Religious Hatred Law in the UK -- Update

In the UK, NPR cites a growing 'backlash' against the proposed law banning speech that expresses "religious hatred."

Besides Salman Rushdie, Michael Palin of Monty Python (think of the parody of Christianity in The Life of Brian) and Rowan Atkinson of "Mr. Bean" have come out against the bill, as potentially restricting legitimate artistic expression that criticizes religious groups. Even after the Labour party made the language in the bill stronger to try and avoid confusion over what exactly is being banned, there is still evidently some confusion. The Labour Party says it's banning hate speech that targets "individuals," not "ideas," but this is a little vague. The kinds of statements that usually constitute religious hate speech targets groups by definition (the group element is what makes it hate speech!), and the line between religious groups and their religious ideas can be thin.

The pros and cons of this law were also discussed at Crooked Timber a number of times last December (start here).

The potential for abuse is very high, so I'm skeptical about whether this law is a good idea. But it looks like the Labour Party is sticking with it in the current party platform.