Via Darren Smith, I learn that Iceland has repealed its blasphemy laws. The bill that was introduced by the Pirate Party (how cool is it to have such a party in parliament?) and passed by an almost unanimous vote repealed Article 125 that stated that, “Anyone who publicly ridicules or insults the dogmas or worship of a lawful religious community in Iceland, shall be fined or imprisoned for up to 3 months.”
Needless to say, religious people are upset that now people can attack them, using such vicious instruments as (brace yourself) satire, irony, and parody, seeing those things as being tantamount to hate speech.
The Fíladelfía Pentecostal Church expressed its position: “Does a person’s human rights include the right to mock the beliefs of others? Do people really need the right openly to incite contempt for a given group of people on the grounds of their faith? […] Repealing existing legislation on blasphemy is tantamount to legalising hate speech. Current legislation does not ban freedom of expression or criticism of religion – it bans parody, irony and prejudice-inciting expression.”
The Catholic Church commented:
“For people of faith, religion and the image of God are important aspects of their existence, identity and dignity, and this should be protected by law. Should freedom of expression go so far as to mean that the identity of a person of faith can be freely insulted, then the personal freedom – as individuals or groups – is also undermined. Unlimited and unrestricted freedom of expression, without any sense of responsibility or natural social constraints, may lead to psychological abuse of individuals or groups. The Catholic Church in Iceland cannot and will not accept this new possibility of inflicting psychological abuse on individuals or groups.”
The sensibilities of religious people are so delicate, the poor dears. When will this persecution of religious people by means of words end?