Humanists call for repeal of NI’s blasphemy laws

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

Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 5:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 5:16 pm

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

“In England and Wales, these laws were repealed in 2008, and in 2018, citizens in the Republic of Ireland voted in a landslide referendum to repeal the country’s blasphemy laws. It’s time that we followed suit, and repealed our blasphemy law in solidarity with the victims of anti-blasphemy legislation around the world,” the group said.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

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Rev Dr Ian Brown

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.”