Schedule 26 — Hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 6th May 2008.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone 9:00 pm, 6th May 2008

I was a little troubled by the intervention of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on this issue. Fortunately, we can say things in this House that are sometimes fairly close to the bone. Their letter did not get anything like the publicity that was given to the Archbishop of Canterbury's alleged comments on sharia law, which veered in completely the opposite direction. When I heard about the letter, I was worried that the Archbishop of Canterbury had more or less, as far as I could understand it, come down in favour of abolishing the law of blasphemy. As a Roman Catholic, I find it inconceivable that our Pope would want the law of blasphemy to be removed in any shape or form, simply because it ultimately rests on whether one not only believes in God, but is prepared to stand up and defend one's religion, which believes in those values. One need not defend it in a hostile manner, as compared with other religions; one can be quite clear about what one believes, and be prepared to get up and say that and to defend one's religion.

I disagree with some of the interpretations of the origins of the law of blasphemy, which had nothing whatever to do with the divine right of kings—that was just a spurious argument put by the king to support a monarchical position that had become completely untenable. This position is not untenable; it is about religion and conviction. It is about moral values and whether we are prepared to stand up for them in our society. The law of blasphemy was brought into effect to defend those values.