Scotland plans to decriminalise blasphemy

L’Écosse projette de dépénaliser le blasphème

The scottish government published on Friday a new draft law in order to decriminalise blasphemy, more than 175 years after the last prosecution on this count.

For Edinburgh, the maintenance of this offence in the law to fight against hate and discrimination, “does not reflect the kind of society in which we live”.

The Justice minister Humza Yousaf said that the law would be modernized and would now relate to discrimination based on age, disability, origin, religion and sexual orientation.

“By creating strong laws, the Parliament will send a strong message” according to which this type of actions “will not be tolerated”, he added.

The bill has been applauded by Humanists UK, an association that has campaigned against the blasphemy law since 2015.

“Humanists have called on governments to repeal laws like this in solidarity with the victims of acts of oppression on the blasphemy in the world,” said its managing director Andrew Copson.

If the bill were passed, Scotland would take the route of a host of countries, including Denmark, Canada, Greece and Ireland, to decriminalize blasphemy.

The last case of blasphemy in Scotland was in the bookseller Thomas Paterson, for having “exhibited signs of nature profane” on its display case in 1842.

England and Wales have dropped their laws against blasphemy in 2008.

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