about blasphemy and religion is that the Koran does not even talk about it.  On the other hand the Bible specifically states that those who blaspheme the name of the LORD “shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16).

Blasphemy is Number Three in the Ten Commandments— a set of laws that overlooked things like slavery and rape.

Christian dogma repeatedly describes blasphemy as the worst of all sins.  Along with other Christian writers, St. Thomas Aquinas, described it as a crime worse than murder.

On the other hand I am pretty sure when talking about God Aquinas did not have Allah in mind.

It leads one to conclude that the Judeo-Christian God may be omnipotent, omnipresent and all knowing, but is nevertheless pretty insecure and thin-skinned.  Perhaps Horus and Gilgamesh gave him one too many divine wedgies when they were at Heaven Junior High?

A bit of a stretch, but Hate Crime laws are anti-blasphemy laws kissin’ cousins.

If I bloody your nose because you are a “Yankee fan” that is a misdemeanor.  But if I bloody your nose because you are “Jewish Yankee fan” that is a felony.  We can generally blame the touchy-feeling liberals for this one.

Not content with religious blasphemy laws, the Conservatives have attempted to create secular blasphemy laws.

They want to amend the Constitution to jail people who burn or otherwise desecrate certain pieces of clothe they own when that piece of clothe has a particular pattern, shape and color.

You may know this as The Flag Burning Amendment.

Of course the irony of this proposed law is that the legal and respectful way to dispose of a worn flag is to…Did you guess it?…burn it.

So in the end what we are saying is that we will punish you, not for burning a flag, but for burning it for reasons the government doesn’t like.

Thus flag burning laws, like all blasphemy laws, are Thought Crimes.  They go back to “whose ox is getting gored”.

Mitt wants you to know that “goring Islam” is okay.

Christians, Jews and Mormons…not so much.

15 Responses to “Fields: Blasphemy An American Tradition”

  1. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Yesterday, while out in redneck land, I overheard some wanker say “What’s up with those muslims? Christians and Jews just sort of laugh it off.”

    To wit, I replied, “and then blow up a building in Oklahoma. Or kill seiks in Wisconsin. Or murder doctors performing abortions. Or help the Nazis in WWII. Or the Spanish inquisitions. Or the Crusades.”

    Yeah, them god fearing fucking Christians, Catholics in particular, they’re a really passive bunch.

  2. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Let us also not forget to acknowledge the systemic abuse of little children, mostly boys, by the Catholic Church.

    Countless innocent children were raped in the name of some evil known as God.

    The United States is the country with the highest number of Catholic Sex Abuse cases, leading Thomas Plante to surmise that the “crisis in the United States reached epidemic proportions within the Church, the likes of which haven’t been witnessed before.

    Approximately 4% of priests during the past half century (and mostly in the 1960s and 1970s) have had a sexual experience with a minor.

    So every time I hear some fucking nitwit tell me how good God is, I remind them to keep their fucking paws of our kids.

    Deliver us from evil, I say.

  3. Lois says:

    Buddy, the language routinely used by Sam and Chaz is unnecessarily crude. Can’t something be done about including every single obscenity they utter? Please?


    I have told Sam this many times, but he persists in writing that way. I don’t know Chaz, but I would tell him the same thing.
    It is often a reflection of their inability to express themselves in more precise manner. It detracts from their arguments. And when posts use crude words too regularly, the words lose their power, become repetitious and boring.

  4. Sam The Sham says:

    Chaz, you are a mathematician. You should not let your prejudices and bias skew your view of reality.

    4% of priests have been ACCUSED of molesting children, not convicted. In any case, the percentage of priests molesting children is no larger than officials of other faiths or for that matter, teachers, coaches and other people who have contact with kids. In fact, about 75% of abusers are in the same family or some other close relationship to the child. Should we vilify families for this? No, of course not.

    The Catholic Church is the largest religion in the country, the largest in the world, so of course the number of abusers is highest. It is the only organization that has opened its records for scrutiny. The only reason we hear more about Catholics is because of the Church’s deep pockets.

  5. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    I try to respond without using the word fuck… Or kept it to the minimum.


    Are you fucking nuts?

    Comparing what the Catholics did to teachers> The Catholics did their best to cover up the fucking atrocious behavior of their employees. Can you imagine the Broward County School System moving a pedophile teacher from school to school?

    Can you imagine 4% of HP’s middle management being accused of diddling little kids? Having worked for that corporation, rest assured you’d be out of a job quicker than spit.


    Now let’s talk some fucking arithmetic. According to the investigation by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice:

    — 4,392 priests/deacons were accused. Of these, 41 were permanent deacons.

    — Allegations were made against 4 percent of the 109,694 priests serving during the period.

    — Allegations were lodged on behalf of 10,667 people.

    — 75 percent of the abuse incidents occurred during 1960-84.

    — Total sex abuse related costs reported during the period were $573 million with $219 million covered by insurance.

    — 81 percent of the victims were males, and 19 percent were females.

    — 50.9 percent of the victims were 11-14 years old and 27.3 percent were 15-17 years old.

    — 56 percent of the accused had only one victim and 27 percent had two or three victims.


    So why the concentration on Catholic priests and brothers? Perhaps I am unduly cynical, but I believe that all institutions attempt to cover up institutional wrongdoing although the Roman Catholic church has had a higher opinion of itself than most, and thus a greater tendency to lie about these things. Because it is an extremely authoritarian institution at least within the hierarchy, it is also one where there were few checks and balances on the misbehaviour of the powerful.
    The scandal has been loudest and most damaging in Ireland, because it came along just at the moment when the church was losing its power over society at large, and where it was no longer able to cover up what had happened, but still willing to try. Much the same is true in the diocese of Boston which was bankrupted by the scandal.

    Hopefully Buddy, the number of f-bombs in this comment didn’t offend your delicate sensibilities.

  6. GOPapa says:

    Mr. Fields twists what Mitt Romney said. Romney was defending freedom of speech and freedom of the press, in this case a movie. Those are the America traditions he was talking about. He was not defending blasphemy anywhere except in Mr. Fields’ mind.

  7. Who cares? says:

    Who cares what Mitt Romney thinks? His campaign is going down in flames. The Intrade market shows Obama’s chances of re-election as 66.2%. Romney is headed for the dust heap of history.

  8. why bother says:

    theres 50 days to elections. lots more stuff can happen and go wrong for either of them. don’t believe the polls as some ‘lean’ more left than right or vice versa. obama is working the women and minorities as thats his only chance
    how many men are in the polling? You’ll never know.
    just sit tight till November 6, or a few days later if FL hasn’t learned to count. we’ll all know then
    meanwhile –

    • Find polls on everything from presidential approval to horserace polls in the states. Compiles polls from multiple sources.

    • PPP: Democratic-leaning firm at has surveys from across the country as

    • Civitas: Conservative think tank (at polls regularly about politics and issues

    • Huffington Post: In 2010, the online publication bought the respected, which aggregates poll data. Find it at

    • FiveThirtyEight: At, analyst Nate Silver slices and dices polling numbers and even rates polling firms on accuracy and bias.

  9. Sam The Sham says:


    You are basically agreeing with my position. I hate pedophiles and am enraged that my church sheltered them. The numbers are outrageously high. Some of the admitted abusers were at my school during those years.

    The thing is that it is very common to mistake the signs of a pedophile, even for trained people. Untrained people are frequently bamboozled by the abuser because he has years of experience ingratiating himself into people’s lives.

    Read this article I found today:

    GOPapa, Sam Fields is not so much interested in gaining converts to his cause, but like the true Alinsky radical he is, is only interested in creating chaos.

  10. Becky Blackwood says:

    From what I have seen and read the producer of this film is an Egyptian Christian but no one says if he is a citizen of the United States. If he is not a U. S. citizen, can’t we expel him from the U. S.? His film is similar to falsely shouting fire in a crowded auditorium, which is a crime.

  11. Buddy nevins says:


    Here is another view on this subject:

  12. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:


    How about we just cut out the middleman (free speech) and get right to the root of most of our problems.

    Let us just ban religion.

    After all, it is a virus, a plague, that has haunted humanity since time immortal.

  13. Sam The Sham says:


    Kurlander is saying that anything that denigrates Islam should be banned and made a crime because it incites violence (from Muslims).

    If I were to become violent and start killing people every time Chaz Stevens and Sam Fields insulted my religion, should criticism of Catholics also become illegal?

  14. Ha Ha Ha says:

    [… a new] video, released by The Huffington Post and Mother Jones, showed Romney at a Florida fundraiser, saying that 47 percent of Americans are “victims” who are “dependent on government” and who he is not going to “worry about” in the campaign.

    The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza called it Romney’s “darkest hour.” Blogger Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “whenever you’re convinced things can’t get worse for the Romney campaign, they find a way to make it happen.”

    Bloomberg’s Josh Barro said that the video was an “utter disaster” that “has killed Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.”

    After the press conference, reviews were equally harsh.

    “That was a desperate man in a desperate situation, ” Lawrence O’Donnell opined on MSNBC after watching the press conference. Writing on his Atlantic blog, Ta-Nehisi Coates agreed. “I have never seen the candidate of a major party looking more shook than Romney does at this press conference,” he wrote.

    Politico’s Roger Simon was even more blunt: “Romney’s explanation of his comments may be worse than the comments.”

    CNN’s Romney beat reporter Jim Acosta told the network that “Mitt Romney for a while now has been saying something different behind closed doors … than he has been saying in public in front of voters.” Analyst Ron Brownstein noted that many of the people Romney seemingly dismissed are actually Republican voters, saying, “He is insulting voters that he is relying on quite heavily.”

    Tuesday morning brought broadsides from the Republican establishment.

    Joe Scarborough told the “Today” show that “This is one of the worst weeks for a presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember.”

    Writing in the New York Times, David Brooks said that Romney’s views were a “country club fantasy,” adding, “It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney … he’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?”

    And the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol called the comments “arrogant and stupid.”

  15. Sam The Sham says:

    Ha Ha Ha, way to stay on subject.