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Quebec Bans Distribution of Literature Offensive to Religions

The Legislative Council–upper house–of the Quebec provincial parliament has given unanimous approval to an amendment of the Freedom of Worship Act which is designed to ban the distribution of literature offensive to religions. The measure, already approved by the Legislative Assembly–lower house–awaits the signature of the Governor-General to become law.

There has been some question in the press whether the bill will extend or limit freedom of worship. Replying to the charge that the bill was specifically aimed at the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect, Provincial Premier Maurice L. Duplessis declared that it is aimed “at the abusive practice of launching insulting attacks at any religious profession in Quebec.”

The Montreal Star, commenting on the measure, says there is a “general feeling of relief” over the fact that there is now available a means of banning distribution of such documents as the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” The Montreal Gazette, heading its comment “An Unsettling Amendment,” declares that the vagueness, scope and severity of the amendment breaks with the traditions of “guaranteed freedom (of religion), plainly and graciously backed by law.”

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