Blasphemy Laws Protect Bigots, Not Religions

“A hundred years ago this month, Bernard Shaw’s little play The Shewing-up of Blanco Posnet was refused a licence for performance by the English censors… How brilliant of Dermot Ahern to mark this important event in Irish intellectual life by reminding us of the absurdity of blasphemy laws.

Does he really think that it should be a crime to offend members of the Jedi church (from census returns that includes 70,000 people in Australia; 50,000 in New Zealand; 390,000 in the UK) by saying that a light sabre makes you look like a dork? Of course not.

With one satiric touch he has honoured the memory of Shaw, Yeats and Gregory and reminded us that blasphemy laws exist to protect, not religions, but bigots. For his next trick, he will mark the Darwin bicentenary by threatening to make creationism compulsory.”

Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times, May 5 2009

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