Blasphemy has ceased to be a criminal offence in the Republic of Ireland. Unfortunately, it remains a criminal offence in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. Humanists UK is urging the governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland to now do likewise and repeal their countries’ blasphemy laws.
The new law in Ireland follows 65% of the population voting in favour of removing blasphemy from the Irish constitution in a public referendum in October 2018. Continuing to criminalise blasphemy in the UK gaves justification to countries such as Pakistan to use similar laws to persecute religious and non-religious minorities.
Blasphemy were repealed in England and Wales in 2008. Since 2015 Humanists International have been running an Blasphemy Laws campaign, of which Humanists UK is an active member. Since then, the campaign has succeeded in persuading Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Malta, France, New Zealand, Canada, Greece, and now Ireland to all repeal their blasphemy laws, with Spain committed to doing the same. In Scotland, the SNP adopted repeal as its party policy in 2018, in response to pressure from Humanist Society Scotland, but has made no moves towards actually doing so.
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