Council of Europe says religious groups should be protected from violence but not from criticism – and blasphemy laws should be abolished everywhere!
From the National Secular Society's Newsline
The Council of Europe passed a resolution last week calling on member states to repeal all laws relating to blasphemy.
It also said that religious groups must accept that in a free society their activities and doctrines cannot be protected from criticism and open examination. The only restrictions on public debate about religion should be dictated by public order concerns and incitement to hatred and violence, the Council resolved.
The resolution, which was passed with a large majority in Strasbourg, said that "criticism of religious groups should be tolerated in democratic societies." However, the council put a limit on religious criticism and freedom of opinion: it was not allowed to incite hatred, disturb the public order or be targeted at members of religious groups.