Friday, May 08, 2015

Norway Repeals Its Blasphemy Law

According to Sputnik News, this week the Norwegian Parliament officially repealed the country's blasphemy law.  Section 142 of Norway's General Civil Penal Code had provided:
Any person who by word or deed publicly insults or in an offensive or injurious manner shows contempt for any creed whose practice is permitted in the realm or for the doctrines or worship of any religious community lawfully existing here, or who aids and abets thereto, shall be liable to fines or to detention or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months. A prosecution will only be instituted when it is required in the public interest.
While attempts at repeal have been made since 2009, the repeal now came to support free speech after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in February.  Sponsors of the repeal argued that the blasphemy law created a perception that religious expression was entitled to special protection. Repeal was opposed by some Christian spokesmen.  The last time anyone was actually charged under the Norwegian law was in 1933. Writer Arnulf √ėverland was acquitted of charges growing out of his lecture titled "Christianity, the tenth plague." [Thanks to Center for Inquiry for the lead.]