Humanists call for repeal of NI’s blasphemy laws

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A campaign calling for the repeal of Northern Ireland’s blasphemy laws has been launched by Northern Ireland Humanists.

The organisation has called on people to write to their MLAs and advocate for a change in the law.

Rev Dr Ian Brown

Rev Dr Ian Brown

“In England and Wales, these laws were repealed in 2008, and in 2018, citizens in the Republic of Ireland voted in a landslide referendum to repeal the country’s blasphemy laws. It’s time that we followed suit, and repealed our blasphemy law in solidarity with the victims of anti-blasphemy legislation around the world,” the group said.

Responding to the campaign, Rev Ian Brown, the Free Presbyterian Church’s former Clerk of Presbytery, commented: “I’m sure that law will not have been exercised for quite some considerable time, but it should be retained as a standard. People talk about respect and tolerance – they are buzz words in society – so why can’t God’s name and person be offered that same respect and tolerance?”

Rev Brian McClung, minister of Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church, agreed that the existing law should be retained, but added: “If the Lord already forbids it, it is a secondary issue that the law of the land forbids it.”