It’s official. The Republic of Ireland — a generally-enlightened country whose economy boomed through most of the 2000’s — has slid back into the Dark Ages. It is now illegal to blaspheme in Ireland, as the New York Times Lede blog reports:

After some hesitation, Ireland’s president, Mary McAleese, signed into law on Thursday a controversial new measure which makes it a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $35,000, to publish or utter blasphemous statements in the Irish Republic.

As The Irish Times explained in April, the new law was crafted after someone noticed that while the country’s constitution clearly calls blasphemy a criminal act, Irish legislators had failed to give the nation’s police force the legal means to hold blasphemers to account.

Ireland’s response to the problem was not to amend its Constitution to remove the offending clause … it was, instead, to dig in, keep it, and make it enforceable.


This means lots of things are now impermissible in Ireland, probably including the showing of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a scene from which actually exemplifies (via parody) what’s wrong with laws against blasphemy, as the Lede showed.

Here is the offending scene, courtesy of YouTube:

I can only assume it’s illegal to view for someone in Ireland to cite material from my blog, since it has so much godless-heathen content. Heck, it might even be illegal for someone in Ireland merely to view this blog! So if you’re reading this blog in Ireland, best of luck, and hopefully the authorities will never find out you’ve been here. (I certainly won’t tell!)

The Lede blog offers the following defense of Ireland’s new ban on blasphemy:

In fairness to Irish lawmakers, it should be noted that six American states — Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wyoming — still have laws against blasphemy on the books, although they are only occasionally enforced in the 21st century.

I’m sure the New York Times meant this to be taken humorously, but sadly enough, there are some who will say that Ireland’s ban on blasphemy is acceptable, because these states also ban it … following the old “two wrongs make a right” thinking which is decidedly fallacious (but then, religionists never met a fallacy they didn’t like).

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