Jul 122009
 

As you know, the new Defamation Act was passed and awaits signing into law by the President. It will now be a criminal offence in Ireland to ridicule a religion.

I have no doubt we can expect complaints from outraged Moonies, Scientologists and assorted cults of every hue. Therefore, I decided to approach the police to see how they intend to handle complaints.

Here’s an email I sent to the Garda press office, and I’ll let you know what they say, in the unlikely event that I receive any reply.

___________________________

I am currently preparing an article on the operation of the anti-blasphemy law, as set out in the new Defamation Act.

The provisions appear to be quite wide-ranging, and it is open to the adherent of any religion to make a complaint to an Garda Síchána if they feel offended by any published material. In this context you will recall some years ago the controversy surrounding the publication of cartoons in in a Danish newspaper which caused outrage among some Muslims. It appears that an editor could now be prosecuted if he published those cartoons in Ireland.

In the event that a complaint is made to an Garda Síchána under this Act, could you please clarify whether all religions will be given equal weight? For example, would a complaint from the Church of Scientology or the Moonies be treated with the same gravity as a complaint from the Catholic Church? Likewise, will some procedure be put in place to determine which religions are recognised as valid and what criteria might be used to make this determination?

You are perhaps aware that certain religions which most people would regard as spurious, such as Pastafarianism and the Jedi religion, are widespread across the world. If a journalist should write an article ridiculing a church that worships a spaghetti monster (Pastafarianism), or makes fun of a religion based on a science fiction movie, would an Garda Síchána take such a complaint at face value, and consider prosecuting that journalist for blasphemous libel? If not, would the decision not to proceed be made by a member with special training in determining whether a particular religion is a legitimate one?

I would also be interested to know what procedures might be put in place where one religion’s beliefs are deeply offensive to another. For instance, Judaism teaches that Jesus is not the Messiah. Many Christians find this deeply offensive, and it is not inconceivable that a complaint might be made against Jews under the terms of the new Act. In such a case, would a complaint be entertained and perhaps brought before the DPP?

Finally, could you please advise whether an Garda Síochána is currently taking measures to equip its members with the necessary expertise to deal with this difficult issue if and when it arises?

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Crimes of Blasphemous Libel

Blasphemous Libel

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Elsewhere

Blasphemy.ie

Darwin

Atheist Ireland

  32 Responses to “Anti-Blasphemy Law — Ireland Consumed by Politically Correct Insanity”

Comments (31) Pingbacks (1)
  1.  

    You should have asked them what they intend to do about the Tree Worshiping Cult of Rathkeale?..Maybe they could send the Special Branch…

  2.  

    This thing needs to be broken as soon as possible. And the way to do it is to make a complete feck of it.

  3.  

    Hahahaaaa! Seems like the Belgian virus has spread to Ireland.

    Here some Afrikan tried to sue because a Tintin comicbook from the ’50’s was ‘condescending’ towards Afrikans.

    But with you it’s even worse.

    Condolences.

  4.  

    We can’t insult Moonies?….does that include that insufferable cretin on RTE ?

  5.  

    Nice one! dazman.

  6.  

    Someone started a topic about this at the Facebook Atheist Group:

    http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=9813&post=54643&uid=2210222015#/topic.php?uid=2210222015&topic=9966

    Back to the Middle Ages!!!

    Really crazy shit:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-8928-Philadelphia-Atheism-Examiner~y2009m7d11-Ireland-passes-blasphemy-law

    …and someone else mentioned and gave a link to THIS post!

    See here for a local Irish perspective:

    http://bocktherobber.com/2009/07/anti-blasphemy-lawireland-consumed-politically-correct-insanity

    also: http://bocktherobber.com/2009/04/facebook-deletes-blasphemy-day-group

    Bock, your fame is spreading…

  7.  

    Forgot to write the name of the topic:

    Ireland passes blasphemy law

  8.  

    Why do people take any notice of these politically correct headbangers, and why do they get so much media publicity,

  9.  

    Bock,

    It’s like the law on cars with tinted windows. It will never be enforced unless someone who is threatening – like some oil sheikh -.stirs up trouble.

    It would be tempting to lodge a complaint about the dissemination of Papal documents which are anti-Protestant.

  10.  

    Can it get any crazier? Oh, maybe I shouldn’t say that…
    I’ll need to remind myself to keep quiet should I be in your neck of the woods.
    My sympathies.

  11.  

    Good email, I hope you get a response.
    I just want to take up the point you made regarding Christians being offended by Judaism’s claim that Jesus isn’t the messiah. This can be broadened quite a bit. The Qur’an has some pretty offensive things to say about Jews and Christians. There are plenty of Christian publications whose ideas will offend Muslims and Jews. See where this is going?

    This law is just asking to be used against religions. It’ll be interesting if you get a response from the Gardai but if this law can be applied easily, it will destroy itself. Just imagine every fruitcake religious nut (do i need to be specific about the religion to be sanctioned) applying the law against other religions. All the holy books could get banned! And by a law that was meant to “protect” them. I can see some interesting cases coming up.

    Oisin

  12.  

    Jah, Pastafari, for it be a ‘fence gainst de peoples te mock de official religion o’ the ol’ D’YER MAK’ER ‘Ligion, we can fu’gives yu all. We is bigger dan dat. Yo, it has been saids…

  13.  

    Right, let’s have a go then. There is no god. People who believe such nonsense are basically stupid. They cannot engage their brains to think for two minutes about the likelihood that there is a big, hairy man in the sky looking down on them. They have been brainwashed, simple as that. Religious people are as thick as a short plank, as sure as the pope’s a paedophile. And this law is completely insane. By definition, every religion disagrees with some major aspect of every other religion. Thus all the religious groups in the world disagree with each other. Since they all express truth claims and they disagree with each other, most of them have to be wrong, as a simple matter of logic. If, say, at least 90% of the people are wrong in their beliefs (and probably a lot more than that), how can it be just to prosecute people for ridiculing them? Catholics are wussy, wimpy, gormless gits. Muslims are smelly, medieval, ignorant gits. Jews are arrogant, in-bred, humourless gits. Hindus are pathetic losers. Protestants are uptight, repressed, boring gits. Scientologists are just trying to get laid. Jehovas Witnesses are fun to slam the door on. Who have I forgotten? Who’s left waiting to be offended? Let’s see some outrage. Come and arrest me. Come on, I dare you.

  14.  

    A small bit of information for you Sean.

    They won’t arrest you. They’ll arrest me, because this is my publication.

    Therefore, your fearless stand puts me at risk of being prosecuted, while you can sleep easy.

    Having said that, it doesn’t worry me too much if some fucking eejit tries to prosecute me under this ludicrous law, but still, it’s important to make the point about who carries the can for the things people say here.

  15.  

    Fair enough so, Mr. Bock. When you get that knock on the door, and Garda O’Houlihan serves you an arrest warrant because you published the blasphemy that the pope is a paedophile, please give him my number (01 377 8876) and I’ll explain everything. You see, he’s actually a goose-stepping, Nazi-sympathising paedophile, but I left out the Nazi bit, so as not to offend anyone. Not that Garda O’Houlihan would mind, of course; sure, he himself is partial to a bit of goose-stepping around his bedroom every time he gets his uniform back from the dry cleaners. And he wouldn’t know the difference between a Hindu and Jehovas Witness if he goose-stepped into one on his doorstep, so to speak.

    I’m getting tired of just taking the piss with this thing. It’s such a tired old Irish defence mechanism, taking the piss. While we’re all sitting around smugly assuring ourselves that this legislation will never be implemented, wink, wink, the country’s reputation is going down the toilet in Europe. You see, they were never really that modern and sophisticated, say the Danes and the Germans – they got a bit carried away with themselves, what with Bono telling them that it was cool to be Irish and all. And then the roof fell in, the house collapsed, the state and church were exposed as a bunch of fucking torturers; and the best distraction the government can come with is to outlaw criticism of people’s ignorant superstitious beliefs, in the vain hope that there are enough brainwashed old biddies left out there to swing the vote their way in the inevitable general election after the next farce of a Lisbon vote blows up in their faces. It’s just so fucking cynical, it’s depressing.

    Someone has to publicly challenge this legislation soon and expose Dermot Ahern for the dreary cute hoor in a cheap suit that he is. And hopefully the entire FF edifice will collapse in a stinking pile of hypocrisy and get sucked down the vortex like a hungover, one euro Ryanair shite.

  16.  

    You seem to be missing my point. The web address you attached to your name is a fake. You’re allowing me to take the hit while you court the glory.

  17.  

    If you can’t stand the heat…

    (and anyway what glory is there in posting my sad rantings on some obscure and remote corner of the blogosphere? Do you think anyone reads this? You should be happy for the traffic.)

  18.  

    You don’t bring me any traffic. Set up your own website if you have the balls.

  19.  

    Jaysus, you’re a bit sensitive at this time of the month darling. So are you the only one who’s allowed to offend people on this website?

    And yeah, I’d set up my own website if I was unemployed too.

  20.  

    Goodbye.

  21.  

    Actually, I just read your comments policy, and I thought it was fair enough. I’m surprised you haven’t deleted me already. I am so pissed off with this ridiculous piece of legislation that I just needed an outlet, you know? But I must commend you on your approach to spelling and grammar – there’s just no excuse for poor English (other than being uneducated, of course). I think we might actually become friends now – I even bookmarked you.

  22.  

    Oisin has a fair point, and I can see where Sean O’Diuin is coming from, but is it not coincidence that such a bill comes out of the woodwork so close a time to the whole catholic paedophile kiddy bashing ring was made public hit the headlines?
    I’d just love to know who actually came up with this one (actual names) and what uptight catholic order is he/she connected to?
    Ant Bertie a member of Opus Dia or some other fecking secret society/order who’s strives to uphold the catholic churches power over the country or at least keep it’s feet in the door? Was this not the reason this whole thing was kept under control (as in the gagging orders on anyone involved and the fact the church need pay out only a pittance or why there is no going door to door and rounding up of all those twisted fucking priests/brothers/sisters who were involved and covered up what was going on for decades)?

    And on what Osin stated above, I’d fecking love if every religion made use of this law and used it against every other and have it completely backfire on them all, if so I’d love to see that day.

  23.  

    “http://news.ie.msn.com/world/article.aspx?cp-documentid=149235590”

    A Swedish MP says he has lodged a complaint with the European Commission over Ireland’s new blasphemy law.

    Karl Sigfrid, a conservative member of the Swedish Parliament, says he is concerned that Swedish citizens travelling in Ireland ‘could be punished for merely expressing a view on a religion or religious symbol’.

    Mr Sigfrid said it was bad legislation that could spread to other EU member states.

    Writing in the EU Observer, the Swedish MP said the new law was inconsistent with human rights laws under existing EU treaties.

    He said that defining blasphemy as speech that offends a substantial number of religious followers gives the churches the power to gradually expand the application of the law.

    Mr Sigfrid said: ‘A not too far-fetched guess is that statements threatening the power of religious leaders will awaken the strongest reactions and therefore be considered the most offensive ones, resulting in punishment by the state.’

    He also said the new law contravened the European Convention on Human Rights.

  24.  

    Some people on the planet consider soccer to be a religion………..so it is possible that rugby wankbags will take a moment of pause before spouting the usual (very predictable) shite about soccer that could well be taken as blasphemy by followers of the beautiful game.

    Every cloud has a silver lining.

  25.  

    Jesus latches on to the high cross but gets nailed by the centre-half.

  26.  

    You’re fucking nicked mate….

  27.  

    Years of trying to convince people worldwide that we’re the backward idiots a certain former colonial power used to tell everyone we were and the assholes in Government reverse it all with the dumbest bit of legislation I’ve ever seen come out of the government. I’ve been reading comments on this story from various international newspapers online and everything is backward this and that. And nobody wants bloody legislation.

    Unbelievable.

  28.  

    How could we mere peasants argue with such perfect leaders! Of course its right to pass such a bill. After all were we not wrong about the nice treaty, the abortion referendum and of course the lisbon treaty. democracy the Irish way one man two votes…. So shut up and listen to our great dictators, the powerful men that accomplished in two years what the great british empire could not do in 850 years. bring us to our knees. humiliate us and ignore the calls for them to fuck right off!!! Im dyslexic and my god is a black labrador. I`ll light a candle for you mr aherne you brother of a tree dweller…

  29.  

    The more I think about it, the more I think that nobody could really be that stupid as to pass a law like this for the reasons some of us assume. They may be thick, they may be fucking our country up worse every day, but they are cunning, no doubt about it.

    Maybe it’s not about giving leave to the lunatics who won’t hear a bad word said about their chosen delusion, but more about the Catholic church trying to ensure that it’s the dominant religion. i.e this law will pretty much guarantee no 5 a.m calls over the loudspeakers to Mecca in Limerick City for example, since by definition it would be an insult to the religious beliefs of most of the populace. It could also pave the way to get rid of those bloody Jehovas calling to the door.

    So maybe it’s more like a nuclear age cold war type of law – all sides have the means to obliterate the other, but won’t dare in case of retaliation….maybe, just maybe, this law will actually keep organised religion in check and give society a chance….

  30.  

    I will be planting my own on that lot. ,

  31.  

    Hi gave me such a laugh on a dark evening when I thought there was no smile !thank you I had many happy days in Limerick in 1970’s

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