The BC Humanist Association today submitted its brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights supporting the proposed repeal of sections 176 and 296 of the Criminal Code, the prohibitions on "blasphemous libel", obstructing clergy and disturbing religious worship.
MPs on the Committee are currently studying Bill C-51, which would repeal the two sections and make other amendments to the Criminal Code.
In its brief, the BCHA argues both sections act as blasphemy laws by criminalizing religious dissent and protecting religious authority.
Ian Bushfield, Executive Director:
These laws are an affront to the Charter values of freedom of belief and expression. While there's a cross-partisan consensus to repeal Canada's archaic blasphemy law, the religious right is organizing to protect section 176. This section is used primarily to prosecute religious dissent and protect religious orthodoxy. We're hopeful MPs on the committee will support repealing these provisions.
To voice your support for repealing Canada's blasphemy laws, write your own letter to the Committee by emailing the Clerk of the Committee at JUST@parl.gc.ca. The committee has finished hearing evidence and will soon present its recommendations to the House of Commons. Join our email list to keep up to date with the bill.
The BCHA is a member of the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws.