From Iceland — Three Priests Oppose Current Anti-Blasphemy Law

Three Priests Oppose Current Anti-Blasphemy Law

Published January 16, 2015

Media pundit Egill Helgason notes that three priests have stated their support for Pirate Member of Alþingi Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson’s proposal that current law against blasphemy should be abolished.

The priests include Sigríður Guðmarsdóttir, Baldur Kristjánsson and Svavar Alfreð Jónsson.

The legal clause in question is article 125 of the general penal code, which, in a loose translation, reads: “Whoever ridicules or belittles the religious dogma or worship of a legal religious community in this country, shall pay a fine or serve imprisonment for up to three months.”

In two cases have authors been found guilty of blasphemy on grounds of this clause. The first incident was when socialist Brynjólfur Bjarnason was found guilty of the offense in his positive review of Þórbergur Þórðarson’s novel “Bréf til Láru”. The review included words about the cruelty of Christianity’s God. The second case took place in 1983, as Úlfar Þormóðsson was found guilty of blasphemy in a satirical paper which he then edited. In text and images, the paper ridiculed priests for the fees they collect when children within the State Church confirm their faith.

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