[Otto Scott] Well, there are still social sanctions against blasphemy, but the idols have changed.
[Scott] You can’t blaspheme against certain minorities and that includes even discussing their behavior.
[Rushdoony] Yes, very good.
[Scott] Um, Judge Bork is being attacked because in the 1971 article. (In) 1971, he questioned the right to privacy as far as the Constitution is concerned. So he was committing blasphemy against Liberalism.
[Rushdoony] Very good. Excellent point… this is what blasphemy is about. And today, of course, as you have said Otto, we have reversed the moral order. We have made it blasphemy to speak ill of certain minority groups. And this is the problem.
1.) Blasphemy is an inescapable category. All social orders and cultures have either defacto or dejure blasphemy laws.
2.) Once one identifies what subject matter is outside the bounds of sustained and harsh criticism for a social order there one has identified the sacred. Once the sacred is identified then you know what is and is not considered blasphemy in that social order.
3.) Blasphemy laws can be of a dejure nature and often when crafted so the violation of blasphemy means a severe legal penalty. However, more often blasphemy laws are defacto and are not visited with a severe legal penalty but rather are visited with social and economic ostracism. We are seeing this increasingly in the West as a violation of non-legislated speech codes can cost someone their reputation, career and so livelihood.
4.) When the God of the Bible is eliminated from that which cannot be blasphemed the consequence is most usually it is the State which cannot be blasphemed or whatever the State by law or by precedent says may not be blasphemed. That the State sets the parameter for what can and cannot be blasphemed one only needs to look at the Statist youth centers where the children are taught whom the god and gods are in the social order who must not be blasphemed. For example, the whole work going on against “bullying of the LGBQT community,” is largely just a program to set up the LGBQT community and their behavior as sacred and so not to be blasphemed.
5.) Blasphemy laws are about thought control. If one cannot say something one generally does not think that something. There is a tight connection between what one is allowed to say and what someone will end up thinking. If one cannot verbally denigrate God one will not likely give much thought to denigrating God. This is the way political correctness is working today. When we are not allowed to say something because the saying of it is considered blasphemy then the thinking of those thoughts will eventually dry up. For example, people very seldom use the word “sodomite” anymore to describe same-gender relation. The reason is that is the word “sodomite” has successfully been turned into a blasphemous word. To use that word is to raise a hand against that behavior which has become considered sacred.
6.) It is interesting that in Scripture there is little distinction between the sinner who deliberately abuses the name of the Lord ( Lev. 24:10-16), and the one who deliberately flouts his commandments ( Numbers 15:30-31). So tightly is God’s character/name and God’s law bound together that the flouting of either is the flouting of both. For both blasphemy and for the one who deliberately flouts God’s law, the death penalty is prescribed.
7.) Clearly, the God of the Bible is not considered sacred in our social order. In point of fact, a good case could be made that in order to advance in this social order one must not hold God as sacred for to hold God as sacred so as to not blaspheme His name would mean to blaspheme what this current social order takes as sacred.
8.) Summarizing, when one discovers in a social order what can or cannot be harshly criticized (blasphemed) there one has discovered the sacred in that social order. Once one has discovered the sacred in the social order one begins to unravel what the religion of that social order is. Blasphemy is an inescapable concept for all social orders because God and religion are inescapable concepts in all social orders.