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back to article Ireland bucks trend with anti-blasphemy law

Take the Lord’s name in vain and if the lightning bolt doesn’t get you, the Irish Government soon will. That’s the fond hope of Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, who last week proposed the insertion of a blasphemy clause into the Defamation Bill, currently before the Irish Parliament. The clear intention behind this move is to …

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Paris Hilton

Just like the Middle Ages

Nice to see that we're all taking a step back in terms of human rights. At least they won't be burning us at the stake. Yet.

Paris, 'cause of the blasphemous things she does so well.

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So what is a religion...

Anything offensive to any religion. Better not deny the 'force' - how much is a dislike of Star Wars going to cost you in Ireland?

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Ash
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Heathen!

BURN THE NON BELIEVER!

No-one expect the Irish Inquisition.

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Stop

WTF

Jesus H Christ!

Can't Governments stay out of religion for Gods sake?

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Silver badge

If a religion's claims are not compatible with another religion...

...are all the followers breaking the law?

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Strike me down.

Jesus Christ! that's the most ridiculous thing I've read in ages. When will these idiots learn? I mean for god's sake!

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Flame

"...any religion..."

You insulted my light sabre, you bastard.

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Anonymous Coward

Blasphemy is a ridiculous excuse for a law

Just because a bunch of naive followers of the great sky-fairy don't like being told a few home truths doesn't mean there should be a law against it.

It's one thing I can agree with our American cousins on. Religion (or church) and state should be separate in a country which purports to be a democracy. Sadly, even the UK fails that test.

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Alert

feckarsedrink

it'll be the end of us all religeon godsdammit

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Unhappy

Ahern is trying to court the religiouos right vote

Unfortunately the majority of the population are small minded half wits, (Ireland has this in common with every other democracy however, as Churchill put it "democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried"). Ahern's party (Fianna Fail) are about as popular as a flatulent pit-bull with swine flu in a lift at the moment and so he resorts to this blatant attempt to shore up FF's core vote. He's also positioning himself for a leadership challenge within FF. This legislation won't pass as FF's coalition partners (Green Party) would never support it.

Expect it to quietly disappear after European and local elections.

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Flame

Classic distraction method..

They'd rather do this rather than face any questions about the economy.

......oh, and by the way, how's the Redress Board going?

http://www.rirb.ie/

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Obvious problems with this

The most obvious problem with this is if I was to say "There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his prophet" in a newsletter and post it to every house in a neighbourhood.

That would be "grossly abusive and insulting" to matters held sacred by Christians, Mormons etc. It would also probably cause "outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion". I might not "intend" to cause outrage but I would have to know that it was going to happen and since I take no steps to prevent this, I would be responsible for knowlingly causing outrage! A big hefty fine.

Most religious types believe that their religon is self-evident and that no others are real.

Let's just pretend that I worship a god. Let's call him Cthulu. Anyone who put any God-bothering nonsense through my front door would quickly end up in court. I would claim that since I worship Great Cthulu and know all other gods to be false, any attempt to persuade me otherwise must be an action which is calculated to cause outrage. I mean it's self evident that Cthulu exists and denial of him is blasphemous.

Idiots. How can anything like this become law?

If it was up to me I would change the law to say. "Religon is a private matter. Don't tell anyone else your stupid beliefs unless they ask or they have voluntarily turned up at a religous gathering".

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Government's opinion

Does this mean that the government consider the various religious group to be stupid and fat people clever enough to figure out how to kill the bullies and get away with it?

What if you're fat and religious? Do you get caught for ABH, but let off on grounds that your weight means that God cares more about you (more of you to love)?

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When do we start burning witches again?

This is ridiculous! What about my rights to express my opinion as an atheist?

I have come to terms with (but not accepted) that as a white male atheist I am basically bottom of the barrel in all this absurd PC rubbish but I don't expect to be fined for my (non)beliefs.

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That's what I like to see

Ireland bang upto date.

The economy is falling apart and people are losing their jobs left and centre, but never fear there will be no taking our Lords name in vain as we drown in America's debt.

Nice show.

Abair ach beagan agus abair gu math e

Can I have a icon which says that I'm from Ireland and I still don't know what they are going on about.

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Anonymous Coward

Intersting

So given:

`It then defines "Blasphemous matter" as "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion`

Can we now get rid of all the critics against Star Wars.

See what I did there, I mean why build weapons when the otherside can build them for you and you can get them to hit themselfs with said weapons.

All religion to some extent or another contradicts each other to a level were at least one party would feel offended if they were anal about it.

i'm sick of people dragging others back into the stone ages just because they believed a book that nomater what you say would never stand up in court as proof of any form of God.

Small detail but its as simple as that, People insult Scientologists but when you look at it then they have in comparrision to other religions been one of the best behaved and when you look at the facts like that, you realy have to ask, why!

If people want to believe in a god, fine, just respect the fact I reserve the right to believe that there is equaly no god and if you piss on my grass I'll cut ya knob of :).

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shot themselves in the foot

"held sacred by any religion"

The any bit is the problem, in that most religions are contradictory and the majority of their content is blasphemous to another religion. (I can't imagine that I am the one true God bit in christianity, going down well with poeple who worship other gods)

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Gates Horns

Jeho....

Jeho...

JEHOVA!!!!

bonk

ow!!!!

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Really?

Surely this goes against free speech and/or human rights?

I respect religions and understand that they place structure to today's world but discriminating a minority who have an opinion is just wrong.

I guess this had to come from the Irish, who else would be so stupid???

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Anonymous Coward

Wouldn't this law mean...

.. that no-one could worship?

A christain saying jesus is the son of god could be blasphemous to a jewish person but the jewish person saying he isn't the sun of god is blasphemous to the christian. It could be see as inciting hatred.

Meanwhile the kid in teh playground who is shorter than everyone else has to fend for himself again the bullies as hes a aethist!

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M7S
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Stop

"a substantial number of the adherents of that religion"

Is it that, or perhaps a substantial proportion? Hopefully the latter as then everyone can set up their own one-person church and be offended by anything. Particularly politicians. That would show the law for the ass it seems to be becoming in this instance.

If its the former then it will be interesting to see at what level a substantial number is set, presumably as a result of case law. It could be seen as rather discriminatory against religions with very small numbers of followers, at present. Should a currently established church fall below that number, it could be very upsetting, although despite current trends I think someone could work the numbers so as not to upset the status quo. (There's a religion in itself. Rock on.)

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Arse...

It's been said before, but I'll say it again.

You don't have to right to NOT be offended. If you are going to fine me a silly amount of money for saying something derogatory about your beliefs then I demand it be transfered directly to your chosen deity (and I don't mean its bank account on Earth).

There seems to be some crazy ideas of what being offended or insulted is worth at the moment. If i'm found caught downloading a song then i could be sued for 4000% of what it's worth and if i say something you don't agree with you're going to fine me 100,000!

We need to stop making concessions to idiots not giving them more power.

I'm all for sensible laws that try to prevent voiolent or hateful act against someone based on their beliefs (even if those beliefs are stupid), what the wear, their hair colour. I don't see why those who worship a deity get more protection than someone who wears some eyeliner and has pink hair. The former is the one who needs the least protection. If god's on your side why worry?

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IT Angle

Lest we forget...

http://despair.com/idiocy.html

It seems to me that stupidity is by far the most profitable part of human nature. Or it may be a desire for love and companionship. Or the search for answers to the Big Unanswerable Questions.

Organised religion is adept at harnessing all three.

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@Wouldn't this law mean...

So the short kid in the playground needs to become a Christian, tell the bully about it, and once the bullying because of his new belief starts... instant remediation.

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FSM

His Noodliness the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not really care if he is blasphemed against, the Irish need to lighten up.

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Defender of the Faith

Obviously Ahern is taking it literally. Let's face it, their god is so impotent he needs legislation to defend him now. Maybe they need the money to buy their god a new hearing aid, wheel chair and an eternity's supply of incontinent pads.

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Satanist ?

So as a satanist can i have catholic priests arrested for insulting my god ? (the Devil)

Being from Ireland myself I find it hilarious how easily government ministers make all those irish jokes completely true.

Run for the hills, ALOT of people will be in court for a LONG time if this one passes.

At least on the Register I can still say screw Jesus and all his little minions.

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Re : Dale

Absolutely correct.

Except if the short kid has ginger hair in which case the shortarsed bastard deserves everything he gets (and he probably started it as well, the little thug.)

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Anonymous Coward

Scientology

Scientology is NOT a religion. The Law courts have said as much, so I don't know why that was given as an example.

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The devil is in the details...

A statement's legality depends on your intent so I can say "Anyone who believes in God these days is a baby feltching dog molesting arse pervert" with total impunity because I don't mean to offend anyone by it, really I don't, I consider that a compliment, you may try and prove otherwise.

Pah!

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Look over there....

Yep, look at that. Wow. No, stop looking at the economy, look over there.

Welcome to Ireland, local time is 1483.

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Go

And another thing....

The anti-thinking other-people's-lives-dictating creationist fuckwittery is NOT mainstream Christianity, it just looks that way at the moment because of the noise it's making. (See previous post)

Now... Imagine the Armed Pursuit of the International Standards Organisation. Put on a .com on the end, and ask: "did darwin kill god". Enjoy 746.79 MB of a Christian chap who *doesn't* have his head up his arse.

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Jobs Horns

Illogical

Surely most religions are blasphemous against most others? :D

Hearing folks bang on about God is Blasphemy against my braincells.

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What is religion?

What set of beliefs count as a religion anyway?

This is all one big distraction to set the democracies against each-other instead of against their despotic anti-democratic Lords and Masters.

We asked for it though! We wouldn't even let "environmental science" trump democracy, and this is what we get!

Wretched Lords and Masters, but we're on to you now!

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mmm....

I don't think that blasphemy laws achieve anything useful and indeed are counter-productive.

However, those with mainstream religious views are certainly being marginalised in today's society.

The comments such as 'naive followers of the great sky-fairy ' and 'Don't tell anyone else your stupid beliefs' typify the pejorative terms used of those with religious views of any flavour.

It seems that we spend most of our lives these days 'being offended'.

May just be me, but I seem to have missed the great Utopia brought about by the current post-religious society. Maybe i blinked and missed it.

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Go

Peace, Love and Plaster

I feel your hate, brothers. You must know that Ireland has the highest Virgin Mary consumption in the world? With that strongly inculcated national background of chronic idolatry, blasphemy is a terrible danger, especially from the young, and must be fought from the cradle to the grave.

Benny the Bull, St Peter Gypsum Co., VC, Rome.

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Ash

Wooo!

I'm an athiest and I am insulted by the very IDEA of religion.

I offend EVERYBODY!

Guess I'll be sticking away from O'Neills' this evening.

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Stop

Would you like to see...

.. Britannia Rule again, my friend?

All you have to do is follow the Worms.

Would you like to send our colored cousins

Home again, my friend?

All you have to do is follow the Worms.

Would you like to see non-right wing Christians

being jailed, my friend?

All you need to do is follow the Worms.

...

Stop! I want to go home!

Take off this uniform and leave the planet!

I'm sitting here on El Reg cause

I have to know (have to know)

What the fuck is going on... (going on)

...

(Of course, when the politicians get home at night, their fat and psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives...)

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Sharia

It's not just for Taliban anymore!

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income generating

this is probably just a way for the irish gvt to make some extra cash..

they'll have under cover officials staking out every pub, with their fine book at the ready.. ka-ching!$!

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Coat

I cannot possibly comment...

...That would be an ecumenical matter.

ARGGHH, NUNS!!!

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Why stop at "blasphemy"?

What about the other non-existent crimes which the priests used to use to bolster their power? Heresy, for example. Or witchcraft. We need more non-existent crimes. Now!

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Joke

Re: Wooo!

I too am an athiest. And every morning I wake up and thank God I'm an athiest.

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blasphemy laws discredited long ago

Considering that the one charge against Jesus at his trial that stuck, (i.e. of blasphemy in declaring Himself to be God), isn't it time to get rid of these laws ? I'm all in favour of freedom of speech and minority rights which mainly originated within Christian societies and scarcely elsewhere, so have no problem with laws against incitement of hatred if sensibly discussed and carefully drafted based upon these objectives. But this central premise of my own Christian faith was blasphemy to those who didn't accept this then as it is to those who don't accept it now.

Thankfully it is possible to discuss these matters with those of other belief systems respectfully of the views of others, but the idea of blasphemy was discredited when God became man and was crucified for it.

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Religions - an IT angle

> [Sooty] most religions are contradictory and the majority of their content is blasphemous to another religion.

That seems a common view. In fact religions are more like software systems. There can be a lot of backward compatibility, if designed sensibly (lol). Blasphemy happens when you try to load current data into an old version of a program. Notice: it is *always* someone else's data and your old program, not the other way around. Note also that hacking up something composed of the best bits of your 6 favourite apps is not itself an application in any meaningful sense.

Intelligent design, anyone?

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He's a very naughty boy....

Would that now be illegal to view "Life of Brian? or even discuss it openly, to be sure?

Given the massive popularity of that film, you could reasonably guarantee to upset a "substantial number" of anything.

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Stupid government

This comes from the same Government that outlawed all mobile communications devices only to realise that emergency services could no longer operate their radios and had to change the law.

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I usually stay out of religeous arguments but:

The article said:

'It then defines "Blasphemous matter" as "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion'

"Grossly" would be the key word here so:

I could criticise Star Wars

I could follow another relegion

I could utter the Muslim call to prayer

I could state that I don't believe in God

I could state that I don't believe in Xenu (subject to it becoming a religeon)

To convince a court that a insult was "grossly insulting" would likely be extremely difficult, so please make comments a bit more intelligent than 'but I'm a Pastafarian' etc.

That said, I have yet to be convinced that laws against blasphemy are a good idea.

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Jobs Horns

A matter of faith.

At las.! A means by which us true believers and followers of vi can at last get our own back against the heretical bunch of latter-day cultist Emacs-users!

[Mac-users beware as well: your apostasy and worshipping of false-idols puts you next in the crosshairs of the Windows Inquisition.]

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Anonymous Coward

As a free speaking Irish man..

I plan on questioning gods existance in public and insisting I be charged under this ill concieved law. I then plan on forcing the government to prove gods existance or to explain why it is not blasphemous to bcall into question the existance of unicorns or elfs.. after all there are plenty of D&D players who have been caught praying to them at some point or other..

Or maybe I will insist they arrest the priest on sunday for offending many other religions..

Seriously.. how dumb do you need to be to come up with these silly laws.. we have a big enough public finance crisis with out having to pay out to prosecute and then compensate perfectly sound minded and scienticically informed people. I would never tell some one not to believe in god or to talk about their belief and I expect the same treatment in return.

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