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.
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