There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that a constitutional convention in Ireland is recommending that the nation’s blasphemy laws be repealed; the bad news is that they want to replace them with a law prohibiting the “incitement of religious hatred.”
The constitutional offence of blasphemy should be replaced with a new general provision to include incitement to religious hatred, the constitutional convention has recommended.
Voting today on whether the reference to the offence of blasphemy should be kept as it is in the Constitution, 38 per cent said Yes, 61 per cent said No and 1 per cent were undecided or had no opinion.
In a follow-up question, 38 per cent of members believed the offence should be removed from the Constitution altogether, 53 per cent said it should be replaced with a new general provision to include incitement to religious hatred and 9 per cent had no opinion.
But we know from experience all over the world that laws that forbid “incitement to religious hatred” are, in fact, de facto blasphemy laws that are enforced against criticism of religious beliefs or offending religious sensibilities. Ireland is the only Western nation to pass a new blasphemy law in this century. It should be repealed. And not replaced at all.