11 Jul: Blasphemy!

Mary Whitehouse successfully sued Gay News and publisher Denis Lemon at the Old Bailey in a trial that began on 11th July, 1977 – Britain’s last conviction for blasphemy.

What had ired the notorious Christian campaigner was the magazine’s publication of “The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name”, a poem by James Kirkup written from the perspective of a Roman centurion who graphically describes having sex with Jesus after his crucifixion.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why the poem literally could not be defended on its artistic merit; reveal how it came to Whitehouse’s attention in the first place; and consider the literary potency of ‘Foxy Judas’… 

Content Warning: explicit poetry, necrophilia, material likely to offend Christians.

Further Reading:

• ‘The gay poem that broke blasphemy laws’ (Pink News, 2008): https://www.thepinknews.com/2008/01/10/the-gay-poem-that-broke-blasphemy-laws/

• ‘Blasphemy in the Christian World – A History, By David Nash’ (OUP, 2010): https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Blasphemy_in_the_Christian_World/BPYkhnY-3_cC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=robertson+whitehouse+lemon&pg=PA98&printsec=frontcover

• ‘The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name, by James Kirkup’ (Stand Up Jesus, 2010):

#Religion #LGBT #1970s #UK