Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’
Earlier this year I mentioned that Ireland’s anti-blasphemy law went into effect on January 1. After being made fun of on the internet and in other media for the past few months, the guy who proposed the law is now trying to get rid of it. Here is the justice minister Dermot Ahern from the report:
“There was a lot of nonsense about that blasphemy issue and people making me out to be a complete right-winger at the time,” he said. “There was an incredibly sophisticated campaign [against me], mainly on the internet. I was only doing my duty in relation to it, because clearly it is in the constitution. The attorney general said ‘there is this absolute, mandatory thing… it is an offence, punishable by law.”
I don’t remember anyone saying anything about the right wing. In fact, most of what I heard when it came to the politics of this was that was a part of a European trend of letting Muslims use existing, mostly secular government institutions in order to codify some of their religious beliefs into law, and that that was taking advantage of what might be too much political correctness in those countries. If anything, that itself is more of a right wing position.
And the whole reason we have elected officials in democratic countries is in order to interpret these laws and constitutional mandates. Obviously blasphemy laws are outdated. Anyone working in the government of a country like Ireland should be aware of that.
But it is nice that he called us sophisticated.
There are a couple of updates in ongoing fits of religious craziness today.
Ireland’s anti-blasphemy law goes into effect today, and Atheist Ireland has responded by publishing 25 blasphemous quotes. There are a lot of quotes from people you might expect – Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, George Carlin, Mark Twain – and then a few surprises, like Jesus, Mohammed, Bjork, the current Pope, and Dermot Ahern, the Irish Minister for Justice who actually introduced the anti-blasphemy legislation.
It could be that it will actually take riots like the ones over the Jyllands-Posten comics in order for this law to be used. That way the extremists who freak out over being criticized take no responsibility for their actions, and the critics alone are responsible for how someone else reacts to their criticism. That would be a bit like charging a woman who left her husband for another man with murder if her husband were to kill her new lover.
On the other hand, it could simply be that Atheist Ireland and anyone else who blasphemes at all in Ireland will be charged a $25,000 fine. And remember, that’s $25,000 per offense. Maybe some rich guy in the area can bail out PZ when he gets there next month.
On a lighter note, Taner Edis at the Secular Outpost points out that the fanatical cartoonist Jack Chick (the subject of a recent documentary) has released two new and hilarious “Chick Tracts” today. I like this one best, it’s about how them thar Injuns use their devil-magic on good Christians:
You see, Crazy Wolf the Pagan uses witchcraft on Mary the Christian in an attempt to kill her for trying to spread Christianity because that totally still happens nowadays. And in retaliation, Mary the Christian uses witchcraft on Crazy Wolf the Pagan to convert him to Christianity. One kind of witchcraft just works better, apparently. It’s like the “Chick Tract” of laundry detergent commercials. In other words, Chick seems to really believe that magic actually works – it’s just that the pagan magic is really a deception by Satan or something.
Here is the other one, which is not quite as amusing:
This is just another one of those “OMG THE POEP IS TEH ANTIKRIST111” ones. It’s pretty funny because Chick’s brand of Christianity only goes back just over a century, while the Catholics can trace their history back to Peter. And yet it’s the Catholics who have ‘fallen away,’ as they say.
Four years ago today, some Danish newspaper printed some drawings of Mohammed and yada yada yada, a bunch of people burned shit down and then yada yada yada, now it’s Blasphemy Day.
The Center for Inquiry is having a Blasphemy Contest. The deadline is midnight tonight for verbal submissions (< 20 words), and the cartoon version is yet to be fully described.
There have been a lot of issues regarding blasphemy still, which is just completely fucking insane. This isn’t just about remembering some cruel past where people were severely punished or even killed because of what they said.
In the “liberated” Afghanistan, 24 year old journalist Parwiz Kambakhsh was given a 20 year sentence for blasphemy. His “crime” was in downloading an article which was critical of Islam’s treatment of women. Although, to be fair, he was recently pardoned by Karzai.
In India, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has been involved in attacks on women in pubs. They were said to be acting “obscenely.” By drinking with men to whom they were not married. That’s “obscene.” This is where you end up when you start allowing people to think they have a right to not be offended by anything ever.
The BJP then started a War On Valentine’s Day by trying to intimidate non-married couples from going out in public and maybe doing something OBSCENE like kissing or holding hands or something AWFUL like that. So some opponents of the BJP and their supporters started a campaign to send BJP leaders pairs of old ladies’ pink underwear.
And this past July, Ireland passed an anti-blasphemy law which made it a crime to cause “outrage among a substantial number of the adherents” of the religion so blasphemed. Since this is the nice, civilized western world, instead of decades in some of the worst prisons in the world, “offenders” are to be charged with a €100,000 €25,000 fine. There is now a campaign to repeal this legislation.
So celebrate Blasphemy Day today by offending someone. Not just anyone. Try to find someone who thinks they have a right to not hear about any ideas that might offend them and show them that they have no such right. Because if they did, nobody could ever say anything ever, since what we consider to be offensive is subjective. I might find the idea of another “National Treasure” movie offensive and nauseating, but that doesn’t mean I should be able to have Jerry Bruckheimer arrested.
Or should I? Does he ever travel to Ireland? Maybe these blasphemy laws have an upside after all.
Follow-up: “Faith is no reason”
So there’s the Irish Republican Army, and in the past few years they’ve basically disarmed themselves. And of course there were some people who didn’t want to give up their old ways, as there tends to be when things like that happen. So those people started the “Real IRA.” That’s what they call themselves.
It seems like they’re trying to de-legitimatize the “old” or “fake” IRA on two fronts. One is to actually be an army with weapons and stuff. But the other would be just in what they call themselves. It’s like they’re not sure about the whole Pen vs. Sword debate, so they’re going with both.
I think it would be pretty fun to start a Really Real IRA, and then have a splinter group from the RRIRA called the Really Seriously Real IRA (RSRIRA), and then just keep splintering off into more “real” and “realer” IRAs until you get to the “Fuck The Authentic Bona Fide IRA, We’re The Intrinsically Substantial IRA For Realz Yo IRA” (FTABFIRAWTISIRAFRYIRA).
There will be so much confusion over who’s who that the British will just get fed up with it and “piss off,” as I guess they say over there. Problem solved.