In my post of the Mohammed cartoon controversy, I pointed out that if the cartoons had been about Jesus or mocked Christianity rather than Islam, anyone publishing them in New Zealand could have been prosecuted. Yes, we have a blasphemous libel law on the books, and while it doesn't call for decapitation, it does punish speech offensive to one particular religion: Christianity. And now Catholics want to use it against C4 for screening an episode of South Park:
Catholic Action's lawyer Greg King wrote to the Attorney-General to complain that it breached the Crimes Act by being blasphemous libel.
Mr King said the programme at worst amounted "to a hate crime" and urged the office of the Attorney-General to intervene.
Fortunately, prosecution requires the consent of the Attorney-General, and I can't imagine him giving it. Quite apart from questions of freedom of speech, the prosecution would almost certainly fail on BORA grounds, just as in the flag-burning case. But as long as this law is on the books, we will have to put up with Christians trying to use it to silence speech they disagree with on religious grounds. This is both an affront to our secular society and to its values of freedom and human rights. No religion should have a veto on freedom of speech. This law should be repealed.