Why do we need a new version of the abolished blasphemy laws?

The Blasphemy Law was abolished in 2008, but has re-emerged in a new and radically
augmented guise. Today, individuals are not charged with blasphemy, but with causing
'religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress' under the Public Order Act. The growth in accusations of 'hate crime' threatens freedom of speech because they destroy the possibility and practice of open, sociable and critical discussion of religion. One of the great triumphs of liberalism has been to separate the discovery of factual truth from the assertion of religious doctrine. We do not need these ridiculous and backward laws in an advanced society, it is a step back to the dark ages.

Why is this idea important?

The Blasphemy Law was abolished in 2008, but has re-emerged in a new and radically
augmented guise. Today, individuals are not charged with blasphemy, but with causing
'religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress' under the Public Order Act. The growth in accusations of 'hate crime' threatens freedom of speech because they destroy the possibility and practice of open, sociable and critical discussion of religion. One of the great triumphs of liberalism has been to separate the discovery of factual truth from the assertion of religious doctrine. We do not need these ridiculous and backward laws in an advanced society, it is a step back to the dark ages.

Subsume the crime of Incitement to Religious Hatred into the existing, and perfectly adequate Incitement to Racial Hatred legislation.

The crime of Incitement to Religious Hatred was created to close a loophole in the previous law. The crime of Incitement to Racial Hatred already protected Jewish and Hindu people from hate-speech (being both races and religions) so the BNP decided to change their tactics to attacking Muslims (because Islam isn't a race and so they could get away with it).

 

As with the old adage, exceptions make bad law. The idea of this massive legal apparatus just to stop a BNP hate campaign that few will listen to is ill thought through. As a result of badly-drafted law, it is now illegal to criticise another's religious beliefs too strongly. Religion, unlike race, is based on belief, and is not merely a tribal affiliation – people should have the freedom to discuss the basis of their beliefs freely without fear, in order for religious groups to remain grounded in reason and avoid fundamentalism.

 

I propose that the crime of Incitement to Religious Hatred be abolished, and the crime of Incitement to Racial Hatred amended to cover not only those groups that are a 'race' by ethnicity, but also any group that views itself as connected by a filial bond in its' belief system (such as Christians, who see themselves as the adopted family of God, or Muslims, who see themselves as the spiritual descendents of Ishmael – this would also cover hatred against other groups like the Freemasons, who see themselves as brothers, or Americans, who are not a single race, but have a common affinity through their constitution and its values). This would mean it would still be a crime to incite hatred against Muslims just for being Muslims, but it would not be a crime to suggest that the belief in polygamy is a degrading idea to women.

Why is this idea important?

The crime of Incitement to Religious Hatred was created to close a loophole in the previous law. The crime of Incitement to Racial Hatred already protected Jewish and Hindu people from hate-speech (being both races and religions) so the BNP decided to change their tactics to attacking Muslims (because Islam isn't a race and so they could get away with it).

 

As with the old adage, exceptions make bad law. The idea of this massive legal apparatus just to stop a BNP hate campaign that few will listen to is ill thought through. As a result of badly-drafted law, it is now illegal to criticise another's religious beliefs too strongly. Religion, unlike race, is based on belief, and is not merely a tribal affiliation – people should have the freedom to discuss the basis of their beliefs freely without fear, in order for religious groups to remain grounded in reason and avoid fundamentalism.

 

I propose that the crime of Incitement to Religious Hatred be abolished, and the crime of Incitement to Racial Hatred amended to cover not only those groups that are a 'race' by ethnicity, but also any group that views itself as connected by a filial bond in its' belief system (such as Christians, who see themselves as the adopted family of God, or Muslims, who see themselves as the spiritual descendents of Ishmael – this would also cover hatred against other groups like the Freemasons, who see themselves as brothers, or Americans, who are not a single race, but have a common affinity through their constitution and its values). This would mean it would still be a crime to incite hatred against Muslims just for being Muslims, but it would not be a crime to suggest that the belief in polygamy is a degrading idea to women.

Overhaul the rules for charities.

Charities are required to be for ‘public benefit’. ‘Public benefit’ is not defined in such a way that the activities of the charity need actually be in the long term interests of society. This is particularly the case for religious charities.

Why is this idea important?

Charities are required to be for ‘public benefit’. ‘Public benefit’ is not defined in such a way that the activities of the charity need actually be in the long term interests of society. This is particularly the case for religious charities.

Repeal charitable status for “the advancement of religion”

I propose that section 2 2 c of Part one of the Charities Act 2006 be deleted.

This section creted a catagory of charity for  "the advancement of religion;"

I propose that the advancement of religion can not be reconcilled with the "public benfit" requirement and therefore should be removed.

Why is this idea important?

I propose that section 2 2 c of Part one of the Charities Act 2006 be deleted.

This section creted a catagory of charity for  "the advancement of religion;"

I propose that the advancement of religion can not be reconcilled with the "public benfit" requirement and therefore should be removed.

Remove protection for Religion from criticism

Repeal those parts of the law that protect religion from being criticised. It should be a fundermental freedom that anyone can complain about any religions belief without fear of prosecution.

Why is this idea important?

Repeal those parts of the law that protect religion from being criticised. It should be a fundermental freedom that anyone can complain about any religions belief without fear of prosecution.