Goddammit: Irish blasphemy law signed in
Well, it’s official. While refusing to do your job in favour of protecting an ugly stump in the likeness of the Virgin Mary is still positively encouraged, remarking “Well if she looked like THAT, no wonder she’s a virgin” might actually now land you in prison. President Mary McAleese has this morning signed the Defamation Bill into law. The Defamation Bill updates Ireland’s defamation law, renewing the (formerly outdated) offence of blasphemous libel. The Irish Times describes the bill as “aim[ing] to encourage quicker apologies from publishers”.
The extent of this ruling remains to be seen. While the term ‘blasphemous libel’ suggests that publicly making a claim about Jesus which is later proven to be untrue could land you in trouble, it is unlikely we will see members of the church arrested for making exaggerated claims, such as the (potentially insulting) claim that Jesus died a virgin and later returned as a zombie – or simply that he was homophobic. However if any Irish readers get the chance to see if the law works both ways, I strongly endorse suing your local clergyman for blasphemous libel should they dare to utter such atrocities.
Of course, it is far more likely that this law will be used to constrict free speech, particularly in the media. Once cases of prosecution start to occur as a result of this law we will be sure to report more on this issue.
I would speculate more on this topic, but for fear of imprisonment (not to mention eternal damnation) the offensive tone of this post will stop here.
Atheist Ireland: Campaign to Repeal the Blasphemy Law
Facebook Group: Blasphemy Ireland
New Humanist: Blasphemy in the Christian World
And, just to show our respect: http://www.jesusisacunt.com/