Here in the United States, it’s taken for granted that we are allowed to say/write more or less anything we damn well want, even if it annoys or offends someone else. ESPECIALLY if it annoys or offends someone else. Our inherent right to speak our minds is something we see as sacrosanct.* It is therefore almost unthinkable that in this current age, when speaking out against one’s government is considered almost a given, that something like Ireland’s new blasphemy laws exist, much less are to be enforced.
The laws have been in place but largely unenforced due to nebulous wording for decades. Now, the laws have been updated and carry a hefty fine of up to €25,000, which comes to more than $35K for those of you following along in dollars.
Enter the group Atheist Ireland. They’re having none of it. On Friday Jan. 1, the day the law went into effect, the group published a list of 25 blasphemous quotes in direct response to the law that they find “silly” and “literally medieval.” I couldn’t agree more. This is something I would expect from Iran or some other overly religious state. But Ireland? The new law states that someone can be found guilty of blasphemy if:
“he or she publishes or utters matter 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.”
The best if Irish luck to Atheist Ireland, who are running a campaign to amend the constitution and repeal this archaic, ill thought out law.
*Please note: that right is not as all encompassing as we US citizens think it is. ‘Free speech’ addresses a very particular type of speech. It refers to the ability to petition/criticize one’s government publicly without fear of redress. The first amendment specifically addresses political speech, not your right to bitch out some asshole who takes your parking spot at the local mall. It also doesn’t apply on private property. No, it doesn’t. No really. Private property, including the internet, is not covered under free speech. Check your ToS: you spew hate speech, get yourself tossed and see how much ice ‘Freedom of expression’ cuts with the powers that be.