Saturday, January 14, 2012
Advance praise for The Future of Blasphemy
"An important contribution to an important debate."
- Asharq Alawsat
Not long ago, few people would have known what blasphemy meant, and fewer would have cared. Today, however, it is the subject of high-power conferences, including a few sponsored by the United Nations. Worse still, blasphemy is cited as justification for mass arrests, torture of dissidents, and political assassinations. Austin Dacey takes us on a guided tour of this labyrinthine issue. Since blasphemy has religious, cultural, historic, political and racial tentacles, Dacey’s book should be of interest far beyond the theological dimension of the issue.
Amir Taheri, author, The Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist Revolution
The world of blasphemy and religious conflict studies is in something of a constant whirl. Not only are contemporary situations constantly changing but the implications from them so often make us revisit the historical account of why blasphemy endures and persists into the modern world. With wit, wisdom, and impeccable scholarship, Austin Dacey’s excellent The Future of Blasphemy gives us indispensible insight into both of these processes. Without such observation and knowledge, our attempts to think about and resolve such conflicts are potentially doomed to failure.
Professor of History, Oxford Brookes University
Author, Blasphemy in the Christian World
Austin Dacey’s approach to this important international issue is shaped by the unique constitutional environment of United States, a secular republic anchored in a multi-confessional society. Laws against blasphemy and "religious hatred" are inherently discriminatory because they give traditional faith communities a legal remedy that is not available to religious minorities and secularists when their sense of the sacred is violated. Thus, Dacey does not seek to abolish the concept of blasphemy altogether, but rather to secularize it.
Barry A. Kosmin
Research Professor of Public Policy & Law, Director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture, Trinity College, Connecticut