THE Taoiseach has warned that the Government must be prepared for the possibility of a legal challenge to the removal of blasphemy from the Constitution – but said he hopes to have the primary legislation in place to remove the Constitutional reference by the summer recess.
Should I have the right to say or publish something that grossly insults a religion? Even if I intend to outrage a large number of that religion's believers? And even if there is no literary, artistic, political, scientific or academic value in what I say or publish?
The people go to the polls this Friday to vote in a presidential election and blasphemy referendum. When it was decided to hold these votes on the same day, it was not expected that what could be defined as the principle of 'freedom of speech' would emerge as a central theme to both. However, that could now be said to have occurred thanks to the intervention of presidential candidate Peter Casey on the issue of Traveller culture and ethnicity.
In the Monty Python biblical comedy, the Life of Brian, a Jewish official passes a sentence on a defendant who has been accused of blasphemy: "You have been found guilty by the elders of the town of uttering the name of Our Lord - and so as a blasphemer you are to be stoned to death!"
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