Friday, 9 January 2015

CFI Canada and Humanist Canada Call On Government to Strike Down Blasphemy Laws

Canada's Blasphemous Libel law in the Criminal Code.
In the wake of the Hebdo massacre in Paris and now with the vile thrashing of Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia, Humanist Canada and CFI Canada are calling on the Canadian government to strike Canada's own blasphemy laws off the books.
On Mr. Bennett’s advice, said Eric Adriaans, national executive director of the Centre for Inquiry, the two organizations will lobby the Department of Justice to remove the law. Mr. Bennett’s office did not respond to calls for comment.
It's Section 296 in Canada's Criminal Code:
Offence
296. (1) Every one who publishes a blasphemous libel is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Question of fact
(2) It is a question of fact whether or not any matter that is published is a blasphemous libel.

Saving
(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section for expressing in good faith and in decent language, or attempting to establish by argument used in good faith and conveyed in decent language, an opinion on a religious subject.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 260.
So it really depends on what's meant by blasphemous libel. As a blogger, am I putting out my critiques of religion in good faith? What does this even mean when I have contempt for religion in general?

Apparently, this law hasn't been used since 1980, when there was an attempt to get The Life of Brian banned in Canada -- which is an excellent reason to strike this law! It failed in 1980, but why keep these laws on our books, and what happens if Canada drifts ever closer to being a Christian Nation or some form of theocracy?
“There are certain parts of the world where apostasy will get your head removed,” added Eric Thomas, President of Humanist Canada. “We don’t have that issue here but why would we even have this on our books?”
Check out the page on Blasphemous Libel over at the CFI for more information.

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