If the SNP’s ‘Hate’ Bill becomes law, Scots’ freedom of religion will end

Aug 11, 2020 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

The SNP’s Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill is currently wending its way through the committees and procedures of the Scottish Parliament. It provides for the modernising, consolidating and extending of hate crime legislation in Scotland. “Legislation in this area has evolved over time in a fragmented manner with the result that different elements of hate crime law are located in different statutes”, the Scottish Government explains. “There is a lack of consistency, and the relevant legislation is not as user-friendly as it could be.”

The crime of stirring up hate is currently restricted to race, so, in order to make hate crime law more “user-friendly”, the SNP intend to extend the scope to include other protected characteristics: age, disability, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity, and variation in sex characteristics. If someone expresses “prejudice or hostility” toward a person or group of persons because of these characteristics, they will be guilty of stirring up hate. And ‘hate’ is what is deemed to be offending behaviour or conduct whether or not the offender intended to threaten or cause offence:

The Scottish Government accepts that to confine a stirring up offence to an intention to stir up hatred would be prohibitively restrictive in practice as in real-life cases it may often be very difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt what the accused’s intent was, even where it is very clear that their behaviour would be likely to result in hatred being stirred up.

So any abusive conduct which was not threatening, and any abusive behaviour which was not intended to cause offence, could still stir up hatred in relation to a characteristic. If a person’s conduct or behaviour could give rise to the likelihood that hatred could be stirred up, it will constitute a breach of the law.

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