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 h. t. The law relating to blasphemy in that country was totally repealed by the code of 25th of September, 1791, and its present penal code, art. 262, enacts, that any person who, by words or gestures, shall commit any outrage upon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, §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