The economy has collapsed. The world is on the brink of disaster. The country is bankrupt. So what do you think our government is devoting its energies to?
Blasphemy, that’s what.
As part of the Defamation Bill, the minister for justice has seen fit to introduce the crime of blasphemous libel.
According to the bill, 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.
And what exactly is blasphemous matter?
It’s anything 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.
If you cause outrage among a substantial number of adherents of a religion, you can be fined up to €100,000 for committing blasphemous libel.
We don’t know what a substantial number is. We don’t know what outrage means. We don’t even know what a religion is.
But still, if you say something that pisses off a bunch of religious lunatics, no matter how crazy they are, you can be found guilty of blasphemy.
If you laugh at Scientologists, and they feel outraged, you’re a criminal. Or to put it another way, your guilt or innocence depends on how sensitive some lunatic is.
If nobody is offended, you’re not a criminal. If some bunch of nutcases get worked up about what you said, then you are a criminal. It all depends what the nutters think.
A charter for fucking maniacs to rule the country.
If you say that the Prophet shouldn’t have been having sex with a seven-year-old girl, and a substantial number of Muslims are outraged by your opinion, you’re a criminal.
If you say, No. An alien from Venus doesn’t live inside your head, and enough Scientologists complain, you’re a criminal.
If you say Jesus doesn’t turn into a biscuit, and some bunch of ultra-right nutbags complain, then you’re a criminal.
Here are some people you can’t laugh at anymore:
– Jehovah Witnesses who’d let their children die rather than give them a blood transfusion.
– Scientologists, members of a worldwide money-grabbing scam, who think a How Sexy Are You? machine is the key to salvation and that your head is full of space creatures.
– Mormons who believe that the restoration of the ten tribes of Israel will take place in America and that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates that were buried by the prophets near New York, and that he was told about them by the Angel Moroni.
– Muslims who believe that young couples should be stoned to death for eloping and that a suicide bomber will end up in Heaven with 72 virgins.
In future, you won’t be permitted to say that you think any of this is nonsense, in case you cause outrage. If the editor of Jyllands-Posten lived in Ireland instead of Denmark, he could be prosecuted for publishing those cartoons of the Prophet that caused such outrage around the world. If Salman Rushdie lived in Ireland, he’d be a criminal for writing the Satanic Verses.
This is a classic Irish governmental fudge.
Article 40 of the constitution states as follows: The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.
Now, rather than amend this anachronistic provision, placed there by the authoritarian Catholic de Valera and the even more authoritarian John Charles McQuaid, the minister has decided to place into law a ludicrous criminalisation of legitimate discourse. He’s making it a crime to ridicule any belief, no matter how insane. This is a charter for every mad fundamentalist in the world.
Send for the lunatics. The asylum is under new management.