This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Everybody's a blasphemer

Everybody's a blasphemer - Comments

OlavRokne's Avatar Comment 1 by OlavRokne

I wonder which religious group will be the first to bring charges against someone.

Honestly, I think the Irish have done a favour to atheists by making the thin-skinned religious community look so silly.

Mon, 11 Jan 2010 21:47:00 UTC | #431075

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 2 by InYourFaceNewYorker

If that law existed in the US in 1997, my cousin and I could have gotten in trouble had the wrong people known known about the game we made in Hypercard as teenagers. In the game, when you died and went to heaven (these particular absurdities were my cousin's idea), you could molest God, crucify Jesus Christ, impregnate Jesus Christ, and burn Jesus Christ.


Mon, 11 Jan 2010 22:16:00 UTC | #431090

Summer Seale's Avatar Comment 3 by Summer Seale

The Atheist group should blaspheme against Scientology as well as the others, since Scientology clearly has the highest track record of suing people in courts of law for "defamation". =)

Of course, I'm not sure if Scientology is considered a religion in Ireland the way it is in the US. But if it is, we could get lucky and get a trial which bans both the blasphemy law *and* Scientology in one fell swoop. =)

At least, that's part of my dream.

I heard an NPR story on this just two days ago though, and they were talking about how even Catholic clergy think this law is a bad idea and just think that blasphemy laws in general are a bad idea. I'm pretty certain that's probably the case. Honestly, it doesn't sound like too many people in Ireland want this damn thing and they really ought to scrap it.

Mon, 11 Jan 2010 22:26:00 UTC | #431100

Daisy Skipper's Avatar Comment 4 by Daisy Skipper

I'm impressed with some of the articles in the Washington Post. I think that as long as there are intelligently written articles in popular newspapers (and the like), that discuss the absurdities of religion, there is hope for Reason in North America.

Mon, 11 Jan 2010 23:02:00 UTC | #431121

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 5 by Rich Wiltshir

I'd hate to be a "Father Ted" fan in Ireland right now.

Mon, 11 Jan 2010 23:13:00 UTC | #431128

old-toy-boy's Avatar Comment 6 by old-toy-boy

Does one have to be a “believer” to be offended?
If so, that would be discrimination against atheists.
If not, any atheist could say they are offended by the sale/promotion/reading of bibles,
or any religion related publication, comment, discussion, sermon, event, charity etc etc ...
And do we (the victims) get compensation for being offended?

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 00:03:00 UTC | #431147

Big T's Avatar Comment 7 by Big T

Good article.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 00:07:00 UTC | #431148

BroughtyBoy's Avatar Comment 8 by BroughtyBoy

This banal blasphemy law has provided plenty of coverage in the media. That can only be a good thing in terms of provoking the argument. The whole exercise will probably be self defeating in the long run. The Law is an Ass, of course.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 00:32:00 UTC | #431149

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 9 by NewEnglandBob

The Irish can't hide their pedophile priests so they go after others. So pathetic! Apparently no reason prevails there.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 00:48:00 UTC | #431154

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 10 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Christians blaspheme the FSM by simply existing at all.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 00:57:00 UTC | #431157

chuckg's Avatar Comment 11 by chuckg

Is it just me or does the grammatical typo in the first line grate on your nerves. "Atheists are others are protesting a new..." WTF Maybe it should read: Atheists AND others... I usually think of myself as barely able to grammar myself out of a wet paper bag.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 01:31:00 UTC | #431160

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 12 by Cook@Tahiti

It takes more faith to be an atheist, a lot of them say. So atheism is also a religion. Therefore we can be offended.

Let there be a Scopes-like Show Trial to test (and mock) the law!

Who wants to be the sacrificial lamb?

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 01:31:00 UTC | #431161

retrotransposon's Avatar Comment 13 by retrotransposon

Great that Ireland has this law now.

Now we can bring charges to those who blaspheme against the Flying Spaghetti Monster!!!


Tue, 12 Jan 2010 02:54:00 UTC | #431163

MarcCountry's Avatar Comment 14 by MarcCountry

As an Irish citizen, let me just say...

That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 03:06:00 UTC | #431164

chuckg's Avatar Comment 15 by chuckg

I think I recall reading about a political theory or hypothesis that the blasphemy law in Ireland was purposely concocted to be excessively harsh and ridiculous just so it could be struck down, and actually expand the protection of free speech. Trouble is that it might backfire. This would be the Poe's law of Irish political theory. I don't know where I heard about this, but it might have been here.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 03:10:00 UTC | #431165

Mr. Forrest's Avatar Comment 16 by Mr. Forrest




Tue, 12 Jan 2010 03:12:00 UTC | #431167

RobiFerentz's Avatar Comment 17 by RobiFerentz

@Mr. Forrest:

Making it worse? How can it be worse? Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 03:35:00 UTC | #431168

ramfalls's Avatar Comment 18 by ramfalls

Last week I was quite scared of this move. Having looked at the position, in chess parlance they have made a very important blunder. It only takes one state in Europe to show this law is not enforcable. The others don't have to follow but they will be under tremendous pressure to do so. Once Europe has addressed this problem then the reason behind their rejection will almost certainly point to the ridiculous tenets of all religion.
We will have a de facto law indicating religious principles be left out of European politics. Yeah! I think.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 05:15:00 UTC | #431173

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 19 by mordacious1

11. Comment #450043 by chuckgoecke

No, it wasn't just you...and the comments section doesn't help. It's w-o-n not one, for example.

Herb writes:

The crime of blasphemy has little to do with what you say, and lots to do with how others feel...


Tue, 12 Jan 2010 05:28:00 UTC | #431174

Sigmund's Avatar Comment 20 by Sigmund

"The Atheist group should blaspheme against Scientology as well as the others, since Scientology clearly has the highest track record of suing people in courts of law for "defamation". =)"
There's actually a section in the Irish blasphemy law that looks suspiciously like the author anticipates a wave of Scientology lawsuits.

(4) In this section “religion” does not include an organisation or
(a) the principal object of which is the making of profit, or
(b) that employs oppressive psychological manipulation—
(i) of its followers, or
(ii) for the purpose of gaining new followers.

Wait a second.... although it's clearly an anti Scientology section point B can equally be applied to all theistic religions since they rely on telling untruths about unjustified promises and threats to keep and recruit followers - surely a cut and dried case of oppressive psychological manipulation.
Is this the Achilles heel of the legislation?

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 05:59:00 UTC | #431175

Darwinfish76's Avatar Comment 21 by Darwinfish76

"And if I said that blasphemy shouldn't be punished because it's a victimless crime, well that, too, could be considered blasphemous."


Tue, 12 Jan 2010 06:27:00 UTC | #431176

SteveN's Avatar Comment 22 by SteveN

Comment #450064 by Sigmund

Actually, I would say that the catholic church fulfills all the criteria given for being defined as a non-religion.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 07:52:00 UTC | #431202

unclexbob's Avatar Comment 23 by unclexbob

I say the next time someone in Ireland writes an article calling Dawkins a "strident" atheist, we sue!

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 08:57:00 UTC | #431210

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 24 by hungarianelephant

For the 800th time:

This is a criminal statute, not a civil one. No one can sue anyone else for blasphemy.

No one can sue anyone else for blasphemy.

I said, no one can sue anyone else for blasphemy.

No one can bring a private prosecution either. Only the public prosecutor can bring charges.

Can we please stop this nonsense about religions suing each other, or Scientologists blaspheming against the Flying Spaghetti Monster? It is a red herring. We have enough problems with religion in Ireland without making arses of ourselves by making the blasphemy law say something it doesn't.

Did I mention that no one can sue anyone else for blasphemy?

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 09:57:00 UTC | #431218

decius's Avatar Comment 25 by decius

Hungarianelephant's patronising tone offends me. Not to mention that the consumption of herrings, red or otherwise, is forbidden by my religion. Luckily, I'm allowed to sue him for blasphemy, where he resides.

Edited for goof.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 10:06:00 UTC | #431220

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 26 by Quetzalcoatl


So you're saying that nobody can sue anyone else for blasphemy?

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 10:06:00 UTC | #431221

Sigmund's Avatar Comment 27 by Sigmund

Blasphemy, blasphemy!
They've all got it blasphemy!
What a carry-on.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 10:32:00 UTC | #431225

Balance88's Avatar Comment 28 by Balance88

I read somewhere that PZ Myers is visiting Ireland in February and wants to blaspheme the s*it out of them religions. =)

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 10:49:00 UTC | #431228

Thomas Byrne's Avatar Comment 29 by Thomas Byrne

The saddest thing about this whole debacle is that Minister Dermot Ahern made this law so that it would be almost impossible for anyone to get charged under it. I have to wonder why bother making it at all in that case.

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 11:17:00 UTC | #431232

Sigmund's Avatar Comment 30 by Sigmund

Thomas Byrne said:
"The saddest thing about this whole debacle is that Minister Dermot Ahern made this law so that it would be almost impossible for anyone to get charged under it."
Bollocks. It would have been easy to write the law in that way - simply use the wording suggested by the law reform commission (that offense was the "sole intent" of the individual).
Also why single out Scientology as the sole exception to the protected religions when the law is not intended for use in the first place?
And why did Ahern's original wording have such a high fine of 100,000 euro with no exceptions for artistic, scientific or educational reasons?
He could have saved a lot of time and effort and just been honest about the whole thing and written the law as "No cartooning of Mohammed allowed (since we're scared the meat export industry will get boycotted) or we fine you huge amounts of money"

Tue, 12 Jan 2010 11:41:00 UTC | #431234