Two Months Jail for Writing God Prefers Grilled Chops to Boiled Cabbage

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

In Canada, Attorney Murphy brought a case against Mr. Ernest-Victor Slerry of Toronto, accused of writing the following lines:

The God of the Bible is portrayed as someone who walks in the Garden of Eden, talks to a woman, curses a snake, sews skins to make clothing, prefers the taste of roasted chops to the smell of boiled cabbage, sits in a burning bush, comes out from behind rocks, an old rascal that Moses had a hard time calming, who, in fits of rage, massacred hundreds of thousands of his chosen people, and who would have killed them all if cunning Moses hadn’t reminded him: What will the Egyptians say?

Obviously, these things are said without delicacy. But in the end, if the form is lacking, the substance is accurate. Not a word that cannot be supported by a reference. Long before the Christian era, the “anthropomorphisms” of the Bible shocked the Jews.

Under the blasphemy law, Mr. E.-V. Slerry was sentenced to two months in prison. The judge declared, “Our conception of God is an integral part of our national life. We view the Bible as the basis for all good laws in our country. It is the dearest and most precious book in the world to us.”

Couchoud, Paul Louis. Théophile ou L’étudiant des religions. Paris: André Delpeuch, 1928. p. 174 – ChatGPT translation

The following two tabs change content below.

Neil Godfrey

Neil is the author of this post. To read more about Neil, see our About page.

Latest posts by Neil Godfrey (see all)

If you enjoyed this post, please consider donating to Vridar. Thanks!

9 thoughts on “Two Months Jail for Writing God Prefers Grilled Chops to Boiled Cabbage”

    1. I loved the God description. Richard Dawkins’ famous passage was bitter depiction of a horrifying figure. This one reduced god to a risible target.

  1. In p. 237 of the same book, Couchoud writes with the usual perspicacity :
    Il [Jesus] a tout à perdre à être inscrit aux registres de l’histoire. Ceux qui nient son existence hislorique resteront les seuls à pouvoir défendre sa réalité spirituelle.

    Holy words. I wonder how many times a strong impulse to be historicist is the implicit desire to condemn Jesus to the historical humanity, in order to accuse him, shortly after, of all the violence so well listed by Avalos in his book The bad Jesus.

    1. Yes, those sentences jumped out and hit me, too, when I read them. For those who don’t read French, they translate as

      [Jesus] has everything to lose by being registered in the annals of history. Those who deny his historical existence will remain the only ones able to defend his spiritual reality.

      I was planning on posting that entire chapter in translation along with a few passages highlighted — that being one of them.

      (I don’t see anything so sinister in the motives of those wanting to consign Jesus to human history, though, as you suggest.)

      1. “Sinister”? I don’t know how much it is “sinister” but surely I start from the assumption that, in terms of purely aesthetical judgements, an anti-theist is generally not interested at all “to defend the spiritual reality” of Zeus, Attis or Jesus. Why should he/she be satisfied that the mythicist Thomas L. Brodie continues to pray the catholic god? Vice versa, if he/she finds a moral fault in Zeus, Attis or Jesus, then the temptation for an anti-theist is strong to persuade the adorers to abandon the “defence of the spiritual reality”, on the assumption of a historical Zeus, Attis or Jesus considered as the original authors of a such moral fault (hence figures not worthy at all of an adoration). I use the term “anti-theist” rather than “atheist” because it better describes myself. But then again: this, if you want, is an “aesthetical” argument for historicity.

        1. While I do not believe in the reality of Zeus or any god (as a presumably “spirit” being) it is necessary for me to understand and accept that the religions I am studying do posit the gods as real. It is in that sense that I study them as ancient religions. I am not interested in debunking those ancient beliefs.

          In the same sense if I read the Gospel of Luke and see that it presents Jesus as a historical figure (also a divine one) I do not critique or condemn those beliefs as a historian but try to explain them, to understand their origins, for example.

          But maybe I am misunderstanding your point, at least in some part.

    1. Fwiw, Couchoud treated blasphemy laws in relation to Christianity, Judaism and Islam equally. His final paragraph (translated) in the section from which I quoted in the post:

      Is it not wise to remove the archaic crime of blasphemy from legal codes? God, Christ, or Mohammed have no need for our courts to defend them. They have their hells.


      La sagesse n’est-elle pas de rayer des codes le délit archaïque de blasphème? Dieu, le Christ ou Mahomet n’ont que faire de nos tribunaux pour les défendre. Ils ont leurs enfers.

  2. I have removed from my post the link to my copy of the original French publication. Copyright restriction is in force until 70 years after the author’s death and P-L Couchoud died in 1959.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Vridar

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading