Atheist Ireland is campaigning for the repeal of the Irish blasphemy law

For up-to-date details of this campaign, see our campaign website at Blasphemy.ie and our Blasphemy Facebook Page.

Update, September 2018: There will be a referendum at which we can vote to remove this law on 26th October. Atheist Ireland has lobbied for a decade to get this referendum, both in Ireland and at the United Nations, Council of Europe, and OSCE. We are now looking forward to a busy month seeking public support to finally remove this harmful law.

We will be working with colleagues including the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the International Campaign Against Blasphemy Laws, and in solidarity with victims of blasphemy laws globally.

Here are five reasons to Vote Yes on 26th October:

1. Vote Yes to support the right to freedom of religion or belief, the right to freedom of speech, and the separation of church and State. The Irish blasphemy law infringes all of these principles.

2. Vote Yes to allow Irish media outlets to deal objectively with religious issues, without having to self-censor themselves to avoid the possibility of a blasphemy case and a €25,000 fine.

3. Vote Yes to support Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, atheists and other minorities who face persecution in Islamist States. These States have cited the Irish law at the UN to justify theirs.

4. Vote Yes to remind ourselves, and show the world, how much Ireland has changed since 1937. We are now a modern pluralist State that respects freedom of religion, belief, and speech.

5. Vote Yes to agree with the many bodies that have called for removal of the Irish blasphemy law, including the 1991 Law Reform Commission, the 1996 Constitution Review Group, the 2008 All-Party Committee on the Constitution, the 2013 Constitutional Convention, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

27 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Soizick February 05, 2015

    Just dicovering that Ireland is now under an “antiblasphemy” law. As a Christian i vote for the repelling of a regulation both archaic, anti-right to think and anti-God. Without the right to criticise and not believe, there is no true faith !

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Phil OBroin October 25, 2018

      Blasphemys literal meaning is injury by word. If you remove this, is it ok to injure those you dont agree with ( verbal bullying ) ok? just because laws change the act is still wrong. Most of the words we use are old and archaic, are we to spend millions on voting about all our words? This country is supposed to be too poor to have a proper health system and yet we spend millions voting about a word I wonder why? The word has not inpinged on most of our freedoms, only those who want freedom to insult the beliefs of others. True freedom does not mean everything is accetable, it means we all have the freedom to practice what we believe without having our beliefs insulted by others

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Mark October 31, 2018

        Hi Phil, I think religious beliefs should be challenged robustly and freely – like any other subject, including politics. Blasphemy is like a jealous boyfriend not letting his girlfriend out of the house because he feels so insecure when she is in the presence of other men (this example can be reversed : a jealous girlfriend not letting her boyfriend out). It seems to suggest a “no-go area” that only religion (the Christian one, because I guess the Blasphemy law doesn’t apply to other religions, but I’m guessing here) benefits from. Is there a “Blasphemy law” for atheism, for secularism, for socialism, for…..?
        I do agree that there are more pressing issues to deal with, but outdated laws still need to be, well, updated.

        Reply
  2. Avatar
    Rachel O'Brien February 13, 2015

    Religious laws should only apply to religious people wonder how long they would last then :/..

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Jim February 20, 2015

    Shocked to know that such a law exists in any form in my home country, but hopeful this absurdity will be stamped out from our constitution. It is embarrassing however that stagnant theocracies in the Islamic world look to Ireland for inspiration for their own demented revelations.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    charmed February 25, 2015

    shocking

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Linda Hennessey February 25, 2015

    This is such a bad law

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Derek Hayden May 06, 2015

    could the church then challenge the results of the referendum on marriage equality, if these laws are still in place?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Andrew Doyle May 06, 2015

      Hi Derek – not sure what you mean. Are you asking if the marriage equality referendum could be considered blasphemy? The offence of blasphemy needs to be committed by a person who can then be prosecuted -so the short answer to your queston would be no.

      Reply
  7. Avatar
    David Durand April 19, 2016

    Is burning in Hell for all eternity not enough? 😛

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    Caitriona Murphy May 10, 2017

    Atheist Ireland: Please read the The Defamation Act 2009.
    There is no need to appeal it. It protects people of faith from being publicly abused and offended by a person intending to cause offense.
    EXAMPLES:
    If I walk around shouting God isn’t real and Christians are a**h*les, I’m committing blasphemy because I intentionally want to upset people around me.
    If I walk around shouting God isn’t real because I want to spread the word, I am allowed to do so, it is my right.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Jon June 14, 2017

      So using that logic a Muslim can say that Jesus is not the son of God, and it offends a group of Christians, then it is considered Blasphemy, or an Atheist can say that Mohammed was a Pedophile for marrying a child, then that is Blasphemy but if a Buddhist says that Atheists are a**h*les and there is a God then that is not Blasphemy because it offends no religious person? What if there is a group of people that worship a coke can and someone crushes a can in front of the group and they are offended is that Blasphemy? What if someone considers another’s act of faith offensive to their own faith?

      Free speech isn’t free without the right to offend or be offended.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        sinead kerins October 26, 2018

        Hi…just a small point. Buddhism is a non-theistic religion. Buddha is not a god but a state of life. So you could say a Buddhist would be calling themselves an a**h*oles if you get me if they said that about atheists :0)

        Reply
      • Avatar
        sinead kerins October 26, 2018

        Point of information:
        Buddhism is non-theisic. Buddha is not a god but an enlightened life state. Therefore it would make no sense for a Buddhist to slander atheists as that would be equivelent to calling themselves ” a**h*oles* if you get me :0)

        Reply
  9. Avatar
    Simon watsham December 08, 2017

    Offence is an emotion and you can choose to be offended if you wish. Criticising religion or beliefs maybe offensive to some but it causes no harm. We need to distinguish between offence and harm.
    If your comments offend someone then so be it but no harm has come to them. If the offended reacts in a harmful manner it is not the fault of the person who made the offensive comment as we all have free choice over our actions.
    Let us not blame harmful actions on offensive comments.

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    Jdk01 April 26, 2018

    I am confused.

    I am resident in Ireland, but I am not Irish.

    If I potentially commit blasphemy by writing a comment on my .com website (hosted outside of Ireland), am I breaking the blasphemy laws of Ireland?

    If yes, is it because I am writing the remark in Ireland? Or is it because I am sending for publication from Ireland ? Or both? Or?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Edward July 04, 2018

      hi, the fact that you are not Irish is irrelevant, all residents of Ireland are subject to the rights and obligations in the Constitution regardless of their nationality. However, in the situation you described, you are unlikely to be prosecuted because the AG has stated prosecutions for blasphemy would be very unlikely in the immediate future.

      The blasphemy law only applies to blasphemy committed in Ireland, the Irish authorities would have to show that you committed the offence while you were resident in the state. In the event of an investigation, they may wish to examine your computer etc and who had access to the computer at the time the comments were made. Again, all very unlikely given the current direction of the state towards a more secular future.

      Reply
  11. Avatar
    John Egan August 28, 2018

    Faith? Religion? 2018 and we are still so fundamentally flawed. This ridiculous law was enacted when the Cults had power over the state. When child rape and murder were hidden by all. Now that the Cults are exposed for what they are this nonsense must stop.
    A question no one has asked…if you were “Married” by a paedophile priest how is it legal and binding?

    Reply
  12. Avatar
    Conor October 09, 2018

    Why would an atheist care about a blasphemy law? Why would an atheist insult someone they don’t even believe exists anyway? Atheism is turning into its own cult and the whole referendum on this thing is a pure waste of money. No atheist can prove their theory of humans appearing by random chance just as no theist can prove their theory of a creator. It’s just a waste of time arguing the subject. Forming a cult of atheism is just silly and no-one is closer to proving their side of the argument. Surely there are better things to do in this short life we have.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      mickelodian October 26, 2018

      But, religious people taking strange, dangerous, illogical and harmful actions DO exist.

      What’s not allowed is for atheists to point this out NAD insist it changes.

      I am not allowed to point out the moral harm done to teenage Muslim girls spirited away to Pakistan to be married. If I claim this is child abuse and the perpetrators are pedophiles I am commuting a crime. Seemingly a crime worse than the spiriting away of the child to be married since its not illegal in Ireland to arrange marriages abroad for a 12 year old. But it is illegal for me to point it out, as I am doing right now.

      Atheists don’t argue with your god…whichever God that might be. You never made it clear which one is the ‘real’ one after all. There are many thousands to choose from too.

      I think the problem here is that what is clearly an immoral and harmful law is about to be removed, from today. That’s not me being a prophet either. Its me living in the real world where crazy ideas I might have will not affect reality and I should not try to force reality to comply.

      Unless you think religions, religious institutions and religious individuals do no harm? Remember for a full thousand years we had a flavour of complete and absolute control by the christian church of almost all levers of power and influence. They controlled Justice, Education, Scientific endeavours, tax collection and every aspect of life. Hat do we call this utopian era? Its called the dark ages. Due to the complete stagnation of western europe.

      So you religious whack jobs had your chance, you blew it, now shut up, take a back seat and let the grown ups that know what they are doing run things from now on using reason and not horses**t.

      Reply
  13. Avatar
    Ms s October 13, 2018

    I think this law should be abolished everyone has the right to think and speak freely without judgement or the old churches way shame ! I do believe in God I am Catholic and I do believe God loves everyone equally sexuality or race no doubt Jesus had to speak freely to be heard and gain his followers as it says in the Bible

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Mark October 31, 2018

      Hi Ms S, Glad to see a post like yours. I’m an atheist, but I’m also a secularist. I like to see people “coming as they are” (as Catholics, Protestants, Sunnites, Shi’ites, Hindus, socialists, republicans etc.) in the public space , and that public space is neutral (secular).

      Reply
  14. Avatar
    JohnJoe OReilly October 23, 2018

    hi, if I am a member of the Aghori Religion, is it Blasphemy to talk crap about my official religion?

    Reply
  15. Avatar
    mickelodian October 26, 2018

    As of today, judging by the current trends in religiosity this law will be gone by 9pm tonight.

    What’s needed now is for the Irish government to completely rewrite the Irish constitution and reflect the fact that this is a modern secular society.

    We should not be sending this rewrite to Rome for its stamp of approval as happened in 1937 either.

    Christianity is now dead in Ireland, as witnessed by Pope Frankie’s abysmal turnout recently and the fact that nobody cares about what the church have to say.

    The goal before that is also to extract the fingers of control the church are still holding on our education system.

    After all, if there is one single area of life we should not have the church involved in, its our children. I think they have had quiet enough input into our children over the last century and that input has been extremely harmful. They are still at it too…

    So within ten years, if we are deliberate in our actions we consign these deluded freaks and their crazy ideology and dangerous and terrible actions to the waste bin of history.

    Reply

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