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PE01665: Common law of blasphemy

People Communities

Petitioner: Mark McCabe


Date Lodged: 26 July 2017

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to abolish the common law crimes of blasphemy, heresy and profanity to the extent that they remain law.

Petition History:


21 September 2017: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to the Official Report 21 September 2017

22 March 2018: The Committee agreed to defer further consideration of the petition until the findings of the review of hate crime legislation are published. Link to the Official Report 22 March 2018

13 September 2018: The Committee agreed to close the petition under Rule 15.7 of Standing Orders on the basis that the Scottish Government has no plans to abolish the common law crimes of blasphemy and the independent review of hate crime legislation made no recommendations to amend existing laws with regard to religious hatred in relation to blasphemy. In closing the petition, it also agreed to write to the Scottish Government in relation to its public consultation planned for autumn 2018, drawing the Government's attention to the Committee's discussion. Link to Official Report 13 September 2018.

Written submissions:

Remove this symbol of pre-medieval oppression - an affront to the right of free expression.

William L E Henderson

16:28 on 19 Jul 2017

An affront to freedom of expression. Let's be rid of this pre-medieval oppresive legislation.

William Henderson

16:25 on 19 Jul 2017

Come on Scotland. You take the rights, privileges and monies from the EU, so about time you respected human rights, and that include the freedom of speech. Scrap the blasphemy laws and get Scotland into the human rights revaluation


19:31 on 12 Jul 2017

Which god were you meaning?

Ian Angles

22:10 on 11 Jul 2017

Only theocracies require blasphemy laws.

Iain Campbell

20:14 on 11 Jul 2017

Very important that these harmful laws removed.

Tim Puntis

8:02 on 11 Jul 2017

Blasphemy laws, even if rarely used retain the potential. They are reactionary and regressive and an affront to freedom of speech and conscience and thereby to democracy itself. Scotland, the home of the Enlightenment, should set the lead in enlightened and progressive legislation and end the capacity to prosecute for blasphemy.

Alistair Donald Charles Harley

14:45 on 07 Jul 2017

Pakistan has justified its treatment og atheist blogger on the basis of blasphemy laws in western countries.

Rosemary Dolan

14:19 on 05 Jul 2017

Shameful that Scotland has not done something about this stain on the legislature!

John Trainor

10:43 on 04 Jul 2017

This law serves no benefit in today's society.

Megan Crawford

23:07 on 03 Jul 2017

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