Saturday, May 2, 2009

Blasphemy in Ireland

Irish officials are seeking to criminalize blasphemy. Under the proposed law,

“A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.”

“Blasphemous matter” is defined as matter “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.”
And here I was thinking Ireland had taken solid steps in recent years to rise above the status of laughable backwater!

I am intrigued at the implications of criminalizing text or utterances "insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion." Doesn't it follow that Muslim clerics have to be careful about what they say about Jesus? And that Christian clerics have to be equally careful about what they say about Mohammed? And so on?

Doesn't this law have the effect of criminalizing any clear, definite declaration of what (or who) is sacred and what (or who) is not?

Nothing and no one is sacred. By writing that, I wouldn't want to try to count how many religious sensibilities I've outraged -- the more, the better as far as I'm concerned.

If you're reading this in Ireland, clear your browser history -- it could get you a hefty fine.

1 comment:

twoblueday said...

Sounds like Ireland should be in Texas. Maybe they can join up if Texas secedes from the Union. It is obviously an antiquated notion that nations must have all their geography be contiguous.

And, while I'm ranting, I see nothing in what you've quoted that would make it illegal for religionists to bash atheists.