Although I generally think of myself as purebred West Virginia mutt, to the extent that I latch onto an ethnic heritage it's via Ireland. My last name's Irish and at least part of my family traces its roots back to there. So I was particularly disturbed to see that my ancestral homeland would make a criminal out of me (via Ed):
The Defamation Bill, which also introduces a new crime of blasphemous libel, will come into operation after it is passed by the Seanad later this week and signed into law by President Mary McAleese.I understand that not all nations, even Western ones, share the American ideal of free speech. And I also understand that lost of countries, and even some states, have blasphemy laws lying around on the books that are essentially dead letters. Nevertheless, it's a little depressing that in the 21st Century there are nations that need to stifle expression in the name of protecting the sensibilities of religious folks.* * *
In recent months, the stalled legislation was the subject of major debate when Justice Minister Dermot Ahern announced the introduction of a new crime of blasphemous libel. He argued that a new definition was required by the Constitution.
Under the changes, the maximum fine for blasphemy will be cut from €100,000 to €25,000.
Thankfully, someone appears to be willing to be a test case to determine the law's reach:
So, we're now officially the most religiously deranged country in the civilised world.Heh. Where do I donate to the guy's legal defense fund?
Now that blasphemous libel has been introduced to the statue books, it will be a crime to have a pop at religions.
So, here we go -- Catholicism is a cannibal cult which eats its leader, Jews who believe that God wants them to settle in the Holy Land are deranged lunatics, Muslims who wants to install Islamic law are nothing but fascist terrorists and Scientologists are nothing but a bunch of brainwashed weirdos who have been suckered by the malicious rantings of a failed science-fiction writer.
Alright lads, I'll see you in court.