One of the LLWL Gang is heading off to a vacation in Ireland today. Good thing for her, she's not one who needs to be concerned about the latest law passed there.
As reported at TPM, Ireland revisits blasphemy:
Blasphemy is one of those old issues that Westerners assume has passed into the realm of sketch-comedy or articles about Muslims losing their tongues. But now Irish atheists and religious alike are wary of Justice Minister Dermot Ahern's new Defamation Act, which revives awareness that blasphemy has been, and still is, a crime in the traditionally Catholic country. Although the new penalties may be less severe than in the 1961 version, fines of up to 25,000 euros may still be levied for the crime of blasphemy against religion - and now against any religion.Yes, it's true. Luckily, I've already been to Ireland, so I can cross it off my list of vacation spots. Lord knows that I've been known to criticize religion (especially the Catholic Church), knows that I'd be in trouble if I were to step foot in Ireland.
Staks Rosch notes, Ireland passes blasphemy law:
On Friday July 11th, 2009, Ireland passed the Defamation Bill by one vote. One of the aspects of this bill would make it illegal to criticize religion… any religion under penalty of fines up to 25,000 Euros. That is the equivalent to nearly $35,000.
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[A]ny religious criticism is a crime, because many Christians are critical of differing religions. Atheists are not the only ones being targeted here. Simply claiming that the Pope is not infallible might be considered blasphemous to many Catholics. Claiming that the prophet Joseph Smith was not really visited by angels and given magic golden plates would be blasphemous to Mormons. Mentioning the prophet Mohammad without adding the phrase “peace be upon him” would be considered blasphemous to Muslims. And claiming that Scientology is a sham and that Tom Cruise is crazy would obviously be blasphemous to Scientologists.
What if a Christian claimed that if someone was not saved through Jesus Christ, he or she would spend eternity in Hell? An argument could be made that such a statement and even the Bible itself might be considered blasphemous to other religions. In fact, most religious are blasphemous to other religions. Maybe the Irish police will fine everyone.
Atheist Ireland plans to test the new law by publishing a deliberately blasphemous statement. See Trees, worshippers and Ireland’s new blasphemy law. Now, blaspheme -- that's something to praise!