The Government has made New Zealand freer by abolishing outdated blasphemy laws prohibiting speech critical of religion, says the Free Speech Coalition.
Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Patrick Corish says “A remnant of New Zealand’s less liberal past has been struck off the law books.”
“A key quality of liberal democracy is the ability to critique societal structures of belief without fear of legal retribution. Our legal system should not protect select groups from the speech of others for any reason. No religion or idea is above criticism.”
“While these laws are not currently in use, there always remains a threat that enforcement of blasphemy laws may become fashionable in the future in response to evolving social attitudes. Worrisome movement towards this can be seen from the Human Rights Commission with some of their recommendations in their CERD report. Recommendation 2, in particular, could be viewed as a call for de facto blasphemy laws under the guise of combatting hate speech.”
“We applaud Minister Little’s promotion of every citizen’s right to free expression and opinion.”