Stuart Vincent Campbell, Brazil, Blasphemy, and Free Speech: Why the United States Must Maintain Strong Freedom of Expression Protections in Spite of International Pressure to Punish Anti-Religious Hate Speech (unpublished working paper available on SSRN).
This interesting paper is written in the context of the controversy and protests created by the dissemination of the Innocence of Muslims video and the resulting calls from some quarters for the United States to take aggressive action to forbid anti-religious speech. Campbell accurately notes that those opposed to blasphemy laws often point to countries like Pakistan as examples of the harm such laws cause. However, "[i]nstead of looking to small homogenous nations in the Middle East that bear almost no cultural or legal resemblance to the United States, this note turns to the empirical example of Brazil--a large heterogeneous democracy that in some ways bears a surprising cultural and historical resemblance to the United States." (p. 3)
The paper provides good background on the Innocence of Muslims video (pp. 5-6) and an overview of the history of blasphemy laws in the U.S. (pp. 11-15) before moving on to what I consider the most useful aspect of the paper: a discussion of how blasphemy laws are used in Brazil. Campbell argues that although Brazil has a constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, judges allow blasphemy laws to operate by always framing the issue as the need to balance the right to freedom of speech against the right to freedom of religion. "Brazil suppresses blasphemous speech not based on the desire to establish a state religion, but rather based on legal principles that allow judges to prioritize religious respect and de-prioritize 'offensive' speech." (p. 4) Constitutional interpretation is very different in Brazil than in the U.S., Campbell explains, and the result is that much speech is suppressed in a problematic way. Campbell takes a strong position against the adoption of blasphemy or blasphemy-like laws in the United States.
This is the first paper I've seen on how blasphemy laws operate in Brazil, and it serves as a good addition to the literature.