Abolish the Danish Blasphemy Law
For the first time in 45 years an individual has been accused of blasphemy in Denmark. The Danish Humanist Society thinks that this is scandalous! Religious ideas or ideologies should not be protected over the freedom of speech.
No one has been convicted by the Danish blasphemy law since 1946 where two persons in priest robes publicly baptised a doll and were fined. There was a very public case in 1971 where 2 directors at the Danish National Broadcasting company was accused of blasphemy because they broadcasted a song about god not approving masturbation, but they were acquitted.
It is so completely wrong that Denmark still has a blasphemy law. Legislation should protect the individual freedom of speech and individuals against hate-speech and hate-crimes. Hateful and critical utterances directed at ideas, religions and ideologies should be fought with words and debate. There is absolutely no reason that religion should be protected in any special way. In a secular democracy you should be able to criticize all points of view, even if the critique isn’t very polite or very tasteful.
Russia introduced a blasphemy law in 2013 and have already convicted several people of blasphemy. This is a clear sign of the unhealthy mix of state and religion. Blasphemy laws are classical tools of oppression and restriction of freedom.
In countries that we like to compare us selves to, Norway, Island, The Netherlands, the blasphemy laws have been abolished and only 4 other European countries still have the same kind of law. Recently Malta abolished their blasphemy law.
Lone Ree Milkær, chairperson, Danish Humanist Society (Humanistisk Samfund):
“Denmark should abolish the blasphemy law. We have freedom of religion and belief and it makes no sense to have a special protection of religions or worship. Imagine that we protected ideologies in the same way. In a secular democracy we should be able to tolerate utterances (and actions with no victims) that we dislike or disagree with and we should argue against them instead of punishing by law”
The Danish blasphemy law sends a signal to other countries that we find it acceptable to punish people because they offend gods or religions. In other parts of the worlds this is punishable by dead. We cannot criticize other countries for having the same legislation as we do.
The Danish Humanist Society is part of the international campaign “End blasphemy Laws”.
Lone Ree Milkær
Chairperson, Danish Humanist Society
Tlf: +45 20 71 11 13