29 April 2009

Blasphemy to be added to the statute books?

It's been a while since I posted. There have been a few issues I've parked and to which I will return but today this caught my eye and raised my ire. It’s 2009, yet tomorrow the Irish parliamentary committee on justice is considering a new defamation bill including the introduction of a new blasphemy law. Are we not at the cutting edge of modern European secularism? I know the Celtic tiger is in hiding licking its wounds but I thought that its one legacy was the abandonment of catholic guilt. Yet now the Minister for Justice is proposing an amendment to the defamation bill to include the crime of blasphemous libel.
Although there is no crime of blasphemy in Ireland, article 40 of the constitution states :
"The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law".

Now Dermot Ahern wants to introduce the following :
“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.”

As our nation moves into a new era of enlightenment, why are our leaders moving into the dark ages, afraid of criticism of the invisible imaginary man in the sky. Is this to protect the catholic church or the muslim imams? How can the Irish atheist express opposition to the very idea of a deity without now drawing the wrath of the law and a €100,000 fine.
I for one, will be writing to my TD to ask his (they are all men in my constituency) opinion on this matter.
Kudos to Pat Rabbitte who is proposing to reduce the fine to €1,000 and “allow” blashemy with literary, artistic, social or academic merit. Do any of our representatives have the guts to make the logical stand, seeing as there is no proof of a deity, remove the need to defend it from both the law and the constitution.

Zero Albedo 29 April 2009