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Jan 01 2010

Happy 2010, everyone! Unless you’re Irish, in which case, happy 1410!

You know, today is a really great day. Seriously. Here in Austin the weather could not be more perfect, unless it were raining money. And I’m in a terrific mood, bursting with optimism. No, really, I’m not being sarcastic. I just feel good, and it feels good to feel good, so I think I’ll just go on feeling good for as long as it feels good.

You know what cannot even dampen my mood? The fact that Ireland’s preposterous blasphemy law goes into effect today. That’s the one that fines you €25,000 — which comes to $35,971.25 according to XE.com’s currency converter — if you say or publish anything that’s “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.” So I guess “There’s nae God ya fookin gormless gobshites!” probably qualifies.

This doesn’t dampen my mood because I find it hilarious. It makes me think that if I could do one thing other than what I’m doing today, which is enjoying the lovely weather in my hometown with my dogs, it would be to walk boldly down the streets of downtown Dublin wearing my “Jesus Did It For The Chicks!” T-shirt. How Ireland thinks it will avoid becoming the subject of international ridicule with this stupidity is beyond me. Hell, they’ll have to block a good chunk of BBC comedy programming right off the bat, unless the government plans to arrest and fine itself. And oh yes, I’m quite sure that the awesome crowd at Atheist Ireland is going to take this ball and run with it!

The spectacle of a Western nation suddenly behaving like some Christian version of Yemen and taking a bold step back towards medieval theocracy like this as we move into the second decade of Century 21, for Christ’s sake (oops!), is, to me, nothing short of riotously funny. Especially when, in the last week, the international news has been full of reports of the Irish Catholic Church’s own shielding-the-pedo-priests scandal.

All in all, a day to make an atheist very, very happy indeed. Happy Blasphemous New Year, everyone! And oh yes, Irish Catholics? Hint: if your religion cannot stand up to free speech, the problem is not with free speech.


Addendum: Well, it’s hit the news big time, so we’ll see how things go.

16 comments

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  1. 1
    soul_biscuit

    Let's all join in the blasphemy! After all, if God existed he would be an unspeakable cunt who didn't have the stones to butt in when thousands of Irish priests diddled little kiddies. Cheeky fucker.

  2. 2
    Cafeeine Addicted

    On an unrelated note, there is a vote about the most influential female atheist of 2009 at blaghag which includes Jen and Tracie among the possibilities!

  3. 3
    AJ

    Sorry to be pedantic, Martin, but Belfast is in Northern Ireland, not Ireland.

  4. 4
    Leisha Camden

    Martin: Good post, but I hope you realize that Belfast isn't in Ireland … ?Happy new year!

  5. 5
    Guillaume

    I don't find this one funny at all, I find it bloody worrying. I am a great admirer of Ireland and Irish culture and while I understand that Catholicism is deeply rooted in their culture and nationalism, that even Irish atheists and secularists remain somewhat Catholics at a cultural level at least, it is disgusting that a great country, which gave so much to Western culture is trying to choke its own throat. Criticising, mocking Catholicism, or indeed any faith, is pretty much part of their culture as well. And I am worried for another reason: I live in the UK, we also have our share of fundies here and they will be more happy to follow the Irish example. And, unlike Ireland, the United Kingdom is a monarchy whose head of state is also head of the Church, which therefore has constitutional links with power. So there would be legal legitimacy to any attempt to revive anti-blasphemy law.

  6. 6
    Isaac

    I regret to inform you: You are wrong about something!This Irish law doesn't affect Northern Ireland at all, since techically Northern Ireland is part of the United Kindgom. Since Belfast is in Northern Ireland rather than Republic of Ireland, you should say "it would be to walk boldly down the streets of downtown DUBLIN wearing my 'Jesus Did It For The Chicks!'" since Dublin is affected by this stupid law.Happy ten.-Isaac

  7. 7
    A-Astrologist

    Martin, I was wondering. Are you under the impression that Belfast is in the Republic of Ireland? Or is your remark about Belfast in reference to the already existing blasphemy laws in Northern Ireland?

  8. 8
    Raymond

    Just a couple of corrections. Belfast is in Northern Ireland, part of the UK and therefore not subject to this blasphemy law. The main broadcaster in the Irish Republic is RTE and not the BBC but I think do get many BBC programmes. There is also good chance that the law is contrary to European Convention on Human Rights.Article 10 provides the right to freedom of expression, subject to certain restrictions that are "in accordance with law" and "necessary in a democratic society". This right includes the freedom to hold opinions, and to receive and impart information and ideas.I am no lawyer but I sure a case could be made that the law is illegal.

  9. 9
    felix

    I've also posted this at rdnet and the AI page: self-indictment is the way to go.As an insightful poster and apparently fellow German noted, the way we got rid of our primitive "unmarried couples can't live together" law in the 1960s was to have over 70,000 people (or couples?) reported themselves for a violation of law. I assume the Irish justice system must initially accept any report of offence, even if the offender is the same person who brings the charge.So, let's see if the system is willing to handle thousands of lawsuits and enforce thousands of sentences.Of course, as I'm not there it's easy for me to ask the Irish for the courage to walk into their police stations or write their state attorneys to turn themselves in.Let's see that nonexistent thoughtcrime punishing homicidal virginraper do anything about the soon-to-implode Irish justice system while saving the asses of his pedophile followers.word verification: dometomewhat a cool word.

  10. 10
    Martin

    Glarrrrg! Yes, I meant Dublin, not Belfast (edit made), and the only reason I can think for fucking that one up is I've been reading a book about Bloody Sunday and the Troubles (Those Are Real Bullets) recently and probably had Northern Ireland on the Brain.

  11. 11
    Ing

    So is it time to start narcing on churches for blaspheming against Islam?

  12. 12
    Kiwiatheist

    @ingNow there's an idea….

  13. 13
    minus

    As a worshipper of Baal, I charge the Christian church and all publishers and purveyors of the so-called "Holy Bible" for the use of grossly abusive and insulting language in relation to matters held sacred by my religion.

  14. 14
    krissthesexyatheist

    Great post, but I really love the title. I spit coffee all over my keyboard.Kriss

  15. 15
    Jason

    Re: MinusYou beat me to the punch.I fail to see how a large amount of any religious doctrine is not in some way offensive to other religions.Perhaps an interesting test of the law might be to submit complaints regarding religious doctrine on behalf of other religious organisations.

  16. 16
    MrKay

    Good thing I went to Dublin before the law was enacted, then. I suppose my comment of 'Hey, how about that, I went into a church and didn't burst into flames' to my mate might've been considered blasphemous by some. Then again, most Irish don't speak a lot of Norwegian…

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