Icelandic Parliament Votes to Repeal Blasphemy Law July 2, 2015

Icelandic Parliament Votes to Repeal Blasphemy Law

We tend to think of Iceland as fairly liberal — politicians unanimously voted in favor of marriage equality in 2010, they elected an openly lesbian Prime Minister in 2009, etc.

But they have had a blasphemy law in the books since 1940 that has no place in modern society.


It states:

Anyone officially ridiculing or insulting the dogmas or worship of a lawfully existing religious community in this Country shall be subject to fines or [imprisonment for up to 3 months.] Lawsuits shall not be brought except upon the instructions of the Public Prosecutor.

In January, members of the Icelandic Pirate Party — it’s a real thing — called for a repeal of that law following the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Real mascot
This is the Pirate Party’s actual Facebook profile picture.

And wouldn’t you know it, the Pirates got what they wanted. Today, that law was rightfully repealed

Iceland’s parliament agreed today to abolish the blasphemy provision of the Criminal Code… Icelanders have now taken an important step in guaranteeing human rights and joined other nations which respect freedom of speech and expression.

Despite having only 3 seats in the 63-seat Parliament, the Pirates got the job done. (There’s a reason the party could win several more seats in the upcoming election.)

Blasphemy is not a crime. Insulting or criticizing bad ideas, even sacred ones, should never be punishable with fines or prison time. This was the right move, and good on the members who voted the right way. (Only one member of Parliament opposed the bill while three abstained from voting.)

Your move, Ireland.

(Top image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Thorsteinn for the link)

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