Legal Eagle : The crime of blasphemy
A few staunch defenders of judge Roy Stewart Moore, in defending his alleged sexual assaults against teenage girls, have compared his sexual exploits with the biblical characters of Mary and Joseph.
At another stage and time in history, those who allege such comparison might have been charged with blasphemy, which is to say or do something to slander, insult, disrespect God or religion.
In Matthew 12:31, Jesus said "every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven" but in verse 32, he was quoted as saying "but whoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in the coming age."
With that said, it is important to note The Bible's account of the conception of Jesus by Mary in Luke 1:26-28.
Biblical scholars believe that Mary was between ages 14 and 16, which were the usual ages for girls to get married in those days.
God sent his angel Gabriel to Nazareth to advise Mary of this important development.
At that time, Mary was a virgin who pledged to marry a 30-year-old carpenter called Joseph.
Gabriel appeared unto Mary and told her that she would be with child and his name shall be called Jesus, the son of the Most High.
How this compares with 14-year-old girls being pounced on by Moore is unbelievable.
Moore is a former chief judge in Alabama who is seeking to be elected to the US Senate on December 16.
In recent weeks, at least six women have made public statements that Moore has sexually assaulted or has made inappropriate sexual contact with them while they were 16 and younger.
Most of these allegations date back over 30 years ago when Moore was a district attorney in his early 30s.
NO BIBLICAL REFERENCE
On the other hand, there is no biblical reference that Joseph had made any inappropriate sexual advances to Mary, or to any other young women at the time.
The comparison is most troubling and although it was put forward as a defence or excuse for Moore's conduct, it is most unfortunate, as Moore's action should not at any time be compared to Joseph.
There have been several blasphemy charges and convictions. For instance, in December 2015, a Danish man posted a video of himself setting fire to the Koran.
He was charged with blasphemy on the grounds that his action involved a public scorn or mockery to religion.
Recently in Pakistan, a man was sentenced to death after being charged with blasphemy, for insulting the prophet Muhammad during an argument on social media.
Those who made the comparison of Joseph and Moore, clearly and deliberately set out to insult and disrespect the religion touching and concerning the birth of Jesus and the Christian church ministry established by Peter, Paul and the other disciples.
Notwithstanding the above, those who are in favour of unfettered free speech will always have the last word. Indeed, there must be a balance.
- Keith N Bishop is an attorney at law and senior partner in the law firm of Bishop & Partners. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by WhatsApp at 876-460-8231.