Our letter to the Irish prime minster urging repeal of blasphemy laws

The Guardian published this letter urging removal of the crime of blasphemy from the Irish constitution It was by Atheist Ireland (headed by Mick Nugent) and addressed to Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland. Several of us were asked to sign it, and I did so with alacrity.

Kudos to Atheist Ireland for trying to get this odious law off the books. I’m told that the letter may even have an effect.  Note: if you find what’s below hard to read, simply go the Guardian site whose link is above. Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 10.26.28 AM Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 10.26.44 AM


  1. Joseph McClain
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Hard to read the screen shot, especially the signatures. I think Beckett and Joyce would approve.

    • Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      The original site might be clearer; that’s why I gave a link to it.

  2. kieran
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    So long as we don’t replace it with religious offence or something worse. Next introduce an affirmation instead of a religious oath for president, judges and council of state.

    • Posted February 13, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear! If a person’s word isn’t worth anything, it’s not worth any more for having said magic words.

    • Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the link, Kieran. Will do.

    • muttleynigel
      Posted February 13, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink


    • Phil Giordana FCD
      Posted February 14, 2015 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      Thanks a lot. Signed.

  3. Randy Schenck
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the connection. Everyone should want to sign that petition. Ireland really should be better than this.

  4. Posted February 13, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Very impressive list of signatures!

  5. Posted February 13, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Everyone should be against blasphemy laws: strictly speaking, every religious utterance is blasphemy to somone’s religion, and many religious utterances constitute denigration of many other religions. If Ireland truly wants an equal place at the European table, they should take the lead and shame the other nations whose ancient blasphemy laws still stand – even (maybe especially) the ones which no longer enforce them!

    • Mattapult
      Posted February 14, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Christians decry atheism as a form of religion. They downplay scientific theories as “only a theory.” They convince themselves these are our Gods, and they talk bad about “our Gods.” Blasphemy by their definition. We know their logic is flawed, but that’s not the point. The point is: either they acknowledge the flaws of their argument, or they accept the punishment they bring upon themselves.

  6. Diane G.
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Great letter & cast of signatories. May it have a strong impact.

  7. muttleynigel
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Fingers crossed for a referendum.

    It’s a pity I won’t be able to vote even though I live here. Because it’s a constitutional matter, only Irish citizens can take part, and I’m from the UK.

    The one name I’m surprised not see on the list is Dara O’Briain.

  8. Robert Bate
    Posted February 14, 2015 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    All my favorite people signed this one – thanks Jerry!

  9. Brygida Berse
    Posted February 14, 2015 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    They say that Ireland is the only European country with a contemporary blasphemy law. While technically it may be true, Poland has a law that makes “offending religious feelings of others” a punishable offense, subject to a fine and/or up to 2 years imprisonment. Not a blasphemy law by name, but effectively the same thing. And it’s been actually used against prominent people who criticize religion. Polish pop singer Dorota Rabczewska was fined for stating publicly that the authors of the Bible “must have been drunk and smoking dope”. The amount of the fine was minute compared to Ms. Rabczewska resources, but still may serve as a deterrent to those less financially fortunate, and repeated offenders could well be jailed.

  10. Posted February 16, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Here’s hoping Atheist Ireland can be successful in their very worthwhile project!

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