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Thursday, 7 May 2009

Blasphemy proposal raises Irish ire

There’s some anti-religious rhetoric coming out of Ireland at the moment. It’s all come about because of a proposal there to put blasphemy on the statute book, and freethinking types don’t like it.

Last week we reported on one writer’s view that what’s sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. In other words, if you want a blasphemy law that denies people freedom of speech, then you should expect religion to be denied freedom of speech, too.

Now we get David Adams, also writing in the Irish Times, who says, unequivocally, “There is no such thing as a Divine Being. So get a life, Dermot, or at least stop trying to foist your beliefs on everyone else.”

The Dermot he addresses is Dermot Ahern, the Republic’s justice minister, whose crazy idea this blasphemy lark is.

Before he gets to the more serious stuff, he has a bit of fun by saying he’d prefer to go to Hell then Heaven if these places existed, because, “What could possibly be worse than having to spend eternity in the company of ayatollahs, archbishops, pontiffs, preachers, and their legions of glass-eyed, po-faced acolytes?”

He says later:

Religious fanaticism is on the march, beginning to reassert itself, and determined to drag us back to pre-enlightenment times. I’ve no wish to cause unnecessary panic but if I were a “non-Catholic” living in the Republic I’d be keeping a packed suitcase handy in case things turn nasty.

His penultimate paragraph refers to the kowtowing to superstition by politicians (much as we find here in the UK):

Still, it isn’t church leaders we should be most worried about, but rather those true believers within the laity who hold powerful political positions and wait patiently until they judge that the time is right to do His will. For Dermot Ahern that time has come.

Then he refers to the concepts of Up There and Down There, saying, “The difference between Heaven and Hell? Stand by, we’re about to find out.”

In the middle somewhere, we get references to genital mutilation, repression of women and forced marriage, along with Pope Ratzinger's hatred of homosexuality.

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