Erin Go Blasphemy: Ireland Considers Creation of New Crime For Insulting Religion

images1The West appears undeterred in its rush to embrace prosecutions for criticizing religion. This week Ireland is considering creating its own blasphemy law to allow for criminal prosecution — the same week as Finland began prosecuting a politician for blasphemy.

I wrote a column recently on this dangerous trend in the West. “Blasphemous libel” crimes would be added to the Defamation Bill proposed by the Irish government. The Constitution already contains Article 40 which states: “The State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State. The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent material is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.”

It is an outrageous provision that strikes at the heart of free speech. The government should be proposing to repel it rather than codify a new crime to crackdown further on civil liberties. Atheists are opposing the law.

Indeed, last year, a committee proposed amendment Article 40 to remove this language, which originated back in the time when the Church of England was given protections from critics. Likewise, in 1999, the Irish Supreme Court noted in Corway -v- Independent Newspapers that it was impossible to say “of what the offence of blasphemy consists”.
Under the new law, a “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.” “Grossly abusive or insulting”? It is astonishing that such language would find any supporters in the West, let alone the Irish Justice Minister.

Civil libertarians need to create a united front against this insidious trend. It is the most misguided interpretation of pluralism. In the name of pluralistic societies, you criminalize free speech and free thought.

For the full story, click here.

18 thoughts on “Erin Go Blasphemy: Ireland Considers Creation of New Crime For Insulting Religion”

  1. look,you people are so obtuse, this is an economic matter .We don’t want to repeat the mistake that the Danes made .The cartoon fiasco will retard Danish trade in the middle east for at least another 50 years.Ireland has massive interests in that region and one idiot publishing inflammatory material could lead to a boycott such as the Danes have experienced. No one is going to be prosecuted under this law, unless of course they grossly offend the muslims, and that’s not going to happenwith a E100,000 fine.

  2. I have been a huge fan for years, but have not seen you on TV lately (and I admit to not being a big TV watcher). But I did tune in to MSNBC tonight to see you “debate” Pat Buchannan on torture. Never have I seen such a mismatch of argument and, sorry to say, very nice job of hanging PB’s arguments with his own rope at the end. The very reason we need to prosecute for torure crimes is to ensure that we have credibility in the world and to avoid moral ambiguity for future Americans. What we have witnessed is an eroding of the US constitution and our standing in the world.

  3. One can only ponder at who the lobbiests were who managed to get The Irish Government to waste legislators time with the nonsense.More likely Ratzinger than the Mullahs I’d guess.

  4. mespo,

    Well played.

    raff, Prof.,

    I must also say I am appalled at the actions of those of our common lineage. And Mike A. has a point about Joyce being history – which may or may not be bad news for English majors depending upon perspective. A sad day for the Emerald Isle nonetheless.

  5. Mespo,
    Good work with the latest troll.
    I was shocked that the homeland of my ancestors is considering such a law. I hope they come to their senses before it is too late.

  6. “during his early illumination a discordian is required to go off alone and partake of a hotdog on friday.” “This is done in part to offend the common paganisms of the day; catholics (no meat on friday), hindi (no meat of cow), buddhists (no meat), and muslims and jews (no meat of pork).”

  7. I guess torture works in the “Through the Looking Glass” world where subsequent events cause preceding events.

    [[[LOL ]]]… italics yours!

  8. EnhancedInterr…:

    Here’s a little analysis of your cut and paste that your web site omitted, and you apparently missed:”

    “In a White House press briefing, Bush’s counterterrorism chief, Frances Fragos Townsend, told reporters that the cell leader was arrested in February 2002, and “at that point, the other members of the cell” (later arrested) “believed that the West Coast plot has been canceled, was not going forward” [italics mine]. A subsequent fact sheet released by the Bush White House states, “In 2002, we broke up [italics mine] a plot by KSM to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building on the West Coast.” These two statements make clear that however far the plot to attack the Library Tower ever got—an unnamed senior FBI official would later tell the Los Angeles Times that Bush’s characterization of it as a “disrupted plot” was “ludicrous”—that plot was foiled in 2002. But Sheikh Mohammed wasn’t captured until March 2003.”

    Thus, the L.A. attack, if it was ever even intended to be carried out, was averted in 2002 when Americans apprehended the Asian terrorists charged with the task. Official Bush and Intelligence statements even claim that the attack was thwarted back in 2002.

    So if Sheikh Mohammed was not arrested until 2003, how on Earth could torturing him have thwarted the plan?”

    I guess torture works in the “Through the Looking Glass” world where subsequent events cause preceding events.

  9. That’s quite a slippery slope. Even though EnhancedInterrogationWorks’ comment was a bit blatantly off the topic, I do think there is a connection that can be made. If torture is deemed pragmatically ethical in one sense, then who determines that it isn’t in every sense? The same with blasphemy laws–who is to say that won’t lead to religious leaders no longer being held accountable for fear of “blaspheming”?

  10. Unfortunatly most people in Ireland just don’t care either way…they are too preoccupied collecting their rents…land and landlordism being the new religion here.

    Besides that the Irish media are to frightened to insult those that are most likely to avail of such laws…..

    Peace and blessings be upon you ……..yeah.

  11. Should this proposal become law, Ireland will have to ban the collected works of James Joyce.

  12. Here’s what one web site said on Feb. 16, 2006:

    “Last week, U.S. President George W. Bush revealed in a public speech that U.S. authorities, working in concert with foreign intelligence and security agencies, had disrupted an al Qaeda plot in
    2002 involving an aircraft attack against a skyscraper in Los Angeles. The attack originally had been planned to take place in October 2001, one month after the 9/11 attacks, but was repeatedly delayed for numerous reasons.

    “As outlined by the president, the attack would have unfolded along now-familiar lines: Four al Qaeda operatives were supposed to hijack an airliner, seize the controls and ram the aircraft into the tallest building on the West Coast–the U.S. Bank Tower, formerly known as the Library Tower. The weapons used were to have been explosives the operatives concealed in their shoes, which supposedly would have aided them in blowing off the cockpit doors.”

    The attack was foiled because of information given by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, under interrogation at Gitmo. Whatever “torture” they applied to him saved thousands of lives.

  13. Well one way to solve this would be to castrate and mute the Offenders and the off springs too. That way, we won’t have to put up with that type of offensive behavior ever again.

    That will teach them, properly, once and for all. Never to be heard from again and never able to procreate.

    Hey we are doing that with the Torchees are we.

    The next step, make Government the religion. Then . . .wait a min, we already have Treason on the books.

    I can see total governmental control. We limit one dignity at a time.

  14. Correct me if I am wrong. But to have laws such as this on the books, would it not be endorsing religion in a sense?

Comments are closed.