Now Legal in Iceland: Blasphemy

Pirate Party spearheads law's repeal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2015 12:19 AM CDT
Now Legal in Iceland: Blasphemy
Pirate lawmaker Birgitta Jonsdottir says the party is "the political arm of the information revolution," dedicated to freedom of expression and political transparency, online and off.   (AP Photo)

Iceland has repealed an anti-blasphemy law that has been on the books since 1940, meaning its people are now free to ridicule religion to their heart's content. The country's parliament, the Althing, voted almost unanimously to remove blasphemy from the Icelandic Penal Code yesterday, the Iceland Monitor reports. The measure was spearheaded by three MPs from the anti-establishment, pro-freedom of speech "Pirate Party," who targeted the blasphemy law after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris earlier this year.

Before the law was repealed, anyone found guilty of "ridiculing or insulting the dogmas or worship of a lawfully existing religious community" could have been fined or sent to prison for three months, the Independent reports. The Pirate Party is the smallest party in the Althing but polls show it could be the biggest after the next election, reports the New York Times, which notes that its leader recently compared the country's current government to the "final scene of a Game of Thrones episode—the only thing you know for sure that there’s probably something perfectly horrible about to happen." (More blasphemy stories.)

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