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Hopes that New Zealand would bin its blasphemy laws dashed

Hopes that New Zealand would bin its blasphemy laws dashed

Last week we reported that New Zealand was on the brink of scrapping its blasphemy laws, but today, to the anger of many, politicians voted to keep them. At least for a while longer.

According to this report, parliament had the opportunity to remove decades-old anti-blasphemy laws but bailed out yesterday, leaving blasphemy an offence punishable by up to 12 months’ jail.

Labour MP Chris Hipkins, above, introduced an amendment to remove the legislation but both the National Party and the Maori Party voted against removing it from of the Crimes Act.

Prime Minister Bill English said his preference was to:

Go through the proper process rather than just spontaneous amendments on the floor of the House.

But he said once a bill to scrap the law does go to Parliament he expects it would be repealed.

Hipkins said it was:

A sad day for freedom of speech, tolerance and leadership. What moral authority does New Zealand have condemning other countries for draconian blasphemy laws when we have one of our own that we refuse to repeal?

The law – which appears not to have been used since 1922 – came under scrutiny after reports that British entertainer Stephen Fry had faced a police investigation in the Republic of Ireland for comments he made about:

A capricious, mean-minded, stupid God.

English previously said that:

Laws that overreach on addressing robust speech are not a good idea.

Anglican Archbishop and Primate Philip Richardson also said it was time to get rid of the arbitrary and archaic law.

My view is, God’s bigger than needing to be defended by the Crimes Act.

ACT leader David Seymour had originally pushed for an MP to introduce a private member’s bill to repeal the law. He said:

Especially in the context of the terrible atrocities in Manchester, we need a fearless debate about freedom of speech and what is acceptable in a free society. These kinds of laws make New Zealand look a bit hypocritical.

The Humanist Society of New Zealand, which represented the 41 per cent of people in the country who were not religious, was appalled by the vote in Parliament.

President Sara Passmore, above, said the decision to keep the law was:

A clear vote against human rights. By refusing to remove the blasphemy law from our Crimes Act, the Government is saying we are not free to criticise and challenge all ideas. This decision was backwards, and not in line with international trends. We think people, not ideas, should be protected.

12 responses to “Hopes that New Zealand would bin its blasphemy laws dashed”

  1. L.Long says:

    New Zealand!?!? Are they trying to make Oklahoma sound like a great location!?!?!?!

  2. S P Ewdaburger says:

    I though New Zealanders were smart level headed and robustly rational.

  3. Paul says:

    Oh dear and the country of sheep – remain a country of sheep.
    Baaaaaaaa.

  4. 1859 says:

    Don’t worry guys, the fight is on down here – sheep or no sheep. The Maoris have swallowed the white man’s xitian god hook, line and fucking sinker – they are very biblical. And the prime minister is probably being very cautious because there is a general election here in September. But repeal of these stupid blasphemy laws has been fixed in the cross wires of reason. And by the way, besides 30 odd million sheep, we also have 7 million cows – all of whom are atheists.

  5. Cali Ron says:

    So the majority of humans believe in mythical beings, but not one sheep or cow. Does that make livestock intellectually superior to man? Utterly unbelievable.

  6. 1859 says:

    It can happen – so long as there is plenty of grass and water, NZ sheep and cows have a very laid-back attitude to the cosmos. As a human it is a humbling experience to see so many animals just enjoying their daily existence. To them the whole notion of ‘blasphemy’ is as meaningless as ‘complex numbers’ are to most humans.

  7. Club Secretary says:

    No doubt the repeal of the blasphemy legislation was delayed to give them time to introduce comprehensive “hate speech” legislation in it’s place.

  8. Paul says:

    1859
    You are ‘lucky’ to live there.
    Have been many times, but it’s far away.
    Yes the Polynesians and Moaris have unfortunately been duped very badly by most Cristian missionaries – the South Pacific is almost totally taken over by these people so called providing help but basically adding numbers and manipulating them.
    Those sheep and cows will need to be aware of the soon to arrive hungry Lions (well I hope so).

  9. Jenna says:

    1859 … thats a very rude way of descibing your womenfolk.

  10. 1859 says:

    @ Paul: You are absolutely correct. About three years ago we went on a family holiday to the South Pacific island of Rarotonga. Beautiful, mountainous island of about 10 to 15 km in circumference with one circular road. When we cycled round we were astonished to see a huge church almost every 2 km. What was even more appalling was that the churches were in spacious, well kept grounds being cared for by the local people who, generally, were living in extremely poor circumstances in tin shacks tucked away in the sparse fields. And, of course, these churches were all packed out on Sundays. But religion aside, the locals were generous and unbelievably hospitable.

  11. Paul says:

    1859
    I’ve been through the South Pacific and was truly saddened to see so many churches everywhere especially 7th day adventists the mormons. In many of the Tahitian and Cook islands I saw competing church’s right next to each other.
    The locals were nearly all deeply religious in one way or another and if they made friends with any foreign traveler it was important for them to tsk you to church (agreed all packed on Sunday’s). The church was ‘everything’. It’s such a shame.
    If You’ve seen Book Of Moron you’ll understand it perfectly well and substitute where it’s set – Uganda – for any South Pacific island. It’s brutally on point and very very sad.