BLASPHEMY, crim. law. To attribute to God that which is contrary to his
nature, and does not belong to him, and to deny what does or it is a false
reflection uttered with a malicious, design of reviling God. Elym's Pref. to
vol. 8, St. Tr.
2. This offence has been enlarged in Pennsylvania, and perhaps most of
the states, by statutory provision. Vide Christianity; 11 Serg. & Rawle,
394. In England all blasphemies against God, the Christian religion, the
Holy Scriptures, and malicious revilings of the established church, are
punishable by indictment. 1 East, P. C. 3; 1 Russ. on Cr. 217.
3. In France, before the 25th of September, 1791, it was a blasphemy
also to speak against the holy virgin and the saints, to deny one's faith,
to speak with impiety of holy things, and to swear by things sacred. Merl.
Rep. h. t. The law relating to blasphemy in that country was totally
repealed by the code of 25th of September, 1791, and its present penal code,
art. 262, enacts, that any person who, by words or gestures, shall commit
any outrage upon objects of public worship, in the places designed or
actually employed for the performance of its rites, or shall assault or
insult the ministers of such worship in the exercise of their functions,
shall be fined from sixteen to five hundred francs, and be imprisoned for a
period not less than fifteen days nor more than six months.
4. The civil law forbad the crime of blasphemy; such, for example, as
to swear by the hair or the head of God; and it punished its violation with
death. Si enim contra homines factae blasphemiae impunitae non relinquuntur;
multo magis qui ipsum Deum Blasphemant, digni sunt supplicia sustinere. Nov.
77, ch. 1, Sec. 1.
5. In Spain it is blasphemy not only to speak against God and his
government, but to utter injuries against the Virgin Mary and the saints.
Senen Villanova Y Manes, Materia Criminal, forense, Observ. 11, cap. 3, n
, evil eye