“Ideally I’d like to see Mick stoned to death for the crime of blasphemy.”

The previously mentioned blasphemy law has cleared the committee stage in the Dáil, and the Irish Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, intends to reduce the proposed fine from €100,000 to €25,000. According to the Irish Times reportMr Ahern said the legislation, which passed its committee stage in the Dáil yesterday, has been drafted to “make it virtually impossible to get a successful prosecution [for blasphemy] out of it”. So it’s intended to be an in-operable law.. Meanwhile Michael Nugent, of Atheist Ireland, is reportedly planning to “publish a statement blaspheming all the major religions in Ireland”. Which should be fun. He has the support of the creators of Father Ted who are quoted in The Observer.

Linehan told the Observer that the justice minister Dermot Ahern, who introduced the bill, should be challenged to define what he meant by blasphemy. “This is insanity. Please, Mr Ahern, define the things we can’t say, please! Can we say, ‘Jesus is gay’? Or can we ask, ‘Is God in a biscuit?’ Could he tell us what it means? It is just insanity. After all, there are things contained in the holy books of one religion that are blasphemy to another religion. The logic behind this comes from Alice in Wonderland.”

And

Mathews said he supported Nugent’s stance on publishing blasphemy and predicted a Life of Brian-style fate for his old friend. “Ideally I’d like to see Mick stoned to death for the crime of blasphemy. It would be tough to see him go, but I would be turning up to the stoning just for the sheer fun of it,” he said.

Heh.

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  • joeCanuck

    Jehovah. There, I said it.

  • Ray

    The Catholic Church is a 2,000 year-old paedophile cult that has raped many tens of thousands of little innocent children over the millenia, and especially, in Ireland.
    This is the worst crime against humanity imaginable.
    The purpose of the cardinals and bishops was to see to evil, hear no evil, speak no evil concerning their paedophile priests.
    Mr. Ahern, you need to conduct a crimes against humanity trial and determine when all this paedophilia started instead of protecting the Irish child rapists, as you have been wont to do.
    Your cowardice is overwhelming.
    Prosecute me, Mr. Ahern.

  • joeCanuck

    I think the paedophilia part only started about 1000 years ago, Ray.

  • Let’s not get sidetracked here by pedophiles and what not. We have a government here spending parliamentary time AND MONEY ramming this bill through at a time of national catastrophe. They should be made to pay dearly for this even before we get into a discussion of who this favours and whether those are nice people or not.

    If they have nothing better to do in parliamentary time, they should do as other idle industries are doing and announce unpaid leave for all employees including themselves.

    By the way Slugger Admins, it is very f**king irritating to have written an entire comment and submitted it only to be told you haven’t logged in – how’s about suppressing the comment box for those whose browsers don’t remember they logged in before, and adding a login link there instead (since on comment pages the login link is not present at top right as it is on the homepage).

  • joeCanuck

    The Justice Minister is an awful eejit, really.

  • Rory Carr

    Since Irish everyday idiom is renowned worldwide (and much admired) for being peppered with colourful blasphemy and our literature would be severely wanting without its share of blasphemy I ask myself, “How the name of all that’s feckin’ Holy are the courts going to cope? Every feckin’ citizen over the age of nine, including most of the clergy, are bound to up on charges before the ink’s dry on this one.”

    Oh, and by the way, as regards paedophilia, Ray, it is most certainly not “the worst crime against humanity imaginable”, not by a long chalk, ask the Rwandans. Still, it is not to be recommended.

  • CW

    In a supposedly civilised western democracy which prides itself on freedom of speech, blasphemy laws should be abolised.

    There – that’s my Sunday night’s tuppence worth – I hope this doesn’t get deleted like my previous comment.

  • Ray

    The Irish Minister for Justice, Mr. Dermot Ahern, should be prosecuting a crimes against humanity case against the Catholic Church instead of trying to protect them with “blasphemy” laws.
    I suppose Mr. Ahern considers this a clever way to protect all the paedophile priests and score points with the Cardinal and Bishops.
    Just like in Rwanda we have countless innocent victims, only this time it was the Catholic Church that was the criminal.
    Mr. Ahern needs to stop his hypocrisy and do his job protecting the innocent — not the guilty.

  • Dave

    CW, given that the UK’s blasphemy law was only abolished last year in an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill, I wouldn’t overdo the “supposedly civilised western democracy” spiel unless you want to include the UK as a newcomer to that category.

    Going forwards or going backwards? Anti-blasphemy laws are the new black with the UN getting in on the act and the EU declaring that it is supportive of “mechanisms” that would prevent blasphemy such as occured against the prophet Mohammed during the publication of cartoons in a Danish magazine:

    [i]The letter [from Islamists] asks for the European Union’s top decision-makers to “act determinedly to prepare a draft law that forbids every kind of blasphemy, so that all groups in society can leave in peace and harmony”. Such a law would “be completely consistent with the EU’s protection of freedom, human rights and sacredness, and the elimination of all acts that lead to racism and xenophobia,” they said.

    EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana signalled this week that the EU might be supportive of this idea, stating “We are working on some ideas. I cannot be very precise, but we are working on some ideas that maybe it is possible to get through,” according to Reuters. Deutsche Welle quotes Mr Solana’s spokeswoman Cristina Gallach as saying “They want mechanisms to guarantee this is not repeated and we should be able to find it in UN conventions on human rights.”[/i]

    If the EU via the European Court of Justice deems it illegal to criticise the EU, then they would have no problem altering other fundamental rights as it deems expedient. And indeed it will deem it expedient to censor blasphemy against all religions in order to disguise the actual censorship required as being solely censorship of criticism of Islam since by 2050, the EU’s citizens will have a median age of 52 and will therefore be entirely dependent on immigrants from Islamic countries who remain profoundly devout and intolerant of blasphemy against Allah.

    [i]Just last month, the Advocate-General of the institution ludicrously known as the European Court of Justice gave a legal opinion (in case C-274/99) that criticism of the EU, its institutions or its leading figures was akin to blasphemy, and that because laws against blasphemy were acceptable both under the common law of England and the existing European Human Rights Convention, then it followed that punishing someone for allegedly criticising the EU — even if such allegations were never proven nor supported by evidence — was not an infringement of free speech.

    Moreover, the Advocate-General went on to say that the doctrine of the House of Lords in the case of Derbyshire County Council vs Times Newspapers in 1993 — the doctrine that states, and I quote: “It is of the highest public importance that any democratically-elected governmental body, or indeed any governmental body, should be open to uninhibited public criticism” — had no foundation in or relevance for European law.

    The freedom of political expression and the freedom of the press in our country are both going to come under concerted attack from Europe. If one needed any more evidence of that it would be found in the so-called EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, whose Article 51 states that any and all rights must be limited by the competent legislative authority — that is, the EU voting by majority — if it is deemed necessary in the pursuit of “objectives of general interest pursued by the Union”. In other words, any criticism of any policy the EU has decided to adopt can be made unlawful.[/i]

    The UK can delete its blasphemy law because the EU’s ECJ will make it illegal defame all religions in due course and this Court will take precedence under the Lisbon Treaty, whereas the Irish government has to devise some suitable pretext to strip out all of the republican aspects from the constitution that will conflict with the self-amending Lisbon Treaty, particularly the offending requirement that sovereignty resides with the people and not with the State. Given that it already has a committee to ‘review’ the constitution, acting in this way draws the public’s attention to certain outdated provisions of that constitution thereby creating the way and giving cover for the required overhaul.

  • Dave

    Ray, more kids are abused by teachers than by priests, so, according to your logic, education is an evil peadophile cult that should be stopped.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Everybody be quiet, or the Greg Carlin entity will be re-awoken again.

  • foreign correspondent

    Dave, is there any evil for which the EU cannot be blamed? Could we maybe try and pin global warming on them too, the extinction of the dinosaurs, maybe the death of Michael Jackson too 🙂

  • SM

    This is bizarre! Why would any civilised country want to specially protect religionist’s beliefs? There was me thinking the Republic had away from church dominance over recent decades…

  • Greenflag

    ‘It is just insanity.’

    No it’s not -it’s UNJUST insanity 😉

    ‘After all, there are things contained in the holy books of one religion that are blasphemy to another religion.’

    Prepare the stake and fire for the new heretics of modern Ireland 🙁

    ‘The logic behind this comes from Alice in Wonderland.’

    FF will lose my vote permanently if they persist with this shite ! Support the Danish cartoonists and make ‘blasphemy ‘ a compulsory requirement for the attainment of Irish citizenship . If these new immigrants can’t or won’t take the piss out of their religion they way most of us do with ours then we don’t need them . Let them return to public stoning performances for gays and adulterers in whatever part of the world they come from !

  • Dave

    foreign correspondent, the EU approves of blasphemy laws, seeing them in the quoted example as a matter of foreign policy, since, rather obviously, Javier Solana is the EU’s foreign minister (subject to ratification of the Lisbon Treaty). The European Court of Justice also approves of blasphemy laws, as case C-274/99 makes clear.

    The ECJ is the highest court in the EU, taking precedence over the supreme courts of member states. Its judgements become law. As a consequence of case C-274/99, it is now illegal to criticise the EU. The Advocate General made it clear that blasphemy laws are not incompatible with the right of free speech under EU law. In addition, the EU is entitled to the same protection of its reputation that every citizen is entitled to, and this entitlement is used to curtail free speech when it is being used to criticise the EU.

    The ECJ went onto to declare that since free speech is legitimately curtailed by blasphemy law and that since precedents exist from a judgment of the Court of Human Rights which declare that “national authorities needed sufficient flexibility” to modify definitions, that the ECJ could modify the definition of blasphemy to “encompasses a Community institution’s rights” in that such blasphemy laws offer “protection of the rights of others.”

    “Like the appellant, I turn, by way of illustration, to the judgment of the Court of Human Rights in Wingrove v United Kingdom. (5) On that occasion the Court had to consider whether the refusal of a distribution licence for a video, which was considered to be blasphemous, interfered with the right to freedom of expression upheld in Article 10 of the Convention. It appears from the judgment that English law defined the offence of blasphemy in the following terms: ‘Every publication is said to be blasphemous which contains any contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous matter relating to God, Jesus Christ or the Bible, or the formularies ofthe Church of England as by law established.‘ (6) The imprecision of that definition did not hamper the Court of Human Rights in forming a view as to foreseeability. On the contrary, it acknowledged that the national authorities needed sufficient flexibility to enable them to assess whether certain facts fell within the definition of the offence.

    16.
    Nor do I believe that there can be any serious doubt either that the Commission, in imposing the disciplinary measure, was pursuing a legitimate objective or that the objective was compatible with the exceptions provided for in Article 10(2) of the Convention. Although those restrictions are set out exhaustively, there is none the less a general reference to ‘the protection of the reputation or the rights of others‘, which, without any doubt, encompasses a Community institution’s rights in relation to the reputation of its members and the loyalty of its employees. The Court of First Instance made a clear statement to that effect in paragraph 150 of its judgment, holding that ‘the requirement that permission should be obtained prior to publication pursues the legitimate objective of ensuring that any matter dealing with the work of the Communities does not prejudice the interests of the Communities and, in particular, as in the present case, the reputation and image of one of its institutions‘.

    17.
    Furthermore, the Court of Human Rights has somewhat softened its approach when assessing whether an objective is legitimate, analysing a breach of the Convention by reference to, in particular, whether it is necessary in a democratic society. It is sufficient to turn once again to Wingrove, in which the Court of Human Rights held that the offence of blasphemy, which was by its definition discriminatory in that it was limited to protecting the Anglican church and its beliefs, pursued an aim which undoubtedly corresponded to the ‘protection of the rights of others‘ within the meaning of Article 10(2). (7)

    18.
    Finally, the appellant’s assertion that the person whose reputation is to be protected and whose rights may justify an interference cannot be a public authority, and still less the authority imposing the punishment, does not have any legal basis.” – Advocate General, ECJ, C-274/99

    In regard to my other point about the Irish government seeking a pretext to remove the provision from the constitution that gave rise to the Crotty judgement (that the State cannot transfer the sovereignty to third parties without the consent of the people), the Irish government have established a committee for that very purpose. Because these europhiles cannot State their actual purpose, their plan is to bury the proposed amendment under a other amendments and to proffer those amendments as being an overhaul that is required to modernise the constitution.

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    The Lisbon Treaty is self-amending in that it transfers the power from the Intergovernmental Conference to the European Council, thereby allowing a treaty organisation to amend its own governing treaty. Under the Intergovernmental Conference, the committee members represent the interests of the member states who appoint them, whereas under the European Council, the committee members (who will be the same members) are required to promote the EU’s interests and not the interests of their respective states. The European Council will not require ratification from national parliaments for further expansion of the EU’s interests, so the effects of the Crotty judgement leave Ireland as the only country which serves to frustrate the otherwise unbridled ambition of the European Council on its unstoppable process (post-Lisbon ratification) to becoming a state.

    That is why these quislings are now passing risible laws based on outdated provisions of the constitution – it is to draw attention to a need for modernisation and paving the way for the removal of the provision which makes Ireland the only State in the EU whose people hold sovereignty (not the State) and are thereby in a position to block the progress of the europhiles. By the way, why do you think that 160 out of 165 TDs are europhiles who support the Lisbon Treaty whereas 54% of the population voted against it? It is because both parties, in addition to operating a bi-partisanship policy on the EU which serves to censor all debate on it, vet their potential candidates for membership of the Irish parliament and do not select candidates who are eurosceptic. That is why every single Fine Gael TD and every single Fianna Fail TD is a europhile. That is a fact.

  • foreign correspondent

    I for one am glad the TDs are mostly europhiles. So am I. Roll on a federal state. That´s why I couldn´t help mocking your incessant railings against the EU.
    I suppose I should try and go slightly on topic though. Ireland should forget blasphemy laws and follow the French secular model, vive la République laique de l´Irlande.

  • Dave

    I know you are a europhile, and I forgive for your sins.

    By the way, did you know that it is also illegal under French law to criticise the French president? I guess the EU’s puppet court (the ECJ) making it ilegal criticise the EU must have been part of the French infuence. 😉

  • abucs

    It’s also illegal in Thailand (virtually) to criticise the king.

    I’d expect it would be tricky in China too to express anti communist feelings.

  • Greenflag

    ‘it is also illegal under French law to criticise the French president?’

    Not under German law . They regularly take the michael out of Sarkozy in cartoon format and also Bush , Merkel and particularly Berlusconi and Ahmena o- feck it the Iranian President .

    We can forgive Dave his repetitious single sermon for he is basically the ‘voice’ of ‘sovereign ‘Israel, deregulated Wall St , the anti democratic Chicago School of Economics , the Christi’family values ‘ hypocrites of the GOP , a Free market Uber Alles descendant of Trevelyan and Disraeli , a Libertas/ Neo Conservative quasi fascist , and finally a John the Baptist in messiah mode with as much hope of the latters imminent arrival as Estragon and Vladimir have of Godot’s .

    Some of his contributions are thought provoking at least until one considers his ‘alternative’ 🙁

    He forgets that for a thousand years or more European nations fought each other in innumerable wars over religion , territory , and whether or not the Earth was the centre of the universe or whether the King /Queen was God’s anointed on earth in temporal matters just as the Pope was in religious matters . If one can imagine a present day Middle East made up of several Iranian type regimes all competing with each other for scarce resources that is essentially what Europe was .

    We have moved on . Yes there is much to criticise about the EU but then that could explain why there are almost a dozen countries lining up to join . As far as I’m aware not even the British are seriously thinking of withdrawing from the EU .

    The really serious problems facing the world i.e energy consumption , food supply ,population , mass immigration , increasing water scarcity can only be resolved by a world government which essentially means large regional federations like the EU , SEATO and others . These problems will never be resolved by the so called ‘free market ‘ in laissez faire mode or by 200 individual ‘nation ‘ states each of whose governments is looking in terms of the next 4 years till election day.

    The ‘nation state ‘ is not the end of political history in which what we like to call ‘democracy’ can function . Democracy is under siege but not from the EU . It’s under siege from the power of unregulated international capital and large corporations who can move their investments wherever they want from Massachussetts to North Carolina to Ireland to Sunderland to Monterey i.e to whichever ‘democratic ‘ government (so so sovereign of course ) offers them the best tax incentives . It’s also under siege from the weakening of Trades Unions across the western economies over the past 40 years .It’s also under siege from the political class in democracies lining up behind the interests of large corporations , developers and the banking and financial world as all of the latter attempt to gouge ever more from the ordinary consumer/taxpayer . Where do people think the recent Westminster financial scandals came from ? or even the Dail’s ‘brown envelope’ incentive scheme for politicians on the make ?

    The politicians treat the voters with contempt because they know that almost half of them will stay in bed on election day and another quarter will vote as they always have and the rest (the professional and middle classes can be bought off and what’s left of the former working class can be ignored . At least until there’s blood on the streets again 🙁

    Sovereignty is not what it used to be.Neither will it ever be again . New paradigm out there in case folks haven’t noticed it and it seems that most of our elected politicians in Ireland and the UK are not up to the job 🙁

    Sic transit etc