Concerning: The Updated Blasphemy Laws In Eire, 2009.
By Louis P. Burns aka Lugh © 2009. All rights reserved.
So, this takes place today in Ireland:
I am an atheist living in Ireland (North, so by default UK) and have been opposed to religious indoctrination from my earliest days. I understand that what Michael Nugent and the rest of Atheist Ireland are doing is important but I utterly disagree with the last paragraph on the link above.
Michael Nugent wrote:We are also launching a campaign encouraging people to read the Bible and other sacred books. Objectively reading the Bible is one of the strongest arguments for rejecting the idea of gods as intervening creators or moral guides."
If two atheists in Ireland were publicly discussing or debating a particular part of the text of the bible, with an aim to overthrowing it as medieval nonsense eventually. As a few extremist believers passed by and overheard them who were inspired to take the non-believers to task, perhaps violently. Wouldn't that make the atheists guilty of inciting religious hate crimes under current Irish law? Before people say I'm over-thinking this. Consider the religious hate crimes often leading to murders here in the recent sad history of Northern Ireland. There are people out there, willing to do harm based upon religion.
I've worked as a writer most of my life. I've dabbled in campaign as well as comedy, poetry, script, song and story writing. Were I living in the Irish Republic now, I could in theory be questioned by the authorities if it were claimed by a religious person or group that I enraged them prior to whatever crimes they then committed. Artistic merit would of course be used by a solicitor representing me but, what if a few fans of my work - unconnected to the arts were discussing my material publicly, and those same religious extremists passed by?
Engaging with and reading books like the Bible or the Quran. even by broadminded and progressive atheists, carries too heavy a penalty ethically and now legally...
(This post originally made to the Debate & Discussion section of Sensitize ©)