“all I said to my wife was that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.”

There’s been a slight delay since the Irish President Mary McAleese declined to test the constitutionality of the Defamation Bill, but yesterday the new legal restrictions on blasphemous defamation came into force. And, as promised, Atheist Ireland have published their blasphemous statement – actually 25 [or so] potentially blasphemous quotes. The Guardian reports here and the BBC does likewise. The Professor has succinctly noted it and WorldbyStorm points to the inevitable facebook page. [Will we shift those beards now? – Ed] Possibly..

And here are those quotes

List of 25 Blasphemous Quotes Published by Atheist Ireland

1. Jesus Christ, when asked if he was the son of God, in Matthew 26:64: “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” According to the Christian Bible, the Jewish chief priests and elders and council deemed this statement by Jesus to be blasphemous, and they sentenced Jesus to death for saying it.

2. Jesus Christ, talking to Jews about their God, in John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” This is one of several chapters in the Christian Bible that can give a scriptural foundation to Christian anti-Semitism. The first part of John 8, the story of “whoever is without sin cast the first stone”, was not in the original version, but was added centuries later. The original John 8 is a debate between Jesus and some Jews. In brief, Jesus calls the Jews who disbelieve him sons of the Devil, the Jews try to stone him, and Jesus runs away and hides.

3. Muhammad, quoted in Hadith of Bukhari, Vol 1 Book 8 Hadith 427: “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their prophets.” This quote is attributed to Muhammad on his death-bed as a warning to Muslims not to copy this practice of the Jews and Christians. It is one of several passages in the Koran and in Hadith that can give a scriptural foundation to Islamic anti-Semitism, including the assertion in Sura 5:60 that Allah cursed Jews and turned some of them into apes and swine.

4. Mark Twain, describing the Christian Bible in Letters from the Earth, 1909: “Also it has another name – The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated by God. It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies… But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy – he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered. He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty… What the insane Father required was blood and misery; he was indifferent as to who furnished it.” Twain’s book was published posthumously in 1939. His daughter, Clara Clemens, at first objected to it being published, but later changed her mind in 1960 when she believed that public opinion had grown more tolerant of the expression of such ideas. That was half a century before Fianna Fail and the Green Party imposed a new blasphemy law on the people of Ireland.

5. Tom Lehrer, The Vatican Rag, 1963: “Get in line in that processional, step into that small confessional. There, the guy who’s got religion’ll tell you if your sin’s original. If it is, try playing it safer, drink the wine and chew the wafer. Two, four, six, eight, time to transubstantiate!”

6. Randy Newman, God’s Song, 1972: “And the Lord said: I burn down your cities – how blind you must be. I take from you your children, and you say how blessed are we. You all must be crazy to put your faith in me. That’s why I love mankind.”

7. James Kirkup, The Love That Dares to Speak its Name, 1976: “While they prepared the tomb I kept guard over him. His mother and the Magdalen had gone to fetch clean linen to shroud his nakedness. I was alone with him… I laid my lips around the tip of that great cock, the instrument of our salvation, our eternal joy. The shaft, still throbbed, anointed with death’s final ejaculation.” This extract is from a poem that led to the last successful blasphemy prosecution in Britain, when Denis Lemon was given a suspended prison sentence after he published it in the now-defunct magazine Gay News. In 2002, a public reading of the poem, on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, failed to lead to any prosecution. In 2008, the British Parliament abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.

8. Matthias, son of Deuteronomy of Gath, in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1979: “Look, I had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.”

9. Rev Ian Paisley MEP to the Pope in the European Parliament, 1988: “I denounce you as the Antichrist.” Paisley’s website describes the Antichrist as being “a liar, the true son of the father of lies, the original liar from the beginning… he will imitate Christ, a diabolical imitation, Satan transformed into an angel of light, which will deceive the world.”

10. Conor Cruise O’Brien, 1989: “In the last century the Arab thinker Jamal al-Afghani wrote: ‘Every Muslim is sick and his only remedy is in the Koran.’ Unfortunately the sickness gets worse the more the remedy is taken.”

11. Frank Zappa, 1989: “If you want to get together in any exclusive situation and have people love you, fine – but to hang all this desperate sociology on the idea of The Cloud-Guy who has The Big Book, who knows if you’ve been bad or good – and cares about any of it – to hang it all on that, folks, is the chimpanzee part of the brain working.”

12. Salman Rushdie, 1990: “The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas – uncertainty, progress, change – into crimes.” In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie because of blasphemous passages in Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.

13. Bjork, 1995: “I do not believe in religion, but if I had to choose one it would be Buddhism. It seems more livable, closer to men… I’ve been reading about reincarnation, and the Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fuck the Buddhists.”

14. Amanda Donohoe on her role in the Ken Russell movie Lair of the White Worm, 1995: “Spitting on Christ was a great deal of fun. I can’t embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages, and that persecution still goes on today all over the world.”

15. George Carlin, 1999: “Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!”

16. Paul Woodfull as Ding Dong Denny O’Reilly, The Ballad of Jaysus Christ, 2000: “He said me ma’s a virgin and sure no one disagreed, Cause they knew a lad who walks on water’s handy with his feet… Jaysus oh Jaysus, as cool as bleedin’ ice, With all the scrubbers in Israel he could not be enticed, Jaysus oh Jaysus, it’s funny you never rode, Cause it’s you I do be shoutin’ for each time I shoot me load.”

17. Jesus Christ, in Jerry Springer The Opera, 2003: “Actually, I’m a bit gay.” In 2005, the Christian Institute tried to bring a prosecution against the BBC for screening Jerry Springer the Opera, but the UK courts refused to issue a summons.

18. Tim Minchin, Ten-foot Cock and a Few Hundred Virgins, 2005: “So you’re gonna live in paradise, With a ten-foot cock and a few hundred virgins, So you’re gonna sacrifice your life, For a shot at the greener grass, And when the Lord comes down with his shiny rod of judgment, He’s gonna kick my heathen ass.”

19. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, 2006: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” In 2007 Turkish publisher Erol Karaaslan was charged with the crime of insulting believers for publishing a Turkish translation of The God Delusion. He was acquitted in 2008, but another charge was brought in 2009. Karaaslan told the court that “it is a right to criticise religions and beliefs as part of the freedom of thought and expression.”

20. Pope Benedict XVI quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor, 2006: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” This statement has already led to both outrage and condemnation of the outrage. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the world’s largest Muslim body, said it was a “character assassination of the prophet Muhammad”. The Malaysian Prime Minister said that “the Pope must not take lightly the spread of outrage that has been created.” Pakistan’s foreign Ministry spokesperson said that “anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence”. The European Commission said that “reactions which are disproportionate and which are tantamount to rejecting freedom of speech are unacceptable.”

21. Christopher Hitchens in God is not Great, 2007: “There is some question as to whether Islam is a separate religion at all… Islam when examined is not much more than a rather obvious and ill-arranged set of plagiarisms, helping itself from earlier books and traditions as occasion appeared to require… It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or ‘surrender’ as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain. There is nothing-absolutely nothing-in its teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption.”

22. PZ Myers, on the Roman Catholic communion host, 2008: “You would not believe how many people are writing to me, insisting that these horrible little crackers (they look like flattened bits of styrofoam) are literally pieces of their god, and that this omnipotent being who created the universe can actually be seriously harmed by some third-rate liberal intellectual at a third-rate university… However, inspired by an old woodcut of Jews stabbing the host, I thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffeegrounds and a banana peel.”

23. Ian O’Doherty, 2009: “(If defamation of religion was illegal) it would be a crime for me to say that the notion of transubstantiation is so ridiculous that even a small child should be able to see the insanity and utter physical impossibility of a piece of bread and some wine somehow taking on corporeal form. It would be a crime for me to say that Islam is a backward desert superstition that has no place in modern, enlightened Europe and it would be a crime to point out that Jewish settlers in Israel who believe they have a God given right to take the land are, frankly, mad. All the above assertions will, no doubt, offend someone or other.”

24. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, 2009: “Whether a person is atheist or any other, there is in fact in my view something not totally human if they leave out the transcendent… we call it God… I think that if you leave that out you are not fully human.” Because atheism is not a religion, the Irish blasphemy law does not protect atheists from abusive and insulting statements about their fundamental beliefs. While atheists are not seeking such protection, we include the statement here to point out that it is discriminatory that this law does not hold all citizens equal.

25. Dermot Ahern, Irish Minister for Justice, introducing his blasphemy law at an Oireachtas Justice Committee meeting, 2009, and referring to comments made about him personally: “They are blasphemous.” Deputy Pat Rabbitte replied: “Given the Minister’s self-image, it could very well be that we are blaspheming,” and Minister Ahern replied: “Deputy Rabbitte says that I am close to the baby Jesus, I am so pure.” So here we have an Irish Justice Minister joking about himself being blasphemed, at a parliamentary Justice Committee discussing his own blasphemy law, that could make his own jokes illegal.

Finally, as a bonus, Micheal Martin, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, opposing attempts by Islamic States to make defamation of religion a crime at UN level, 2009: “We believe that the concept of defamation of religion is not consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights. It can be used to justify arbitrary limitations on, or the denial of, freedom of expression. Indeed, Ireland considers that freedom of expression is a key and inherent element in the manifestation of freedom of thought and conscience and as such is complementary to freedom of religion or belief.” Just months after Minister Martin made this comment, his colleague Dermot Ahern introduced Ireland’s new blasphemy law.

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  • Turgon

    Pete,
    The link to the site with the 25 statements is down.

  • Pete Baker

    Turgon

    I suspect they’re getting a lot of traffic..

  • Comrade Stalin

    That site is on Slashdot, so expect it to be dead for some time.

  • scruff

    If ever you needed proof that the Greens are useless in government, then the passing of this rubbish into legislation is it.

  • Paddy

    Are adults allowed join Atheist Ireland or do you have to be a retarded wanna be who recycles old cliches to join? Irrelevant, pimple faced undergraduates who cannot grow a full beard, me thinks.

  • Garza

    Well done to them!! Religion should not be exempt fron criticism. Free speech for all!

  • iluvni

    Pete,
    Hear, hear for your list of the 25 Blasphemous quotes ridiculing the ludicrous law.
    Any chance of adding the Danish cartoons to the thread as well just for the piss of it?

  • Pete Baker

    iluvni

    It’s not my list.

    It’s Atheist Ireland’s.

  • iluvni

    I knew that, Pete. Badly worded reply on my part!

  • Alias

    The sad reality is that other EU member states will be required to impose similar blasphemy laws in the near future. Turkey has 70 million Muslims who will have the right to live wherever they want in the EU when it joins.

    Professor Dr. Ekmeleddin Insanoglu, the Turkish Secretary General of the OIC (a pan-national Islamic political body, comprised of 57 members, including Turkey), is actively promoting the introduction of such blasphemy laws:

    [i]…the governments [of the world] must be pressured to demand that the U.N. adopt a clear resolution or law that categorically prohibits affronts to prophets — to the prophets of the Lord and his Messengers, to His holy books, and to the religious holy places.[/i]

    Typically, they are supporting their demands for blasphemy laws with the threat of Islamic violence for non-compliance:

    [i]…we are heading toward a bigger conflict and that shows that both sides will be hostages of their radicals.[/i]

    Ireland, of course, already has its problems from Islamic extremists who have been allowed free access into the country under EU laws.

  • Fabianus

    It’s going to be really fascinating when this farcical law is tested in court.

    In order to insult something or someone, they have to exist in the first place. It’s going to be fun to watch the supernaturalists attempt to prove in court that their gods exist.

    They could get away with that sort of shite in the 16th century, not any more.

  • heamaisbharney

    And what’s wrong with a piece of halibut anyhow?

  • Paddy

    Alias and other Islamophobes: The US Embassy in Ballsbridge was suposed to be the CIA HQ for Europe. No Irish were involved in its construction.

    Also, when Israel began the 1976 Lebanese Civil War, they used Irish passports to aid their terrorirsm in Beirut. They have also killed Irish soldiers. Let us, in other words, remember the bigger terrorists as well as AQ, the CIA’s Arab Legion.

    That said, I am happy to see such laws come into force and I hope the guilty pay.

  • Alias

    Really, Fab? And yet the EU and the UN condemned the Dutch newspaper when it reprinted the blasphemous cartoons, and the Obama administration is going down the same Islam-appeasment road in qualifying free speech in regard to defamation of religion:

    [i]While attracting surprisingly little attention, the Obama administration supported the effort of largely Muslim nations in the U.N. Human Rights Council to recognize exceptions to free speech for any “negative racial and religious stereotyping.” The exception was made as part of a resolution supporting free speech that passed this month, but it is the exception, not the rule that worries civil libertarians. Though the resolution was passed unanimously, European and developing countries made it clear that they remain at odds on the issue of protecting religions from criticism.[/i]

    The UK also has an appeasement policy in place, qualifying free speech:

    [i]In Britain, it is a crime to “abuse” or “threaten” a religion under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. A 15-year-old boy was charged last year for holding up a sign outside a Scientology building declaring, “Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult.[/i]

    Ireland is simply ahead of the pack. The rest of the EU states will follow along out of necessity in due course. The aim of the Islam lobby groups is to impose an international law via the UN, thereby making it mandatory for states to transpose the prohibition in national law.

  • joeCanuck

    A 15-year-old boy was charged last year

    Alias,
    Do you know if the case went to trial and, if so, what the outcome was?

  • Alias

    Joe, the Crown Prosecution Service said that the word “cult” was neither “abusive or insulting” and that no further action would be taken against the boy.

    If, however, he held up a sign that read “Scientology is not a religion, it is a business run by scumbags” then he would have been prosecuted under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

  • Garza

    “That said, I am happy to see such laws come into force and I hope the guilty pay.”

    Paddy, guilty of what? Hurting the feelings of religous people? Poor wee souls. Delicate are they? Afraid to be criticised for beliving in something that has no prove whatsoever?
    Are astrologers to be protected too under this law?

  • Fabianus

    Religion and religionists insult my intelligence.

    May I have a law that will prosecute them, please?

    Please?

  • Ramzi Nohra

    Although I find the list of quotes a bit tedious in places, AI’s heart is exactly in the right place.
    This law is an absolute travesty and has no place in an European democracy in the 21st century.

    Paddy, as an aside you may want to read up a bit on the Lebanese Civil War. The Israelis werent responsible for its start, although you are right they were responsible for Irish deaths. I would be interested in your views on the passport thing.

  • georgieleigh

    Although I am a bit of oul’ atheist myself I think that publishing this list is a bit counterproductive.

    Richard Dawkins and Ian O’Doherty are two who should be jailed straightway. And put in the same cell.

  • Garza

    This law is not exactly an advertisement for a United Ireland is it?

  • pinni

    It doesn’t take much courage to insult a religion whose basic tenet is ‘turn the other cheek’. It’s interesting that the list includes only a couple of quite anaemic quotes that ‘blaspheme’ Islam.

    Obviously the target of this Atheist Ireland action is Christianity, it’s definitely not Islam. The blasphemers clearly do not have the guts to insult Islam. They know what would the results would be.

  • Fabianus

    georgieleigh,

    “Although I am a bit of oul’ atheist myself I think that publishing this list is a bit counterproductive.”

    Hmm, “a bit of oul’ atheist”? You don’t sound too sure there, if you’ll forgive me.

    Me, I’m a deist—so I suppose that’s halfway to being an atheist. I mean, if a chap doesn’t believe in Jesus and all his carpentry works, then he’s halfway damned, according to, for example, the Swiss Bank Account Family Robinson.

    I’ve just come from a “do” following the burial of an aunt of a friend of mine. I have to say it was instructionary.

    She was Roman Catholic, and we had all the befrocked men and rituals that go with that particular brand of Christianity. It was incredible. I lost count of the number of silver objects that were hauled out and presented to be prayed over. Uncanny. It was as though one were in the 14th century.

    At one stage the officiating priest swung a censer about the coffin, sending up gouts of smoke. I can’t have been the only one in the church to wonder if the deceased wasn’t been given a foretaste of the “other place”.

    I suppose one shouldn’t think thoughts like those. But I did.

    Sorry.

  • DoctorWho

    pinni

    The blasphemy laws where not introduced by Islamic fundamentalists but by Catholic conservatives. Judging by these regressive and discriminatory laws, secular Ireland has less to fear from the ´bogie men` of Islam.

  • Alias

    The blasphemy laws are demanded by Islamic fundamentalists under threat of extreme violence against those who defame their icons, and they are provided for them. The cover is given to all religions to disguise which religion the protection is actually being designed for.

  • RepublicanStones

    Actually pinni, the target is religion, the fact you’d prefer it to target one religion in particular demonstrates to the rest of us something you’d probably prefer it didn’t.

  • DoctorWho

    alias and pinni

    So are you saying that the laws where a direct result of the Islamic population of Ireland which im guessing is less than 0.5%, demanding religious protection. Surely your fellow religionists in Islam are your bedfellows in this instance (is that blasphemous) and not opponents. Strange.

    No the only people threatened by this law are the un-religious. I wonder who will be the first to test this law.

    Just out of interest can the sale of say for example “The God Delusion” in a book shop be construed as blasphemy under the new laws.

  • pinni

    RS,

    You misrepresent me.

    It’s obvious that AI is primarily attacking Christianity. It’s members do not has the cojones to insult Islam.

    For the record, I don’t care two hoots about AI. They can say what they want. There is a wonderful verse in Psalms that says: Great peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them.

  • Fabianus

    It’s an interesting law as such laws go.

    If I were to say something like, “Not only is Allah female but she has a lovely tight cunt” could that be construed as blasphemy?

    I wonder, seeing it’s actually a positive statement. (Most Muslim men I know tend to sing the praises of tight cunts; they’re promised them in heaven or valhalla or whatever they call it.)

    As I say, an interesting law. I think the Irish should go the whole porker and bring back the Brehon Laws, and while they’re at it reinstate the office of High King. They can have the Druids as well. Great stuff. The Muslims would probably flock there in their thousands.

  • Garza

    For the record, I don’t care two hoots about AI. They can say what they want. – Pinni

    No they cant, thats the whole point. They cant say what they want without being prosecuted by this law.

  • pinni

    Touché, Garza. You’re right.

    I’m all for free speech!

  • DoctorWho

    pinni

    Who is more likely to use this law. Is it the many ultra conservative Catholics in Ireland or the handful of Muslims who also live here. While you may claim to be a champion of free speech, that is something that is whole heartedly not welcome by your fellow christians.

  • RepublicanStones

    pinni, is Ireland a christian or a muslim country?

    Futhermore, there are several other religions omitted, but you reserve your ire for the absence of one in particular*

    *even though it isn’t omitted.

  • Rory Carr

    If Fabianus did actually behave so vilely as to say to a Muslim or a group of Muslims his above crude remarks concerning Allah I imagine that it would fall foul of the new blasphemy law in the Republic.

    More pertinently however is the fact that it would almost certainly fall foul of well established old laws within the UK which prohibit any behaviour which might lead to a breach of the peace and consequently might bring about the danger of other more serious laws being broken such as those against homicide and grievous bodily harm as the rightly offended parties expressed their lack of sympathy with his remarks.

    The point, I think, that is being made is that since similar law exists in the Republic prohibiting such behaviour any new blasphemy laws are totally unnecessary. We have always had a socially necessary prohibition on those excesses of freedom of speech which might cause greater harm – the warning against shouting “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre rule if you like – and we really do not need any more protection and most certainly not the type of protection that discrimantes against and potentially criminalises genuine philosophical debate and critcism.

    I have long thought that the observation by Labour pioneer, Kier Hardie when he visted Belfast and on noticing graffiti on a wall screaming, “Fuck the Pope!” looked around at the mean hovels where this appeared, shook his head and said, “Lucky old Pope”, was a better riposte than any lecture on the wrongs of such sectarian expression.

  • DoctorWho

    rory carr

    “I have long thought that the observation by Labour pioneer, Kier Hardie when he visted Belfast and on noticing graffiti on a wall screaming, “Fuck the Pope!” looked around at the mean hovels where this appeared,”

    What you mean prods lived in “mean hovels”, there was me thinking they all lived on the Upper Malone Road. Seriously though what is the source of that quote, im genuinely interested.

  • Rory Carr

    I first heard the quote from Belfast trade unionist and writer, Andrew Boyd ( an early and excellent biography of I.K. Paisley included in his ouvre) during a symposium at QUB on the potential consequences of entry to the EEC back in 1970 but I have heard it recounted and have encountered it many times since in diferent articles and books and it is pretty much received, albeit anecdotal, wisdom among those with an interest in labour history and Ireland.

    I am afraid that I can’t bring an accessible reference readily to mind but a bit of Googling might bring it up. Out of curiosity I’ll have a go myself and let you know if I get a hit.

  • Rory Carr

    I first heard the quote from Belfast trade unionist and writer, Andrew Boyd ( an early and excellent biography of I.K. Paisley included in his ouvre) during a symposium at QUB on the potential consequences of entry to the EEC back in 1970 but I have heard and read it many times since in diferent articles and books and it is pretty much received, albeit anecdotal, wisdom among those with an interest in labour history and Ireland.

    I am afraid that I can’t bring an accessible reference readily to mind but a bit of Googling might bring it up. Out of curiosity I’ll have a go myself and let you know if I get a hit

  • Fabianus

    Rory,

    “If Fabianus did actually behave so vilely as to say to a Muslim or a group of Muslims his above crude remarks concerning Allah I imagine that it would fall foul of the new blasphemy law in the Republic.”

    Do please feel free to address me directly. I can take it 😉

    “More pertinently however is the fact that it would almost certainly fall foul of well established old laws within the UK which prohibit any behaviour which might lead to a breach of the peace”

    I doubt it. If that were the case then old insulter par excellence Ian Paisley would have been arrested many times over on charges of incitement. You’ll recall the silly fuck’s rallying call to the knuckledraggers of the Shankill on 17 June 1959, which arguably kick-started the troubles, or in any case poisoned many minds.

    That’s the most obvious example that occurs to me at the mo. I’m sure if you looked into it, you’d come up with many more inciters who went unpunished. Abu Hamza could say whatever he damned well pleased for a long time but went too far.

    “and consequently might bring about the danger of other more serious laws being broken such as those against homicide and grievous bodily harm as the rightly offended parties expressed their lack of sympathy with his remarks.”

    If they did then I wouldn’t be at fault according to UK law, seeing as how I made those remarks at home. It would be otherwise if I’d shouted them outside a mosque.

    That at least is my interpretation of the Public Order Act. Others may beg to differ. Besides, I’ve already said they can be read in a positive light.

    However…

    Somebody already made the point that the Irish Bill could be the kiss of death to hopes of a united Ireland. I agree. Why would a secular Unionist like myself wish to be part of a state that passes such medieval laws? We might just as well join Yemen.

  • Rory Carr

    I am sorry to say, Fabianus that your examples of incitement by Paisley Snr. and Abu Hamza do not in the least take away from my argument. My point is that existing law is in place to cover potential breaches of the peace through the utterance of objectionable words – the fact that the law is not always applied does not detract from that reality. You will be concious of the extreme reluctance of the Attorney General for example ever to bring charges against those in the arms industry manifestly and blatantly involved in bribery and corruption however clear and strong the evidence and whatever the public outcry. Political prudence trumping jurisprudence we might say.

    As to, “…I wouldn’t be at fault according to UK law, seeing as how I made those remarks at home.”, in the example I cited and which you referenced above I posited the situation where you might “…say to a Muslim or a group of Muslims … crude remarks concerning Allah” and, I may be wrong but I suspect that you don’t have many Muslims living with you although it is always possible that you are forever inviting your Muslim neighbours round for drinks and a bacon and cabbage dinner.

  • Fabianus

    Rory,

    “My point is that existing law is in place to cover potential breaches of the peace through the utterance of objectionable words”

    Not to put you to any trouble or anything but can you point me in the direction of that law? “Objectionable” seems to me to imply anything that anybody could or may wish to object to. That could apply to the word “knickers”. Somebody, somewhere will find it objectionable.

    “it is always possible that you are forever inviting your Muslim neighbours round for drinks and a bacon and cabbage dinner.”

    LOL! As we all know, the Koran expressly forbids the faithful from partaking of the devil’s own vegetable: the cabbage. “Green leaves were my heart’s delight” ~ Song of Satan (anon).