THE news media are chattering about Ireland’s new blasphemy law that went into effect yesterday. The latest news, as the BBC reports, is that Irish atheists challenge blasphemy law. They say:
An atheist group in the Irish Republic has defied a new blasphemy law by publishing a series of anti-religious quotations on its website.
The new law makes blasphemy a crime punishable by a fine of up to 25,000 euros (£22,000; $35,000).
The government says it is needed because the republic’s 1937 constitution only gives Christians legal protection of their beliefs.
The new law was passed in July 2009 but came into force on 1 January.
The BBC article doesn’t link to the atheist group’s quotes, but your Curmudgeon won’t let you down. This is the atheists’ website with their 25 Blasphemous Quotations. We hear better blasphemy than that every day, but who knows? In Ireland that may be enough to cause problems.
This is definitely a retrograde step for Ireland, and it’s a big one. They’ve been known for having one of the most successful nations in Europe, with a wildly disproportionate share of the world’s pretty girls, and now look what they’ve done. Ireland has transformed itself into Dark Ages nut house.
That’s pretty much what Richard Dawkins said back in July when the law passed. See: Blasphemy law a return to middle ages – Dawkins in the Irish Times. Here’s a teaser:
The new blasphemy law will send Ireland back to the middle ages, and is wretched, backward and uncivilised, Prof Richard Dawkins has said.
So where does this leave people like your Curmudgeon? We don’t run around like a college sophomore proclaiming that there are no gods. We have no more interest in theology than we do in opera. We’ve looked into both subjects. We know that they exist. They have vast quantities of subject matter and numerous passionate enthusiasts. That’s fine with us. But when the fat lady sings, we’d rather be somewhere else.
Is that blasphemy? Maybe in some Islamic countries, and now maybe in Ireland. We’ll never know because we don’t plan to visit any of them.
What we do here is talk about science and its detractors. That’s enough for the crazies to show up and call us atheists. If we were doing this in Ireland, would it bring a visit from the cloaked and hooded blasphemy police? Does anyone know?
Forget about blogging, that’s a small issue. Is it safe to teach biology in Ireland these days? Geology? Astronomy? Can books on those subjects be sold there? How bad will things get in that country?
Anyway, although we regret what’s happening in Ireland, this is a bit of a non-issue for us. We write this blog in America, and there’s not much Ireland can do about it except shut down their citizens’ access to the internet.
Will they do that? They might, but it certainly won’t be because of us. We’re the least of their problems. But there are some stridently atheist blogs out there. In order to protect the sheep from exposure to such utterances, the shepherd has to fence in the flock.
Will Ireland start blocking their citizens’ access to foreign internet sites? They’ve already taken a giant step in that direction merely by passing their new blasphemy law. The question isn’t whether they’ll do it, but when.
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