I am off to a fun start here in Ireland, with a busy day yesterday. I was on the Tom McGurk radio show, which is summarized by a listener. Basically, it was the cracker incident compressed into less than 10 minutes, with McGurk barking at me and an amazingly clueless and pompous senator, Ronan Mullen, brought in to wax indignant at my affront to Catholicism. It was not a good format to actually address the issues — Mullen actually dared me to blaspheme against Muslims, for instance, and all I had time to do was laugh at the hilarity of yet another instance of fatwah envy before they both went gallumphing over me with outrage — but that was OK, the point was to stir up some argument and maybe get a few more people to show up at my talks where I can actually make a reasonable case.
Last night I also shared a table with Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland to discuss the blasphemy laws with an overfull room. Michael was the real star there — he’s very knowledgeable about Irish politics, much more so than me, obviously. One of the great points he made was that Mullen’s indignation about an atheist committing blasphemy was profoundly hypocritical. Apparently, Mullen voted against the blasphemy law at first, for an interesting reason: it didn’t provide for allowing religious people to blaspheme against other religions than their own.