The new Irish blasphemy law takes effect today, and here’s what it says:
A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.
“Blasphemous matter” is defined as matter “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”
Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court may issue a warrant authorising the Garda Síochána to enter, if necessary using reasonable force, a premises.
Of course, it’s still legal to insult somebody else’s political beliefs, or any other beliefs — just so long as you keep your mitts off religion. I wonder if it’s blasphemy to insult someone’s faith in astrology, scientology, or healing with crystals.
a. The Irish should be ashamed of themselves for passing a law that makes a huge and influential sphere of human thought immune from criticism.
b. People should start testing this law immediately, though the 100,000-Euro law will be a disincentive.