Staks Rosch flags a striking story from across the pond:
On Friday July 11th, 2009, Ireland passed the Defamation Bill by one vote. One of the aspects of this bill would make it illegal to criticize religion… any religion under penalty of fines up to 25,000 Euros. That is the equivalent to nearly $35,000. When I first heard this story on the internets, I was certain that it was a false story. I read the story, googled it, checked out legitimate Ireland news sites, and double checked more Ireland news sites. The story checks out.
The Garda Siochana is the Irish police who can now (under this law) break into people’s homes and confiscate copies of any book which might be critical of any religion. I keep trying to point out that any religious criticism is a crime, because many Christians are critical of differing religions. Atheists are not the only ones being targeted here. Simply claiming that the Pope is not infallible might be considered blasphemous to many Catholics. Claiming that the prophet Joseph Smith was not really visited by angels and given magic golden plates would be blasphemous to Mormons. Mentioning the prophet Mohammad without adding the phrase “peace be upon him” would be considered blasphemous to Muslims. And claiming that Scientology is a sham and that Tom Cruise is crazy would obviously be blasphemous to Scientologists.