'Blasphemy is an epithet bestowed by superstition upon common sense' wrote Robert Green Igersoll. But alas,superstition is now a legal obligation in holy Ireland! Atheists in Irish society ought to keep their mouths shut from now on lest they be accused of blasphemy! Yes, according to new legislation “A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.” This is the atavistic hysteria of a dull-witted government going through some form of existential crisis. But more worryingly, it is a shameless attack on our fundamental liberties to think and speak whatever we wish and clearly violates articles 7, 21,18 and 19 of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.However, from a Irish legal perspective, the new legislation is perfectly in accordance with our theocratic constitution.
If you come from a republic or a more intellectually mature civilisation, you might think this is a joke. How can religion provide the basis for civil society, I hear you ask. To anyone of reasonable intelligence, the preamble to our constitution is nothing short of a thundering absurdity. It makes a mockery of the Irish state and is a flagrant violation of any laws worthy of the name ‘civil.’ The laws of a republic are brought about by the rational consensus determining the best interests of all the citizens of that polity, regardless of whether or not they believe in gods, spirits , goblins or other supernatural entities. The constitution of a republic can provide the conditions for the free practice of all religions but cannot presuppose a theological interpretation of human nature.
The preamble to the Irish constitution not only legalises religious belief, it clearly favours one form of this psychological delusion, namely Christianity. Muslims, Jews, Hindus and all the rest are therefore legally bound to the laws of the Christian deity in its Irish manifestation. As for atheists, they obviously have no constitutional status. In fact it is questionable if they have any rights under the Irish constitution. If the laws of the land are subject to the laws of God and atheists reject the latter, are they not in contempt of the constitution? Is it illegal to be an atheist in the Irish theocracy?
The veracity of people testifying in Irish courts is still determined by placing one’s hand on the Bible. So, if I am arraigned before an Irish court for a minor offence, the basis of my credibility hinges on my belief in one of humanity’s most incredible fables! You are therefore only believable if you are a believer. This kind of thing would be laughed at in other countries such as France or Germany. But France is a real republic. The French theocracy was overthrown in the Revolution of 1789. The French constitution of 1791 opens eloquently with the declaration of the rights of man. There is no reference to the rights of God. It begins by stating that ignorance and contempt for the rights of man are the sole causes of public misery and the corruption of governments. The moral of the story? For the French republic ignorance is misery, for the Irish theocracy ignorance is 'bless'!