(CN) – After decades of debate, Denmark’s parliament has at last decriminalized blasphemy – the act of publicly insulting or ridiculing the doctrines or worship of any of the Nordic nation’s legally recognized religions.
Discussions to remove blasphemy from Danish criminal code date back to the 1970s, and as recently as 2015 the Danish Justice Ministry said doing so would legalize burning of holy texts like the Bible or the Quran. The ministry told lawmakers earlier this year the original intent of making blasphemy a crime was to protect religious freedom and ensure that the public debate on religion remained civil in tone.
The most recent instance of someone being criminally charged with blasphemy stemmed from a 2015 incident in which a man burned a Quran and posted video of the act on Facebook. A June trial date has been vacated and the charges against him were dropped in light of the Danish parliament’s decision to take blasphemy out of the criminal code.
Those in favor of decriminalizing blasphemy argued against “special regulations that protect religions against free speech.”
Seventy-five lawmakers voted to abolish the provision, while 27 voted to keep blasphemy a crime.