Ireland Passes Blasphemy Law

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, July 13, 2009 | Published in

Speaking of British countries with shitty laws that infringe on the freedom of speech, Ireland decided to pass a very backwards anti-blasphemy law on Friday. The law makes effectively makes it illegal to criticize any religion. Anyone who dares to speak out against religion could be fined up to 25,000 Euros ($30,000 in real money). The Blasphemy Clause reads as follows:
Section 36

(1) 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. [Amended to €25,000]

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters 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 (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.
The Irish police force is also allowed to enter into someone's home and confiscate any material that is critical of religion.

Of course, the entire thing is bullshit. It doesn't give a clear definition of what is considered "blasphemous" or even who gets to decide that? This kind of vagueness could end up hurting people of all religions. It could kill all serious religious discussions since it is almost impossible to make a positive claim about one religion without blaspheming every other one. Catholics would not be able to say that Jesus is the only way and everyone else will burn in hell. Christians would not be able to say that Catholics aren't Really Real Christians. Muslims would not be able to say that Jesus wasn't really the son of God. Atheists were basically have to tape their mouths shut or acquire very deep pockets. Irish Discordians would be in an extremely difficult position since Discordianism was founded on blaspheming every other religion as often as possible. Many philosophers, writers, musicians, and stand-up comics would be barred from Ireland forever.

No one knows how the courts will actually enforce this law but there are several people out there already fighting this law including Atheist Ireland, Richard Dawkins, and the creators of the Father Ted tv show. It is a bit of an uphill battle because the Defamation Act of 1961 would have to be amended. I'm not an expert at Irish law so I have no idea how hard that would be. Until then there needs to be clearer guidelines on what can and can't be said.

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