Dutch courts have not prosecuted a blasphemy case since putting a novelist on trial in 1966 for a story about wanting to have sex with God, who had taken the form of a donkey.

Gerard Reve was acquitted, but more than 40 years after his landmark trial Parliament is still not ready to scrap the blasphemy law, which bars scorn against any religion.

In this country that cherishes freedom of expression, plans to repeal the 1932 law, which mandates a maximum sentence of three months in prison for a convicted “scornful blasphemer,” have foundered in the latest round of party politics.

Blasphemy laws have taken on a somewhat sinister hue in liberal countries after what critics call their misuse in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran to persecute minorities or settle scores. Two prominent Pakistani politicians have been killed this year for their campaign to change blasphemy laws that make it a capital offense to insult Islam.

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