Pharyngula

Uh-oh. You people will bail me out, right?

On the first of January, that is, right now, the Irish blasphemy law goes into effect.

In February, I’ll be giving some talks in Ireland.

Just to warm up the officials there, Atheist Ireland has just published 25 blasphemous quotes…including one from me.

Oh, boy. This trip could be interesting.

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    December 31, 2009

    By February, I suspect your name will have to go at the bottom of a very long list!

  2. #2 Feynmaniac
    December 31, 2009

    Hmmm, it’s not often one sees Jesus Christ, Muhammad, George Carlin, Bjork and PZ all on the same list.

  3. #3 Newfie
    December 31, 2009

    pack your shillelagh.

  4. #4 Bjørn Østman
    December 31, 2009

    Damn, I hope so badly you get arrested!

  5. #5 Glen Davidson
    December 31, 2009

    You offended a figment of people’s imaginings.

    You should pay for it to the degree that you actually harmed God by your words and actions.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  6. #6 Kel, OM
    December 31, 2009

    Just remember to conceal some whiskey to bribe the guards with.

  7. #7 Sid
    December 31, 2009

    I’d preemptively get a lawyer if I were you.

    That said, I will gladly contribute to a legal/ bail fund if/when that becomes necessary.

  8. #8 Newfie
    December 31, 2009

    So, when’s the first ‘mass blaspheme’ to clog the legal system, and show the idiot politicians who voted for such silliness just how brilliant of an idea this is.
    Good to know the US doesn’t have the market cornered on ‘feckin’ idjit’ politicians, and their sky fairies.

  9. #9 Newfie
    December 31, 2009

    that first sentence should have had a question mark for punctuation.

  10. #10 Patricia Queen of Sluts, OM
    December 31, 2009

    You throw away a cracker and get rated along side Zappa and Carlin. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

    Yes, I’ll go your bail up to your weight in pullets.

  11. #11 thomas.c.galvin
    December 31, 2009

    I’m kind of curious to see what support State would give you, should you get done for blasphemy by the Irish government. Not curious enough that I’m wishing for it, but curious still.

    This law goes to show that, despite our many flaws, there are still some things America gets right, and the way we cherish free speech is one of them.

  12. #12 Colm
    December 31, 2009

    You will get a big welcome from us. I think Dermot Ahern might have a very interesting year ahead of him indeed.

  13. #13 David
    December 31, 2009

    No need to worry, PZ. According to my religious belief, you are not subject to lowly man-made laws such as this. If they try anything, they are blaspheming against my religion!

    What? It’s not a religion? Blasphemy!

  14. #14 tdanielmidgley
    December 31, 2009

    If you get arrested in February, you better make it out in time to get to Melbourne in March!

    I love the idea of a mass blaspheme. I’d even fly to Ireland to participate. When do they arrest all the priests and imams for blaspheming each others’ religions? With my luck, I’d be stuck in a cell with them. Now that’s dangerous.

  15. #15 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 31, 2009

    Blasphemy, the only truly victimless crime.

  16. #16 Pope Bologna XIII - The Glorious High Sauceror of Pastafarianism and Grand Poobah of His Holy Meatba
    December 31, 2009

    Interestin’, to be sure…

  17. #17 WowbaggerOM
    December 31, 2009

    I hope they’re prepared to deal with the consequences – I think clogging up the Irish justice system with thousands upon thousands of blasphemy hearings might be a good wake-up call.

  18. #18 John Frum
    December 31, 2009

    It’s too risky PZ. Send your body double instead.

  19. #19 Kevpod
    December 31, 2009

    Yes I’ll bail you out PZ, but for crap’s sake, will you please put punctuation inside quotes? Even the creation-tards manage to do that.

  20. #20 Biology Blogger
    December 31, 2009

    Just walk with t-shirt that has a banshee on it. That will scare the Irish cops away.

  21. #21 Joel
    December 31, 2009

    If you do get arrested, you should cop a plea agreement: you’ll plead guilty if the offended god or gods would simply smite you in the courtroom within some reasonable time period.

    No smiting and you get to go free, since it is hardly man’s place to inflict punishment where the god or gods actually offended by the blasphemy will not.

    You’ll either demonstrate very publicly the ludicrous nature of the blasphemy law, or you’ll be the cause of the greatest mass conversion since Constantine gave into his Oedipal impulses. Either way, it’s guaranteed to be quite a show!

  22. #22 Biology Blogger
    December 31, 2009

    Joel is right. You can claim double-jeopardy since you are already going to be punished in hell.

  23. #23 John Morales
    December 31, 2009

    Kevpod, there’s no definitive rule, it’s just convention; the most important criterion should (in my opinion) be clarity.

    Since PZ is American, I refer to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary:

    13.5.1 In American usage printers usually place a period or comma inside closing quotation marks whether it belongs logically to the quoted matter or to the whole sentence or context…. But when a logical or exact distinction is desired in specialized work in which clarity is more important than usual (as in this dictionary), a period or comma can be placed outside quotation marks when it belongs not in the quoted matter but to a larger unit containing the quoted matter. The package is labeled “Handle with Care”.

  24. #24 Newfie
    December 31, 2009

    2010 here on the Rock!
    Happy New Year, Pharyngulites one and all.

  25. #25 Patricia Queen of Sluts, OM
    December 31, 2009

    Good night and Happy New Year you saucy spankable darlings!

  26. #26 Cycle Ninja
    December 31, 2009

    Permit me to suggest an opening remark:

    “There is nothing I could say that would top the vulgarity, horror, and disgraces committed by the Catholic Church in Irish reform schools and outlined in the Ryan report of 2009.”

    There. Let’s remind people what real wrongdoing looks like.

  27. #27 Capital Dan
    December 31, 2009

    IT’S A TRAP!

  28. #28 Dave
    December 31, 2009

    I’m a little short on cash … but I promise to write!!

    Happy New Year to all and safe (incarceration-free) travels PZ!

  29. #29 Hughes
    December 31, 2009

    If we’re bailing (I’m in for $20), we should get to propose the stunt. Has to be ecumenical, me thinks.

  30. #30 Rorschach
    December 31, 2009

    So the religious everywhere, confronted with the rise in the number of atheists and skeptics, are working hard on trying to cement their priviledges !

    Say what you want about the creeps, but they’re great at lobbying !

  31. #31 otrame
    December 31, 2009

    Of course we will bail you out, PZ. But i agree with Zeno that by that time, there will be so much blaspheming (within the meaning of the act) going on that you’ll be ignored.

  32. #32 Dust
    December 31, 2009

    Is “Pew!Pew!Pew!” blasphemous?

  33. #33 Dutch Delight
    December 31, 2009

    So, if I were Irish, I could file a complaint accusing the Irish goverment for failing to praise the IPU sufficiently in their daily work?

    The IPU gets really annoyed when nobody credits her for anything after all her hard work for humankind, so I’m pretty sure it’s blasphemous not to praise her.

    I love how the religionists get to arbitrarily define what blasphemy is, or when they are “hurt in the core of their being” as the Dutch confessional politicians would say.

    Would you believe they offered to extend this ridiculous concept of “being hurt” by speech to ideologies in general as some kind of bribe to the rest of the parliament, just to keep their unconstitutional extra rights for religionists in the books.

  34. #34 sendittodevnull
    December 31, 2009

    The new law defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion

    So…when are they going to start the EUR25000 fines against all the child molesting priests, bishops, cardinals, arch-bishops, and all the rest of them. They all intentionally caused outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion…

    How about every priest, vicar, mullah, and rabbi in Ireland? They all contradict one another implying the rest are wrong. Grossly offensive.
    Feckin eejits. Get in the fookin sack. Goats on fire!

  35. #35 Caddisfly
    December 31, 2009

    Well at least you won’t be sharing a cell with a pedophile priest, since they seem to enjoy some sort of imunity. Perhaps the Catholic church could give you some legal advice on this?

  36. #36 Newfie
    December 31, 2009

    ..or has some polytheist already have the papers drawn up, to say that every religion which sayeth ‘One True God’, is blasphemous to their religious beliefs?
    so many angles to go at this, and Ireland seems ridiculous to the rest of the world in the process. The shame alone should be enough, but we are talking politicians.

  37. #37 Cath the Canberra Cook
    December 31, 2009

    Congratulations, PZ! And do try to get bailed out in time to get to Australia in March.

    I’d like to get some Hindus in to complain about promoting the blasphemy of beef-eating. Every Macdonalds ad, get off the air immediately!

  38. #38 Amos
    January 1, 2010

    According to this Irish law, you can’t print anything “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”

    Simply identifying as an atheist puts forth an opinion on religion that upsets quite a few people, even driving some to harass or abuse the now identified atheist. Would this law make it illegal to even make it known that you don’t believe? (Forget adding insult to injury, that would be adding injury to injury!)

  39. #39 Bert
    January 1, 2010

    It’s your duty to make it interesting PZ, I mean what are we paying you for?

    oh wait..

    But still, you know you have a duty to kick some ass. ;)

  40. #40 Mike
    January 1, 2010

    It’s every writer/activist’s dream to be imprisoned for their beliefs! Write a book while you’re in there, even if it sucks it’ll sell millions! :D

  41. #41 Dave
    January 1, 2010

    Oh this is just like christmas and your birthday at the same time…..what a gift for the 1st day of the new year …can we get mass (no pun intended) blasphemy day on the web …can we set a date and inundate the Irish Government with waves of words from the devils tongue ?

  42. #42 Lynna, OM
    January 1, 2010

    Rather than bailing PZ out, I think we should all just join him in jail. We’re known to be obnoxious, right? So the authorities are bound to toss us all out on our asses once a critical mass of offensive Pharyngulites gets on their last nerve.

  43. #43 Snuvs
    January 1, 2010

    I wonder if we are gonna go back to a time when God actually did the dirty work himself to kill all those Blasphemers? I mean come on. Why does everyone have to do God’s dirty work for him?

  44. #44 Bert
    January 1, 2010

    Maybe even God could get fed up with mud wrestling and wet t.. actually no that’s impossible.

  45. #45 hznfrst
    January 1, 2010

    The *Green* party supported this??

  46. #46 llewelly
    January 1, 2010

    Since I am presently unemployed, it is unlikely that will be able to donate more than $1 to your legal fund anytime before March.

  47. #47 llewelly
    January 1, 2010

    The *Green* party supported this??

    Don’t you dare deny the existence of Leprechauns!

  48. #48 Kamaka
    January 1, 2010

    Jesus H. Christ on a stick!

    How is it these religious morons get such privileges?

    “Oh, I’m gonna make up a bunch of outrageously stupid bullshit and I’m gonna squeeze my eyes shut really tight, so you better show respect.”

    “P.S. My moral high-ground is higher than your moral high-ground, so go to hell.”

  49. #49 piedwagtail
    January 1, 2010

    I have posted a blasphemous comment here to see if I get a 25000 Euro fine from Ireland.

    http://www.irishcatholic.ie/d5/content/bbc-takes-another-side-swipe-religion#comment-form

    I live in England where things are not quite as draconian (yet) ,

    Oh I see it is moderated , so maybe they’ll have to publish it to get me busted.

    Posted under name of P Z Myers fan.

  50. #50 llewelly
    January 1, 2010

    Blasphemy teaches people to be skeptical of religion. It informs those who are victimized by religion. It is a way of stealing from con men and giving to to their victims. A “Robin Hood” sort of crime, if you will

  51. #51 llewelly
    January 1, 2010

    13.5.1 In American usage printers usually place a period or comma inside closing quotation marks whether it belongs logically to the quoted matter or to the whole sentence or context….

    In most sorts of non-technical writing, this practice (the “American” quoting convention) is usually not much trouble – but from time to time I have encountered people who have been confused by it in non-technical writing. (All of them were Americans; that’s where I live. )

    In a technical context, it is a much more serious matter. During the 1990s, I encountered a few pieces of software documentation which used this convention. In every case, people were confused and frustrated through no fault of their own. Important data was inadvertently destroyed in several cases. Hours (sometimes days) of valuable time was lost in all cases. In some cases, people got bad grades or failed to complete important work when they would have performed adequately (or better) had sane quoting been used. This convention did concrete damage to real people who encountered it.

    In non-technical contexts, the “American” quoting convention causes only a little harm, but it has no advantages at all. In technical contexts, it is grievously harmful. So much so, that even a small risk of it spreading from non-technical contexts to technical contexts is unacceptable. It should be declared anathema, and people who insist on using it should be burned with the next goat.

  52. #52 Rorschach
    January 1, 2010

    Posted under name of P Z Myers fan.

    How very brave of you to use the name of an american blogger to hide behind to post an opinion in a place where you might get in trouble.
    Not.

  53. #53 Cyberguy
    January 1, 2010

    PZ – when you are in prison, say “Hi” to Bubba for me!

  54. #54 Kel, OM
    January 1, 2010

    I’d like to get some Hindus in to complain about promoting the blasphemy of beef-eating.

    I remember when those Danish cartoons came out and there were many who were all “free speech”, until a Tasmanian newspaper published a blasphemous cartoon of Jesus then suddenly it was wrong to mock another’s religious beliefs. No riots though, just cries of “persecution”.

    It’s amazing that in the 21st century that there’s movement towards blasphemy laws. It’s bad enough that so many western countries have laws already on the books, even if they are not enforced. All this does is give a platform for nations to band together to force the UN into making a ban on blasphemy an international law.

  55. #55 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    January 1, 2010

    PZ, if you are arrested, alone and afraid; I know who to call.

  56. #56 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    January 1, 2010
  57. #57 piedwagtail
    January 1, 2010

    Rorschach maybe you’re not familiar with the interweb.

    My IP address which I didn’t conceal will lead right back via my ISP to my front door.

    And I have no fears about owing the Irish 25000 Euros,

    I can’t see them extraditing me about it.

  58. #58 Rorschach
    January 1, 2010

    My IP address which I didn’t conceal will lead right back via my ISP to my front door.

    True.I just thought mentioning PZ by using his name as part of your nick was unneccessary.Might be off here, so apologies if it came across the wrong way.

  59. #59 piedwagtail
    January 1, 2010

    Sorry too Rorschach if my reply was a bit abrupt.

    I only used ‘ PZ Myers fan ‘ , as below my blasphemy which has still not been published , I referred to PZ’s tour of Ireland.

  60. #60 Ichthyic
    January 1, 2010

    PZ – when you are in prison, say “Hi” to Bubba for me!

    why? do you miss your sessions with Bubba?

  61. #61 RamblinDude
    January 1, 2010

    We’ll be praying for you, PZ!

    (I amuse easily)

  62. #62 shonny
    January 1, 2010

    Ireland:
    Pedophilia as committed by clergy = no problem
    Blasphemy as perceived by clergy = crime

    Guess that is Irish logic at its best!

  63. #63 Cyberguy
    January 1, 2010

    Bubba is my fwend. ;-)

  64. #64 Cyberguy
    January 1, 2010

    @Shonny – speaking of Irish logic, in honour of Irish logic I always like to drink Irish Breakfast Tea in the evening. Because, evening in New Zealand is breakfast-time in Ireland!

    The new blasphemy law may force me to drink Irish breakfast tea at any random time of the day, as a protest.
    ;-)

  65. #65 sammywol
    January 1, 2010

    Shit! I didn’t realise it hadn’t come into force yet. Ah well. I suppose I can count all my public invocations of the tenderer parts of deity (and maternal relations) hitherto as practice. See you in court PZ.

  66. #66 Mikko
    January 1, 2010

    i have ?0.50 that i can give you if you get arrested :)

  67. #67 shonny
    January 1, 2010

    I’d like to get some Hindus in to complain about promoting the blasphemy of beef-eating. Every Macdonalds ad, get off the air immediately!

    CtCC, McD and beef have no connections whatsoever.
    McD in Oz is mostly known for being able to sell turds in buns.
    And Aussies for selling roo meat to McD in the US.

  68. #68 Rorschach
    January 1, 2010

    McD in Oz is mostly known for being able to sell turds in buns.

    Hey mate, I had one of them angus burgers the other day( Xmas day at work, everything else was closed), and that was pure heaven lol !

    ;)

  69. #69 vanharris
    January 1, 2010

    In support of PZ, & Reason, & Justice, & Free Speech, etc., i posted at the Irish Catholic

    http://www.irishcatholic.ie/d5/

    the following blasphemous verse:

    TRUE RELIGION

    The Christian?s Jehovah is God Almighty,
    a cantankerous sod, vain and flighty
    and, insofar as I?m able to tell,
    the Christian, often, is as well.

    He?s confused with doctrines hard to see,
    that three is one, yet one is three,
    of heavenly father, son, and holy ghost,
    when surely a mother is needed most?
    If god?s omniscient, omnipotent, just and beneficent,
    then how come evil is so god-damned prevalent?

    The Jew?s Yahweh is a wrathful old jerk,
    setting strict rules on when to work,
    how to dress, and what to eat and sip,
    and giving baby boys the snip.
    Myths of Bronze Age, Mesopotamian nomads
    metaphorically get ?em, by the gonads.

    The Moslem?s Allah is a fierce great djinn,
    Submission?s the name of his religion.
    Apostasy?s treated just like a crime;
    they?ll threaten to kill you, to keep you in line.
    The religion of peace is what they call it,
    with warfare & terror, they zealously enforce it.

    Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain,
    Wiccan, Taoist, and the Born-Again,
    those of each and every religion,
    are mired in stupid superstition.

    Please feel free to Pharyngularize them on this very important issue.

  70. #70 Flea
    January 1, 2010

    “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.”

    If Thoreau did one night you surely can do the same PZ!

  71. #71 smallcatharine
    January 1, 2010

    They’re asking for a donkey trial of their very own!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Reve#Controversies

    Yes, this guy wrote about having been visited by God in the form of a donkey, having intercourse with the donkey, and was eventually acquitted. The prosecutors didn’t have a political career anymore afterwards.

    Nowadays, whenever a blasfemy trial is suggested in Holland, someone just sniggers “donkey trial”, and that’s the end of the matter.

  72. #72 Baccala
    January 1, 2010

    We are making light of all this – to us it seems so stupid and contrary to modern society that we can essentially take it as moment of idiocy that modern democracies will never really leave in force or use. To wit “Donkey Trial”.

    But the real danger – the reason this law has to be exposed as an evil and vanquished is it gives justification to the theocracies (minor and major) in the world that make this sort of stuff DEADLY serious.

    Ireland should be ashamed of their disregard for modern principles of free speech for some feel good jollies in their battle to maintain their traditions (really expecting that their justice system will not really apply the law as written).

    But more than that they should be horrified that they may be part of the cause some person is being stoned to death somewhere because they bucked the religious establishment. That is a real sin they ought to confess!

  73. #73 daveau
    January 1, 2010

    You are in some fast company there, PZ.

    Despite the backlog of cases that they will have by Feb., a high-profile foreign national blasphemer might make an ideal test case for the new law. Besides, you don’t have to be back at work until when? September?

  74. #74 Dr Aust
    January 1, 2010

    Re. Dutch author Gerard Reve, the subject of the 1968 “donkey trial” (see comment #71), the most widely known bit of his oeuvre outside Holland is probably the 1983 film The Fourth Man, adapted by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven from one of Reve’s books and well worth digging out on DVD. It may remind you a bit of Verhoeven’s later Basic Instinct, though with added religious symbolism, and mercifully lacking any sex scenes involving Michael Douglas.

  75. #75 Raskolnikov
    January 1, 2010

    I guess if each of us gives one eurocent, you’d easily get bailed out, or not?

  76. #76 Katharine
    January 1, 2010

    Are you sure this just isn’t another way for them to rake in tax money?

  77. #77 Sven DiMilo
    January 1, 2010

    oo!
    Test case!

    Show trial!!!

  78. #78 Marcus Ranum
    January 1, 2010

    I’m getting site errors from blasphemy.ie. Is it just me, network problems, or hostile action?

  79. #79 Katharine
    January 1, 2010

    Idea:

    Buy a Jeebus dildo for Dermot Ahern.

  80. #80 Richard Eis
    January 1, 2010

    I’m getting site errors from blasphemy.ie. Is it just me, network problems, or hostile action?

    Me too. They may just be drowning in visitors.

    If they have to prove that you openly mocked the church deliberately (lets face it, the jokes practically write themselves sometimes) and that a majority have to have been offended by it the I don’t think theres much danger here.

    The question I want to know is “Is it blasphemy if it’s true?”

  81. #81 jack.rawlinson
    January 1, 2010

    February, eh? I may just hop over to catch this, PZ. It’d be fun to indulge in a little blasphemous provocation.

  82. #82 Darreth
    January 1, 2010

    Congrats! Not only are you IN the list, you’re not at the BOTTOM of it. I’d wear this as a badge of honor.

  83. #83 Richard Eis
    January 1, 2010

    http://blasphemy.ie/2010/01/01/atheist-ireland-publishes-25-blasphemous-quotes/#more-721

    For the quotes.

    go to just blasphemy.ie for more info on why they are doing it.

  84. #84 JimL
    January 1, 2010

    PZ, I’m more surprised you didn’t get in more trouble for referring to Morris as a “third-rate university”. Mocking a Jebus-Thin is fine, but nibbling the hand that feeds you? Gutsy!

  85. #85 CalGeorge
    January 1, 2010

    Great beer and blasphemy! You are going to have a blast!

  86. #86 Omatix
    January 1, 2010

    You’ll be fine – they’ve got other things on their minds at the minute. Even Catholics are recognizing the dangers of paying too much respect to religious institutions.

    I once ran afoul of Scottish blasphemy laws as an actor in a play in college, but the complaints were happily ignored by the police. I’d predict a similar reaction from the Gardai.

  87. #87 Antiochus Epiphanes
    January 1, 2010

    Alright, no one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle. Even… and I want to make this absolutely clear… even if they do say, “Jehovah. “

  88. #88 Donovan
    January 1, 2010

    We need to organize a letter campaign. We will write blasphemous letters and mail them to Irish gov’t officials and Irish church officials. I’d say we can flood them so much the only way they could actually get any business done would be to repeal the law.

    I’m rather confident PZ could clog down their e-mail servers with a wave of his hand, but toss in RD.net and others… I think we can get quite a few “Holy Fuck”s and “Bloody Hell”s out of the bastards in no time.

  89. #89 MetzO'Magic
    January 1, 2010

    Got a 503 error when I first tried accessing blasphemy.ie. Thought the law had kicked in already and the site had been taken down… but then I realised it was just the ‘slashdot effect’.

    Way to go, PZ. Your legion of fans must be getting pretty large to do that ;-)

  90. #90 Katharine
    January 1, 2010

    Ahern’s got a fax number!

    042-9329016

  91. #91 Morgan
    January 1, 2010

    FFS guys – we’ve had this discussion on here before. For a bunch of people who claim to analyse the facts and the data, you sure react in a knee-jerk manner more often than not.

    If you look at the legislation it actually makes it more difficult to be prosecuted for blasphamy than is the case currently.

    Having said that – I’d still much rather see blasphemy removed from the statute book but that would require a change to the constitution. This legislation effectively makes it very difficult to be prosecuted for blasphemy

    So everyone can get off their high horse and maybe practice what they demand from others

  92. #92 Richard Eis
    January 1, 2010

    So everyone can get off their high horse and maybe practice what they demand from others

    I demand bitchiness and sarcasm from others…

    I think i will stay on my highhorse since I also made a similar remark to your expectations.

  93. #93 Kristjan Wager
    January 1, 2010

    Technically, there is still a blasphemy paragraph on the books in Denmark, and you (PZ) is going to be in Denmark later this year as well.

  94. #94 No More Mr. Nice Guy!
    January 1, 2010

    I had trouble getting through to blasphemy.ie, but the quotes are mirrored here:

    http://europenews.dk/en/node/28797

  95. #95 AnneH
    January 1, 2010

    @#34, re ‘goats on fire!’

    There is an ancient Scandinavian tradition of ‘yule goats’.

    The modern version of the Yule Goat figure is a decorative goat made out of straw and bound with red ribbons, a popular Christmas ornament often found under the Christmas tree. Large versions of this ornament are frequently erected in towns and cities around Christmas time — these goats tend to be set on fire before Christmas, a tradition that is also illegal and certainly unasked for by the goat makers. The Gävle goat was the first of these goats, and remains the most famous as well as the most burnt down.

    http://www.search.com/reference/Yule_Goat

    I suspect that’s the source of the ‘goats on fire’ meme. I think the goat-burning is an entertaining blasphemy.

    Also, PZ’s minions have downed the Irish Blasphemy site. Yay!

  96. #96 AnneH
    January 1, 2010

    D’oh, the site we crashed was Atheist Ireland, and they are fighting the blasphemy law. :(
    It was up, briefly, and I finally read it. PZ is in fabulous company – Monty Python and Tim Minchin, as well as Jesus and Mohamed.

  97. #97 KyBoiler
    January 1, 2010

    I think we should take the initiative on filing a lawsuit. Christianity has at its core that the other faiths are false heathens and doomed for forsaking their savior. Islam, similarly says they are the only path to heaven and that disrespecting their prophet or simply disbelieving in him is deeply disrespectful and should be stopped by whatever means necessary. We?ll ignore other major religions to save time, but you get the point.

    According to this law, all Christians, for the crime of disbelieving Islam and Mohammad, are offensive and should be fined. Of course Islam is also guilty of blaspheming against all of Christianity by flatly denying that Christ is God, deeming, under law, that they should also each individually pay a fine.

    All money from fines of course should be donated to The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The only true Creator.

    But seriously, there needs to be three Irish citizens (of each Abrahamic religion) that approach the court house together, today, and blame each other for reading quotes aloud from their personal holy books. They need to be willing go through with the legal process and demand to be taken seriously… so this law will be erased from the books as soon as possible.

    Fucking morons.

  98. #98 Rowan
    January 1, 2010

    I am curious as to whether or not PZ will even be permitted through customs and immigration when he gets to Ireland. What if through this blasphemy law they opt to ban individuals from even entering their country?

  99. #99 TheBiologista
    January 1, 2010

    I PZ’s itinerary for Ireland up anywhere? Some of the posters here were trying to convince him to come to Maynooth!

  100. #100 Anri
    January 1, 2010

    I wonder if we would be able to insist that the injured deity/deities appear before the court to give testimony as to the specific details of how they were damaged by the given case of blasphemy.

    If there were worries about reprisals, we could enroll them in the Witness Protection Program… find ‘em new jobs, new identities, that kinda thing.

    Just a thought.

  101. #101 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 1, 2010

    “We?ll ignore other major religions to save time, but you get the point.”

    That’s a good idea. The other major religions aren’t exclusionary (At least, not by doctrine. There will always be jackasses, hence Sri Lanka), so they’re not going to be calling Blasphemy out on others.

    Course, by offering alternate paths they still commit it to the abrahamic religions.

  102. #102 Skeptic001
    January 1, 2010

    So while all of the news regarding the Catholic Church in Ireland and it’s association with child sex abuse comes to light….new Blasphemy laws are becoming official…..looks like they are trying to stifle their critics and getting the government to back them up..hmmm

  103. #103 TheBiologista
    January 1, 2010

    @102

    Nah, the law was opposed by pretty much everyone. Not even sure the RCC wanted it- certainly any Christians I spoke to about it thought it was a bad idea. It appears that it was part of the new legislation on defamation simply because blasphemy is mentioned in the constitution. Leaving it out would require that we remove such references in the constitution which in Ireland can only happen by referendum. We had two referendums in 2009 (Lisbon I and II), so I think this was the government’s lazy-ass solution that avoided a third one or a potentially confusing double ballot.

    I wouldn’t look for conspiracy in Ireland. Corruption, sure. Subtly of any kind, not a chance.

  104. #104 Michael Nugent
    January 1, 2010

    Thanks for all of the support. We in Atheist ireland will be actively campaigning for the repeal of this law, as well as for a secular Irish constitution generally.

    Re comment #93 – Dermot Ahern has also made the argument that the new law makes it more difficult to be prosecuted for blasphemy than before. This is not correct.

    In the one case ever taken under the previous Irish blasphemy law, the Irish courts had found that the law could not be enforced as it did not define what the offence of blasphemy consisted of.

    So there was no chance of a prosecution under the old law, and there is a chance of a prosecution under the new law.

  105. #105 Sigmund
    January 1, 2010

    Michael, having read the legislation I get the impression that, while the law is prosecutable, the exceptions will allow enough leeway such that the sorts of ‘offensive statements’ most of us think are reasonable, will be permitted.
    The exceptions that are permitted are that the offensive statement should have artistic or educational merit.
    We do need a test case put though the courts to show that almost all such ‘blasphemous’ remarks fall into one or both of these categories (for example Richard Dawkins ‘God of the Old Testament’ paragraph).
    And for those pointing out that there was no great support from the Irish public for this law I would also add that there was no great protest either as it was signed into legislation – with the necessary support of the ‘Green Party’ (thanks very much, you tree hugging accomodationists).
    This law has nothing to do with old style blasphemy. It is based on a new style political correctness, be nice to all religions sentiment (imagine the US constitution first amendment rewritten by Chris Mooney and you’ll get the idea).

  106. #106 Morgan
    January 1, 2010

    @104

    Michael – I agree with your aims and would rather see a secular constitution but I think there has been a lack of “Real-Politik” from the secular side with regard to the new law – almost to the point of hysteria.

    The law defines blasphemy – but sets the bar so high that in effect it makes it almost impossible for a prosecution to be brought. The danger was that a radical group, under the current legislation, could force the Govt to implement a much tighter definition under the guise of enforcing the constitution. This was a defensive move to preempt religious fundamentalism – evident by the fact that the very religious are against this law for the very reason that it waters down blasphemy to a homeopathic level.

    I just believe the efforts of the secular community would be better off attempting to remove the last influences of religious on school boards for example. This campaign runs the risk of expending energy and resources on a minor impact issue and distracting from the the core problems.

  107. #107 dannystevens.myopenid.com
    January 1, 2010

    Pressure for a referendum to take blasphemy out of the constitution altogether.

    In the meantime PZ et. al. It is highly offensive to us that anyone should assert a god or moral laws derived only from a deity. It is a central tenet of our religious beliefs that these are evidently untrue assertions. As such we invoke the law against any church, paper or individual that publicly makes these assertions.

  108. #108 John Morales
    January 1, 2010

    Danny:

    In the meantime PZ et. al. It is highly offensive to us that anyone should assert a god or moral laws derived only from a deity. It is a central tenet of our religious beliefs that these are evidently untrue assertions.

    Um, who is “us”, and to which “religious beliefs” do you refer?

  109. #109 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 1, 2010

    “Um, who is “us”, and to which “religious beliefs” do you refer?”

    He’s playing with the law. You saw the comments above that referred to “A Muslim/Jew/Christian is offended that one of hte previous two is preaching something offensive to their faith”

  110. #110 John Morales
    January 1, 2010

    Sorry Rutee, still don’t get it (nor can I find the comment to which you refer).

  111. #111 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    January 1, 2010

    Really? Okay, from the top.

    Ireland’s blasphemy law means that if a statement causes “outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of [a] religion”, it counts as Blasphemy. THerefore, if you lock an Imam, Rabbi, and Priest in the same room, you’re probably going to get a statement that ‘should’ cause outrage to the other 2. Heck, add a minister for the lulz.

    If you argued secular humanism is a religion (Dear Gods, do you realize that if religion is undefined..), you could say any of a number of mean spirited or exclusionary claims by religionists is insulting to your religion. The easiest one is “You can only make ethics come from God”. This legitimately offends a lot of ‘atheists’. Just file some numbers around, call them secular humanists, and you’ve got a blasphemy violation.

    Personally, if I were to argue against this law to folks in Ireland in support, I would argue that respect towards women constitutes a violation of Confucianists; Therefore…

  112. #112 pat mccormack
    January 2, 2010

    Follow the money. We get tax-payer financed legal aid in Ireland. Well the lawyers do.. Dermot Ahern is a lawyer;all his buddies are lawyers. Duh!

    There is more to this law than blasphemy:

    “In passing, it should be noted that the law also criminalises speech which potentially ‘undermines public order…or the authority of the State’. The publication of ‘seditious’ materials is included in the provisions which are clearly directed at curbing a potential popular democratic revolt against the state itself.”

    http://www.revolutionaryireland.com

  113. #113 dannystevens.myopenid.com
    January 2, 2010

    Thanks Rutee, that accurately explains what I meant. The thing is that the original law, which defined christian blasphemy only, was bad enough. The revision now makes speech, that people don’t like, unlawful. The fact that it is narrowed to speech offensive to religious believers is still broad enough to capture almost all speech.

    If the parliament is forced to react to such speech and fails to prosecute then it sets a defining limit to future prosecutions, if it does prosecute then it has a test case on its hands. Both good outcomes. So, bring a charge against speech that the government will not want to prosecute, such as that by the catholic church.

  114. #114 MrJonno
    January 2, 2010

    Its symbolic but wrong, the UK we got rid of a blasphemy law that was never used as basically a statement that we are a secular country.

    The Irish have introduced a blasphemy law that almost certainly will never be used but is basically a statement saying Ireland isnt

  115. #115 ebon
    January 2, 2010

    Exactly where and when will you be giving your talks in Ireland? I’d love to attend one.

  116. #116 davej
    January 2, 2010

    Well, some people have done their best writing while in prison. Bring plenty of paper and a few crackers.

  117. #117 tom sheepandgoats
    January 2, 2010

    Few have been more critical of religious organizations over the years than Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet they are universally recognized as a nonviolent people. They’re ‘weapons’ are words only.

    Would that all followed that example. Then you could have groups of uncompromising principles existing side by side with like groups espousing different principles. And you wouldn’t need laws such as this one, which carry so much potential for abuse.

    It’s the only practical way in a pluralistic society.

  118. #118 Chris the Australian
    January 3, 2010

    Fuck you God and all believers of this insane fantasy story… I loved “The Lord of the Rings” and many other fantasy and Sci-fi stories, but would not swallow them as truth… That is for people like Christians and Scientologists!

  119. #119 Chris the Australian
    January 3, 2010

    Jehovah’s witnesses are the most elitist, exclusionary, hatemongers on the planet.

  120. #120 EWI
    January 3, 2010

    [Is] PZ’s itinerary for Ireland up anywhere? Some of the posters here were trying to convince him to come to Maynooth!

    He’d be better off going to Cork – William Reville (noted God-botherer, soft-focus ID-er and repeater of anti-AGW slurs) is down there, and PZ could do some good for the cause in challenging Reville to a debate, if he feels up to it.

    For those not in the know, William Reville is “Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Public Awareness of Science Officer [and] also writes the weekly science column Under the Microscope in The Irish Times.”

    http://understandingscience.ucc.ie/

  121. #121 Dawkins Slayer
    January 9, 2010

    Since all you atheists believe in free speech so much….. I think atheism is SHIT

  122. #122 Sven DiMilo
    January 9, 2010

    Your concern is noted.

  123. #123 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    January 9, 2010

    Yawn, boring, insipid, and wrong troll.

  124. #124 https://me.yahoo.com/a/8VKu.fItmJgQNYfTMTbBUBWtZgUMjdmBGce2#943e5
    March 25, 2010

    It will be great to watch We Will Rock You, i have bought tickets from
    http://ticketfront.com/event/We_Will_Rock_You-tickets looking forward to it.

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