Atheists Challenge Ireland's New Blasphemy Law With Online Postings

January 3, 2010

Author: Karla Adam

Source: The Washington Post

Atheists in Ireland are risking possible prosecution with an audacious online challenge to the country's new blasphemy law.

Under the law, which went into effect Friday, a person can be found guilty of blasphemy if "he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion."

The penalty is a fine of up to 25,000 euros, or more than $35,000.

In a bid to demonstrate that the law is outdated and largely unenforceable, a group named Atheist Ireland published on its Web site on Friday 25 potentially blasphemous quotations from figures such as Jesus Christ, Muhammad, George Carlin, Pope Benedict XVI and Mark Twain, who opined in 1909: "When the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. . . . He slays, slays, slays!"