Fuck your god up your…
(Brought about by the musings of Twenty Major)
It seems that the charming Dermot Ahern (you know the one, he looks like he was happy slapped with someone’s member) is suggesting a nice little add-on to the Defamation Bill that’s been discussed for quite some time within the halls of power that will make blasphemy a punishable offence legislatively. Well all I can say is fuck you Ahern.
I’ve been looking forward to this bill for quite some time as it was suggested that it would incorporate both libel and slander into one offence of disseminating defamatory information but now it seems to be turning into a vehicle for the ignorant to air their grievances. I’m not one to use the gay card but from a man that has labelled homosexuality as an abnormality and who is part of a government that continues to drag their heals over civil union legislation, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion. If this were allow to pass as it is suggested, it would grant the courts a large scope to deem what is and what is not acceptable to say from the perspective of those that are inherently religious; the non-religious and those philosophically opposed to particular religious teachings or simply those opinions opined by even the most fanatical, would do so under the constant threat of prosecution and undoubtedly, the gays would be top of the list along with other “moral reprehensible groups”.
One can accept that as the Constitution lays out, it is often essential to qualify rights within the context of another, no right is absolute but to allow such a blatant violation of the right to disassociate oneself from theology of any kind would be unacceptable. Not only is it firmly set out within the context of the Constitution which has been amended to allow for the protection of all religious schools, it would also fly in the face of all legislative equality provisions that are being incorporated more and more into Irish law.
Ahern would also be going against both established precedent and his fellow colleagues who have found the very principle of blasphemy to be vague and incompatible with the Convention on Human Rights, something Ahern’s provision does nothing to solve.
Beyond this, the large remit of power given to the courts to define what would potentially be blasphemous would also potentially violate the principle of the separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary in that the courts would have the power to “fill in the blanks” within the provision – interpretation is one thing but the courts have themselves established that they cannot add or alter legislation, merely that they can find something to be compatible or incompatible with the constitution.
I have to hope that someone sees the harm this could cause if it were allowed to be enacted with such a large punitive ceiling attached to it – perhaps herself up in that big gaff might pull her finger out if it comes before her and refer it to the courts if it manages to survive long enough…
All I know is, this is not one step forward, it’s a DeLorean ride back to the dark ages.