Scottish Parliament

Humanist campaign raised by MSP

June 8, 2018

Humanist Society Scotland has welcomed MSP support for its Scrap Blasphemy Law Campaign.

On the 7th June, MSPs debated the findings of the Lord Bracadale review of Hate Crime Legislation. SNP MSP Ivan McKee raised the issue of Humanist Society Scotland’s campaign to scrap Scotland’s Blasphemy law under forthcoming hate crime legislation.

Humanist Society Scotland has been campaigning for the end of Scotland’s outdated Blasphemy law over the past two years.

Speaking in the debate Ivan McKee, MSP for Glasgow Provan, said:

MSP Ivan McKee holds a sign bearing Humanist Society Scotland campaign text 'End Blasphemy Laws Now'

I note that the blasphemy laws are still on the statute book, although they have not been used for some time.

They focus on a narrow definition of religion and they hamper efforts to challenge blasphemy laws that are used in many countries around the world.

Individuals have faced persecution, imprisonment and even threat of execution by states that still have active blasphemy laws, but international efforts to convince those states to rescind such laws have faced challenge because countries including Scotland still technically have blasphemy laws.

In that context, steps to remove blasphemy laws from the statute book as part of the wider review would be welcome.

Ivan McKee, MSP for Glasgow Provan

Commenting on Ivan McKee’s call, Humanist Society Scotland’s Chief Executive, Gordon MacRae, said:

Gordon MacRae

It is great news that the Scottish Parliament has discussed the impact of Scotland’s Blasphemy law and the Humanist Society Campaign. SNP Ministers should now take up their own backbenchers call to scrap this outdated restriction.

Here in Scotland, Humanists, atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers enjoy freedoms and respect that would be denied elsewhere. However it should be a badge of shame that Scotland is cited in the footnotes of other countries who actively persecute people under Blasphemy laws.

Gordon MacRae, Humanist Society Scotland

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