Sample letter regarding Canada’s blasphemy law

Feel free to use this sample letter to write to your MP and demand that Canada’s blasphemy law be repealed.

Edit as you wish.

Click here to find contact information for your Member of Parliament.

Dear (name of MP),

Blasphemy is currently regarded as the act of showing contempt (or failing to display reverence and respect) for religious symbols or persons.  It is well known that in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, faith-based governments, radical militarized organizations and even individuals use the concept of blasphemy to justify violent implementation of their dogmatic ideologies – they silence criticism or commentary through lawful and unlawful justifications that blasphemy hurts their religious sentiments.  Blasphemy laws are also used to settle petty scores between individuals – with the most common victims being relatively powerless and poor individuals.

While Canadians express shock and horror at the chaotic violence of terrorism, the systemic violence of states, and the sublimated violence demonstrated by individual acts of bigotry – we must ask if Canada is taking a principled position regarding the concept of blasphemy and the fundamental human right to free speech. PEOPLE deserve respect, but ideas and ideologies should be open for discussion – and criticism – in a free and democratic society.

In 2016, a petition was submitted to the Canadian Government demanding that Canada’s blasphemous libel law (Criminal Code Section 296) be repealed. In the government’s response to that petition, on January 30, 2017, Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould indicated that the blasphemy law would be reviewed along with other outdated laws as part of a broad review of the justice system.

Now that review is underway, with Government Bill C-39 currently before the House of Commons. It addresses such varied issues as duelling, abortion, practicing witchcraft, and water-skiing – but nothing about blasphemy. Why not?

This outdated and ill-advised law MUST be repealed in order to protect our fundamental right to free speech.

Sincerely,

Name and address

 

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