Walking home earlier this week I passed a group of religious protestors outside Saint Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile. Not sure what they were doing there in the dark but one banner read “god save Scotland from blasphemy”, which makes me think they are one of those religious groups who think it is alright to try and restrict and control what others can say if it annoys or offends them in any way. The same sort who try to use ancient blasphemy laws and concepts to try and restrict what someone can say, what plays or films can be show or performed – while of course demanding the right to say what they want (newsflash, if an article, play, book or film says something that offends your little religion and your relationship with your invisible magic friend then don’t read or watch it – but don’t tell the rest of us we can’t). I despire blasphemy laws, they have no place in a modern society, they are an afront to free speech and they contravene the human rights legislation on the freedom of expression. Besides which, is what a non-believer says or does in a book or film or satire or whatever threatens your belief system so much I can only conclude your faith must be pretty weak or nothing could affect it.

religious protestors outside St Giles

One of the other banners had re-worked the lyrics to Flower of Scotland but now had something about the Church of Scotland and ‘arrogant popery’, so I have to assume as well as being humourless zealots who want to restrict what others can say if it offends their religious views they are also bigots, because that is the language of sectarianism. So these people demand an end to blasphemy (at least whatever they call blasphemy) but think it is okay to hold up bigoted, sectarian slogans in a public place? No, no double standards there at all.