A sloppily worded hate crime bill in Scotland could undermine free speech and unfairly stigmatize people of faith, the Christian Institute has warned.
The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said on Friday that the proposed legislation “risks creating a chilling effect on free speech” because of the ambiguity of its language and lack of protections for basic freedoms.
“The new offences cover ‘abusive’ behaviour intended to ‘stir up hatred’ but no explanation is given as to what these terms actually mean,” Mr Kelly said.
“Would it be ‘abusive’ and ‘hateful’ to quote the Bible’s teaching on marriage, gender or sexual ethics?” he added. “Some groups would say yes. There is a real risk of malicious reports from activists who wish to stop Christians expressing their beliefs.”
“Provisions on ‘inflammatory material’ could be used against Christian books, sermons by church ministers – even the Bible itself,” Kelly noted. “The potential reach