Blasphemy Illegal from Today

I got this recently on facebook.

Defamation Act 2009 (Commencement) Order 2009 (SI No 517 of 2009)
I, Dermot Ahern, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform,
in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 1(2) of the
Defamation Act 2009 (No 31 of 2009), hereby order as follows:

1. This Order may be cited as the Defamation Act 2009
(Commencement) Order 2009.

2. The 1st day of January 2010 is appointed as the day on which
the Defamation Act 2009 (No 31 of 2009) comes into operation.

Given under my Official Seal,
15 December 2009.

DERMOT AHERN,
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

The Defamation Act, contained the references to Blasphemy, so be careful with what you say. I wonder who will be the first person prosecuted under it? If any!

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Illegal in Ireland: Blasphemy

Picture of Christ Church Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Image via Wikipedia

Well it has happened. The President has signed the Defamation Bill into law today which means in Ireland you can now be prosecuted for blasphemy. Yes that is right, in this Ireland of the 21st Century I can no longer complain about God, Jehovah, Allah, The Flying Spagetti Monster, or any other deity in case I get prosecuted for the crime of blasphemous libel.

Now while I am a church going person (Church of Ireland), with a healthy respect for himself upstairs, I don’t he (or any other deity) is going to be too upset if an unbeliever blasphemes against him (or her or them). Are priest now going to have to be very careful with what they say in their sermons if they mention another religion.

Its crazy that in this day and age I have to be very careful in what I type, say, tweet or what ever in case someone takes offense in what I say and decides to try and bring a prosecution against me.

Its a bollocks to be honest. I agree with my Bishop, its time to take Blasphemy out of the Irish Constitution!

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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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