Really Denmark?

You see a headline about a blasphemy prosecution and assume it’s about some Third World dictatorship or Alt-Right fever dream. But dateline Copenhagen? Really? Per The Volokh Conspiracy (aggregating other sources):

A Danish prosecutor says a 42-year-old man in northern Denmark has been charged with blasphemy for allegedly burning the Quran and posting a video of it on Facebook.

Jan Reckendorff says it was the first time since 1971 that a person was charged for ‘publicly mocking a religious community’s religious doctrines or worship,’ adding it is punishable by imprisonment for up to four months or fine.

No prosecutions in my lifetime? Either the Danes are very pious or this is the kind of stifling speech law that gets used so rarely that it’s impossible to say what’s allowed and what isn’t. The other few cases that have been prosecuted suggest just that:

This marks the fourth time in history anyone has been prosecuted under Denmark’s blasphemy clause: four people were sentenced for posting posters mocking Jewish teachings in 1938; two people were fined for carrying out a fake baptism at a masked ball in 1946; and two programme leaders at Danish Radio were exonerated in 1971 for airing a song mocking Christianity.

I mean, come on, Denmark. You’re one of those magical European places that liberals like me point to and say, “see, if they can do all these humane things, why can’t we?” Then you go and do something like this. I guess nobody’s perfect.

But, still, Denmark – really?!?

really-snl

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