Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) has called on the Scottish Government to show “moral leadership” by repealing Scotland’s blasphemy law. The call comes in response to a new international report on discrimination and persecution against the non-religious by the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
The Freedom of Thought Report records discrimination and persecution against humanists, atheists, and the non-religious, with a country-by-country assessment. The report finds that “blasphemy” is outlawed in at least 59 countries where it is punishable with a prison term or in some cases by death. There are laws against apostasy in 22 countries. At least 13 countries provide for the use of the death penalty for blasphemy or apostasy.
Scotland’s blasphemy law was last used in 1843 to convict Thomas Paterson, an Edinburgh bookseller, of selling blasphemous literature. He was jailed for 15 months.