Firstly, let me welcome you to the new year, 2010 CE, which promises to be a great one here at League of Reason. We have some exciting plans, and the growth of our community shows no signs of stopping.
Sadly, something awful, just… shameful and absurd has happened in Ireland today, and our Irish friends who wish to live in the year 2010 are now in a battle for their freedom of speech, which has been dealt a critical blow by censorship-loving religious tyrants, completely out of touch with the prerequisites for a fair society.
The following article, by Michael Nugent, is reposted from blasphemy.ie – an excellent blog documenting and opposing blasphemy laws. Bloggers are invited and positively encouraged to spread it far and wide. You can read it here, or click on the title to go straight to the original post.
From today, 1 January 2010, the new Irish blasphemy law becomes operational, and we begin our campaign to have it repealed. Blasphemy is now a crime punishable by a Ã¢â€šÂ¬25,000 fine. The new law defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted.
This new law is both silly and dangerous. It is silly because medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic, where the criminal law should protect people and not ideas. And it is dangerous because it incentives religious outrage, and because Islamic States led by Pakistan are already using the wording of this Irish law to promote new blasphemy laws at UN level.
We believe in the golden rule: that we have a right to be treated justly, and that we have a responsibility to treat other people justly. Blasphemy laws are unjust: they silence people in order to protect ideas. In a civilised society, people have a right to to express and to hear ideas about religion even if other people find those ideas to be outrageous.