Liberty defends human right to blaspheme
The latest on today’s Springer trial comes from This is London.
The human rights group Liberty are intervening in Stephen Green’s private prosecution as an interested third party. Their aim is to kill off the blasphemy law in the UK. Anna Fairclough, their legal officer, said:
These blasphemy laws should be shelved in dusty archives, not used as a tool to bring mischievous prosecutions against the Arts.
Thirty years have passed since the last blasphemy prosecution, making the law ripe for repeal.
Green is “hugely disappointed” as the blasphemy law is vital for protecting God’s name:
It is a great shame that Liberty have gone down this road, and strayed away from their core activities of defending civil liberties, which we as an organisation support.
As long as nobody makes fun of our metaphysical opinions, that is…
UPDATE: (4:30 pm) Simon Barrow of the secularist Christian think tank Ekklesia has just issued a press release in support of Liberty:
Human rights advocates, including people of faith,
have quite rightly campaigned against blasphemy
laws in Pakistan and other countries, and having one
on the statute in the UK is both an offence and an
Privileging one religion above other views is
indefensible in a democracy, and for Christians there
is the added irony that Christ was himself arraigned
on a charge of blasphemy. Using the law to attack
opinions about belief is to misuse it, and suggesting
that God needs protection against free speech makes
no theological sense at all.
UPDATE: (21 Nov) Reuters reports that the hearing is over and that the judges will deliver a verdict “at a later date”. We will keep you informed!