Scottish Catholics warn of hate crimes that might punish catechism

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Christians are at risk of being prosecuted for quoting the Bible or the Catholic Church's catechism when Scotland passes new laws against hate speech, the Scottish Church has warned.

A legislative proposal is currently in place to punish behavior in a "threatening, abusive or offensive manner" or to communicate "threatening, abusive or offensive material" that is either intended to incite hatred of a protected group or "likely" to cause hatred Scots Parliament.

Critics say, however, that the bill could result in people being accused of expressing traditional Christian teachings or simply possessing material that is considered offensive.

The Times Scotland reports that Anthony Horan, director of the Catholic Parliament's office, has warned that legislation could "lift culture" in the law.

"A new crime of possessing flammable material could even make material such as the Bible and the Catholic Church's catechism flammable," said Horan.

“The Catholic Church's understanding of the human person, including the belief that gender and gender are not fluid and changeable, could potentially violate the new law.

“Allowing a respectful debate should mean avoiding censorship and accepting the different views and variety of arguments that live in society.

"The courts have found that freedom to shock, offend and disturb, and that the controversial and undesirable are protected by the right to freedom of expression, and the bishops have stated that the freedom of expression provisions must be robust enough to meet the requirements of freedom of expression." to protect everyone from contradicting freedom. "

The legislation could make Scotland an "intolerant, illiberal society", added Horan.

“While the Scottish Catholic bishops have recognized that it is morally wrong to incite hatred and support measures to discourage and condemn such behavior, they are concerned about the lack of clarity in the definitions and a potentially low threshold for committing one Said crime that they fear could result in a flood of angry allegations, ”he said.

He added that the Church "abolish culture" and "hunt those who disagree with prominent Orthodoxy with the intention of banishing the non-compliant from public discourse, often with callous disregard for their livelihood".

"No single part of society has control over acceptable and unacceptable language or language," said Horan. "We urge our MSPs to ensure that these new laws are proportionate, fair, and allow for respectful debate and tolerance."

The National Secular Society has also criticized the broad wording of the bill, and the Law Society of Scotland said it had “significant reservations about a number of the bill's provisions and ambiguity that could actually restrict freedom of expression. ”

The Scottish government defended the legislation.

"The bill continues to allow people to express controversial, challenging, or offensive views unless it is done in a threatening or abusive manner that is said to create or likely to fuel hatred," a spokesman said.

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