Blasphemy, God and the Irish Constitution
If you are charged with blasphemy in Ireland, you will be tried by a Judge who was obliged to swear a religious oath asking the Christian God to direct and sustain him or her, and who will be enforcing a Constitution that includes these clauses:
- The Preamble begins with the words: “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, we, the people of Eire, humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ…”
- Article 40.6.1 guarantees the right of citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions subject to public order and morality. It then restricts this right by saying that says that “The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.”
- Article 44.1 says that “The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.” Note that this article does not enshrine the rights of citizens to worship this imagined character. Instead, it enshrines the rights of this imagined character to be worshipped.