May 10, 2017

Stephen Fry won't be charged — under Irish anti-blasphemy law — for calling God a "maniac."

But he was investigated. It didn't take long, but it still has a chilling effect on the freedom of speech in Ireland. Why does this law even exist?
Eoin Daly, a lecturer in law at the National University of Ireland, Galway, said Mr. Fry was never in any real danger of prosecution. He said the law was introduced in 2009 only because the country’s 1937 constitution required the country to have a blasphemy law, and an earlier one had been struck down in the courts.

Lawmakers did their best to make the 2009 law “almost unenforceable,” with broad exemptions to protect free speech, Mr. Daly said. “There was a constitutional obligation to legislate this offense, but it was not against the constitution to create an offense that was of no use.”
Even if it's unenforceable in the sense that no one will ever be convicted under it...
“We are deluded if we think that the 2009 law is not actively influencing, limiting, even dictating the content that we are offered by our national media,” Emer O’Toole, a professor of Irish Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, wrote on Monday in an op-ed in The Independent, a British paper. “And we are even more deluded if we think that we are living in a secular society.”

22 comments:

rhhardin said...

That's the doctrine of a personal God. A naturalistic one just doesn't give a shit.

Michael P said...

This law exists because the United States is the only country to take freedom of conscience seriously. Next question?

Ann Althouse said...

"That's the doctrine of a personal God. A naturalistic one just doesn't give a shit."

Thanks for keeping the theme of the day alive — shit.

Ron said...

God may indeed be a maniac...in the Flashdance sense of the word....

Angel-Dyne said...

AA: Why does this law even exist?

For the same reason long-forgotten blasphemy laws have been dug up and "hate speech" laws involving religion newly minted. That somebody like Fry got caught up is a bug, not a feature, and I'm sure things will be fixed to make sure that in future it'll only get applied to its proper targets.

sparrow said...

Fry judges God; no doubt a prelude to the reverse, barring penance. The investigation acts a a warning, although he sounds unlikely to treat it seriously.

buwaya said...

"Why does this law even exist?"

Because its a good thing. This was typical in Europe not too long ago.
I think Spain still has one IIRC.
And, surprisingly, Italy, that has been officially anticlerical since the 1860's.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Some laws are like weapons smothered in cosmoline. When the times change, when the zeitgeist demands new, or a renewal of quite old, actions, well there they are. And they don't care who picks them up.

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. I'm a team player.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"For the same reason long-forgotten blasphemy laws have been dug up and "hate speech" laws involving religion newly minted"

Angel-Dyne is correct. Why do "hate speech" laws even exist? The targets have shifted.

Fernandinande said...

Angel-Dyne said...
AA: Why does this law even exist?
For the same reason long-forgotten blasphemy laws have been dug up and "hate speech" laws involving religion newly minted.


This law exists because it's required by their constitution, which took effect in 1937.

That somebody like Fry got caught up is a bug, not a feature, and I'm sure things will be fixed to make sure that in future it'll only get applied to its proper targets.

Critics of islam? Fry was criticizing monotheistic religions which claim a benevolent god - that includes islam.

exiledonmainstreet said...

" Fry was criticizing monotheistic religions which claim a benevolent god - that includes islam."

Islam does not claim an benevolent god. Allah demands submission - not love of neighbor.

Fernandinande said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
Islam does not claim an benevolent god.


It most definitely does. Islam as a heaven, too, which was the basis of the questioning.

Allah demands submission - not love of neighbor.

Act in a certain way and you'll be rewarded by the benevolent god.

Angel-Dyne said...

Fernandinande: This law exists because it's required by their constitution, which took effect in 1937.

"In the Republic of Ireland, blasphemy is required to be prohibited by Article 40.6.1.i. of the 1937 Constitution. The common law offence of blasphemous libel, applicable only to Christianity and last prosecuted in 1855,[1][n 1] was ruled in 1999 to be incompatible with the Constitution's guarantee of religious equality. The deficit was filled in 2009 by a new offence of publication or utterance of blasphemous matter, against any religion."

So I wonder what's been going on in Ireland such that a legal offense that was last prosecuted in 1855, and declared unconstitutional in 1999, had to be exhumed and spruced up in 2009? Disgraced Church hierarchy creeping back into power, I guess.

Critics of islam? Fry was criticizing monotheistic religions which claim a benevolent god - that includes islam.

I take your point that Fry would be targeted for criticizing Islam. But without the encroachment of Islam the new law wouldn't exist (or the old law would just have continued on being ignored), and Fry could have blasphemed to his heart's content without anyone giving a rat's. (Or if they did, the law would not have indulged their outrage.)

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Lea said...

A better case can be made that Jesus was, if not a maniac, an impossibly romantic hero who, as it turns out, just happened to be a moral and political genius. Resist not evil and I will come again to overturn the wicked and liberate the poor? Make yourselves a living sacrifice and (the Hebraic God being just) you shall receive your reward? For millions of people who found themselves trapped in servitude with no way out he gave meaning, hope, and purpose to their lives -- and in the process laid the material foundations of modern capitalist societies. For what is capital if not the accumulated crime and sacrifice of centuries, plus interest?

At least this is one way to look at what Jesus taught by precept and example. And you have to admit it makes him look pretty crazy.

sparrow said...

Jesus is either liar, lunatic or Lord to paraphrase CS Lewis

Gahrie said...

Islam does not claim an benevolent god.

It most definitely does. Islam as a heaven, too, which was the basis of the questioning.


Allah is NOT benevolent. He is not "well meaning and kindly". He is literally a slave master, demanding obedience from his servants and bloody war on those who do not submit.

sparrow said...

Allah accepts conversion by force and asks his servants to achieve it for him; proving both his disregard for free will and his weakness.

hombre said...

"But he was investigated. It didn't take long, but it still has a chilling effect on the freedom of speech in Ireland. Why does this law even exist?"

It exists in case some emboldened Irishman or entity insults Mohammed and the Muslims take offense. Retaliation can be avoided by prosecuting the offender like they do in Indonesia, Pakistan, etc.

The Irish are not who they were when my ancestors left.

William said...

Blasphemy laws in virtually every Muslim majority nation and Althouse has a cow over Ireland. Did she see where a politician in Pakistan is going to do 2 years for blasphemy for saying the Koran does not prohibit Muslims from voting for non-Muslims. How much time is Fry going to do?

Emmanuel Monday said...

Attention to you all,I'm agent smith from USA,I'm one of the
twelve selected agent sent by the grand-master to expose Illuminati to
the world,we the twelve agent are identify with the head-quarter number
and the email I will drop here also,you are not allowed to contact us on
Facebook because will the real agent are not allowed to chat with you
on Facebook that is why you are ask to contact us in email or call,those
that you will contact on Facebook are not real and if you contact them
they will not be able to help because they are not one of us,please be
wear that you are not allowed to contact any agent on Facebook,if you
are willing to join email us or not on Facebook by
e-mail;worldmoneyilluminati669@gmail.com or cal us, on whatsapp now +2347052744530
for more information and to no if you contact a real member please call
our head-office on (+18187569256) be ware of scam....,,,,