Campaign for a Secular Irish Constitution

Today is International Blasphemy Day, administered by the Center For Inquiry as part of its Campaign for Free Expression. Atheist Ireland is an advocacy group for an ethical and secular Ireland: see details in these Irish Times articles on the Irish blasphemy law and our first AGM.

Atheist Ireland is seeking your help today to launch and shape a new long-term campaign with two important aims: to repeal the new Irish blasphemy law and to attain a secular Irish Constitution. Specifically, we are asking you to do three things: send us a message of support, get actively involved in shaping this project, and lobby to persuade Irish politicians to pursue these policies.

We will soon be holding public meetings around Ireland to launch this campaign. We want it to include religious and nonreligious people working together, within Ireland and with international support. The campaign has one common aim that transcends any other differences we may have: that all Irish citizens, of all beliefs and none, can live together in equality, with the State being neutral on matters of religion.

In recent decades, several independent and all-party committees (most whose members were Christians) have repeatedly called for an end to discrimination against nonreligious citizens in our Constitution. Not only has this not been done, but a new religious crime has now been created. The blasphemy law is the final straw. We need a secular Irish Constitution, and we need it now. Please help to make this happen.

Our Immediate Aim: Repeal the Blasphemy Law

The Defamation Act 2009 makes blasphemy a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine, after the Minister for Justice signs the commencement order in mid-October. Blasphemy 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” with safeguards to make it harder to prosecute.

Regardless of the detail, it is wrong in principle for a modern democratic republic to have any type of blasphemy law. Theological thought-crimes belong in the past. Religious and nonreligious people alike should be protected from harm and incitement to harm, but religious and nonreligious ideas alike should be open to any criticism. That is how human knowledge progresses. Blasphemy laws discriminate against nonreligious citizens, by protecting the fundamental beliefs of religious citizens only.

This law also has serious international impacts. Irish citizens could face blasphemy charges elsewhere under the European Arrest Warrant. Also, Islamic States are lobbying at the UN to make defamation of religion a crime internationally. Ireland has voted along with the other EU States against this, because Islamic States can use blasphemy laws to justify religious persecution. These Islamic States can now point to a modern pluralist Western State passing a new blasphemy law in the 21st century.

Our Overall Aim: A Secular Irish Constitution

We have a blasphemy law because the Irish Constitution of 1937 says we should have one. And our Constitution also discriminates against nonreligious citizens in many other ways. For example, you cannot become President or a Judge unless you take a religious oath asking God to direct and sustain your work. So up to a quarter of a million Irish people cannot hold these offices without swearing a lie. This is contrary to Ireland’s obligations under the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Preamble states that all authority of the State comes from, and all actions of the State must be referred to, the Most Holy Trinity. Article 44 states that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God and that the State shall hold His Name in reverence. This is not merely an assertion of the right of citizens to worship this god. It is an assertion of the right of this god to be worshipped by citizens.

The Constitution also contains many other references to this god and to religion generally. Our national parliament reflects this by starting each day’s business with a prayer explicitly asking the Christian God to direct all of their actions. Under this guidance, they have legislated for many public policies that are heavily influenced by religion.

We should be removing these 1930s religious references from our Constitution, not creating new crimes to enforce them seventy years later. A modern secular Constitution would allow all citizens, whether religious or nonreligious, to live together as equals with the State being neutral on matters of religion.

Our Request to You: Please Help This Campaign

The blasphemy law is the final straw. We now need a secular Irish Constitution. We will soon be holding public meetings around the country to shape this campaign for equality for and by all Irish citizens, of any or no religious beliefs. But we will be much more likely to succeed if we have national and international support.

Here are three ways that you can help:

  • One, please send us a message of support. Just a few lines will do. We want to be able to show that there is a wide support for these ideals.
  • Two, please let us know if you would like to get actively involved in any way. You are more than welcome to help shape how this project evolves.
  • Three, in whatever way you can, please help to lobby Irish politicians at national and international level to implement these policies.

This will be a lengthy campaign, but a very worthwhile one that you can be proud to have played your part in. We look forward to working alongside you to build an ethical and secular Ireland.

Michael Nugent

148 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Dick Woods September 30, 2009

    Please support the repeal of this ridicules law:

    Modern society needs to be thinking about how to get mankind advancements to the level of good Galaxy citizens. If and when we make it to free – if you can afford it outer space living we should not be seemingly primates afraid of our own shadow.

    Have a nice day Be free with all beliefs even non beliefs

    Kind Regards

    Dick Woods
    USA – California – Los Angeles

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Morgan C. Jones September 30, 2009

    As an atheist, I would welcome a secular constitution

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Alan Simpson September 30, 2009

    It’s time to move away from primitive superstitions and the laws that support them. I support a secular constitution in Ireland.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Ally Fritsch September 30, 2009

    I wish you well in your endeavors and support your efforts to have the blasphemy laws repealed and to work towards a secular constitution for Ireland.

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Rebecca September 30, 2009

    Much luck in repealing the blasphemy laws (I mean… how archaic) and working towards a secular constitution. You certainly have my support.

    Melbourne, Australia

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Alexandra September 30, 2009

    When I first read about this, it sounded like a bad joke. Now that I find out it’s dead serious, I can only say this is an aberrant law, because:

    – such a law contradicts the principles of freedom of free thought and speech;
    – “blasphemy” will never be an objective term (it has a different meaning, according to the religion you adhere to); the term is subject to endless (mis)interpretation.

    Your friendly neighbourhood atheist,

    Alexandra, Romania

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    Jaco September 30, 2009

    Good luck in your endeavour to repeal this law. It’s been one of the more shocking laws recently in the west that I have noticed, especially since it makes freedom of speech a crime.

    Jaco, South Africa

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    deatkin September 30, 2009

    Blasphemy laws are a ridiculous anachronism in any state that purports to belong to a global community. The law is discriminatory against the non-religious, who under the law can only ever be a perpetrator, never a victim, and will only serve to obstruct legitimate and necessary criticism of religious beliefs and practices. Every Irish citizen should be opposed to this affront to freedom of speech and thought. All over the world, the non-religious can now look at the state of affairs in their own country and say: “At least I don’t live in Ireland.”

    Best of luck,

    Donald Atkin
    Victoria, Canada

    Reply
  9. Avatar
    Wendy September 30, 2009

    Good luck Ireland! The rest of the world is watching.

    Wendy
    Vancouver, Canada

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    ihedenius September 30, 2009

    It is indeed hard to believe this isn’t a bad joke.
    In light of the very recent momentous Irish child abuse scandal spanning the larger part of the 20th century it is not rocket science to understand why no area of society can be above criticism.

    ihedenius

    Stockholm, Sweden

    Reply
  11. Avatar
    J.W. Cowe September 30, 2009

    Ireland needs to repeal this immediately. It’s disheartening to know it passed in the first place. Stop silencing reason and freedom of speech. A Secular Constitution is now imperative.

    J.W. Cowe

    Melbourne, Australia

    Reply
  12. Avatar
    Jerad September 30, 2009

    Best of luck and all the support I can offer!

    Jerad

    Los Angeles, California

    Reply
  13. Avatar
    Euan September 30, 2009

    Good luck. I can’t think of a nation that needs secularism more.

    Reply
  14. Avatar
    Deena September 30, 2009

    Blasphemy laws have no place in any modern society. I support your efforts to repeal.

    Edinburgh, UK

    Reply
  15. Avatar
    Brian, Ireland September 30, 2009

    The first step, in my view, towards getting anyone’s attention in terms of changing the constitution, is for there to be official acknowledgement that a sizeable percentage of Irish people do not believe in gods.

    We can hold as many polls as we like, hold as many meetings as we like, blog as much as we like, but the reality is that the last census shows 96% claiming to be of some religion or other, so how can you expect to be taken seriously?

    The answer? Your next action should be campaigning for the wording on the census form to be updated to provide accurate results. Seriously – read on…

    Instead of asking which religion a person belongs to, the question must be changed to read something close to this:

    Q1. Do you believe in a God, as a supreme being? Yes [ ] No [ ]
    *This question refers to any of the Gods as described by various religions. If you believe that there is no supreme being, or perhaps just that ‘God is nature’, or that ‘God is love’, then you should answer ‘No’ to this question.

    If you answered ‘No’ to Q1, please proceed to Q4

    Q2. If you answered ‘YES’ to Q1, do you practice your religion regularly? Yes [ ] No [ ]

    Q3. If you answered ‘YES’ to Q1 *and* Q2, please state your religion (otherwise please leave blank) : _______________

    Q4. [rest of census]

    What does this change achieve? Well, there are a great many Irish people who will answer ‘Catholic’ to the current question even though they don’t believe in gods. Even comedian Dara O’Braoin said at one of his shows that he doesn’t believe in ‘God’ but he’s still a “Catholic” because “it’s something to write on the census form”. Many Irish people think of ‘Catholic’ as something akin to nationality, they were born with it, that’s what they are – even if they don’t believe in gods. Many others misunderstand the words ‘Catholic’ or ‘Christian’ to mean some sort of morality, or goodness, and it’s a label they like to claim.

    Because people are doing this on the census form – an illusion is created that we are 96% religious as a nation. When the true figure emerges, the publication of this result would be an excellent launch pad to get the constitution changed.

    Reply
  16. Avatar
    Sean September 30, 2009

    Well done guys – lets keep us out of the dark-ages – where this act of insanity belongs.

    Reply
  17. Avatar
    Penny September 30, 2009

    Good luck with getting this repealed, and getting a secular constitution. Religion should play no part in the government of any country.

    The law itself is unworkable anyway, surely. The existance of the Islamic religion, which denies that Jesus is the Son of God, could be seen to be grossly insulting to Christianity, so are they going to ban all expressions of Islam?

    Reply
  18. Avatar
    Nick Gotts September 30, 2009

    I had not realised the Irish constitution was quite so church-dominated! Ireland certainly needs a secular constitution (as does my own country, the UK, of course). I wish your campaign early success. Meanwhile, is there any chance the ECHR could declare the blasphemy law in violation of Irish citizens’ human rights?

    Reply
  19. Avatar
    Korinthian September 30, 2009

    This law is an intellectual potato famine!

    Best well-wishings on your path back to democracy from Sweden.

    Reply
  20. Avatar
    Hywel Thomas September 30, 2009

    Message of support from the UK. Secular is the only sensible policy. Government should be neutral in things religious. There should be no state funding of religion. No state funding of faith schools. And everyone should be absolutely free to believe in whatever mythical hokum they fancy. Freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

    It seems odd that the USA is so far ahead of the UK and Ireland in their constitution, despite it being half full of nutjobs.

    France would seem to have it right.

    Good luck with the campaign.

    Reply
  21. Avatar
    Benoit September 30, 2009

    Good luck Irish blesphemers!

    Imaginary friends aren’t entitled to respect, only real people are.

    Benoit (Canada)

    Reply
  22. Avatar
    Dave September 30, 2009

    Religion has no role in the public portion of our modern world, continue the good work.

    Dave

    Reply
  23. Avatar
    Andreas September 30, 2009

    A civilized, democratic country does not have a blasphemy law! It is certainly infuriating to hear that Ireland is about to get one, and I urge every Irish citizen to protest loudly against it.

    Andreas, Sweden

    Reply
  24. Avatar
    Xavier Ninnis September 30, 2009

    While one need look no further than the US, with its Constitution supposedly safeguarding against the “establishment of religion”, to see that an educated citizenry is the only true defense against the forces of superstition which are ever eager to drag humanity back into darkness. Still, it is shocking to learn that a Western Democracy should have as part of its Constitution such an anachronism.
    You have my wholehearted support in your efforts to achieve Constitutionally protected freedom of expression.

    Reply
  25. Avatar
    Ash September 30, 2009

    I would like to publicly express my outrage over the existence of blasphemy laws in Ireland. Everyone, religious or not, knows that the conflict between religious views or none can produce offence, but there are already laws that deal with illegal expressions of such. This law criminalizes everyone, since there is no concensus on which path is ‘right’, and more importantly litigates against free speech and dissent from majority opinion. Which, bizarrely enough, makes this law blasphemous to me and therefore illegal itself.

    Brighton, UK

    Reply
  26. Avatar
    Paul Lundgren September 30, 2009

    Best of luck from your American admirers.

    Paul Lundgren
    Ames, IA, USA.

    Reply
  27. Avatar
    Glen September 30, 2009

    You are doing a good thing. Even the religious folk will be better off for your efforts.
    I think a lot of them know that, too.

    Glen
    Texas

    Reply
  28. Avatar
    Mark September 30, 2009

    You have my full support. To paraphrase John Lennon: Imagine no laws giving Religion undeserved special status!

    Mark
    Melbourne, Australia

    Reply
  29. Avatar
    Marc September 30, 2009

    How can a Law like that advance civilization? We need to look to the future and solve problems with critical thinking instead of being stuck in an archaic past. Ireland needs to become secular and only then will the people be free. You cannot fight a war by pretending it doesn’t exist!

    Reply
  30. Avatar
    Elwood Herring September 30, 2009

    “God” is not a name, it is a job description – and the position appears to be vacant.

    You have my full support in campaigning to repeal this ridiculous law.

    Reply
  31. Avatar
    FSMdude September 30, 2009

    I fully support you guys.

    And to celebrate Blasphemy day, I’ve decided to release all of my videos of Eucharist desecration on this website: http://www.crackergate.com/ . Feel free to download them and upload them anywhere. Bill Donohue will probably have a heart attack because of me, again.

    FSMdude,
    Canada

    Reply
  32. Avatar
    Sigmund September 30, 2009

    Good luck from another Irish ex-pat in godless Sweden!

    Reply
  33. Avatar
    Gregory James September 30, 2009

    I have visited Ireland several times as a tourist from the US. Blasphemy laws discourage me from returning. Such laws are a measure of a country’s backwardness.

    Reply
  34. Avatar
    Lau P. September 30, 2009

    Rid the Pope and priests of their unjust, unmandated power, and return it to the people.
    I wish the Irish people the best of luck in resisting this nonsense that has been forced upon them!

    Reply
  35. Avatar
    Christine Eldridge September 30, 2009

    You have my support and I will help to spread the word.

    Christine
    Rhode Island, US

    Reply
  36. Avatar
    Victor September 30, 2009

    This law is absolutely ridiculous. It is a throwback to the dark ages in which the church ruled peoples lives. It makes Ireland seem superstitious and uneducated.

    Reply
  37. Avatar
    Don Rowe September 30, 2009

    Jesus Christ on a pogo-stick! Are you kidding me? Raising the degree of protection on religious criticism over any other kind of criticism is ridiculous in the extreme. Offense cannot be given, it can only be taken.

    Time to throw away the ‘blanky’ and say bubye to your imaginary friends, Ireland. Come join us in the 21st century.

    Reply
  38. Avatar
    John Shuey September 30, 2009

    It is the rights of people that need to be protected, not ideas. I fully support your effort and condemn the medieval actions and attitude of the Irish government.

    Your travail reminds me of the words of Denis Diderot, “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”.

    Reply
  39. Avatar
    Ben Parker September 30, 2009

    The blasphemy law is an insult to freedom. I offer your Campaign for a Secular Irish Constitution my support.

    Reply
  40. Avatar
    Elliott September 30, 2009

    Good luck Ireland. Isn’t it odd that Britain repealed their blasphemy law about the same time as Ireland enacted theirs?

    Blasphemy is a victimless crime.

    Elliott James,
    St. Paul, MN

    Reply
  41. Avatar
    Horse-Pheathers September 30, 2009

    I thought the Western world was beyond this melding of religion to the apparatus of state, as both are lessened by the union. The state’s business is that of the merchant, getting down and in the dirt and dealing with the practicalities of day to day living — it does not belong in the temple. Moreover, when you give the temple the state’s muscle to enforce orthodox views, you slow (or even stop) that religion’s growth in understanding, it’s ability to adapt to changing world situations and apply the lessons of history to their own faith. You create a stagnant edifice doomed to die and, in its eventual death throes, likely take many innocents with it.

    Make government secular and let God and His faithful see to their own affairs.

    Reply
  42. Avatar
    Thomas Winwood September 30, 2009

    Good luck in your endeavour to inject a large dose of sanity into the Irish legal system. For what it’s worth, you’ve got my support.

    Thomas Winwood
    Abingdon, England

    Reply
  43. Avatar
    Brad Ericson September 30, 2009

    Isn’t it time to let reason rule the world. Has there ever been a society that went under because it was being too reasonable? Let’s let today be the begining of the end for religion.

    Reply
  44. Avatar
    Nova Chaser September 30, 2009

    Best of luck to you! I’ll spread the word as much as I can.

    Reply
  45. Avatar
    KariA September 30, 2009

    Hey!

    Just wanted to shout out some support from Norway! Our government was at the verge of implementing a new rule againgst the defamation of religion earlier this year, where “qualified attacs” on religion should be deemed illegal. Bloggers luckily cautght it, and the gov. had to turn back to the old “hateful speech” prohibition, that also applies to hates speech about sexual orientation, skin color, disabilities aso. The religion part still shouldn’t be there though; ideas don’t need rights, people do!

    Happy blasphemy day, and good luck with your fight!

    Reply
  46. Avatar
    R. J. Vincent September 30, 2009

    When I first heard about this I thought it was a joke. Unfortunately, it isn’t. This law belongs in the trash heap of history along with religion. This law is an egregious affront to the right of free speech of the Irish people. It strikes me as an act of desperation by the church and its allies in the Irish parliament to hang onto any kind of power they may still have. It’s obvious from the reaction that the majority of the people of Ireland are appalled at this idiotic law and want it repealed. A law like this has absolutely no place in a modern society. It does nothing but restrict the ability of the Irish people to express their opinions freely and openly. The Irish people should vote out anyone who approved this law at the next election to send a statement that Ireland and its people live in the 21st century, not the 12th.

    R. J. Vincent

    Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

    Reply
  47. Avatar
    Robert Langley - Leeds, UK September 30, 2009

    It’s a shocking law and the penalty is monstrous. You have my full support: as a non-Irish citizen, I’ll do what I can to help.

    Reply
  48. Avatar
    Tim Reid September 30, 2009

    I fully support your aims, and wish you success with your campaign.

    Reply
  49. Avatar
    Patrick September 30, 2009

    I will be forwarding this site to my family in Ireland so they can help you.
    but I hope for great success to your campaign

    Reply
  50. Avatar
    Louise September 30, 2009

    I wish AI success in this matter. Greetings from Canada.

    Reply
  51. Avatar
    Adam J. Langton September 30, 2009

    I fully support both your immediate and overall goals. This law is unjust, unfair, and discriminatory. I eagerly watch the developments of your cause from across the pond.

    – Adam J. Langton
    London, Ontario, Canada

    Reply
  52. Avatar
    Andrew Dart September 30, 2009

    I fully support your goal to remove the Irish blasphemy law and attain a secular Irish Constitution. Blasphemy laws are a step backwards and have no place in a modern society. I wish you every success with your campaign.

    Reply
  53. Avatar
    colum mac cormac September 30, 2009

    As a secular humanist I am not represented by this constitution. Can we push for changes in the national broadcaster too? I am sick of the angelus still bonging at me daily!

    Reply
  54. Avatar
    Stephen Murphy September 30, 2009

    AI-

    What a great idea! A secular constitution. We have one here in the U.S., but you wouldn’t know it from some of the silliness that theists try and push on the rest of the population that doesn’t see their specifically flavored world view.

    Good luck, you have support from the U.S. Here is one more voice that will hopefully help reason to be heard.

    Stephen Murphy

    Reply
  55. Avatar
    Daniel September 30, 2009

    I fully support this campaign, it’s high time we modernised our constitution.

    Reply
  56. Avatar
    Mick McTiernan September 30, 2009

    This law makes me ashamed to be Irish. Good luck with all your effotrs

    Mick McT.

    Reply
  57. Avatar
    Mark B. September 30, 2009

    Good luck lads, the idea that a modern liberal democracy should have a blasphemy law or a religious constitution is ridiculous!

    Mark,
    Dublin.

    Reply
  58. Avatar
    Anna September 30, 2009

    Here’s to freedom! You have my support! :)

    Reply
  59. Avatar
    Margaret September 30, 2009

    Good luck repealing this revolting law. You have my wholehearted support!

    Reply
  60. Avatar
    Suz Winspear September 30, 2009

    Good luck in your endeavours to get rid of this absurdly anachronistic law.
    Best wishes,

    Suz
    Worcester, UK

    Reply
  61. Avatar
    Andreas September 30, 2009

    I support a secular constitution in Ireland! Religion (and any other fairytale) does not belong in any constitution anywhere in the world.

    Good luck and best regards,
    Andreas

    Reply
  62. Avatar
    DocPaul September 30, 2009

    I too wish you well in your endeavors and support your efforts to have the blasphemy laws repealed and to work towards a secular constitution for Ireland.
    This law is wrong on so many levels and it needs to be shown as being unworkable and unfair.

    DocPaul

    Reply
  63. Avatar
    Robert G. Volkmann September 30, 2009

    I had no idea that Ireland was so backward.

    This Anti-Blasphemy law protects only the most absurd religious ideas. Reasonable, defensible ideas persuade through logic and evidence. Anti-Blasphemy Laws promote unreasonable, indefensible, weak ideas through state sponsored intimidation.

    This shows that religious leaders realise how unpersuasive their beliefs are. Only by legal intimidation can the ideas be defended from criticism.

    Reply
  64. Avatar
    Christophe Thill September 30, 2009

    A secular constitution is the way to go. No nation can call itself modern without separation of church and state. Whoever doesn’t have it belongs to the Middle Ages. Good luck to you Irishmen to have these stupîd blasphemy laws repealed. I think you showed in the past that you are real fighters. So fight the good fight for human rights… and win.

    Reply
  65. Avatar
    Tyler September 30, 2009

    I support a secular constitution for Ireland.

    Reply
  66. Avatar
    James Fuller September 30, 2009

    A secular constitution is the only way to go. A society cannot be truly democratic without freedom of ideas, all ideas, for everyone should be free to use their speech to influence the public debate. Blasphemy laws do not allow for this to happen.

    Why should religion be given this special privilege? What will they pass next? Should offending members of a particular political party become a crime, too?

    Unless atheists, humanists, and secularists are granted the right to speak their minds just like the religious, equality has not been achieved. What a shame.

    Reply
  67. Avatar
    JIm Dale September 30, 2009

    I wish you the best of luck and fully support your endeavours – people have rights, but ideas do not.

    Jim Dale (a Brit in Prague)

    Reply
  68. Avatar
    spyderkl September 30, 2009

    Good luck in getting this idiotic and dangerous blasphemy law repealed.

    Reply
  69. Avatar
    Brian Murphy September 30, 2009

    As an Irishman living in Canada, it stupefies me to look back at my home being subjected to this nonsense. It seems the free state is becoming ever more the captive state.

    As we are all aware Ireland is a cultural catholic nation but It is time for science literate, rational, reasonable people to start asserting themselves and standing to be counted.

    It may not be a crime legally but it is a crime against open mindedness and freedom to impose such a antediluvian law. It is a short slippery slope from imposing a blasphemy law to outright religious totalitarianism, have these people never read 1984!

    In the grand scheme of things a law like this can strangle any hopes that Ireland can retain its reputation as a scholarly, forward thinking nation. A secular constitution is essential to the progression of Ireland and its people.

    Reply
  70. Avatar
    Rafael September 30, 2009

    I hope you manage to get a more secular government and also that the UN sees that laws against blasphemy are laws against freedom of expression.

    Reply
  71. Avatar
    John M September 30, 2009

    Good luck to you from France – a European partner of Ireland with a secular constitution that allows enjoyment of blasphemy every day of the year ;-)

    Reply
  72. Avatar
    Stephen Murphy September 30, 2009

    A blasphemy law is quite simply absurd, one religion blasphemes another each time a prayer is said in its name.

    Every day is blasphemy day – secular society members, put a stop to such ridiculous legislation.

    Reply
  73. Avatar
    Colin Shepherd September 30, 2009

    Ireland seems to be intent on taking it’s people back to the Dark Ages with it’s ridiculous Blasphemy Law. I (and all rational people i would hope) fully support your cause for a Secular Ireland.

    Good Luck

    Durham UK

    Reply
  74. Avatar
    Hugh September 30, 2009

    God damn it! I am so disappointed to learn that Ireland has passed such a stupid archaic blasphemy law. This is a giant step backwards to the time when everyone trembled in fear of a belt from the crozier. At a time when Irish society is both more religiously diverse and more secular than ever before, this is unacceptable.

    Best of luck in getting this medieval crap overturned and eventually getting a secular constitution!

    – Ex-pat in Phoenix, Arizona

    Reply
  75. Avatar
    Shane Jackson September 30, 2009

    I can’t believe Ireland is doing this in this century. Repeal the law.

    Reply
  76. Avatar
    Stephen September 30, 2009

    That a country should not have got around to repealing an old blasphemy law is bad enough. That a country with pretensions to being a modern democracy should enact a new blasphemy law is incomprehensible.

    Good luck with creating a constitution that protects real people, not imaginary ones.

    Stephen
    The Netherlands

    Reply
  77. Avatar
    gammidgy September 30, 2009

    This ridiculous blaspemy law is an embarassment to Ireland. The sooner the Irish government wakes up to this fact and establishes a secular constitution the better it will be for all.

    The world’s problems will only be solved if we pull together. This law derives from the kind of medieval thinking that only deepens the rifts between us.

    Reply
  78. Avatar
    Adair September 30, 2009

    Dear god, good luck! A blasphemy law is against human rights.

    Adair
    Utah, US

    Reply
  79. Avatar
    Maurice van Steensel September 30, 2009

    Ireland is now one of the most ridiculous places on earth, on par with retarded backwaters such as fundamentalist Islamic countries. Why is insulting an imaginary entity a crime? Repeal this idiot law!

    Reply
  80. Avatar
    Dalius Balciunas September 30, 2009

    I support a secular Irish Constitution.

    Dalius Balciunas
    Vilnius, Lithuania

    Reply
  81. Avatar
    M G September 30, 2009

    I’m not Irish, but I wish you all the best of luck in getting a secular constitution for your country. Ireland is part of the developed world, and deserves better than this. Happy blasphemy day, and keep working for your rights!

    Reply
  82. Avatar
    Conor Murphy September 30, 2009

    hey guys, i’m 1 million percent behind you on this one. A secular state is the only way to go, i’m gonna say that the next time they come begging for my vote :)

    Reply
  83. Avatar
    Matt Clark September 30, 2009

    Best of luck to you and your cause. As an occasional guest of Ireland, it would be comforting to know that I was in a secular democratic republic. I can’t think of a cause more worth working towards.
    Happy Blasphemy Day.

    Reply
  84. Avatar
    Brock September 30, 2009

    Not sure I can do much from Cleveland, Ohio, USA, but you’ve got my support! I am involved with the local CFI so that’s a start :D

    Reply
  85. Avatar
    Peter Reynolds September 30, 2009

    I support your effort to get blasphemy laws off the books in Ireland. It is ridiculous that superstition is protected by law in a 21st century democracy.

    Best of luck!

    Reply
  86. Avatar
    erik remkus September 30, 2009

    Support++ from Texas, USA.

    Reply
  87. Avatar
    No More Mr. Nice Guy! September 30, 2009

    Blasphemy is a blast for me!

    Reply
  88. Avatar
    David Baird September 30, 2009

    Happy Blasphemy Day from this Irish atheist. I look forward to the day Ireland has a totally secular constitution.

    Reply
  89. Avatar
    Thijs Goverde September 30, 2009

    As a fellow European, and as a modestly competent user of the biological feature known as the human brain, I wholeheartedly support your effort to repeal this (or any) blasphemy law. Please, Ireland, do not make me ashamed to be an EU citizen… And what’s more… the nonsense may spread!
    If I can be of help to you here in the Netherlands, please let me know!

    Reply
  90. Avatar
    petursey September 30, 2009

    Happy Blasphemy Day I find it astounding that this “dark age” law appeared in Ireland after over the past 15 years Ireland had made such progress in ridding itself of the shackles of evil catholicism that was prevalent throughout irish society and had a stranglehold over Irish “morals” for too long. Now with this backward Blasphemy law the Catholic Church will be then again be able to cover up it’s catalogue of abuses …it’s something the members of the Dial should hang their heads in shame over.

    Reply
  91. Avatar
    Jonathan Hartley September 30, 2009

    After freedom from Britain the next struggle for Ireland was the freedom from priests. Thie blasphemy law gives the Church the opportunity to claim back much of the power that the Irish people have taken from them. This law and the increased influence in education and social care that so called faith groups have been given in the UK shows that the aim of a secular state in both our countries is still a fight that must be continued.

    Reply
  92. Avatar
    Phil Tiessen September 30, 2009

    I’m not sure how a Canadian ex-Mennonite can help other than by encouraging in your fight to get rid of this asinine blasphemy law. Maybe I can vote with my liver. Should I stop drinking Jameson’s, switch to Bushmills, or drink more of both? Keep fighting the good fight!

    Reply
  93. Avatar
    William Galloway September 30, 2009

    €25,000 fine for speaking your mind about religion…how perfectly stupid this is.
    A state that takes away from its citizens the right to speak freely about any matter…is doomed.
    Are your politicians elected and are they supposed to do the will of the people that elected them?
    I believe this is the first step in communism and fascism…you are not allowed to speak against whatever.
    How much popular support is there for this law?
    Can you petition your government for redress?
    Will you enjoy being the laughingstock of democratic states?
    This is an action by a government that requires revolution if common sense arguments fail to stop the law. It cannot be allowed to stand.

    Reply
  94. Avatar
    Declan September 30, 2009

    Declan from Waterford in Ireland here. I fully support your aim of a more secular Ireland. Keep fighing the good fight. I’ll be writing to my local TD about your campaign and I wish you good luck!

    Reply
  95. Avatar
    criostoir o driscoll September 30, 2009

    cant say ought that hasnt been said here. all i know is that a huge part of irelands political and secterian troubles is unquestionably because of such nonsence. you can trace it back to the introduction of christianity to this island. while there at it why dont they start burning suspected witches at the stake again

    Reply
  96. Avatar
    rebellionkid October 01, 2009

    This is vital campaign. The acceptance of a slide towards more indoctrination and less challenging of beliefs can only harm Ireland.

    Reply
  97. Avatar
    Kirk Young October 01, 2009

    Good luck Ireland! I’d love to visit you one day, but I’d like to not be arrested when I do so for any offhand remarks I make while admiring the beauty of your homeland!

    Reply
  98. Avatar
    Patch October 01, 2009

    Blasphemy laws have no place in a modern society. Good luck to you all.

    California, USA

    Reply
  99. Avatar
    Owen October 01, 2009

    I support your cause! Best of luck dropping that absurd law off the record.

    Reply
  100. Avatar
    Ivo October 01, 2009

    I support you wholeheartedly, although from Switzerland. Ireland’s “new” blasphemy law would be ridiculous if it weren’t so gravid of consequences, nationally and internationally, as you so well explain here.

    A secular constitution would be an excellent (if not infallible! witness the US) safeguard against precisely this conniving of politics with vested religious interests.

    Please keep on fighting the good fight.

    Reply
  101. Avatar
    Dana Hunter October 01, 2009

    Best of luck to you in getting this atrocity repealed! It’s sad that religion is so weak it can’t handle a little honest blasphemy. Doesn’t speak well for it, now, does it?

    Reply
  102. Avatar
    Colm Ryan October 01, 2009

    I very much agree with the goals of secularising our constitution, and removing the role of the religious orders within our education and health systems. Ireland is growing up as a modern European nation, and these artifacts of our history, as witnessed in the recent blasphemy controversy, as well as the terrible legacy of the Ryan report, tell us powerfully that government and administration must be for the people, by the people.

    The task is incredibly difficult. Ireland is a conservative country with little appetite for change. Fianna Fail has been in power in one form or another, almost constantly, over the last 25 years, and I have strong suspicions that Fine Gael would have any major desire for change either. The answer we will continally get back is ” what’s the harm?”.

    Separating church and state is a desired goal, because it demonsrstes that all people in this country are treated equally, irrespective of whether they are Hindu, Orthodox, Jew, Protestant, Catholic or atheist. Having our Dail deputies say prayers and defend blasphemy laws sends out all the wrong messages.

    I very much support the campaign.

    Reply
  103. Avatar
    Sisi October 01, 2009

    Support! Best of luck!

    Reply
  104. Avatar
    Mel Anderson October 01, 2009

    This blasphemy law is simply special pleading on the part of religion. They have the right to believe in whatever invisible friend they like, and I’ll vigorously defend that right to my dying breath. However, the minute they try and tell me what I can and cannot say about their beliefs, they can bloody well f*** off. They are very quick to condemn atheism, but can’t take similar criticism themselves. It makes me embarassed to admit I’m Irish.

    Reply
  105. Avatar
    Michael McElree October 01, 2009

    I whole-heartedly support the campaign to repeal the ridiculous and unworkable law on Blasphemous Libel. I also call for a new secular constitution.

    Reply
  106. Avatar
    Rob A, UK October 01, 2009

    We’re at last free to blaspheme here in the UK.
    It’s Ireland’s turn next!

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  107. Avatar
    Trisha October 01, 2009

    Having being brought up in a repressive era (1950’s) and having experienced the Catholic education system good & bad (mostly bad especially at primary level), I welcome the move towards a secular Constitution and support the campaign for the repeal of the blasphemy law.

    Are the government trying to drag us back into the past? I think so, but that time has passed and they’d better wake up to that fact.

    Reply
  108. Avatar
    Stephen October 01, 2009

    As an atheist, I support a secular constitution for Ireland.

    Stephen, Dublin.

    Reply
  109. Avatar
    Grace October 01, 2009

    Best of luck. I’d like to help, but I’m afraid I don’t have much time to dedicate to any cause other than passing classes, getting my thesis done, and surviving graduate school.

    Anyway, if there is something I can do in this regard, please contact me via the required email or through the website listed. I’m “Rhea” on Insanitek.

    Reply
  110. Avatar
    Julie Anne October 01, 2009

    I agree wholeheartedly with this! A theocracy is NOT a democracy.

    Reply
  111. Avatar
    MJ van Gool October 01, 2009

    I hope you can ged rid of that law. It’s insane!

    Reply
  112. Avatar
    Dave McKenna October 01, 2009

    You have my whole-hearted support in any and all efforts to repeal this ludicrous nonsense.
    Religion is dead-weight, a crutch mankind is no longer in need of; the sooner we embrace
    secular humanism as the only rational way to live a moral life, the better off we’ll be.

    Dave, Dublin.

    Reply
  113. Avatar
    george.wiman October 02, 2009

    Best wishes to you in your effort to repeal this ridiculous law, and pursue a secular constitution. Free expression pays off in ways that are difficult to predict, from innovation to reconciliation. Power tends to accumulate when ideas are protected from ridicule.

    Reply
  114. Avatar
    Ryan Coatney October 02, 2009

    The blasphemy laws are clearly unethical and insane. No nation should move to protect any institution from the free speech of it’s people, no matter how sacred they hold the subject. I find large swaths of religious belief and speech to be astoundingly offensive, but I would never seek to have my (or any) government attempt to suppress them.

    Reply
  115. Avatar
    RBH October 03, 2009

    Being an O’Brien on my mother’s side and having been proud of my Irish ancestry, I was appalled at the passage of the blasphemy law in Ireland, and I strongly support your efforts in aid of a secular Constitution.

    Reply
  116. Avatar
    Peter Klaver October 03, 2009

    You guys have my warm blessing (if you’ll forgive me the religious sounding word) for your effort to get the blasphemy law off the books and to get a secular constitution for Ireland. The country would be much better for it.

    Peter Klaver, Netherlands

    Reply
  117. Avatar
    Dave October 04, 2009

    I have daughter that lives on the green island and now grand children who are Irish. I now fear her adopted country will be the laughing stock of the EU as Ireland slides back into the abyss of religious intolerance……what next “The Irish Inquisition” ?

    Reply
  118. Avatar
    John October 19, 2009

    I hope that this get repealed and I’m really glad that there are people fighting back against it. I’m a foreign born citizen, though when I go back I want to know that I have all of my rights!

    John, Ohio.

    Reply
  119. Avatar
    Mark October 23, 2009

    I want a secular constitution

    Reply
  120. Avatar
    Max October 31, 2009

    Thank you for getting the ball rolling. If this trend goes unchallenged, we risk a return to unbridled religious authority.

    Reply
  121. Avatar
    Robin November 06, 2009

    The Irish are being retarded in their intellectual development by a widespread and barbaric belief in the supernatural. Belief in the supernatural is based on ignorence, and is perpetuated by brain-washing and indocrination.
    The country cannot become secular soon enough, nor can it afford to have it’s strings pulled by the Catholic Church any longer.

    Reply
  122. Avatar
    Gareth November 16, 2009

    Why do we need to get rid of the Constitution when it can merely be altered by referendum?
    I’d also like to situate what do you mean about a secular constitution, does it extend to issues like legalising abortion, or changing the definition of marriage or is it only to remove explicitly Christian references from the Constitution?

    Reply
  123. Avatar
    David Delaney November 18, 2009

    I agree broadly with the introduction of a secular consitution for Ireland. DeValera’s constitution was neither a forward looking document or an easily amended document. For these two reasons I believe it would be best to replace it. Also it is imperative that the blasphemy law must be repealed, its existence should be cause for great concern to each and every citizen (even the staunchly religious ones) as it represents a severe constraint on Freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It threatens to curtail our authors, artists, reporters and general public discourse on matters of religion. This law would have seen Salman Rushdie fined €25,000 for publishing the Satanic Versus. Not good enough in a modern republic. I believe we need to redefine the nature of marrige and its societal status, the laws on abortion, the roles of women and see finally the removal of any references to the Catholic church.

    Reply
  124. Avatar
    Philip Kenny November 30, 2009

    In this day an age we need to move into the 21st century and not backward,the blasphemy law was made for another place and another time,such circumstances are long behind us, given the abuses that have come to light by the supposedly holy order of the land it is vital above all that our right to criticise religion is unimpeded it is the natural right of a denizen of a democratic land.I would hope to see our right to freely speak maintained…

    yours sincerely
    Philip Anthony Kenny

    Reply
  125. Avatar
    Declan December 04, 2009

    I support a secular constitution that respects individual autonomy, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.

    Declan (Belfast)

    Reply
  126. Avatar
    Brian Rogan (Dublin) January 01, 2010

    The new Irish blasphemy law is not only ridicolous, but also dangerous. I fully support the introduction of a secular consitution for Ireland.

    Reply
  127. Avatar
    Jeremiah January 02, 2010

    Good luck in repealing this extremely dangerous blasphemy law. I’m religious, but this doesn’t mean I want logic and reason as well as the truth to be held hostage to a law imposed by any country. GL!

    Reply
  128. Avatar
    Project/Object January 02, 2010

    I’m from the United States. I wonder how much the apparent success of my own country’s “religious right” influenced and emboldened the people who introduced and then passed this monstrosity into law?

    Reply
  129. Avatar
    Jasus Christy January 03, 2010

    This is so very annoying on so many levels. The country is in the midst of a series of problems and the politicians decide to come up with this absurd nonsense! Oh my goodness HOW CAN ONE NOT DESPAIR?

    Shame on the government and politicians they are truly unbelievable. What kind of idiots and frankly shittttt heads would have voted in such a law?

    I AM MAD AS HECK – for now anyone can object to anything so long as they can argue that someone has expressed views or ideas that = “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”

    what kind of an effing twit cameup with such crap and then got others to actually agree to it?

    SHAME ON THE POLITICIANS OF EIRE- THEY ARE A DISGRACE AND AN EMBARRASSMENT

    Reply
  130. Avatar
    Darran (Dublin) January 03, 2010

    This law is an embarrassment, it’s not safe and it defies logic. I totally support a secular consitution for Ireland.

    Reply
  131. Avatar
    Stíofán Nollaig Mac Conraoí January 03, 2010

    I have long felt the need to repeal certain clauses in our constitution, particularily those giving special recognition to a certain Christian sect. This in itself has been a major stumbling block on the road to Unification. Our constitution should protect the right of all our citizens to worship according to their beliefs, or not, as the case may be. We need a secular constitution to prove to the world at large that we as a Nation have matured, and to protect the people from the kind of subjucation previously inflicted upon the nation by a certain Christian sect.
    I fully support your endeavours to have this “witch hunt” era law repealed and hope that the people of Ireland will see sense and call for a secular constitution.

    Le meas mór.
    Nollaig Mac Conraoí

    Reply
  132. Avatar
    tiia pelly January 03, 2010

    hi
    i totally support this website, and i’m shocked and disgusted by this stupid law. i will be seeing my local tds asap to protest and demand this law repealed
    tiia

    Reply
  133. Avatar
    Suzanne January 03, 2010

    A blasphemy law has no place in the 21st century, we’re supposed to be a secular republic and now, once again, the church and state are pulling together to take away more rights from people. This is a dangerous and backwards law that needs to be repealed.

    Reply
  134. Avatar
    Kathy Buckley January 05, 2010

    Ireland needs a new secular constitution clearly separating church and state. I cannot believe the government is bringing in a new blasphemy law in the wake of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandals. Do they never learn?

    Reply
  135. Avatar
    Richard John Purvis January 08, 2010

    This law was a real shock to me when I found out about it! I thought that Ireland was leaving religious intolerance behind and embracing the future, now I find that the Irish government is regressing to a repressive religious past. Don’t certain other countries have laws like this Blasphemy Law? Saudi Arabia? Iran? Yemen? Too bad, this is going to cost the Irish economy in lost tourist dollars.

    Richard John Purvis
    Toronto, Canada

    Reply
  136. Avatar
    ultan March 09, 2010

    We need to end the stranglehold the church has on this country. I am a catholic but find it unbelievable in this day and age that the angelas is played before the R.T.E. 6 o clock news, that pubs are closed on good friday that the catholic church THE IRISH MAFIA are still running this countries hospitals and schools, our government who are elected unlike priests or bishops are shareing a peadophilic bed with the catholic church.

    Reply
  137. Avatar
    Hein Moritz September 30, 2011

    Good luck in your campaign to get rid of the attempt to regress to the dark ages.

    Reply
  138. Avatar
    Anonymous January 12, 2012

    Your means of telling everything in this piece of writing is in fact pleasant, every one be capable of effortlessly understand it, Thanks a lot.

    Reply
  139. Avatar
    Thomas O'Kane June 22, 2013

    Religion has caused enough problems in Ireland and is set to cause more with the recent arrival of muslim immigrants. I want this ridiculous blasphemy law repealed now.

    Reply

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