Canada Has a Blasphemy Law!!!

Not many people know that Canada has a blasphemy law, but thanks to Centre For Inquiry Canada (CFIC), Canadians are finding out that Section 296 of the Criminal Code says

(1) Every one who publishes a blasphemous libel is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

(2) It is a question of fact whether or not any matter that is published is a blasphemous libel.

(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section for expressing in good faith and in decent language, or attempting to establish by argument used in good faith and conveyed in decent language, an opinion on a religious subject.

CFIC’s Update # 3 to its post “CFI Condemns Murders at Charlie Hebdo” says

CFI Canada issued a call to the Canadian government to protect the freedom of speech by disposing of Criminal Code Section 296: Canada’s Anti-Blasphemy law.

CFIC invites you to “follow the coverage and debate” using the links to the Global News, National Post and Wall Street Journal articles and to Friendly Atheist and My Secret Atheist Blog posts.

In another blog post and in an email, CFIC combines its concern for Raif Badawi, who was imprisoned by the Saudi government for insulting Islam and who, today, received the first 50 lashes of his sentence of 1,000 lashes, with an appeal.

In its blog post ,

CFI Canada condemns the Saudi government for its barbaric and horrifying intention to torture Raif Badawi. . . . [and] urges Canadians to express their outrage and condemnation to the Government of Canada

A January 8th email assures me and other members of CFI Canada that

CFIC has been in contact with Ambassador Andrew Bennett regarding Mr. Badawi and also regarding the hypocrisy of protecting religious minorities while retaining an antiquated blasphemy law.

CFIC is also urging Justice Minister MacKay to take a stand against faith-based brutality, violence and oppression by communicating with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call for the immediate release of Raif Badawi. We are urging Mr. MacKay to lead the important symbolic step of removing Section 296 from Canada’s Criminal Code.

More information about Section 296 of Canada’s Criminal Code is available in CFIC’s post “Canada’s Blasphemous Libel Law.” After you have read the post, consider contacting the Canadian government to take action against faith-based oppression and violence. Send emails or letters to Minister John Baird (Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada), to Minister Peter MacKay (Department of Justice) and to your local MP to voice your concern.

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