MSPs consider petition on Blasphemy Laws

Humanist Society Scotland have supported a petition being considered by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament’s petitions committee calling for the country’s Blasphemy laws to be scrapped.

In written evidence to the committee the society have highlighted other countries across Europe where such laws have recently been scrapped such as Iceland, Denmark, Malta and England & Wales.

Commenting on the petition before MSPs, Humanist Society Scotland Campaigns Manager Fraser Sutherland said:

Fraser Sutherland, HSS Campaigns and Communications Manager

“While the likelihood of any Blasphemy charge being brought in Scotland is very unlikely, we should note with caution attempts by some to bring charges against Jerry Springer: The Opera and Stephen Fry in recent years. However the real concerns is how these laws are being used around the world to persecute, even execute, both religious and non-religious people.

“By keeping our own outdated blasphemy laws on the statute books it makes it difficult for us as a nation to call on others to scrap the laws causing so much pain and suffering.

“Humanist Society Scotland has long supported our sister organisation The International Humanist and Ethical Union’s ‘End Blasphemy Laws Now’ campaign. Scotland can step up to the plate on the international stage and make clear its commitment to freedom of speech and protecting the rights of individuals to practice their religion or belief by scrapping these unnecessary laws.”

Members and supported can add their voice to the movement to scrap Blasphemy laws by signing the petition on the Humanist Society website.

UPDATE: MSPs on the committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government to ask what action they intend to take and in what timescale this would be. We are grateful to both Michelle Ballantyne MSP and Rona Mackay MSP who both voiced support for the petitions aims in the meeting.

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