Just when you might think that Ireland was reaching out to modernism and rejecting the control the Church has over the country as I posted here, we take a massive step backwards again. The government has passed a Blasphemy Law which basically protects all religions from questioning.
Key phrases include: “a person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.” That matter is defined as “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”
This has been on the cards since April 2009 and I’m ashamed to say I really didn’t think it would pass. I bought into the New Ireland and thought this would never happen. Well, as they say – evil can only flourish when good men do nothing. So in spite of campaigning from some areas of Irish society, this law is now part of our legal system. It hasn’t gone unnoticed either. So now a country which was once a respected part of the UN peace-keeping force is being held up by Pakistan as an example of how to stifle free speech; as reported here on the Huffington Post.
And as Angela posted on Think of Me Often it’s just not clear where the boundaries lie. The government has been challenged by Blasphemy Ireland; it will be interesting to see what happens or how solid the grounds legally are.
Will we see religions using this as an excuse to stifle the growing anti-church feelings in countries like Ireland? How can our politicians argue against the imposition of Sharia law in other countries when religious rule is being cemented here?