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Oh, For God's Sake...

Over in Ireland, they've taken a look at their "blasphemy" laws, and come to a conclusion:

They needed to expand it.

Prior to this, the law had strictly protected Christians from having their delicate sensibilities offended. Now, though, wimps of all faiths who get the vapors when somebody doesn't toe their line. Say "boo" to Buddha, and you could be on the hook for five figures. (I don't have a currency converter handy, but it looks to be about 25K Euros or 22K Pounds.)

As a devout born-again agnostic, I have a very simple philosophy about religious laws: they should only apply to members of the faith pushing them, and then enforced strictly within the boundaries of the faith. In other words, they should have no authority over anyone who has not chosen to submit to them.

If I were to say something anti-Catholic, for example (I certainly have in the past, and expect to do so in the future, as circumstances warrant), then the Church should have the right to ban me from receiving the sacraments and even ban me from setting foot on their property. (No great loss.) But they shouldn't have the right to get the government to enforce their displeasure.

In a related story, another blasphemer has run afoul of those who enforce religious laws. In Denmark, one of the cartoonists who drew a caricature of Mohammed a few years ago (the one with the bomb as Mohammed's turban) had his home invaded by a most devout adherent to the Religion Of Peace (tm), who was planning on spreading The Word Of Allah -- with an axe. This worthy evangelist was thwarted by police, who shot and wounded him before he could introduce the cartoonist to the subject of his blasphemous cartoon.

Several years ago, I posed what should have been a simple question: "do I, as a non-Muslim, have a right to not obey Muslim law?" It appears that in any area that develops a significant Muslim population, the answer is "no."

And Ireland seems to be just fine with that.


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Comments (36)

As an evangelical Christian... (Below threshold)
jim m:

As an evangelical Christian, I may find some things that are said to be offensive. However, I do not believe that I have a right to not be offended. Furthermore I believe that I have a right to be as offensive as I want to be for whatever reason I choose.

I think that God can sort us out just fine and that He expects us to look after our own behavior. After all, He's still watching even if the thought police aren't around.

Too bad the Irish have decided to take the coward's way out on this one. It's reasonably obvious that the only agrieved class that are being included in the new law are the muslims, who will use it to attack non-muslims and restrict criticism of their desires to enslave the rest of us.

Jay,I agree with y... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Jay,

I agree with you 100%.

I DUNNO FOLKS. I think you... (Below threshold)
epador:

I DUNNO FOLKS. I think you are missing the elephant in the room - I'm more interested in seeing what the Protestant minority do with this in good ol' Catholic Ireland. That's a lot of chump change per Papal edict.

As a Christian I support fr... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

As a Christian I support freedom of speech and oppose laws that restrict that freedom due to offending someone or something. That's different than speech that falsely defames or endangers, which are already actionable in the U.S. While Ireland's law seems specific to religion, Canada's law covers offensive speech such that a preacher can't read certain passages from the Bible in public because it's offensive to certain groups.

That said, there's nothing in US law that protects speech from private action as long as that action is otherwise legal. If your employer doesn't like your politics they can fire you. If certain well known individuals think something you said is racist they can threaten economic action against your employer unless you are fired.

Given the cost to Denmark's economy because of the actions of a few individuals who purposely insulted Mohammed, it seems Ireland is trying to avoid conflicts from speech they see as having no value. If that's what the voters in Ireland want, then it's their right to make such laws. I'm sure they think the US is nuts for letting any law abiding adult in most states carry a concealed weapon.

"do I, as a non-Muslim, have a right to not obey Muslim law?" It appears that in any area that develops a significant Muslim population, the answer is "no."

I believe that's actually codified in Muslim law. Islam is more than a religion as it's also intertwined with its own brand of law. That's why a ban on Muslim immigration is not religious discrimination, it's political. We only need look at the examples from Denmark and other nations that stupidly allowed mass Muslim immigration.

Mac: "Given the cost to Den... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Mac: "Given the cost to Denmark's economy because of the actions of a few individuals who purposely insulted Mohammed,.."

'Purposely insulted' or 'Told the truth about'?
If I tell the truth about someone and they get insulted, does that still count? And why should their govt decide such things?

It defines blasph... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
It defines blasphemy as "publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted".

Interesting I guess putting a Crucifix in jar of urine and have the government of Ireland by for it will nor happen.

However saying the Catholic church has wrong position on abortion would seem to permitted.

It seems they are trying to codify civil discourses, which is always difficult as people reactions to utterance vary.

I say let the Irish work this out on their own, We surely have similar issues here with Hate Crime legislation and The Establishment clause which has morphed into The Separation of Church and state, which now means Christian cannot express their beliefs in public.

'Purposely insulte... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
'Purposely insulted' or 'Told the truth about'?

Showing a caricature of Mohammed holding a bomb may make a valid point, but it can hardly be described as the truth any more than showing a caricature of Jesus at a KKK rally burning a cross is the truth.

If I tell the truth about someone and they get insulted, does that still count?

Under US law the truth is an absolute defense, at least in a liable case. I don't know if that's also true for Ireland's blasphemy laws. However, it really does have to be the actual truth and a cartoon seldom meets that standard.

And why should their govt decide such things?

Like I said "If that's what the voters in Ireland want, then it's their right to make such laws." If the far left was in control, the US would have laws against ill-defined hate speech.

I'm not defending people taking offense at speech directed against their religion, only pointing out that Ireland is not alone in passing such laws, and as a democratic nation, they have that right.

This is crazy, and impossib... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

This is crazy, and impossible to equitably enforce.

Nugent said: "This new law is both silly and dangerous. It is silly because medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic, where the criminal law should protect people and not ideas. And it is dangerous because it incentives religious outrage, and because Islamic states led by Pakistan are already using the wording of this Irish law to promote new blasphemy laws at UN level.

I agree with the atheist.

Sexual harassment. Offensiv... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

Sexual harassment. Offensive? Illegal. Free speech.

Please don't say things like "I do not believe that I have a right to not be offended." unless you are ready to repeal almost all restrictions on the freedom of speech. Remember, without current laws just about anything can be considered a free speech issue.

JT,

How is that big tent working out for you? Embracing the politics of those who would condemn you to eternal damnation. Interesting bedfellows. I guess you and your political allies agree to disagree on the foundations of American society, belief and truth are not the same. Or do you twist your political allies faith so as to get them to accept theories that are based on your secular philosophy?

How is that big tent wor... (Below threshold)

How is that big tent working out for you? Embracing the politics of those who would condemn you to eternal damnation. Interesting bedfellows. I guess you and your political allies agree to disagree on the foundations of American society, belief and truth are not the same. Or do you twist your political allies faith so as to get them to accept theories that are based on your secular philosophy?

It's working out pretty well, WC. We agree to disagree on matters pertaining to the hereafter.

In the meantime, we pretty much agree on how things ought to be -- but I feel free to speak up when I think my allies are going too far.

And they never try to shut me up by calling me a racist or trying to criminalize my speech or try to suppress me in countless other ways.

Thanks for asking. Pity your side can't say the same.

J.

"Embracing the politics ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Embracing the politics of those who would condemn you to eternal damnation."

Um, I call fake argument. No one person can condemn another to eternal damnation. There's a chasm of difference between believing another will spend an eternity in hell and having the power to condemn them to it. So while that one sentence sounds all firey and righteous, it's hogwash.

I won't even get into the whole first paragraph.

wc,What Oyster sai... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

wc,

What Oyster said. If you believe such a thing is a fairy tale perpetuated by the ignorant, I can't imagine why you would care. Seems to me you would be better served spending your time worrying about those who want to blow us up in the here-and-now.

JT,Yes, "my side",... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

JT,

Yes, "my side", are terrible people and are trying to suppress you any way they can. Your side is squeeky clean. Oh, you didn't say your side was squeaking clean? You just implied that "my side" tries to shut you up.

Your side just does things like shouting people down at town hall meetings, denying rights to same sex couples, banning abortion, condoning torture, demonizing the UN, hate unions,...

On and on. Same with "my side". Both "our sides" believe moronic things. Why not start over? Look at each issue with fresh eyes and as few biases as possible? I guess the nature of government and its purpose would be at the root of any opinion on a government program/institution. Concent of the governed is a quaint idea that fools a lot of people on both sides. Money and power rule. That is one of the reasons I still don't quite get all the criticism this site launches at Obama. He got elected by the same corporate interests that tried to elect McCain. Either one was/is their man.

All coporations are run by conservatives (liberals don't know anything about business) - Corporate money got Obama elected - Conservative elected Obama.

WC, I didn't say my side wa... (Below threshold)

WC, I didn't say my side was perfect. I just said your side was worse.

Your side just does things like shouting people down at town hall meetings, denying rights to same sex couples, banning abortion, condoning torture, demonizing the UN, hate unions,...

Both sides do the "shouting down" thing -- your side also tends to do things like bring in thugs and throw cream pies.

I'm pro gay marriage, and argue in favor of it when ever it comes up.

I'm also squishily pro-choice, but it's your side that says the issue isn't even debatable.

Condoning torture? Please. BT, DT.

"Demonizing the UN?" "Hating unions?" Hey, they earned it. And more.

And corporations have done a hell of a lot more for the good of humanity than ACORN or the SEIU ever has -- or ever will.

You whiny git. Just try dissenting from the author on certain leftist blogs. You'd never get a second comment on Little Green Footballs, for example.

J.

Oyster,I am sorry. I... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

Oyster,
I am sorry. I guess I confused you. If you believe in eternal damnation, Christian style, then it is true that only God and actually condemn you in the sense of sentencing you to hell. But, the condemning I was referring to was the expressing strong disapproval of type.

As a non-Christian condemnation to Christian hell would not be especially worrying to JT. It seemed odd because social issues for secularist, like JT, and Christians, like yourself, usually don't converge so happily.

Did this thread have anything to do with someone wanting to blow "us" up? I thought this was about free speech.

JT,Better or worse... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

JT,

Better or worse. So are thier bad conservatives and good liberals? I bet 99% of the people on this site will answer, yes and no.

I am at fault too. I think conservatives are the direct decendants of the Royalist during the revolution. People who wanted to keep the status quo and though that those rabble rousers in the streets should be hung. Thank goodness for real progressives who could envision a better future for thier children and fought to make this country free. Please do not talk to me about the tea party protests unless you are ready to also discuss all the other anti-government policy protests.

Yes, I know you think I am a ________. But lets try not to name call, again.

I do not read little green footballs, but I will give your experiment a try.

WC, there are good and bad ... (Below threshold)

WC, there are good and bad on both sides. I just find the leftist baddies worse, and talk about them more.

Please do not talk to me about the tea party protests unless you are ready to also discuss all the other anti-government policy protests.

You arrogant putz. First up, I don't "talk to you" here -- I talk to whoever wants to read it. Secondly, don't even THINK of dictating what I can or can not say here.

And the Tea Partiers have a single message that I find very hard to argue against: the government takes too damned much of our money already.

If you disagree, feel free to pay more of your own money -- the government will gladly take it.

But as a "citizen of the world," do you even pay any taxes yourself?

J.

Comment sections here begin... (Below threshold)
epador:

Comment sections here begining to look like a WWF tag-team match of trolls. I wonder who is up next? Will it be the stepladder, chair or a bucket of something nasty?

"It seemed odd because s... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"It seemed odd because social issues for secularist, like JT, and Christians, like yourself, usually don't converge so happily."

I think you're the confused one here. I'm not a Christian.

As far as you're depiction of the horrid Tea Partiers and anti-government crowd, you've got that all wrong too. Is it that difficult to understand that a good deal of us know what the founding fathers intended the government's role to be and what it shouldn't be?

JT,I doubt you hav... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

JT,

I doubt you have ever decried the partisan bickering that passes for discourse in this country, but name calling is one of those things that tend to block understanding of the other side.

My point about not using the tea party protests is that there have been countless more protests by left leaning groups than by the newly outraged tea partiers. We still invaded Iraq even though there were many more anti-war protestors then than there are anti-tax protesters now. Do you really think politicians care about either one? They care about what will get them elected. If, as this site wants politicians to believe, they think opposing taxes or opposing health insurance reform will get them elected they will do it even if it is not in the best interests of this country.

Please forgive me for giving you the impression I was trying to censor you or your opinions.

Oyster,

I did assume you were a Christian and I am sorry for that. I believe that you believe that you know what the founding fathers intended. The abstract role of a government can be a nice thought experiment, but it does not address the specific responsibilities of a modern government. How would the founding fathers deal with telecommunication issues, oil reserves, air traffic, 300,000,000+ citizens, etc.

Theory and practice are entirely different animals.

epador,You may thi... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

epador,

You may think me silly but I consider you the troll on this thread. All you have contributed is a remark about who posts. Trolling much? for a chance to insert a snide comment anywhere rather than adding anything to a conversation. On this site anyone on the left = troll.

My point about not... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
My point about not using the tea party protests is that there have been countless more protests by left leaning groups than by the newly outraged tea partiers. We still invaded Iraq even though there were many more anti-war protestors then than there are anti-tax protesters now. Do you really think politicians care about either one?

The difference is not in the number of protesters, but in the protesters themselves. You yourself said that "Corporate money got Obama elected - Conservative elected Obama." The Tea Party protests and the people who support them control much of the economy of this nation. Democrats ignore them at their own peril.

The abstract role of a government can be a nice thought experiment, but it does not address the specific responsibilities of a modern government. How would the founding fathers deal with telecommunication issues, oil reserves, air traffic, 300,000,000+ citizens, etc.

Most likely by keeping the Federal government out of these issues as much as possible. They liked the idea of the Federal government being limited and allowing the states to deal with most issues. I'm not saying that would be the best solution, but neither is the unlimited Federal government liberals seek.

Mac,I was going to... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

Mac,

I was going to pull this comment that I typed up because I took a peek at all the conversation that followed after the item that I had wished to take note of and somehow it seemed by that point to have become, well, perhaps a bit too extraneous. But when I came upon this currently final comment in the thread and saw that it belongs to you, I thought, what the hell, I'll just throw mine in here.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Showing a caricature of Mohammed holding a bomb may make a valid point, but it can hardly be described as the truth any more than showing a caricature of Jesus at a KKK rally burning a cross is the truth." (M.L.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I cannot recall a single time that I have found myself in substantial disagreement with your commentary here. Well.....there was that "one" time in Missouri. Anyway, I cannot help but feel that you are missing something here. While it may be true that Mohammed was not known for wearing bombs on his head, it can hardly be suggested that this man of historically questionable sexual proclivities (oops...was that insulting?) was a man who knew his weapons and was justifiably famous for leading hordes of fairly savage adherents (oops...did I do it again?) in the use of those weapons against anyone inclined to kneel before a deity not of his choosing (oops...I cannot seem to help myself?).

So, the cartoonist may have taken a bit of liberty with the bomb bit, but poetic license in reference to this travesty of a human being (oops...damn, I did it again?) separating people from their noggins for any disagreement on religious principles is perhaps understandable and, on the whole, a lot more "truthful" than any suggestion that Jesus would ever engage in the sort of self parody that you conjecture concerning his method of execution.

Gee, if it wasn't for that one teeny weeny incident with those scurrilous money lenders, it would be difficult to even use Jesus in a metaphor of that nature.

Aside from that, I must say that normally your commentary is so cogent that not only have I never considered impugning it, but rather have I actually found occasion to save certain observations that you've made with an eye to quoting you from time to time.

But only when I'm really getting behind in the argument.

That post title was a littl... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

That post title was a little jarring at first blush - not your usual style of discourse. But, given the subject matter, a nice touch. :)

I am at fault too... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
I am at fault too. I think conservatives are the direct decendants of the Royalist during the revolution. People who wanted to keep the status quo and though that those rabble rousers in the streets should be hung. Conservatives desire limited central Government. With states handling issues at the local level.

How does that equate to people who wanted to governed by Central Government located in London?

Conservatives believe in Republic where people elect representatives where the Royalist had no say in government.

Conservatives do adapt and change we have to because we want to accomplish things without the government.


WC, if there was anything w... (Below threshold)
epador:

WC, if there was anything worth responding to in your snobby comments I would. There aren't any such points, other than this one, so I won't.

MichaelC,... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

MichaelC,

Anyway, I cannot help but feel that you are missing something here.

What's missing is that I wasn't making a general defense or condemnation of Islam, as that's not what this thread is about. In response to another commenter I pointing out that showing a caricature of Mohammed holding a bomb doesn't represent the truth. The intention of the cartoon was to ridicule and it was foreseeable that it would be seen as insulting by Muslims. Individuals decided to follow that course on their own, but the entire nation of Denmark paid an economic and political price. Ireland decided individuals should not be allowed to make similarly stupid decisions. I don't agree with their new law, but Ireland has the right to make such laws.

I apologize if you were offended by my remark that ". . . it can hardly be described as the truth any more than showing a caricature of Jesus at a KKK rally burning a cross is the truth." Guess I would be in trouble if I were in Ireland, but then so would you.

Mac, while the focus seems ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Mac, while the focus seems to be on the one depiction of Mohammed with a bomb-turban, the Muslims who were so indignant were not angry just because of that one cartoon. Their argument was that Mohammed cannot be depicted at all; in any form, using any media. In fact, that cartoon apparently wasn't enough to get outraged about (never mind that most of them weren't insulting at all) so they made some crude drawings of their own to add to the pile.

Because of the above, if none of the pictures were anything like the bomb-turban, under Ireland's new law they would have the law on their side. Then someone would have to step in and make laws deciding what is an insult and what isn't. Ireland has opened a great big can of squiggly and voracious worms.

The issue is not so much that "they have a right to decide their own laws". You've brought that up twice now. That's a given. If that was at question, it's be a round-about way of questioning our right to criticize it. Because that's all we're doing. No one has asked, "Hey! Are they allowed to do that?" With all due respect, I'd avoid that line of argument. It's what the lefties have done here many times. It derails the argument.

"I believe that you beli... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"I believe that you believe that you know what the founding fathers intended."

It's in writing. Look it up.

Oyster,Th... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Oyster,

Their argument was that Mohammed cannot be depicted at all; in any form, using any media.

This is not something new as if those who published the cartoons didn't know about it beforehand. The fact is a number of individuals purposely set out to insult Islam, and having succeeded, the entire nation of Denmark paid an economic and political price. The lawmakers of Ireland decided such speech is not protected. The US has laws designed to protect farmers from economic damage caused by speech linking crops with diseases. It's a different target, but the principle is the same, which is that the government punishes individuals for their reckless speech that can cause economic damage to law abiding groups, be it candy makers in Denmark or farmers in the US.

Then someone would have to step in and make laws deciding what is an insult and what isn't. Ireland has opened a great big can of squiggly and voracious worms.

Just like in the US, Ireland has a court system to sort out specific cases, and every law has gray areas, even laws against murder. In the US certain types of speech are not protected and one of those types is "fighting words" and another is "threats" if the threat is some illegal action". Somehow, most of us get along just fine with those restrictions. If you want to worry about something then worry about liberals wanting to criminalize "hate speech".

The issue is not so much that "they have a right to decide their own laws". You've brought that up twice now.

Yes I repeat certain augments because not everyone reads all of the posts on a given thread before they comment. If you want to keep count, go ahead.

That's a given. If that was at question, it's be a round-about way of questioning our right to criticize it. Because that's all we're doing. No one has asked, "Hey! Are they allowed to do that?" With all due respect, I'd avoid that line of argument. It's what the lefties have done here many times. It derails the argument.

If you followed the link in the story you would see that having the right to make such a law is the heart of the issue. Guess you missed that.

Blasstomy laws like claimin... (Below threshold)
Flu-Bird:

Blasstomy laws like claiming CHRIST was a advanced chimp thats blastomy

I'm not trying to pick a fi... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, Mac. I'm not counting how many times you say something either. Just observations. We don't know that all those who submitted portrayals knew it was against their religion to do so. How many of us knew that before the whole thing blew up? Not many I'll bet.

I didn't disagree with you that some did it with the intent to insult. My contention was simply that not all of them did. But they would be the subject of the complaint along with the rest.

And yes, I do worry about the push to criminalize "hate speech". But it's not exclusively the only thing I worry about, nor the only one I have an opinion about. Hell, they've already criminalized "hate thoughts" with the hate crimes laws.

My point is plain; they're opening a can of worms. That's all.

My point is plain;... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
My point is plain; they're opening a can of worms. That's all.

And my point is just as plain; it's someone else's can of worms, and it's not the first nor last one they will open.

I feel in good company at t... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

I feel in good company at this point to chime in that there was no "fight picking" coming from this direction either. My friend, and blogwise I consider that to more true than say if we were considering BryanD, shudder and perish the thought, I certainly had no intent to derail any part of your argument. Why, my tongue was so far into my cheek I was having difficulty breathing.

No Mac, not anti-you even a little. But I gotta say, you are so dead serious here that any light humor or additional thoughts added to perhaps tune you up ever ever so slightly seem to have you imagining that you have detractors where there are none.

You have made great contributions here at this blog and, I would suspect, elsewhere. It is why I will read, with care, anything posted here with your name on it.

If the cartoonists in quest... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

If the cartoonists in question, Oyster, were so ignorant of Islam that they didn't know portrayals of the Prophet are forbidden, then they had no business drawing cartoons about it. I'm sure they DID know it was against their religion and would be offensive, as do most people. As my 13 year old daughter says, "Duh....everybody knows that!"

MichaelC,... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

MichaelC,

No Mac, not anti-you even a little. But I gotta say, you are so dead serious here that any light humor or additional thoughts added to perhaps tune you up ever ever so slightly seem to have you imagining that you have detractors where there are none.

I don't have a sense of anyone on this thread being anti-Mac. Some oppose my arguments or think they are incomplete, but I don't take that as being anti-Mac, in fact, I enjoy the debate. Being dead serious on this thread seems appropriate given the content. It's also an occupational hazard that carries over into my comments.

Anyway, thanks for your kind words.




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