Modern Society Should not Criminalise Criticism of Religion
Green Party Justice Spokesperson Cllr. Roderic O’Gorman has led his Party’s call for a Yes vote in the Blasphemy Referendum on 26th October.
“The Green Party are calling for a Yes vote in the Blasphemy Referendum next Friday. We believe that the reference to blasphemy should be removed from Article 40.6.1 of the Constitution. Our Constitution already contains protection of religious practice and freedom of conscience in Article 44.1.2. However, in a modern society, the Constitution, or indeed the law, should not criminalise criticism of religion,” stated Cllr. O’Gorman.
“As well as being outdated, the blasphemy offence is incredibly hard to enforce. The Corway case from 1996 shows the near impossible task that any court has in trying to rule if blasphemy has been committed. In that case, a relatively tame newspaper cartoon was argued to be blasphemous because it contained an image of the Eucharist. We cannot leave to judges to the task of determining what material is or is not insulting to a particular religion.
“Ireland has legislation protecting people from being discriminated against on the grounds of their religion, and prohibiting incitement to hatred because of religion. We believe the outdated offence of blasphemy must come out of the Constitution. Following a successful Yes vote, we believe the Government should also remove the offence of blasphemy from the statute book by removing S.36 of the Defamation Act, 2009,” concluded Cllr. O’Gorman.
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