Blasphemy is still illegal in Canada…say WHAT?

It’s been a bad start to the year 2015.  Charles Hebdo massacre.   Raif Badawi receiving 1000 lashes – 50 every Friday for 20 weeks – for an insult to Islam and violating Saudi Arabia’s information technology laws.  Each of those stemmed from Islam “extremists” taking issue with the perceived blasphemy.  Luckily, we live in a country where that type of law wouldn’t exist, right?

Sadly, that’s not the case.  Here in Canada, Section 296 of the Criminal Code states:

296. (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.

Question of fact
(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.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 260.

Let’s read that again.  Yep.  Still says it.  Blasphemous libel can get one imprisoned for up to 2 years.  This very blog could land me in jail, if it weren’t for Subsection 3, which could con

Fortunately, this hasn’t been successfully used in over 70 years.  Interestingly, it was a case of an Anglican reverend being found guilty of blasphemy against the Catholic church.

The last time the law was used was when the Monty Python movie Life of Brian came to Canada, back in 1980.  Fortunately, these charges were later dropped.  (Side note…watch that movie.  Hilarious!)

What’s disturbing is that this law even exists on the books in the 21st century.  Will it ever be used again?  In all likelihood, probably not.  Could it be?  It sure could.  Because we hold ourselves up to be a nation “strong and free”, we should do whatever we can to abolish this law.

So what can we do?  Well, the Canadian Centre For Inquiry is petitioning the government to remove this law.

For more information:


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