Atheist Ireland welcomes blasphemy referendum in October

Atheist Ireland welcomes the announcement that our decade-long campaign for a referendum on the blasphemy law has been successful.

We will finally be able to vote in October to remove this anachronistic, silly, and dangerous clause from our constitution.

The blasphemy ban is anachronistic, because we should be removing 1930s religious references from the Irish Constitution, not legislating to enforce them.

It is silly because it suggests that the creator of the universe requires the protection of laws passed by the Oireachtas.

And it is dangerous because it infringes on free speech, because it incentivises public outrage, and because Islamist States use it to justify their own blasphemy laws, which they use to persecute and murder members of religious minorities.

In Ireland, we know that some media outlets choose to self-censor themselves, rather than get involved in even the chance of a blasphemy case being taken against them.

Last year the police dropped a blasphemy investigation into Stephen Fry because they did not find sufficient public outrage. It is irresponsible for a law to tell people that they must demonstrate public outrage if they want to have a blasphemy case taken.

Internationally, Islamist States at the United Nations, led by Pakistan, have called for the wording of Ireland’s law to be introduced internationally, in order to bolster their own laws against blasphemy and apostasy. 

These countries use blasphemy laws to persecute Christians, Ahmadiyya Muslims, and atheists. In Pakistan, a Christian mother, Asia Bibi, currently faces execution for blasphemy. 

The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief has said that “those countries that continue to have an intimidating anti-blasphemy practice like to quote European countries to unmask Western hypocrisy.”

Last year Atheist Ireland, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland, and the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland, jointly asked the United Nations Human Rights Committee to bring an end to the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

Atheist Ireland will be campaigning strongly to remove this anachronistic, silly, and dangerous clause from our constitution.

If you would like to help, please contact us at secretary@atheist.ie. We look forward to hearing from you.

Atheist Ireland

2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Robert Bennett June 13, 2018

    It would be interesting to trace the motivation of then minister Dermot Ahern. Ahern defended the introduction of the new crime of blasphemous libel and the fine of up to €100,000 that will be imposed on blasphemers. stating that a new definition was required by the Constitution.
    He claimed to be following advice from the office of the Attorney General. Gardai right now have the power to seize blasphemous material from the home or any other premises used by a person convicted of blasphemy. The law flies in the face of a recommendation by the Law Reform Commission which said in 1991 that there was no place for such an offence in a society which respects freedom of speech.
    So, who/what was behind it. My opinion is that it was intended to discourage anti-religious discussion and that it was badly timed. More appropriate to the time that the Eight Amendment was passed perhaps. Why would the Attorney General decide that the 1936 Constitution needed the Act after 73 years?

  2. Avatar
    Giovanni Mazza July 07, 2018

    I always had my doubts about the veracity of the talking snake in Genesis. But perhaps it was a prophecy about Dermot Ahern. As for the Green Party who supported this repression, I came to see that they are more enthusiastic about social control than human rights. They are more reminiscent of the Bible’s talking donkey. It’s right there in black and white in the Bible folks. The Creator of the universe had occasion to talk to us through his ass.
    Or could the blasphemy legislation just be petty rednecked Catholic supremacism that forgot to factor in things like jihad?

Atheist Ireland