Cornish church thinks blasphemy law still applies

According to the BBC, legal action is being taken against a photographer who took some “exotic” shots on location at the St Michael Penkivel Church near Truro.
The solicitor’s letter sent to Andy Craddock on behalf of the church defines “blasphemy” as

publication of contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous matter relating to God, Jesus Christ, the Bible or the formularies of the Church of England.

Our clients believe that a number of these photographs constitute blasphemous material.

Perhaps it would have been more responsible of the solicitors to inform their clients that, their belief notwithstanding, there no longer exists a blasphemy law in the UK. It was abolished in 2008.

Still, outrage is outrage, and Andrew Yates, the priest in charge of the church, said:

No permission was ever sought by or given to Mr Craddock by the priest-in-charge or by the churchwardens for these photographs.

I am deeply shocked that Mr Craddock could consider taking action that will inevitably cause great offence.

Jeremy Dowling, a spokesman for the Diocese of Truro, added his tuppence worth:

The Church deplores the use of sacred space in this way. Whether he’s gone in there legally or illegally he is using the setting for an entirely improper purpose. By anyone’s reasonable standards of decency this is beyond the pale.

It looks like it may take a while for our nation’s churchmen adjust to this new reality they find themselves inhabiting, where they no longer enjoy legal protection from being shocked.

You can see Craddock’s entire “At Church” series here.

UPDATE: (7 Sept) The church has dropped the case.

5 Responses to “Cornish church thinks blasphemy law still applies”

  1. Fatpie42 says:

    Apparently the legal charge is for trespassing. The blasphemy has only been remarked upon. It makes sense, I guess. If anyone who walked into a Church was in danger of being charged with trespassing (or even if they could just be charged with trespassing if they took a photograph the Church owners didn’t like), they’d be making practically impossible to gain any new church-goers.

    As such, they need a reason why the photographer would be clearly unwelcome. As I said before, they can’t really point to ‘taking photographs’ and criticising them for simply being naked is going to be awkward (since they haven’t exposed themselves to anyone within the building). As such, the only thing that they can point to is that the photo shoot was insulting to the institution which currently looks after the building and performs cermonies there.

    They’re on a bit of a loser case with this one, aren’t they?

  2. barriejohn says:

    Yes, the human body is disgusting, isn’t it? I wonder who designed it!!

  3. Stonyground says:

    “They’re on a bit of a loser case with this one, aren’t they?”

    Doubly so because they are giving the guy a great load of free publicity, however it turns out, this photographer will come out as a winner.

  4. […] Or because we Brits have crazily and inherently contradictory ideas about sex and nudity: see here and here (for US readers, the lady with the love heart bra is ’Babs’, she is considered […]

  5. martyn says:

    Beau Locks, I wish I’d thought of it!