It is Illegal to Curse, Blaspheme, or Break the Sabbath in Oklahoma

By Joe Trotter (Stonegait Institute)

State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre brandishes a sign brought to the rally by some college students. Photo: Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre brandishes a sign brought to the rally by some college students. Photo: Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

We may live in a time where gay marriage is legal, anyone can order a drone off the internet, and America proved that the path to the presidency can include reality-TV stardom, but it is still illegal to curse, blaspheme, or break the Sabbath in Oklahoma.

The text of the law reads:

If any person shall utter or speak any obscene or lascivious language or word in any public place, or in the presence of females, or in the presence of children under ten (10) years of age, he shall be liable to a fine of not more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or imprisonment for not more than thirty (30) days, or both.” (21 OK Stat § 21-906)

As for blasphemy:

“Blasphemy consists in wantonly uttering or publishing words, casting contumelious reproach or profane ridicule upon God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Scriptures or the Christian or any other religion.” (21 OK Stat § 21-901)

And, if you break the Sabbath:

“Every person guilty of Sabbath-breaking is punishable by a fine of not more than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) for each offense.” (§21-911)

14568032_10153834609265896_3071435930848976325_n-3While these laws are over a century old and most likely would not be upheld in court, they are still on the books. The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency was asked why they continued to post notices about obscene language, they responded, “This statute may have been on the books for a number of years, treating individuals with respect is never outdated.”

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