Clive Unsworth, Blasphemy, Cultural Divergence and Legal Relativism, 58 Mod. L. Rev. 658 (1995).
Unsworth's article examines the place of blasphemy in a country (England) that has undergone profound shifts in its cultural and legal landscape since the offence originally became part of the common law. The article explores whether "blasphemy" is still a relevant legal concept in a country that is becoming increasingly multicultural and less tied to a shared vision of morality as embodied in an established church. The link between blasphemy, sedition, and nationalism are explored at some length. For example, Unsworth argues that "[t]his affinity with sedition underlines the function of the law of blasphemy in securing a politico-religious governmental order, an institutional and symbolic church-state unity which is still of fundamental importance in investing the state with a transcendant . . . form of moral authority in its dealings with transgression." (p. 664) The article goes on to examine three cases that revealed the place of blasphemy in England: the Lemon case, the Rushdie affair, and the proceedings over the censorship of the film Visions of Ecstasy. The article is written in a style that could be called "high academic", and thus, some passages are difficult to follow, but here and there some very interesting points are made.