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The Blasphemies of Thomas AikenheadBoundaries of Belief on the Eve of the Enlightenment$
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Michael F. Graham

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748634262

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634262.001.0001

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The Politics of Blasphemy

The Politics of Blasphemy

(p.33) 2 The Politics of Blasphemy
The Blasphemies of Thomas Aikenhead

Michael F. Graham

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the politics of blasphemy. The issue of the Episcopal clergy was complicated by relations with England, whose Anglican religious establishment viewed the Scots Episcopal clergy as co-religionists who ought at least to be tolerated, and preferably employed as well, north of the border. The ongoing hard-core Presbyterian refusal to make concessions to Episcopalians was answered by Englishmen of High Church inclinations with a refusal to countenance Protestant dissent in England. Church courts were told to take action against offenders and urge magistrates to enforce relevant Acts of Parliament. The same was to hold for anyone who ‘shall deny God or any of the persons of the blessed Trinity and obstinately continew therin’. The state of alert would inspire ministers and magistrates to go out and find a couple of deists to placate an obviously angry God. Thomas Aikenhead would be the least fortunate of them.

Keywords:   blasphemy, England, Episcopal clergy, Episcopalians, Protestant dissent, High Church, Trinity, Thomas Aikenhead

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