Ireland's blasphemy law
Debate is raging about Ireland's new blasphemy law, which came into effect at the start of the new year. Atheist Ireland has published a list of twenty-five quotations which, they claim, would be in breach of the law. These include the words of Jesus and Muhammad.
David Quinn, former editor of The Irish Catholic, says, ""My own personal theory is that it actually had to do with the Danish cartoon controversy of about four years ago. That there was a fear that we might get a Danish cartoon-style controversy in Ireland -- that some newspaper might publish something that Muslims found highly offensive -- and it might have repercussions for Irish trade in the Muslim world."
Evangelical Christian critics fear the law could restrict their freedom to defend the uniqueness of the Christian witness in a global religious context.
Richard Dawkins says, 'One of the world's most beautiful and best-loved countries, Ireland has recently become one of the most respected as well: dynamic, go-ahead, modern, civilised - a green and pleasant silicon valley. This preposterous blasphemy law puts all that respect at risk.'
It is very difficult to find anyone willing to step forward and defend the new law. On last week's Sunday Sequence, Fianna Fail Senator Jim Walsh became the first senior politician to speak in support of the law.