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Oklahoma lawmakers want to repeal blasphemy law

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 9/27/2012 9:25 am Published: 9/26/2012 10:23 pm

Oklahoma is often called the buckle of the bible belt, but many Oklahomans have no idea that taking the Lord's name in vain is illegal.

The law passed in 1910 made blasphemy a misdemeanor. All these years later some state lawmakers are pushing to repeal the law, calling it unenforceable.

The law states:

"Blasphemy consists in wantonly uttering or publishing words, casting contumelious reproach or profane ridicule upon God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Scriptures or the Christian or any other religion."

"I think it's ridiculous," Tulsan Tracy Hargrove told FOX23 News.

"It's kind of judgmental," Tulsan Sunny Hall said. "I mean, freedom of speech I guess."

Other Tulsans FOX23 News talked to, whether they considered themselves to be religious Christians or not, agreed blasphemy laws have no place in Oklahoma's state government.

But what about a pastor, who has dedicated his entire life to his faith and service to God?

"Antiquated, totally unnecessary," Dr. Bill Carter, senior pastor at Heatherridge Baptist Church, said. "I also believe that it violates the First Amendment rights."

Carter said it's not that he thinks people should be blasphemous. He just doesn't think the government or law enforcement should have to deal with it.

"I believe that the God whom I serve is able to take care of Himself," Carter said. "He doesn't need a law on the book to do that."

Like most people, Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton had no idea the law existed. He personally hates when people take the Lord's name in vain. But that's not the whole story.

"It's one of those deals that would be, I think, strategically a nightmare to enforce," Walton said.

"Realistically, it would be very, very hard to interpret what people's meanings are be words or whatever. And it would be very, extremely hard to enforce laws like this."

But even if officers did enforce the blasphemy law, not everybody would be willing to cooperate.

"I wouldn't pay it," Hargrove said. "But then I'd have a bench warrant out for my arrest."

"Well, I'd be dumbfounded," Albert Crowe said. "I'd be hysterical about it, because I think that's just crazy."

"What are you going to do," Hall asked. "Knock on people's doors and ask them, and spy on them and see if they've said anything?"

But if the law has barely, if at all, been enforced in the past 100 years do lawmakers need to spend time repealing it?

Sheriff Walton, and most of the others FOX23 News talked to said yes, repeal it.

Dr. Carter would rather see lawmakers taking on bigger issues.

"If a court case came up where we had difficulty that involved this law, OK, maybe at that time our state legislature should do something," he said. "But at this time it's innocuous. It just doesn't mean anything."

The wording of the law doesn't mention what a possible penalty could be if someone were cited under the blasphemy law.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Gary McGee - 9/29/2012 11:31 PM
0 Votes
God says in His word the following words. And I am not going to give you my interpretation in the onset. Only read the words from the King James Bible. Be not deceived: Evil Communications corrupt good manners.1 Corinthians 15:33. The word communications in the greek means companionship, or those people we hang out with and whom we befriend. If Pastors are not preaching against sin and exhorting the church to forsake sin and live holy lives. He is doing them a great injustice. The statement was made that the U.S. Constitution was of greater concern than what God has to say about blasphemy. It's clearly forbidden in the 10 commandments. But since there are alot of moral cowards standing behind the pulpit the sheep have gone astray and the goats never cared anyway. The word corrupt given in 1 Corinthians 15:33 means this as taken from Strongs exhaustive concordance: to corrupt, to destroy a) in the opinion of the Jews, the temple was corrupted or "destroyed" when anyone defiled or in the slightest degree damaged anything in it, or if its guardians neglected their duties b) to lead away a Christian church from that state of knowledge and holiness in which it ought to abide c) to be destroyed, to perish d) in an ethical sense, to corrupt, deprave Look at definition (b). It clearly points out the destruction that occurs due to unsound teaching from God's word. Now I'm sure I will be attacked by men and women on all sides of this story but I'd rather obey God and speak out against sin and expose the modern church for what it is. An entertainment industry that has forsaken the Gospel and Holy living! Listening to preaching that does not penetrate the heart and cause it to search whether it is living in a way tha is pleasing to God is like taking a medicine that does not work!

CowBot9000 - 9/27/2012 9:52 AM
0 Votes
I'm surprised they're not FOR enforcing it. Just think of all the tax revenue (disguised as a noble law, of course) they could squeeze out of us.

Gladys Crump - 9/26/2012 11:39 PM
1 Vote
Yes now more than ever it needs to be repealed.
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