Greek government drops plan to criminalize blasphemy


ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Greece’s conservative government says it’s scrapping plans to criminalize blasphemy.

Justice Minister Costas Tsiaras said Tuesday that the proposal has been removed from draft legislation that’s being debated in Parliament. It would have made blasphemy punishable by up to two years in prison.

The proposal had been widely criticized. The Greek Orthodox Church had backed it, arguing that it would help in “preserving the religious sentiment of the faithful.”

Long-standing anti-blasphemy laws were scrapped in 2016 by the previous left-wing government.