Pharyngula

It looks like trouble, and some ministers are defending the proposed blasphemy law — you people aren’t going to let this violation of civil rights pass, are you?

We have some more details on the law, too: it authorizes fines up to €100,000, and gives the police the right to seize blasphemous materials from your home. If you’re reading Pharyngula right now on your home computer, you may have broken that law, and they can come take your computer away…and then they’ll notice all those books by Hitchens and Harris and Dawkins and so forth on your bookshelves, and next thing you know, you’re locked up in the Catholic Prison, stamping out communion wafers for 20 years.

And then there are the other implications. The Scientologists must be rubbing their hands with glee: their outrage will be sufficient to arrest people who protest their cult. If you draw a doodle that looks vaguely like Mohammed, and some nearby Moslem is outraged, you are guilty, guilty, guilty.

I know that Turkey is one of those countries I’d be wise to avoid unless I want to risk arrest…do you really want Ireland to share that distinction, too?

Comments

  1. #1 rickflick
    April 30, 2009

    …lets see: Turkey, Iran, N. Korea, Irland…

  2. #2 bungoton
    April 30, 2009

    Since Atheism is a religion according to several religious people I know, I know where my outrage would be directed.
    No more statues of tortured corpses hanging on the wall and no more ritual cannibalism for a start.

  3. #3 Nils Ross
    April 30, 2009

    Thought experiment:

    Irish atheists declare themselves a religion. They declare one of the tenets of their religion that it is offensive for others to question the proposition that there is no deity in control of the universe. By extension, others believing that there IS a deity controlling the universe are blaspheming. Irish atheists attempt to have all theistic people arrested.

    Win.

  4. #4 coathangrrr
    April 30, 2009

    Since Satanism is a religion and the bible slanders Satan, they could use this law to get rid of all the bibles. Maybe it isn’t so bad?

  5. #5 Pikemann Urge
    April 30, 2009

    This kind of law can’t work unless the courts are ‘in’ on it on a ‘wink, nudge’ basis with parliament. In such a case, the wording would sound ‘reasonable’ but the judges and magistrates would always rule against non-Christians.

    They tried, I think, to stop the pro-divorce laws but I think they failed, despite the protests of that hypocritical fanatic, Mother Teresa.

  6. #6 Pat
    April 30, 2009

    Wow. I’ve been reading a bunch of Philip K. Dick short-fiction, and I gotta say I did a double-take… had to make sure I was awake.

  7. #7 Thomas
    April 30, 2009

    That law will be DOA in the European high court if they ever try to enforce it.

  8. #8 Seokso
    April 30, 2009

    This article has more info about the law. It says that blasphemous material “is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion….?

    Sounds like a case for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster: “How dare you claim that the FSM (and his magnificent noodly appendages) is not real! I demand death for this blasphemy!”

  9. #9 Matt Heath
    April 30, 2009

    Fianna #FAIL!!11

  10. #10 paul gorman
    April 30, 2009

    hey,
    what the heck! where did this come from? who do i write letters to? somebody help!!

  11. #11 Seokso
    April 30, 2009

    Yeah… So apparently PZ already posted that link I just listed. I miss just one day of Pharyngula and look what happens.

  12. #12 Walton
    April 30, 2009

    Have commented about this on my blog today.

  13. #13 Kate
    April 30, 2009

    Way to go Ireland! (Slow, sarcastic clapping inserted here)

    These “blasphemy” morons have just guaranteed that they are either going to be charged with blasphemy themselves for disrespecting their own religions or those of others… (It’s easy enough to find a passage in any one of a hundred holy books to back up your claim of “Blasphemer!”) or they’re going to find themselves in the funny position of having to actively and publicly discriminate against certain religions or schools of thought.

    …and Ireland, enjoy the lat bit of beef you’ll ever eat. If this law passes, eating a cow is going to send you to jail. After all, it’s a big no-no if you’re Hindu, as cows are sacred. As a matter of fact, you can also forget about shellfish, bacon, poly-cotton blend fabric, women in church, driving on Sunday, driving on Saturday, driving on Friday night, allowing boys and girls to go to the same school, birthday presents, Easter, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah…. do I need to go on?

  14. #14 RickK
    April 30, 2009

    Any idea that can’t withstand questioning isn’t worth pursuing.

    Any belief that can’t withstand ridicule isn’t worth following.

    Any statement that doesn’t offend SOMEONE isn’t worth making.

  15. #15 MosesZD
    April 30, 2009

    Posted by: bungoton | April 30, 2009 9:03 AM

    Since Atheism is a religion according to several religious people I know, I know where my outrage would be directed.
    No more statues of tortured corpses hanging on the wall and no more ritual cannibalism for a start.

    That would be kind of fun actually. Because there’s a lot more bashing and foo-foo from that direction than from ours…

    I wonder if there is a “right of return” for those of us that might have a wee-bit of Irish blood?

  16. #16 Paul Barnes
    April 30, 2009

    As an Irishman I’m ashamed. Dermot Ahern’s (Justice Minister) efforts at criminalising critiscism of matters related to the hypothetical supernatural world rather than focusing more time on the blatant factual crimes, neglect and concerns of the very real natural world, especially in this small part of it, leave me deeply concerned as to why he is doing this, who is the lobbying force behind it and where his and his Government’s priorities are in these very difficult times.

  17. #17 Jason S
    April 30, 2009

    This law will be unenforceable if passed. It simply isn’t possible to have a blasphemy law that protects all religions. What is blasphemous to a Christian is an article of faith to a Muslim.

    Also, just a pedantic point but don’t you need to be a member of a religion to blaspheme against it?

    Anyone who lives in Ireland and is concerned about this law please get in touch with/join Atheist Ireland (www.atheist.ie) and or the Humanist Association (www.humanism.ie), too many Irish Atheist are invisible and unwilling to stand up and be counted.

  18. #18 Wowbagger, OM
    April 30, 2009

    Yep, the best way to combat this absurdity is to invent ludicrous religions – well, even more ludicrous than the ones we’re already burdened with – and demand their outrageous requirements be recognised alongside Christianity.

    Let’s think about this, shall we? Since it’s Ireland I suspect the one which would have the most impact would be a religion that considers all alcoholic beverages to be sacred and that consuming them is, in fact, the worst possible sin in the eyes said religion’s god…

  19. #19 Dennis
    April 30, 2009

    Any prosecutions under this law will get quashed by the european courts and the people who drafted it will look like the fools that they obviously are.

    Article 10: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/946400.stm#expression

  20. #20 varlo
    April 30, 2009

    If they lock ME up and have me making communion wafers I will follow the lead of Malcom X and spit on every one.

  21. #21 JD
    April 30, 2009

    But it’s still okay to make fun of Alister McGrath, right?

  22. #22 Steve
    April 30, 2009

    That is just awful. I had hoped to someday visit Ireland, but if this law passes, I’ll just stop at Scotland.

  23. #23 IST
    April 30, 2009

    Hmm… I have cousins in Ireland (Republic of, not Northern), and I was under the impression that religion had caused enough trouble on the little green isle… Yes, I know it’s more complicated than that, but it certainly doesn’t help.

  24. #24 Cerandor
    April 30, 2009

    We’re working on it. In all likelihood, it’s a piece of political pandering that will come to nothing. Still, there’s outrage aplenty on the Internet, which is leaking into the mainstream media. For my part, I’ve written to express my displeasure to several TDs, including Dermot Ahern.

  25. #25 Luke
    April 30, 2009

    Ok, but as far as I know it’s a dilution of an earlier, more serious law. The alternative is to have a referendum, and I’m not sure we’d win it. See, unlike the US, there is a constitutional connection between the Catholic church and the state, which means intelligent courts can’t strike down this sort of thing.

  26. #26 Doozer
    April 30, 2009

    The Scientologists must be rubbing their hands with glee…

    Why? Wouldn’t being a Scientologist (or an Appliantologist!) constitute blasphemy all by itself?
    It does at my house…

  27. #27 Reginald Selkirk
    April 30, 2009

    I’ll repeat what I said about this yesterday: I have no objection to the law so long as no third party accusations are allowed. Any deity who feels He/She has been blasphemed is welcome to show up in court and file charges and offer testimony.

  28. #28 Cruithne
    April 30, 2009

    Makes me very smug to know that I live in the more enlightened, free from religious dogma Northern Ireland.

    …Oh wait…

  29. #29 Nat J.
    April 30, 2009

    It’d be pretty interesting to see how (if) this law would be enforced if it was passed. Then it’d be even more interesting to see if people want their taxes to go towards prosecuting and imprisoning opponents of religious sentiment.

  30. #30 Newfie
    April 30, 2009

    This is what happen when you vote with your bible. Good thing that only people in Ireland do that.

  31. #31 Sigmund
    April 30, 2009

    Is there any truth that this is the minister involved?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlufxatPxnA

  32. #32 Cowcakes
    April 30, 2009

    Thank you Dermot Ahern, for revealing yourself as the ultimate Irish joke.

  33. #33 Nigel
    April 30, 2009

    It’s just bizarre. It’s come from out of nowhere and out of nothing, and while there’s plenty of outrage, there’s also lots of headscratching and wha? Is it a distraction? With local elections coming up, a tactic that makes FF, who are already set to be eviscerated, look stupid and out of touch, or rather confirming an overwhelming impression that they’re stupid and out of touch, can’t be a winning tactic. Some sort of pandering? If so to whom? That kind of respect for the Catholic church is well in abeyence and withering further daily. It’s like something out of the fifties, and that was a nightmare this country does not want to go back to. Really, it’s mystifying and, frankly, embarrasing. Many people are begining to think that Fianna Fail aren’t the political geniuses they all thought they were…

  34. #34 CommiusRex
    April 30, 2009

    Matt Heath won this thread…

  35. #35 Chiaroscuro
    April 30, 2009

    Ireland should be the epicenter for the Blasphemy Day International.

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=528272671&v=feed&story_fbid=73904874374#/group.php?gid=50200339561

    I would love to see Ireland authorities trying to cope with hundreds of blasphemers on their streets.

  36. #36 Rey Fox
    April 30, 2009

    So I guess Ireland has solved all the real problems in their country already?

  37. #37 Anonymous
    April 30, 2009

    Oh boy! Look how enlightened and secular Europe is compared to us backwards Americans!

  38. #38 Epinephrine
    April 30, 2009

    @Cruithne: Whereabouts do you live? Don’t get to talk to that many folks from N.Ireland. Really enjoyed my time there, I’ve been to Newry and environs several times for family gatherings.

  39. #39 LaTomate
    April 30, 2009

    You could always visit wonderful Northern Ireland, where that law won’t apply :)

    Although Eire is also a beautiful place to visit, full of great people. This stupidity is a shame.

  40. #40 Lilly de Lure
    April 30, 2009

    Rey Fox said:

    So I guess Ireland has solved all the real problems in their country already?

    So much so that they want to import a whole new set it appears!

  41. #41 frog
    April 30, 2009

    Selkirk: I have no objection to the law so long as no third party accusations are allowed.

    Not strong enough. Soon you’ll have every living god suing, from the Dalai Lama down to the nutcase on the corner who thinks he’s Jesus.

    As a matter of fact, I’m a deity myself.

  42. #42 Rowanth
    April 30, 2009

    I had a comment on the earlier thread about how this law will never, ever be enforced and that it is in fact just a cop out as in Ireland we need to hold a referendum to alter our constitution but this is just so bloody embarrassing!

    Please voice your discontent email Dermot Ahern of Fianna Fail to voice your discontent, I know I will be.

  43. #43 Lilly de Lure
    April 30, 2009

    Frog said:

    Not strong enough. Soon you’ll have every living god suing, from the Dalai Lama down to the nutcase on the corner who thinks he’s Jesus.

    Maybe demand evidential proof of their Divine status and powers (proof to be appropriately examined by a team including James Randi) before allowing the case?

  44. #44 Sigmund
    April 30, 2009

    I think people are mistaken if they think this legislation will allow the sorts of Flying Spaghetti Monster religious objections that would make it unworkable. As its currently worded its pretty much equal to the official position that the Catholic Church has taken in response to the Danish Mohammed Cartoons. In other words its designed to legislate against things that have the effect of offending the major religions.
    Remember, telling a religious person that their God is imaginary IS offensive to them. How long before ‘The God Delusion’ is banned in Ireland?

  45. #45 Cruithne
    April 30, 2009

    Epinephrine I live in Belfast, just moved back last month after four years in France.
    So far I’ve seen one nephew take flak for daring to have a catholic girlfriend and witnessed one drunken friend of a friend declare a girl he didn’t like must have been a protestant on account of her disagreeable personality.
    The clincher however is that when I went to sign on the unemployment register I noticed on their computer that they had me listed as a protestant. I demanded to know how they came about such information and asked they correct it as I am an atheist. They explained that they would change it to ‘undeclared’ since they didn’t have an option for athiest on their software.

  46. #46 Mu
    April 30, 2009

    I like the law. By definition, any form of christian worship is blasphemy to a muslim, and equally any muslim service violates the first commandment.
    The only way to enforce it is to abolish all worship.

  47. #47 Sfitz
    April 30, 2009

    This is a ridiculous proposition that is being put before our government but it is worth worrying about, Fianna Fail are complete morons and I think at this point they might be willing to push this issue to take some attention away from their woefully inadequate handling of the economy. The only thing we might have in our favour is that there are a lot more atheist and agnostics out there who wouldn’t tolerate this than people realise. The more racially intolerant people around the country might even be against it because they wouldn’t be able to insult muslims

  48. #48 anonymous
    April 30, 2009

    Where is the Turkey reference coming from? Did they pass a similar law there, too? As far as I know it’s a pretty secular country (in most parts, kind of like the States).

  49. #49 Nigel
    April 30, 2009

    ‘You have disgraced yourself again,’ as Yeats might say.

  50. #50 Marc Abian
    April 30, 2009

    Why? Wouldn’t being a Scientologist (or an Appliantologist!) constitute blasphemy all by itself?

    Actually, Hubbard does say that christ didn’t exist and islam and the other religions are false implants. But Scientology were mentioned in the article PZ linked because of the protests scientology get monthly by anonymous would be an example of blasphemy according to the article.

  51. #51 arensb
    April 30, 2009

    If you draw a doodle that looks vaguely like Mohammed

    I imagine making toast will be a risky proposition: what if it winds up with an image of Mohammed, or Satan, or Richard Dawkins?

  52. #52 Gruesome Janine
    April 30, 2009

    If this law gets passed, I suggest that the next step would be to set up a Department For The Suppression of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue.

  53. #53 Marc Abian
    April 30, 2009

    Oh, and I assure everyone that if this law somehow manages to be passed, it will never be enforced or there will be uproar. The country is not in any mood for bullshit these days.

  54. #54 bunnycatch3r
    April 30, 2009

    There are fears that the new offence may be used by fundamentalists to crack down on publication of material perceived to be injurious to faith.

    -how could you even publish a science book under these guidelines?

  55. #55 Teleprompter
    April 30, 2009

    This bill is blarney.

    I wish I were Irish so I could go outside and commit some protest blasphemy right now.

  56. #56 sammywol
    April 30, 2009

    This is an appalling piece of crap and is either an attempt to distract us from the truly diabolical state of the nation’s finances or Ahern thinks he can sneak it under the wire because we are all so stunned and depressed over the diabolical state of the nation’s finances. So far the latter seems to be working as it is not in the headlines, definitely inside pages only.

    It really is feeling like the 1980s again when Holy Catholic Ireland had no divorce, no right to travel abroad for an abortion – let alone abortion in this country – no right to information on abortion, no access to birth control without a doctor’s prescription, no legal homosexuality, an abundance of self congratulatory, smug God-botherers in every sphere of public life. I can only assume that Ahern and his ilk – and boy does he have ‘ilk’! – have been inspired by the return of our economy to the dark ages and are bent of sending our very limited social progressiveness with it.

    Of course the law is unenforceable as it stands but that too is something of a national tradition. Enact the principle and let the case law sort it out seems to be something of a habit. While Britain for years refused to make wearing seat belts in cars a legal requirement because it had no idea how such a law might be enforced, Ireland happily passed the legislation and made not the slightest effort to enforce it for over a decade by which time the idea had taken root. It is lousy law. We specialize in lousy law. ‘Pass it now; amend it later!’ could be on our currency.

    Mercifully our atheist community are responding vocally and well and are all over the airwaves complaining about books that advocate the eating of children etc.. Sadly the smug god-botherers are out there too.

  57. #57 Gruesome Rob
    April 30, 2009

    By definition, any form of christian worship is blasphemy to a muslim, and equally any muslim service violates the first commandment.

    Half right. Same god in both, and Jesus is a prophet so there’s no conflict with the first commandment.

  58. #58 Laura
    April 30, 2009

    @Cruithne It must be depressing coming back to Belfast after being in France for so long – I know my plans are to move there as soon as I can afford it!
    And I hate that catholic/protestant/atheist thing too. A friend once asked me if I was a catholic atheist or a protestant atheist. *sigh* There’s no escaping it.

  59. #59 Molly, NYC
    April 30, 2009

    Gee, what could go wrong? Ireland’s never had a problem with religious strife, so this certainly wouldn’t add to it.

  60. #60 Cliff Hendroval
    April 30, 2009

    My only question is why anyone in the Irish government would propose this? Is there any kind of popular support for it?

  61. #61 Marc Abian
    April 30, 2009

    My only question is why anyone in the Irish government would propose this?

    They probably wouldn’t. A religious moron like Dermot Ahern would.
    We don’t really have a wall of separation between church and state here. Non-denominational schools are hard to come by. Not everyone takes religion seriously here, but like most religions, catholicism isn’t too shy about trying to throw its weight around.

  62. #62 Uzza
    April 30, 2009
  63. #63 Michael McElree
    April 30, 2009

    Cliff asks:why anyone in the Irish government would propose this? The spokesman for the Minister explains that he is constitutionally obliged to have a law on this matter on the statute books. It is implied(but not stated) that the law is deliberately framed so that no-one can be convicted. The spokesman mentions approvingly that the change means that it is no longer a matter of serving jail time if convicted. Merely a fine of up to ?100,000. Oh, and confiscation of the material, with the GardaÝ entitled to use reasonable force to enter a premises they suspect of harbouring blasphemous material. So now, why would anyone object to this? Nothing to see here , please move along people….

  64. #64 Richard Eis
    April 30, 2009

    This sneaky shit needs to be revealed for what it is and then crushed. The fact that it’s even being considered/debated is an insult to human rights.

    I hope it backfires badly on them.

  65. #65 GCUGreyArea
    April 30, 2009

    I suppose that if the law is passed then the other way to combat it is to take it to the extreme and start a letter writing campaign to complain about everything you can possibly interpret as being blasphemy. Crush it under the weight of its extremities.

    ‘Thou shalt not have graven images’ – OK then lets complain that images of the blessed (alleged) virgin Mary are graven images and must be removed, I’m sure that’ll go down well in Ireland.

  66. #66 Matt
    April 30, 2009

    Yeah…what’s this going to do to tourism and the Irish economy? Aye-chihuahua.

    I don’t want to visit a country in which I could get arrested for cursing.

  67. #67 willbxtn
    April 30, 2009

    Surely all holy books, etc, are “blasphemous” material towards all other religions? If this some how gets passed without the European Parliament/European Court of Human Rights having a hissy fit/pulling its finger out of it’s arse, then I’ like to see everyone try and exploit this loop hole. The bigger the clusterfuck for the politicians to apologise their way around, the better.

  68. #68 blue Jan
    April 30, 2009

    As a pastafarian of the al dente faction I am offended by thy holiness overcooked. I shall sue every pasta outlet (I am looking at you, you university feeding hall) because they are blasphemers!

  69. #69 willbxtn
    April 30, 2009

    I’ve just had a sneeky Pharyngula-esque plan – go the the Northern side of the boarder, and blaspheme loudly in earshot of the Irish police.

  70. #70 Lynna
    April 30, 2009

    Ms. Bachmann of Minnesota infamy has obviously morphed and then transported herself to Ireland. She is now a He: Mr. Ahern. Nice work with the accent Ms. Bachmann.

  71. #71 agg
    April 30, 2009

    I don’t want to start any blasphemous roumours
    But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour
    And when I die I expect to find him laughing :)

  72. #72 JJR
    April 30, 2009

    “…Cultic toilette…” – James Joyce.

  73. #73 Ginger Yellow
    April 30, 2009

    “That law will be DOA in the European high court if they ever try to enforce it.”

    I wouldn’t bet on it. The UK’s blasphemy law was upheld in the ECHR.

  74. #74 Margaret's Cat
    April 30, 2009

    Start a church that considers a lie to be blasphemy, especially one by a politician.

  75. #75 Mike
    April 30, 2009

    Can’t Mr.Deity go on the telly and stump for passage of this thing? Somebody give Larry a call and get this thing set up pronto.

  76. #76 Penguin_Factory
    April 30, 2009

    Just one more reason to vote Fianna Fail out of government at the next elections >:(

    I really can’t see this getting passed, and even if it does, being enforced. Blasphemy laws, here? Ireland is fast becoming an extremely secular place. People won’t stand for this kind of crap.

    Ahern is a real gobshite.

  77. #77 Matt Heath
    April 30, 2009

    A friend once asked me if I was a catholic atheist or a protestant atheist.

    Wait, that’s an old gag that NI comedians tell, isn’t it? It happened to you IRL? Is the “I must be the luckiest Arab in Belfast” joke also a true story?

  78. #78 Epinephrine
    April 30, 2009

    Cruithne: Sad to hear that it’s still bad – I imagine it would be much more obvious to an actual resident than to a visitor, even one there for several months.
    My relatives often start statements with the caveat, “Not to be sectarian, … “, when explaing issues to me – I’m sure that it’s not for fear that I would take it wrong, but out of a self-protective instinct when discussing certain matters.

  79. #79 Kimpatsu
    April 30, 2009

    This law violates statues according to the European Court of Human Rights (which, increasingly, has been the defence against illiberal European governments).
    If this plays out, it will probably be like with the racist DNA laws in Britain: The ECHR will issue an order, and the local government will ignore it.
    Which is why we need a Euro-FBI…

  80. #80 Penguin_Factory
    April 30, 2009

    Actually, this might not be as big a deal as it appears. I was on a forum full of people who actually care about irish politics (I know, shocking) and apparently “blasphemous libel” is already banned here. It’s just never been enforced.

  81. #81 WTFWJD
    April 30, 2009

    “The shalt have no other gods before Me.” — Big Willie

    Yeah, that’s slander alright.

  82. #82 Paul Browne
    April 30, 2009

    This is going from bad joke to WTF status very quickly. Perhaps if the law is passed we should organize a rally against it, perhaps something along the lines of the contraceptive trains and boats of the 1970′s and 80′s, though with copies of the God Delusion rather than condoms and the pill.

  83. #83 The Biologista
    April 30, 2009

    Irishman here. We are aware of the problem and are currently moving to correct the issue. Please remain patient whilst we create an unholy stink:

    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2055551260

    Volunteers for a big angry march welcome. Ironically, if you skip over to the “Christianity” forum on that same message board you’ll find the Christians displeased about the proposed law also. Who are the government trying to please? We have no idea. Seems they’ve dropped all pretence and are now trying to piss off EVERYONE.

  84. #84 jay
    April 30, 2009

    This law will be unenforceable if passed. It simply isn’t possible to have a blasphemy law that protects all religions.

    Consistency is NOT going to happen. It will be selectively applied to unfavored people who offend favored religions.

  85. #85 eightyfish
    April 30, 2009

    I’m Irish and I am disgusted by this. I have emailed all the TDs who will be voting on this to voice my opposition. I suggest any Irish residents do the same. You’ll find a list of contact details on the forum thread I’ve added as my URL (click on my name below)

  86. #86 Gruesome Rob
    April 30, 2009

    apparently “blasphemous libel” is already banned here. It’s just never been enforced.

    Doesn’t this bring it further than libel? “God doesn’t exist” is blasphemous, but it isn’t libel. I’d love to see them try to prove that as libel.

  87. #87 Furious_Six_Claws_Mcgee
    April 30, 2009

    So what’re they going to do about Father Ted then?!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT9xuXQjxMM

  88. #88 Emmet, OM
    April 30, 2009

    I had a comment on the earlier thread about how this law will never, ever be enforced and that it is in fact just a cop out as in Ireland we need to hold a referendum to alter our constitution but this is just so bloody embarrassing!

    Of course it won’t be enforced by the GardaÝ, who have plenty of gangland murders to investigate, but how long will it be before a private prosecution is brought by some rabid craw-thumping Opus Dei (or other uber-religious) fucktard? Isn’t that what happened the last time?

    If it was meant to be a toothless placeholder, merely to fulfill the anachronistic Constitutional obligation without the trouble of having a referendum, the maximum fine would be ?5, not ?100,000.

    Much more likely is that gobshite extraordinaire, Dermot Ahern, is also a religious fascist.

  89. #89 frog
    April 30, 2009

    Lilly: Maybe demand evidential proof of their Divine status and powers (proof to be appropriately examined by a team including James Randi) before allowing the case?

    Well, I define my divine powers by their very unprovability. If I were to display my awesome skills, then you vermin would believe in me without due faith.

    So that fact that you reject my divinity is proof of my divinity. And you will be punished for that blasphemy… mark my words.

    QED, I better not catch you in Eire.

  90. #90 Simon Kilduff - Dublin
    April 30, 2009

    This will not happen.
    Irish people will not tolerate a step backward in time like this. There are too many enlightened folks about now. Non religious people are the second largest group on the island only second to Catholics and far outnumbering Muslim and Church Of Ireland adherents – Central Statistics Office Census 2006.
    Already there are large campaigns against this proposal and the elected representatives are becoming increasingly aware that this will not go easy.
    There are plenty of Irish atheists who would prefer international support than ridicule.
    This was an unprecedented move by the Minister for Justice and to be honest most of us are shocked.

  91. #91 tsig
    April 30, 2009

    When Irish eyes are smilin’
    It’s sure a blasphemy
    ‘Cause I know those eyes aren’t smilin’
    All for love of me.

    GOD

  92. #92 tmaxPA
    April 30, 2009

    Somebody anonymously asked about Turkey, and I think it is a good case study. From what I understand, Turkey has long had laws on the books making attacking another person’s religion a crime. And it has been enormously successful: Turkey was set up specifically (even more so than the US) as a secular nation. There are way too many religions that are way too contradictory to each other to allow people to start denigrating others on the basis of whatever private delusions they have and/or cling to. So despite the hackles that are raised on every would-be libertarian when they hear about laws which are supposedly written to prevent religious discrimination (not simply suspecting but being by default convinced that they will be used unevenly), Turkey is generally proof that you can successfully ban ‘intentional blasphemy’ and enforce it even-handedly to ensure that matters of civil society are NOT controlled by religious extremists.

    Not that Americans would be convinced of that any more than China convinces them that Communism is a viable political methodology.

  93. #93 nerdiah
    April 30, 2009

    “If you draw a doodle that looks vaguely like Mohammed, and some nearby Moslem is outraged, you are guilty, guilty, guilty.”

    Pfft, I’d like to see them _prove_ it was Mohammed considering they’ve got no images to compare it to.

  94. #94 Paschal
    April 30, 2009

    The reason why this law was introduced is because the Irish Constitution specifically prohibits blasphemy while at the same time it says it defends free speech to a certain degree. As an Irishman I’m against any piece of legislation which seeks to limit free speech which doesn’t affect anybody’s rights negatively in a large way. The fine of 100,000 euro is very high and in my opinion is unnecessary even with the constitution’s position. The Irish Government would much rather pass stupid laws than amend the constitution which can only be done by a direct vote of the people. This is not only the case when it comes to blasphemy but also the case when it comes to rights for same-sex couples. (It has been argued by the Law Reform Commission in Ireland that granting same-sex couples the right to marry would only violate the Irish Constitution if same-sex couples were given more rights than opposite-sex couples. The Law reform Commission in Ireland also said an anti-blasphemy law has no place in a society which respects free speech). Ireland is not anything like Iran or Saudi Arabia and don’t think that there’s a large movement in Ireland to criminalize blasphemy because I don’t know of one. P.S. I’m an atheist

  95. #95 Irish Atheist
    April 30, 2009

    Actually Ahern says that it’s required by the Constitution and he isn’t to far off. In fact the President of Ireland has to swear on the holy spirit in order to do their duty. So in fact any non-Catholics can’t take the office of President.

    While this position is very limited, it shows how retarded our constitution is. I could barely get through the first page.

    Here’s what the President swear(well the first half)

    In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
    We, the people of ╔ire,
    Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
    Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,

  96. #96 Irish Atheist
    April 30, 2009

    Sorry, actually went back and read it.

    What they actually have to say is:

    In the presence of Almighty God I ,do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will maintain the Constitution of Ireland and uphold its laws, that I will fulfil my duties faithfully and conscientiously in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland. May God direct and sustain me.

  97. #97 Pikemann Urge
    April 30, 2009

    I don’t think that any atheist would have trouble reading that oath of office. Unless they’re superstitious about it…

    BTW are there any Jedi in Ireland?

  98. #98 Emmet, OM
    April 30, 2009

    So in fact any non-Catholics can’t take the office of President.

    Somebody better tell Mary Robinson.

    And dig up Erskine Childers and tell him too.

    And Douglas Hyde.

  99. #99 jay
    April 30, 2009

    Turkey is generally proof that you can successfully ban ‘intentional blasphemy’ and enforce it even-handedly to ensure that matters of civil society are NOT controlled by religious extremists.

    You are aware that Dawkins books are banned and his website is blocked in Turkey?

    The argument that putting the law on the books is not the same as enforcement is a head in the sand approach. These things DO get used and in ways that free thinking people might not like.

  100. #100 G. Tingey
    May 1, 2009

    Claim to be a muslim, and demand that all copies of the boble be siezed, since it is balsphemous to Mo-med…
    Claim to be Pastafarian, and demand all copies of other religious works be seized …..
    Calim… I think you get the idea.

    I can garuantee, that if this incredibly stupid law is passed, someone will try this on.
    IT’S A JOB-CREATION SCHEME FOR LAWYERS!

  101. #101 Michael Nugent
    May 1, 2009

    Active response to Irish blasphemy bill by Atheist Ireland – volunteers needed http://tr.im/kbEv Please pass on this message

  102. #102 GX
    May 1, 2009

    You might want to read this statement from Dermot Ahern and add an addendum to your post.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0501/1224245748066.html

    Our Defamation Act in Ireland is A LOT worse CURRENTLY then what Ahern is proposing. He is trying to make it better. Currently you could serve 7 years in jail for blasphemy in Ireland. Ahern is trying to get this dropped to only a fine. He is also trying to add the condition that you have to prove intent to cause outrage. Currently this is not required to convict someone of blasphemy.

    This draconian law can’t be removed from our constitution without an expensive referendum, so Ahern is trying to make it less likely that anyone could be charged with it, and also, that in a worst case scenario, the blasphemer would only receive a fine rather than a jail sentence.

  103. #103 Wowbagger, OM
    May 1, 2009

    A pity this thread wasn’t begun more recently, because this particular Kwok-esque attempt at name-dropping will mostly go unread.

    Anyway, I got to ask Irish standup comedian Dylan Moran what he thought about this, and his response was not particularly vehement; he just talked about how Ireland had suffered through stupid censorship nonsense like this before – he mentioned Ulysses – and that no-one pays attention to it and it wouldn’t change anything anyone actually did over there.

  104. #104 Marc Abian
    May 1, 2009

    Our Defamation Act in Ireland is A LOT worse CURRENTLY then what Ahern is proposing. He is trying to make it better. Currently you could serve 7 years in jail for blasphemy in Ireland

    I don’t think anyone ever has. The supreme court stated it’s impossible to define and cannot work in the last such case brought before it.

    If he really was trying to make it better, why put a fine of ?100,000 on it instead of ?1?

    Oh, and wowbagger, wow.

  105. #105 Emmet, OM
    May 1, 2009

    I don’t think anyone ever has.

    According to the papers, the only case ever taken under the blasphemy clause of the Defamation Act, 1961, was a ?private prosecution? in 1999 (Corway vs. Independent Newspapers). The Supreme Court upheld the High Court dismissal on the grounds that the offense was not defined in the 1961 act.

    The supreme court stated it’s impossible to define

    No, it didn’t ? it stated that it wasn’t defined in the 1961 Act. Defining it is exactly what the new legislation seeks to do. It defines ?blasphemous libel? and prescribes penalties for it. Only time will tell whether the new definition passes muster better than the last one.

    If he really was trying to make it better, why put a fine of ?100,000 on it instead of ?1?

    I completely agree. The difficulty with that is that the Oireachtas could almost entirely circumvent the Constitution by legislatively defining trivial penalties for any Constitutional proscription, which calls into question the whole purpose of having proscriptions in it at all. The right solution, IMHO, is to get all the extraneous nonsense and God-soaked 1930′s John McQuaid bullshit out of Bunreacht na h╔ireann entirely ? it makes me cringe when I read it.

  106. #106 Fintan Stack
    May 3, 2009

    I’m not a fan of this new law,but it may be necessary I’m surprised its not clear to people on this board why its happening.Ireland as a major exporting nation(80% gdp generated from exports) is frightened witless that someone will publish cartoons that drive muslims nuts.Remember what happened regarding the Danish cartoons, Danish goods and service providers in the middle east were boycotted, and lost valuable contracts that will continue to retard Danish business interests well into the future.

    We in Ireland are much more dependent on trade with the middle east.Our food processors,civil engineering and software firms are very active in that region.Those mindlessly criticising our government are themselves dependent on our economic wellbeing, one way or another.The government is acting in your interests to help secure our jobs,our education, health and welfare systems.We are a trading nation and we have plenty of competion.
    Do you really want your standards of living to suffer because some idiot publishes inflamitory material? Are all of you so naive as to think this has anything to do with catholicism or christianity in general? You know Ireland has enemies across the water in the city of london.Some organs of the British financial media have been trying to create problems for us in this time of difficulty.It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the Irish editions of British papers were to publish something harmful to the interests of our country.There is still alot of belligerence toward Ireland in elements of the British establishment,AND THEY ARE NOT IMMUNE FROM DIRTY TRICKS.So be thankful that you have got a govenment with its eye on the ball. Final word don’t buy British, BUY IRISH NEWSPAPERS

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