Hi all
We in Ireland have a big problem and we sure could use any help we can get.
The government Minister Dermot Ahern proposes to bring in a law proscribinh Blasphemy.
That's right, he actually wants to make blasphemy a criminal act, punishable by law.
Without going into it in detail (those wishing to can do so by visiting blasphemy.ie, irish-times.com, any irish newspaper atheist nexus discussion site etc.), the minister states that the Irish Constitution actually makes blasphamy a crime "punishable by law", and the problem is that the law has no defination of "Blasphemy".
He states that he has the duty to bring the law in line with the constitution and had to choose between changing the law or changing the constitution (which would require a referendum).
Now forgive me if I think that this is a load of Bollox.
This anomily between Irish law and the constitution has been there for approx. 62 years without any street protests, constitutional actions, prosecutions or even rude words been uttered.
The majority of Irish people (including the vast majority of Theists) feel that such a law is not only un-necessary, but unwanted. However as thete are no elections due for some time, the present government can more or less do as they wish for the moment, and unfortunately many of the majority in this country will not protest in a meaningful way anything that does not effect them immediately, and this does not at present.

So why now in the 21st centuary raise such a matter.
I don't now, but several theorys have been proposes -take your pick-
-The Irish government are presently way behind in the polls, their worst position on record
-The main government party from which Mr Ahern is drawn is a populist party, mainly Roman Catholic, and panders to its percieved electorate
-A look at Dermot Ahern's record (see Wikipedia) seems to reveal a right wing homophobic nature

Whatever, if you could you please take time to take a look at this issue and if possible make some suggestions as to how we can fight this.
Please take a look at Blasphemy.ie (not my site, but it has a lot of useful info.,
Sorry to rant for so long, but I'm worried,
Regards,
Jack

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Ah, but Ireland isn't a Muslim theocracy.
Thanks very much to Jack for raising this issue here. We are still campaigning actively against this attempt to bring Ireland back to medieval times. This is where the campaign is at the moment:

Atheist Ireland has hosted public meetings against the proposed law in Waterford, Dublin, Cork and Limerick. You can see videos from these meetings at http://blasphemy.ie.

We have also provided this written submission to the all-party Justice Committee that is debating the proposed law. We are in the process of preparing a an updated submission.

We are now moving into a four-stranded campaign of

(1) Lobbying of politicians, especially members of the Justice Committee.
(2) Building a broader coalition against the proposed bill
(3) Examining legal challenges to the proposed law
(4) Continuing with public advocacy including public meetings, gigs etc.

If you would like to help in any way, please check out our campaign website at http://blasphemy.ie.

In particular, letters or emails from abroad would be helpful, either from citizens or politicians, letting Irish politicians know of the damage to Ireland's reputation internationally of reviving medieval legislation in the 21st century.

Please follow our Twitter feed (started today) at @blasphemyie. I also provide updates on the campaign on my personal Twitter account at @micknugent.

This is a very important issue, not only for Irish citizens, but also in terms of its impact on other countries (particularly Muslim countries) where blasphemy laws are used and abused to infringe on people's human rights, and where international pressure against such laws is weakened by the introduction of similar laws in supposedly pluralist republics.
There are plenty politicians in the US who want church and state to be locked in an eternal embrace, such as GWB and his "faith based" funding.
I am very very happy Emperor Bush II has been deposed. I've started reading about Sharia courts in the UK... it boggles my mind.
Top of the Morning , Jack

I know this is a serious issue. I had heard about it before. However if my may make a little joke about it as I know the Irish are the best joke tellers in thw World.

Pose this question to the Minister and to the Taoiseach as well:

Why did Mary and Joseph name their son after a swear word?

"May your God go with you" (Dave Allen)

Rev. Robert Tobin (First Church of Atheism)
OK all, good news and bad news. 1st the blasphemy bill was passed, but the president of Ireland has referred it to the council of state.
What does this mean.
Let me try to explain as a layman (anyone who knows more, please feel free to correct any errors in this post -as I'm sure you would anyway).
When the President of Ireland (presently Mrs. Mary McAleese) feels that a proposed law does not comply with the provisions of the constitution, she may at her discretion refer the issue to the Supreme Court for a decision. However, She may only do this after she has consulted the Council of State on the issue. This council consists of previous presidents, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), previous taoiseagh and various other VIPs.
She does not have to take their advice but must seek it before referring the bill to the court.
Consulting the Council of State on a bill does not happen very often so this is quite embarrassing for the government -the president while directly elected and normally proposed by the political parties is supposed to be non political (and in my opinion Mrs McAleese usually is) and is generally considered to be a last representative of the people. She has no executive power other than a few prerogatives such as to refer a bill to the courts.
It is interesting that she has initiated the process to have the blasphemy bill referred as she is a practising catholic, which I think shows the disdain in which this bill is held by most people in Ireland. Incidentally, what is referred to as the Blasphemy law is actually a few provisions added to a generally acceptable bill to regulate privacy and the laws of liable in the press and elsewhere -the main trust of the bill has little to do with blasphemy but allows the government to accuse objectors of wanting to wreck an otherwise welcome bill.
Unfortunately, should the court approve the bill, it is then "fireproofed" against constitutional challange by anyone, but if not approved, the bill falls.
Jst Earthling, I thunk your questions have been dealt with in earlier posts in this stream
Jack, I've just noticed that you've put this discussion in the "Atheist Nexus Discussions, Ideas, and Site Discussions" category, which is just for discussions pertaining to Atheist Nexus. You'd probably get more people reading it if it were in the Politics area, and/or "Water Cooler", and/or "Theism, Deism, and All Things Religious".
This is a bit off-topic but considering the Catholic Church is still reeling under twin exposes on child abuse at religious schools and churches, the timing for this is a bit odd.

Would quoting one of the reports on the abuse and referring to the abusers as "depraved bastards hiding behind the religious veil of legitimacy" be considered blasphemy?

This is a serious topic though and I'm following it closely and wish our Irish brethren well.
our blessed government have also introduced another law, the Criminal Justice amendment Act 2009 which gives the police powers to offer as evidence their opinion that an individual is a member of a criminal gang. He may offer this opinion evidence in secret to a judge who can issue an arrest warrant on that basis so long as it is corroborated in any form.
The opinion evidence will then carry weight at the trial, which can be routinely held at a non-jury court.
The act also defines a criminal gang as three or more who have as a common purpose a criminal act or acts.
Given the exposes re; the Catholic Church, what are the chances that they will come under pressure from this act? Well, remember the Government Minister responsible for the operation of this act is none other than Mr. Dermot Ahern -ckeck him out on wikipedia.
By the way, does anyone have any evidance that Dermot Ahern is a member of Opus Dei ir some other religious organisation? It would certainly answer some questions in my mind concerning his behaviour and publisher views if he were
Yeah, Jack, I see your point about Ahern. I was thinking more along the lines of "maybe we shouldn't bring religion into the news for a while since the world is now convinced Irish Catholics are sadists, rapists, etc."

No such luck for you folks.

I have to go read about Minister Ahern, I confess to ignorance.
Hi all, I'm asking for your help. There is an online petition calling for the repeal of the new Irish blasphemy laws at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?blmy2009
If you feel, as I do, that the blasphemy laws are a violation of the right to free speech could you please sign it
It might help, though I sometimes despair of my country's political leaders,
Thanks.

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