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← New attempt to end blasphemy law

New attempt to end blasphemy law - Comments

Devolution's Avatar Comment 1 by Devolution

Great! Now you Brits can say "Suck my balls God" just like us Yanks say in the states. Give it a try, it feels good.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 12:34:00 UTC | #104497

Phaeonix's Avatar Comment 2 by Phaeonix

If there were such a law on the books over here, I can't even begin to imagine the level of abuse...

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 12:36:00 UTC | #104499

Roger Stanyard's Avatar Comment 3 by Roger Stanyard

Devolution: IIRC the blasphemy laws only apply when the alleged blasphemy is against the beliefs of the Church of England.

We can say what we like about other denominations and religions. That's why it is a complete anachronism.

The laws were basically dead, IIRC, until the 1970s and I guess it is exceedingly difficult to bring a prospecution under them.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 12:47:00 UTC | #104503

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 4 by Peacebeuponme

Great news. Good to see the Bishop of Oxford on the case. He seems to be one of the good guys on the theist side.

I'm sure there will be some who think its a fuss over nothing when the law is seldom used these days (and given its conflict with human right laws, I think it would be difficult to). But the fact that its there written down makes a statement. We should all be free to say what we want, so good luck to Dr Harris.

Maybe they can remove the treason laws next.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 12:55:00 UTC | #104505

briancoughlanworldcitizen's Avatar Comment 5 by briancoughlanworldcitizen

We interrupt this program to bring you latest from "Talking to Theists".

Apologies for the hiatus, normal programming resumes:-)

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 12:58:00 UTC | #104507

threespeed's Avatar Comment 6 by threespeed

Here's a documentary from 2005 (screened just after Jerry Springer: The Opera was aired by the BBC) about the idiotic religious hatred law and freedom of speech under religious censorship. As well as JS:TO it examines the cases of 'Bezhti' and 'Submission' and has footage of Evan Harris and Rowan Atkinson making statements in the Cambridge Union.

Dispatches: Holy Offensive
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Part 5:

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 13:23:00 UTC | #104511

Ivan The Not So Bad's Avatar Comment 7 by Ivan The Not So Bad

There is a live discussion about this tonight on BBC Radio 5 Live after 23.00 GMT if anyone wants to listen or join in via text or e-mail.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 13:29:00 UTC | #104513

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 8 by Steve Zara

This is excellent news, and a small step in the direction of removing the influence of the established Church of England.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 13:42:00 UTC | #104519

Dunc-uk's Avatar Comment 9 by Dunc-uk

Comedian Stewart Lee co-wrote Jerry Springer the Opera, I recently posted in the forums about his 2005 show in which he talks a bit about the blasphemy debacle and how it affected him:

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 13:43:00 UTC | #104520

Synchronium's Avatar Comment 10 by Synchronium

If this is something we never use anyway, I don't see how anyone could refuse.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 13:44:00 UTC | #104521

AllanW's Avatar Comment 11 by AllanW

I just e.mailed my MP asking her to support the proposed amendment. The National Secular Society has a piece on it today (after an article earlier in the week) and suggest you contact your MP.

However she is a NuLab drone so may not :(( although it looks like it might be a free vote.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 13:54:00 UTC | #104526

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 12 by Matt H.

The government have delayed the bill until they make their own amendment, which will still get rid of the blasphemy law, but they want to do it on their terms. I've already emailed my MP (Caroline Spelman, Chairman of the Conservative Party) regarding the issue and have asked for her support. I am yet to receive a reply.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 14:19:00 UTC | #104537

3ddm's Avatar Comment 13 by 3ddm

As an NSS member, I received an email from them, and petitioned my MP a couple of days ago; oddly I didn't think to make a fuss about it here. It seems in retrospect a perfectly obvious thing to do. Does anyone know if there is anything else we can currently do to try and make this happen? Much as I love this web site and forum, I'd relish the opportunity to be a bit more militant in the real world.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 14:22:00 UTC | #104538

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 14 by Cartomancer

Go Evan Harris! I knew I voted for him as my MP for a reason...

Ironically both he and Rowan Williams are alumni of my college at Oxford, Wadham. I can remember one occasion when they were both invited to dine at high table and the warden rather wisely decided to put them at opposite ends...

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 14:58:00 UTC | #104556

quill's Avatar Comment 15 by quill

Was Lord Scarman some kind of parliamentary supervillain?

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 15:01:00 UTC | #104560

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 16 by Agrajag

1. Comment #109662 by Devolution on January 9, 2008 at 12:34 pm
Great! Now you Brits can say "Suck my balls God" just like us Yanks say in the states. Give it a try, it feels good.

What ever happened to the "Suck it, Jesus!" campaign? And would that be legal in the UK?

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 15:21:00 UTC | #104568

Vaal's Avatar Comment 17 by Vaal

Good news, and not before time. Who would ever think that in the 21st Century, there would still be such anachronistic asinine laws in modern day Britain. Nice to see some good news for a change. Perhaps the zeitgeist really is changing.

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 16:15:00 UTC | #104589

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 18 by kaiserkriss

It's about high time such ancient violations of basic human rights (blasphemy) gets taken off the books everywhere, together with the literally thousands of other outdated pieces of legislation than are still on the books and rule our world today. Hope it passes in the UK and shows the way to the rest of the world.

Along the same lines, is it still illegal to call the reigning monarch a prick?

My proposal: for every new law that gets enacted, one of the outdated ones should be taken off the books. Is it any wonder, even lawyers have to hire "expert" lawyers to defend them? What is the average person with an IQ of 100 supposed to do.

Not everybody is as smart as the contributors to this site. That's a joke by the way...jcw

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 16:22:00 UTC | #104592

Crazymalc's Avatar Comment 19 by Crazymalc

What is interesting about this is that they are legalizing "sin'.

Maybe the Catholic Church could take not and relax it stance on condoms.

Because, of course, promoting sex outside of marriage is sin and sin in bad.

Much worse than AIDS, war and famine

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 16:37:00 UTC | #104598

drcancerman's Avatar Comment 20 by drcancerman

I wish I could say "God, suck my sweet hairy balls!" in Brazil, but there, you can get punished for criticizing or to say "bad things" about god... yeah, there's an ONG there who doesn't like me for that!

Thankfully I live in UK :) and there's the 29J law and then there is the abolition of the blasphemy law... I'm so...happy!

I'll give and serve Britain 'till my death, and yes, I will become a British citizen ...sometime this year or next year...

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 17:33:00 UTC | #104612

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 21 by Don_Quix

Good luck getting this silly law abolished. I'm actually kind of surprised that such a thing still exists in the UK. It almost seems like everyone just kind of forgot about it until recently.

I don't think any kind of "blasphemy" law like this could ever pass legal muster in the US for the same reason that British-style libel laws would never fly in the US...the first amendment.

Of course, with the amount of power that has been grabbed by the federal government in the past 60+ years, there's always a chance some crazy president *coughuckabeecough* could declare a "national emergency" and try to impose his vision of a theocratic utopia. But I also suspect that this may be exactly why the amendment regarding the right to bear arms was placed immediately after the one about the freedom of speech in our constitutional bill of rights ;)

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 17:56:00 UTC | #104616

urn's Avatar Comment 22 by urn

threespeed, that documentary you just linked to pissed me off to no end.

The thought that certain religious people are so willing to circumvent the right of free speech.... gahhh!!! Completely unacceptable!!!

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 00:55:00 UTC | #104688

davorg's Avatar Comment 23 by davorg

The BBC have a story ( explaining what happened in the debate.

The Justice Minister, Maria Eagle, said that the government has "every sympathy" with the case for abolishing the blasphemy laws and has promised a "short and sharp" consultation with the Church of England which is likely to be followed by a government amendment to remove the laws. On the basis of this, Dr Harris withdrew his amendment.

You can read the full debate on TheyWorkForYou at (hmm, not sure why that URL hasn't been recognised and automatically made clickable - there might be a bug in the URL recognition regex).

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 01:17:00 UTC | #104696

BNCbright's Avatar Comment 24 by BNCbright

davorg: "has promised a "short and sharp" consultation with the Church of England"

Why bother?

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 04:51:00 UTC | #104749

Eventhorizon's Avatar Comment 25 by Eventhorizon

This always seemed to me like one of those laws that was still officially on the books but would never be used to prosecute anyone. Its in the same league as the treason laws. Its doubtful anyone in their right mind would want to call too much attention to these laws for fear of opening up debate and getting a good public mauling over them.

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 04:57:00 UTC | #104753

Steinsky's Avatar Comment 26 by Steinsky

I wrote about this yesterday, because it turns out that there are people who oppose the law being repealed because of "the signal it would send".

It's not that suprising that this is still on the books -- all sorts of old laws get forgotten. I was rather suprised to discover how many countries (and not just the usual Islamicist suspects) have such laws -- many of them far stricter and better enforced than our own. South Africa I thought was a rather bizarre one, what with their famously liberal constitution.

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 06:23:00 UTC | #104766

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 27 by Matt H.

I am reading Dr. Harris speech now. My heart swelled when he mentioned the good Professor as one of the signatories of the Telegraph letter:

"Professor Richard Dawkins, who is well known and admired by many of us"

Shine on Harris, you legend.

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 09:27:00 UTC | #104821

briancoughlanworldcitizen's Avatar Comment 28 by briancoughlanworldcitizen

The debate with theists across the globe continues:-) For those of you who have had your fill of "atheism sucks", try some of other links at the top of the thread.

Or just browse the thread for the meaty arguments. There is some good stuff in there:-)

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 12:32:00 UTC | #104878

sent2null's Avatar Comment 29 by sent2null

Great news, hope the law is rescinded as it deserves. I am sure that there are similar antiques written in to the law books of several American states that probably also need to be purged.

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 12:45:00 UTC | #104884

al-rawandi's Avatar Comment 30 by al-rawandi


I don't remember which state, but there is a law that states if there are more than 3 or 4 Indians on your property you can shoot them.

And I am not talking the Subcontinental ones.

You can look up crazy laws online.

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 12:48:00 UTC | #104885