Blasphemous Libel

Okay so the whole Blasphemous Libel thing has taken off and is a cluster on Irish Blogs and a lot of people are up in arms about it. Some posts are offensive to some people. As pointed out to me on twitter. As blasphemy is a crime according to the constitution, it has never been so in criminal law. But what is Blasphemy?

According to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (On Reference.com)

blasphemy, in religion, words or actions that display irreverence toward or contempt for God or that which is held sacred. Blasphemy is regarded as an offense against the community to varying degrees, depending on the extent of the identification of a religion with the society at large or the government.

It goes on

Blasphemy has been a crime in many religions and cultures, wherever there is something sacred to protect. Socrates was prosecuted for blasphemy, and Mosaic law prescribed death for cursing the name of God.

It also states

Secular modern states often retain blasphemy laws, but they are infrequently enforced.

In South Austrailia in 1977  the Criminal Law and Penal Methods Reform Committee stated that “today it would seem anachronistic to charge anyone with blasphemous libel.” (Law Reform Commission New South Wales, Discussion Paper 24(1992) – Blasphemy). So why are we making it an offence now?

England and Wales abolished the offence of Blasphemy in July last year, and here we are, a secular republic introducing this archane law. Would hate speech not cover this want they want to do here?

My big issue here is that as a non-christian who does not believe in one all powerfull god. Also under Islam, blasphemy is

speaking ill of Muhammad or of any other prophet mentioned in the Qur’an, or to claim that there is more than one god or that Jesus Christ (the son of Mary) is the son of God, or to speak ill of God.

So that means under this legislation a Priest could be taken to court under this law for Blasphemous Libel as it stands.

Its strange considering out own Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution recommended that blasphemy should be dropped from the Constitution here is our Government trying to bring it in.

I am amazed and concerned.

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Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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