Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Volokh reports on a criminal conviction in England that is downright creepy. A British atheist named Harry Taylor left anti-religious material in a prayer room at the Liverpool airport and he was actually convicted of a crime for doing so.

He was convicted of the Orwellian crime of “causing religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress” to someone for leaving some rather amusing posters in the prayer room:

Among the posters, one image showed a smiling crucified Christ next to an advert for a brand of “no nails” glue.

In another, a cartoon depicted two Muslims holding a placard demanding equality with the caption: “Not for women or gays, obviously.”

Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise were told in another: “Stop, stop, we’ve run out of virgins.” …

He had adapted newspaper and magazine cartoons and added captions of his own — one made a crude joke on a picture of a woman kneeling in front of a priest.

He was sentenced to six months in prison (suspended for two years), 100 hours of community service and 250 pounds in court costs — and is now forbidden from “carrying religiously offensive material in a public place.” For all practical purposes, the man has been convicted of blasphemy. Did we suddenly wake up in the 17th century, for crying out loud?