The Pentecostal church statement complained: “Repealing existing legislation on blasphemy is tantamount to legalising hate speech.” The problem with this is that “hate speech” is not an objectively established entity about which everyone agrees. The individual or group given the authority to determine what is and is not “hate speech” has the power to control the public discourse. This would allow a tyrannical government to work its will unopposed, while declaring opposing views “hate speech.” The freedom of speech is therefore an indispensable cornerstone of a free society. Without it comes authoritarianism, dictatorship, totalitarianism, and various other shackles on the human spirit. The Pentecostals and Catholics should have known better than to oppose the repeal of Iceland’s blasphemy laws.
“Iceland repeals blasphemy law, in move triggered by Charlie Hebdo murders,” by Eugene Volokh, Washington Post, July 6, 2015: at 1:35 PM
So reports the Iceland Monitor:.
[T]hree Pirate Party MPs moved a bill before Alþingi [Iceland’s parliament] to have the clause removed from the Icelandic Penal Code, in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.
The three MPs took to the Alþingi lectern today, one after another, while the vote was under way and declared, “I am Charlie Hebdo.”
A statement on the Pirate Party website reads: “The Icelandic Parliament has issued the important message that freedom will not bow to bloody attacks.”
The established (Lutheran) Church of Iceland supported the move, but “the Church of Iceland parish of Berunes (Eastern Iceland),” the Catholic church of Iceland, and the “‘Fíladelfía’ Pentecostal church” opposed it. The Catholic Church argued that blasphemy can “inflict psychological abuse on individuals or groups”; the “‘Fíladelfía’ Pentecostal church” asked, “Does a person’s human rights include the right to mock the beliefs of others?” As readers of the blog might gather, I think the answer is, “you bet they do.” The freedom of expression guarantees the right to criticize — and mock — all beliefs, whether of secular ideologies (Communism, capitalism, feminism, environmentalism, nationalism, or what have you) or of religious ideologies….