Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland made a few more videos of me babbling before I left, and has posted them to the website. I’m terrible in them — no fault to Michael, I was just worn out and burned out on the last night of my trip. You can poke fun at me if you want.
The interesting thing about them, though, is that they were made in the Oonagh Young gallery in Dublin, which is currently hosting an exhibit of blasphemous art, in blatant defiance of the blasphemy laws. Everything in there is offensive to someone; the exhibits mock religion and religious beliefs with words and pictures.
The Garda aren’t storming the place.
That’s the evil of the blasphemy laws: they make everyone a criminal, and are not being enforced, but they have the potential to be selectively enforced. That’s a very useful tool in the hands of the state; an art gallery exhibit which defies the law can be overlooked, but if someone starts really shaking up the establishment, it will be another convenient truncheon to silence dissent. I personally felt no risk at all in traveling to Ireland, because I’m just an outsider with no power, and can be safely ignored. I’d worry more if I were part of an organization with some political influence that was growing and had some shot at helping to secularize Ireland, because right now critics have the tool to break the back of such organizations with strategically applied accusations of violations of the official blasphemy laws.
It’s a very Christian approach. We’re all sinners, therefore God is justified in any action he takes against us. We’re all blasphemers, and give the state the power to condemn a common behavior, and they can be justified in the arbitrary exercise of the law.