Taylor’s Case: 1676

(Year?) An iriformatiori exhibited against him in the Crown Offce, for uttering of dlvers blasphemous expressions, horrible to hear, (viz.) that Jesus Christ was a bastard, a whoremaster, religion was a cheat ; and that he neither feared God, the devil, or man.
Beirig upon his trial, he acknowleclged the speaking of the words, except the word bastard ; and for the rest, he pretended to mean them in another sense than they ordinarily bear, (viz.) whoremaster, i.e. that Christ was master of the whore of Babylon, and such kind of evasions for the rest. But all the words being proved by several witnesses, he was found guilty.
And Hale said, that such kind of wicked blasphemous words were not only an offence to God and religion, but a crime against the laws, State and Government, and therefore punishable in this Court. For to say, religion is a cheat, is to dissolve all those obligations whereby the civil societies are preserved, arid that Christianity is parcel of the laws of England ; and therefore to reproach the Christian religion is to speak in subversion of the law.
Wherefore they gave judgment upon him, (viz.) to stand iri the pillory in three several places, and to pay one thousand marks fine, and to find sureties for his good behaviour during life.
An attack on Christian beliefs would undermine and endanger society: ‘For to say that religion is a cheat is to dissolve all those obligations whereby the civil societies are preserved and that Christianity is a parcel of the laws of England and therefore to reproach Christianity is to speak in subversion of the law.’ and ‘Contumelious reproaches of God and of the religion established are punishable here…. the Christian religion is part of the law itself’.


Sir Matthew Hale


(1676) 3 Keb 607, [1726] EngR 773, (1726) 1 Vent 293, (1726) 86 ER 189 (C)




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedGreen, Regina (on the Application of) v The City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Thoday, Thompson Admn 5-Dec-2007
The claimant appealed from the refusal by the magistrate to issue summonses for the prosecution for blashemous libel of the Director General of the BBC and the producers of a show entitled ‘Jerry Springer – The Opera.’
Held: The gist of the . .
CitedCorway v Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited 30-Jul-1999
(Supreme Court of Ireland) . .
ApprovedDominus Rex v Woolston 1732
The defendant having publish’d several discourses on the miracles of Christ, in which he maintain’d that the same are not to be taken in a literal sense, but that the whole relation of the life and miracles of our Lord Christ in the New Testament, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Ecclesiastical

Updated: 10 May 2022; Ref: scu.261809