Warning of risk to free speech


Warning of risk to free speech

The Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI) has called on Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to reconsider his proposal to make a new crime of blasphemy “as it could imperil the right to free speech for all citizens”, writes Patsy McGarry

Querying why Mr Ahern felt “impelled” to introduce such legislation, HAI chairman Dick Spicer went on to ask how, at the same time, the Minister can then “continue to ignore the Supreme Court call for legislation in the area of abortion?”

He said the HAI had “a principled objection to any attempt to introduce the crime of blasphemy into legislation” as it amounted to “a threat to free speech and a threat to religious freedom”.

He said that “no two religions agree on every theological point of view, and adherents of each must be free to express those views even if they are considered blasphemous by the adherents of a different religion. In fact, one person’s ‘blasphemy’ is another’s sincere belief”.

Pointing out that, while the HAI supported the freedom of religion and conscience, he said it also held that “no religious or philosophical beliefs should be protected from vigorous criticism and challenge”.


3 thoughts on “Warning of risk to free speech

  1. However, one person’s blasphemy is NOT another person’s sincere belief, as, for instance, one person’s insult is not another person’s zoological classification. The difference is in the vocabulary used and in context.

    In general, you know, free speech legislation is meant to protect the spread of knowledge, right?

    So, now, if I say that Mary was “the mother of God”, you may consider that as part of the history or the legend underlying our civilization. That is knowledge necessary for instance to understand Michelangelo, Dalí, Chagall, the Reformation. But if I say that Mary was the whore of a Roman soldier deployed in Israel, I use my imagination only to hurt and degrade other people’s knowledge.


  2. I am an atheist and have been a serious agnostic since school. I was rediculed by the bible teacher for my beliefs, not respected. When I started work in an Afrikaans firm I quickly realised that promotion will pass me by as a direct result of my beliefs. So I joined the mines where more liberal thought was present and did very well, I must say. Now these asshole religious fundies seem to have the right to say anything they want against atheists, but when we point out their delusional beliefs and behaviour, we are called blasphemers. They can go screw themselves.


  3. Cantueso says:

    Degrade other’s people knowledge or delusional beliefs !!! How about some sense & truth & reasoning here among all that BS. Mary might not have been a whore but is neither a immaculate virgin. She might have been raped and had to flee for not being stoned to death. How many centuries ago ?? or is it just in your backyard ??
    Concerning, Baby Jesus, I am sure he was a cutsie but how was he conceived again ??? some holy miraculous thing happened … well good for him (but I’d rather stick with my biology book) and I guess growing up, he was pretty good with those magic tricks. He fooled many and himself too. Bad ending though!
    Time to move on … Aren’t we in the 21st century? As humans, if our mind/brain need to believe in something out of the ordinary, just like Santa or Harry Potter, I understand, it gives us hope, faith, something good to look forward but concerning the bible as well as other religious book; RESEARCH first and don’t be fooled by an old legend and make it your golden rule.
    About the Artists you mentionned, of course it’s Art, what sells at the time, what the crowd wants makes one popular so does the opposite, what offends or is totally far-fetched. I call this LIFE !


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