Monday, July 27, 2009

Blasphemous Blasphemy Laws

With a weird turn of events, it seems that Ireland has step back in time without the help of a DeLorean and its 1.21 gigawatts of power[**] towards the medieval era - they have implemented Blasphemy Laws.

Blasphemy is defined as the usage of one or more gods or religious system to be used in a manner that is considered objectionable by its members. That in itself is extremely subjective and broad, and I think will bring more trouble than its worth in the courts in Ireland. I do not live in said country, I wondered what sort of freedom of speech laws they had:
Freedom of speech is protected by Article 40.6.1 of the Irish constitution. However the article qualifies this right, providing that it may not be used to undermine "public order or morality or the authority of the State". Furthermore, the constitution explicitly requires that the publication of "blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter" be a criminal offence, leading the government to pass a new blasphemy law on 8th July, 2009. (wiki)

Under the Irish constitution, the state is obliged to have blasphemy laws. The bill going through the Dáil would amend the Defamation Act of 1961, which includes blasphemy as a crime. To abolish blasphemy laws, the government would have to hold a referendum to amend the constitution. (link)

According to Pharyngula it could cover the authority to seize blasphemous material from your home if they see it necessary. How is this morally and lawfully allowable? What is religiously blasphemous to someone may not be for me, or others. Is owning books by Anton Szandor LaVey and Richard Dawkins blasphemous to the Church? Of course! Yet does one not have the right to own them? "It also exempts works in which a “reasonable person” would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value." So they will obviously object to much of the metal music being sold and distributed within the country as they have very blasphemous art, themes and concerts, as seen by the likes of Gorgoroth, Cannibal Corpse and Impaled Nazarene.

Interesting, comments made by a local Catholic church in England in regards of a tree stump that resembles the Virgin Mary as "superstition" go by unnoticed
Local Parish Priest Fr Willie Russell said on Radio station Limerick Live 95FM yesterday that people should not worship the tree. "There's nothing there... it's just a tree ... you can't worship a tree."

With PZ Myers commenting "I hope the Irish druids are going to be rightfully upset at this horribly offensive slur against their faith." Could the local Druids file a suit against Mr. Russell?

Or is this just a case where blasphemy laws are only applied to the Christian groups, whilst not applying to others because of the edict in the Ten Commandments? Some are trying to figure out what is covered under these laws and what isn't, since obviously it is so goddamn (oops!) subjective. Graham Linehan in an interview asked that justice minister Dermot Ahern, who introduced the bill, should be challenged to define what he meant by blasphemy.

"This is insanity. Please, Mr Ahern, define the things we can't say, please! Can we say, 'Jesus is gay'? Or can we ask, 'Is God in a biscuit?' Could he tell us what it means? It is just insanity. After all, there are things contained in the holy books of one religion that are blasphemy to another religion. The logic behind this comes from Alice in Wonderland." He said the Irish blasphemy law was part of a trend in the west where freedom of expression was being attacked "to placate the craziest people on earth".

While paganism and polytheism is a relatively small slice of the religion pie, we have obviously received many smears and attacks in the past as being nothing more than a silly sect or belief system by the detractors. In the last election term Islam was widely maligned, and Jerome Corsi decided to use his position to ridicule more with his comment:
"May Islam join the garbage heap of worthless religions we have grown beyond. Any believers of Hermes out there?"

Why yes, Mr. Corsi, I do.

It's hard to say that we would pass such outdated laws, but I hope we don't see the puritans in this country decide to follow suit like what progressive countries like Britain has done in installing Sharia Law alongside Ireland's brilliant Blasphemy Law.

To all the Irish, make sure you delete all the copies of Raptor Jesus or any LOLJesus you may have on your harddrive.


Magaly Guerrero August 4, 2009 at 7:34 AM  

It is always scary when a law includes the "reasonable people" bit. The amount of questionable 'reasonable people' out there is always pointing toward injustice.


Hermes, draw near, and to my pray'r incline, angel of Jove, and Maia's son divine; Studious of contests, ruler of mankind, with heart almighty, and a prudent mind. Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow'rful arts could watchful Argus kill: With winged feet, 'tis thine thro' air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse: Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine: With pow'r endu'd all language to explain, of

care the loos'ner, and the source of gain. Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod, Kerukeion, blessed, profitable God; Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, and in necessities to mortals kind: Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere, be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear; Assist my works, conclude my life with peace, give graceful speech, and me memory's increase.

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