In Light of the Recent Blasphemy Law Enacted in Ireland…

02Jan10

A few blasphemous quotes to exercise my beautiful right to free speech.  But first, a bit more information on the law:

The new law, which was passed in July, means that blasphemy in Ireland is now a crime punishable with a fine of up to €25,000 (£22,000).

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”.

The justice minister, Dermot Ahern, said that the law was necessary because while immigration had brought a growing diversity of religious faiths, the 1936 constitution extended the protection of belief only to Christians.

(From an article in The Guardian.)

That last part gets me…of course the proper response is to limit speech more, instead of amending the law in the 1936 constitution to remove the limits on free speech.

Now for the quotes.

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

-Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

“How has the church in every age, when in authority, defended itself? Always by a statute against blasphemy, against argument, against free speech. And there never was such a statute that did not stain the book that it was in and that did not certify to the savagery of the men who passed it.”

– Robert G. Ingersoll

“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

-Stephen Weinberg

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

-Blaise Pascal

And a quick note about feminism…watching Definitely, Maybe this evening, have just noticed that the one character, Summer, is looked on badly by pretty much everyone in the movie because she chose to do her job correctly instead of bowing down to the will of the guy she’s dating.  She is a journalist, and writes an article that looks badly on the political candidate for whom her boyfriend is working.  He breaks up with her, and any character who hears about what she did says bad things about her.  Why is it her place to sacrifice her own career for the career of her boyfriend?  Why is she a bad person for doing her job well?  Even worse is that, when the guy sees Summer later, she says that she screwed up their relationship.  So the script-writers made it so that even the character who is supposed to be a strong, independent woman thinks she messed up by not putting her boyfriend before herself, when he obviously wasn’t willing to put her before his interests.  *sigh*

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7 Responses to “In Light of the Recent Blasphemy Law Enacted in Ireland…”

  1. 1 Xander

    I didn’t see Summer that way. Here is a woman who made the choice the first time and felt bad about it. She stayed true to herself the second time around regardless of the consequences. The fact that the guy couldn’t get over it, was not her problem. She didn’t whine or cry even though she wanted them to get past the issue. The only part I got tired of was her daddy complex.

  2. 2 Edman

    Another appropriate Ingersoll quote:

    This crime called blasphemy was invented by priests for the purpose of defending doctrines not able to take care of themselves”

  3. Xander: She did definitely stick to her choice with the second article, which I approved of. It was part of the independence of her character, and the fact that she was strong about it was wonderful. But she also told him that she “screwed up” their relationship by doing so, and in fact, every character who was aware of what she did seemed to think so as well. It wasn’t her responsibility to cater to his career at the sacrifice of her own, and the film sends the message that it was, which is a horrible message. She did nothing wrong, and you’re right, it wasn’t her problem…but the movie, to me at least, seemed to say that it was her fault, even though she moved on and was happy. Remnants of the idea that the woman in a relationship should be subservient to the man. Which is not to say you don’t have the right to your opinion about it, I just wanted to clarify where I was coming from. Also, I think I should refer you to this blog post this post from Fugitivus, especially this part, which discusses bad messages that are sent to women:

    • it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (“bitch got daddy issues”)

    Just because, you know, saying she has a daddy complex because she was in love with an older man is a bit offensive.

    Edman: Love the quote. ^_^

  4. 4 Xander

    The romantic premise is that both parties will sacrifice themselves and their desires to sustain the whole. She is villainized to a point, because she put her desires over the success of the couple. If a guy puts his career as a priority at the risk to his partner, he is considered a dick. That attitude is just now becoming more seen, so maybe that is the difference. When she said she “screwed up”, she was correct. Her actions wounded the relationship. I am not sure if two independent people can ever have a romantic relationship like that. If your partner put their career over yours, to the point of costing you your career, would you be ok with it? Would you still trust them and feel safe with them?

    I wasn’t trying to be offensive about the comment, so I apologize. I didn’t even consider it a daddy issue because of the romantic aspects of their relationship. She lived to please him. He suggested she hang out with the guy, and she did. She waited on him and took care of him. He scolded her for the first piece and she was determined to please him with the second. You lose the independence of the character. If it was just a younger woman in love with an older man, I wouldn’t have made the comment.

  5. 5 Edman

    @Xander,

    While it’s true that a romantic relationship is built on a certain “give and take”, I’m not sure it’s necessary for people to sacrifice their desires if they have a partner who supports those desires. I’ve been in relationships where my dreams are expected to be sacrificed for the “good of the whole”, and that never turned out well.

    In the case of the movie, the man breaks up with the woman because she published a piece which could damage his employer’s career. That action strikes me as rather vindictive, and a slight bit controlling. If she had broken up with him over this, it probably wouldn’t have been an issue, aside from the trash-talk about her the rest of the movie.

  6. 6 Xander

    I am not saying his actions were right, but that they are in response to human nature. If your partner were to chose to put their career first, knowing that it could cost you your career, would you not be upset? If you lost your job because of your partner, would you not have some animosity? Could you just get over it and not wonder if they would do that to you again?

    I have sacrificed for relationships and been burnt by those choices. I always hope the other person will step up and meet me half way, but that isn’t always the case. Is it wrong of me to not want to give them another chance to fail me? Is it better to put my own agenda ahead of the person I love?

  7. 7 Edman

    Personally, I’d say much of the conflict could be avoided through frank communication and honesty – without any games or power plays. However, this may be considered idealistic, and it might be better to say that if two people are in a situation where their livelihoods conflict in such a drastic manner, they might be better apart.

    With regard to your latter questions: I don’t think it’s inherently wrong to sacrifice for your partner, but know that it can, and often does, lead to resentment. Furthermore, what could be considered a sacrifice for one person might not be for another, so the situation can become ripe for miscommunication. While it may initially seem wrong to promote selfishness in promoting your agenda over the person you love, it should give pause to think about why there is even an “agenda” to begin with. Why can’t two individuals simply partner together without a power struggle?

    Sorry if my thoughts are scattered – lunch beckons, and low blood sugar trumps relational talk. 😉


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