Many thanks to the member who sent me this news. I’d heard muttering on the ‘nets about it, but looky here: a full-blown scandal.
In the United States, we have a constitution that, usually, prevents religious fervor from spilling from the pulpits into the congress. There is an entire amendment to the constitution for this sort of thing.
Ireland’s constitution declares blasphemy to be illegal, but provides no penalties for those who, in good Irish tradition, blaspheme daily in the most profane way possible.
It goes something like this:
“The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent material is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.”
Now they’ve already got punishments for sedition and indecency. But one intrepid Minister of Justice, the right-honorable (that’s how it goes in Ireland, right?) Dermot Ahern has proposed punishments for blasphemy..
Here, of course, is the bit in question:
1.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.
2.For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is 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 (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.
3.It shall be a defence to proceedings for an offence under this section for the defendant to prove that a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value in the matter to which the offence relates.
Now, the good folks who make the TV show Father Ted have taken a particular notice of article the third. In fact, they’re planning to take part in a major offensive by Atheist Ireland, Richard Dawkins and other likeminded people asking Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
And if Father Ted can’t get something done in the UK, then I just don’t know what’s what anymore.
Funny thing is (if you’ve got a sick sense of humor. Or should I say humour?) the fine has gone from 100 thousand euros (141 thousand dollars) to a “mere” 25 thousand euros (35 thousand dollars). While this might mean that Rupert Murdoch will still be able to shock viewers on the FX Network, it does mean that Atheist Ireland is up. The same change saw the addition of rule #3, and the addition of a confiscation rule. This means that my Christian Sex Toys could be taken at any moment.
So if you want to provide some encouragement to those who would stand against this affront to an open, secular society, head on over to Blasphemy.Ie and let them know that, goddamnit, you want blasphemy to keep going – Jesus Tittyfucking Christ!