Atheist Ireland Makes Formal Request for Constitutional Convention to Repeal Blasphemy Law

A Constitutional Convention is taking place in Ireland this year and one of the major changes the committee is considering is a removal of the blasphemy law.

As it is right now, Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution says:

The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.

To that end, Atheist Ireland today submitted their reasons for why that law in particular must be repealed:

2. We argue that blasphemy laws generally are harmful for three reasons:

(a) They endanger freedom of speech and deny equality.
(b) They are used to infringe on human rights around the world.
(c) They have been condemned by reputable international bodies.

3. We argue that the Irish blasphemy law in particular is harmful for three reasons:

(a) It reinforces the religious ethos of the 1937 Constitution.
(b) It brings our parliament and our laws into disrepute.
(c) Islamic states use it at the UN to promote universal blasphemy laws.

(b) We ask the Convention to recommend the following:

(i) Remove the offence of blasphemy from Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution.
(ii) Revise Article 40.6.1 generally, modeled on Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
(iii) Include in the revised Article a clause prohibiting laws against blasphemy.
(iv) Consider the inter-related impact of the blasphemy clause and other religiously-inspired aspects of the Constitution.

You should read the full post — it’s very detailed post and includes lengthy explanations of each of those points. There’s no good reason for the committee to let this one slide. Blasphemy is a victimless crime and the law should reflect that.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.