New Clause 2 — Protection of Freedom of Expression

Part of Orders of the Day — Racial and Religious Hatred Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 11th July 2005.

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Photo of Michael Lord Michael Lord Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means) 5:30 pm, 11th July 2005

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 4—Protection for criticism, ridicule, etc.—

'Nothing in Part 3 of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64) shall be read as creating offences that involve material that criticises or ridicules or causes offence.'.

Amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 3 [Clause 1], leave out from 'Act' to end of line 7.

New schedule 1—Racial Hatred—

1 Part 3 of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64) (racial hatred offences) has effect subject to the following amendment.

2 Section 17 of the Public Order Act is amended to read as follows—

"(1) In this Part 'racial hatred' means hatred against a racial group, of persons defined by reference (whether directly or indirectly) to colour, race, nationality, (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins ('a racial group').

(2) In this section—

(a) 'an indirect reference' means a reference to religion or religious belief or to a person's membership or presumed membership of a religious group as a pretext for stirring up racial hatred against a racial group;

(b) 'religious group' means a group of persons defined by reference to religion or religious belief.

(3) It shall not be an offence under this section if the activity consists of—

(a) criticising the beliefs, teachings or practices of a religion or its followers, for example, by claiming that they are false or harmful;

(b) proselytising one's own religion or urging followers of a different religion to cease practicing theirs;

(c) expressing irreverent comedic comments about religion or belief; its worship, teaching, practice or observance;

(d) expressing antipathy or dislike of particular religions or their adherents.".'.

Amendment No. 2, in page 2, line 1, leave out the Schedule.

Amendment No. 9, in page 2, line 12 [Schedule], at end insert—

'17B Groups not protected by Part 3

For the purposes of Section 17A any group of persons holding the following beliefs or lack of religious belief shall not enjoy the protection of this Part of this Act—

(a) Satanists;

(b) Scientologists;

(c) believers in the need for human sacrifice to propitiate a deity;

(d) believers in female genital mutilation to live in accordance with the rules of a religion;

(e) believers in violence as a means of proselytising a belief;

(f) believers in the divinely ordained supremacy of one race over another.'.

Amendment No. 3, in page 2, line 22, leave out 'or religious'.

Amendment No. 4, in page 2, line 30, leave out 'or religious'.

Amendment No. 11, in page 3, line 1, leave out sub-paragraph (3) and insert—

'(3) In subsection (1)(b), for "racial hatred" substitute "racial or religious hatred".'.

Amendment No. 5, in page 3, line 4, leave out 'or religious'.

Amendment No. 6, in page 3, line 13, leave out 'or religious'.

Amendment No. 7, in page 3, line 21, leave out 'or religious'.

Amendment No. 8, in page 3, line 31, leave out 'or religious'.

Amendment No. 12, in page 3, line 33, at end insert—

'11A After section 23, insert—

"23A Blasphemous words, etc.

For the purposes of determining whether an offence has been committed under sections 18 to 23, it is immaterial whether the words, behaviour, written material, public performance, recording or programme is blasphemous.".'.


Neil Richardson
Posted on 17 Jul 2005 1:13 am (Report this annotation)

I find it intriguing and perhaps alarming that the third group of people exempt from protection are those who believe in human sacrifice to propitiate a deity.

Isn't this what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the Cross: "And the Lord has laid upon Him, the iniquity of us all"?

But I see their point. And I'm glad that Satanists and Scientologists (two manipulative groups) are excluded, at any rate.

Matthew Somerville
Posted on 17 Jul 2005 11:38 pm (Report this annotation)

They're not - this clause did not get included in the final version of the bill.