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WTF

Just came across this

It seems that our government intends to give special privilege to religious sensibilities.  What the fuck is going on here?  And i quote…

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: “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.”

Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court may issue a warrant authorising the Garda Síochána to enter, if necessary using reasonable force, a premises where the member of the force has reasonable grounds for believing there are copies of the blasphemous statements in order to seize them. 

Is this idiot serious?  What happened to freedom of expression in this country?  Why should we be prevented from asserting that religion is manifestly-obvious bullshit and an intellectual insult.  The corner-stone of freedom of speech is the freedom to offend and I fail to see what right you have not to be offended just because your bar of enquiry is set substantially lower than mine.  I find myself offended every time i look at the outrages of organised religion and its well documented excesses – who defends my offense?

This law will be used to censor blogs like this, it is wide open to abuse and is a slippery slope to oppression – or the tyranny of the majority.–  To some religious types, the very existence of Atheists is offensive and we would be forced into self-censorship.  Not for the first time this year I find my self disgusted by our government.  

Surely the HAI will be fighting this?

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8 Responses

  1. I think we need a campaign to update the Constitution. Have you seen the preamble?
    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 Éire,
    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,
    And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
    Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

  2. There was a discussion last night on RTE’s Primetime – for Irish people it can be seen here

    http://www.rte.ie/player/#v=1047152

  3. Maybe we should just make a whole lot of noise about this. I’m serious. A concerted effort to ring up phone in programs (radio and TV, is important here along with a careful (AND POLITE!!!) expression of our concerns. This will publicize our view point a bit better (cause less face it we’re preachin’ to the choir on Atheist websites). And don’t expect HAI to do something about it either (they will try of course) but that’s just a lazy approach. It’s time we got off our inteeligent asses and voiced our views people. Download and print the flyers from RichardDawkins.net and take to the streets. Show the government that we can be offended too, that we will not have backwards laws drag us into a mess of intolerance and confusion.

  4. The UK finally got rid of their outdated blasphemy laws just a year ago, I can’t believe that Ireland are planning to introduce new ones in the 21st Century!

    I was reluctant to leave Ireland two years ago, but I’m becoming more and more glad since I’ve seen how bad things are becoming…

  5. It’s a great excuse to be offended by anything we can make up – in the name of personally held, cherished beliefs of course…

  6. Can I say I’m Jedi and the church across the road from me is offensive and stop them waking me up on sunday mornings with the stupid bells?

  7. The first thing that occurred to me is that the whole concpet of religious outrage/offence is contradictory. Every Sunday* each group extolls the virtues of their gang and (either implicitly or explicitly) decries every one else who’s not a member.

    Every religious person should be perpetually outraged that the other religions are allowed to peddle their “lies”.

    Michael Nugent has some more coverage:
    http://www.michaelnugent.com/2009/04/29/new-blasphemy-crime-for-ireland/

    and Carol Coulter has a follow up piece:
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0430/1224245681506.html
    *(insert holy day here)

  8. I think what’s going on here is a typical Irish solution to an Irish problem, the problem being the internal contradictions in the constitution. Article 40 guarantees freedon of speech but then limits it in relation to blasphemony. Religious freedom is promiced in article 44 but christianity is given a special position. Because the constitution says that we should have a law against blasphemony and the supreme court is unable to define it the stupid politicos go about making a really stupid law. If the supreme court can’t define it then surely the proper course is to remove the outdated concept from the constitution? I feel a write in campaign coming on.

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