Stephen Fry is being investigated by Irish police for blasphemy after mocking a “mean-minded, stupid God” in a 2015 interview.
Police in the Republic of Ireland have launched an investigation after a viewer claimed comments made by Stephen Fry on a TV show were blasphemous.
Officers are understood to be examining whether the British comedian committed a criminal offence under the Defamation Act when he appeared on RTE in 2015.
Fry, an unapologetic and outspoken atheist, was being interviewed on the Irish TV show “The Meaning of Life” hosted by Gay Byrne. On his show, Byrne asked Frye about death and the possibility of meeting the Christian God in the afterlife. Byrne asked:
Suppose it’s all true, and you walk up to the pearly gates and you are confronted by God. What would Stephen Fry say to him, her, or it?
A smiling and animated Fry replied:
I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare You? How dare You create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil.
Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God that creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain?
When asked by a flabbergasted Byrne if he thinks he’ll get into heaven with that attitude, Fry replied:
No, but I wouldn’t want to. I wouldn’t want to get in on His terms. They’re wrong.
After praising the human foibles of the Greek gods, Fry continued his assault on the mythical Christian God:
The God who created this universe, if He created this universe, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish.
We have to spend our lives on our knees thanking Him. What kind of God would do that?
Yes the world is very splendid, but it also has in it insects whose whole life cycle is to burrow into the eyes of children and make them blind. That eat outwards from the eyes.
Why? Why did You do that to us? You could easily have made a creation in which that did not exist. It is simply unacceptable.
About being an atheist Fry said:
Atheism is not just about not believing there’s a God. On the assumption there is one, what kind of God is He? It’s perfectly apparent that He is monstrous, utterly monstrous and deserves no respect whatsoever. The moment you banish Him, your life becomes simpler, purer, cleaner, more worth living, in my opinion.
According to the New Irish News, Fry faces a fine if convicted on the blasphemy charges:
Under the Defamation Act 2009 a person who publishes or utters blasphemous material “shall be guilty of an offence”. They are be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €25,000.
In a statement of solidarity, the activist group Atheist Ireland said they welcome the blasphemy investigation and stand in solidarity with Fry:
Atheist Ireland welcomes the Irish police investigation into Stephen Fry for blasphemy. It highlights a law that is silly, silencing, and dangerous.
On 1 January 2010, the day the new Irish blasphemy law became operational, Atheist Ireland published a list of 25 blasphemous quotes in order to challenge the law. Today, in solidarity with Stephen Fry, we are republishing those 25 blasphemous quotes, and adding in the quotation that has caused the Irish police to investigate Stephen Fry.
If we are prosecuted, we will challenge the constitutionality of the blasphemy law. If we are not prosecuted, it will again highlight the absurdity of this law, which should be repealed immediately. We again call on the Irish Government to honour its commitment to hold a referendum to remove the ban on blasphemy from our Constitution.
Last year the U.S. State Department called for an end to all blasphemy laws.
Bottom line: Blasphemy laws are wrong. Freedom of religion, including freedom from religion, as well as freedom of conscience, is a fundamental human right. It’s time to abolish all blasphemy laws, and uphold freedom of expression.