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Those goddamned Irish

Ireland’s anti-blasphemy laws came into effect on January 1st, setting a shining example of hypocrisy that should make the EU proud:

The new law defines blasphemy as:

 “publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted.”

In other words, a complete trampling of the notion of freedom of speech. In fact, this blog post probably violates that law. Good thing this site isn’t hosted in Ireland.

The best response to this that I’ve seen so far? Atheist Ireland published 25 blasphemous quotes by everyone from Salman Rushdie to Richard Dawkins to Christopher Hitchens to Jesus Christ to the Pope, and even Muhammed. My favourite is this one:

Micheal Martin, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, opposing attempts by Islamic States to make defamation of religion a crime at UN level, 2009: “We believe that the concept of defamation of religion is not consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights. It can be used to justify arbitrary limitations on, or the denial of, freedom of expression. Indeed, Ireland considers that freedom of expression is a key and inherent element in the manifestation of freedom of thought and conscience and as such is complementary to freedom of religion or belief.” Just months after Minister Martin made this comment, his colleague Dermot Ahern introduced Ireland’s new blasphemy law.

If they’re looking to prosecute people under the new law, I suggest they start in their own backyard.

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