Blasphemy fines

 

Madam, – I see that the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern plans to reduce the penalty for blasphemy from €100,000 to €25,000 (“Minister to cut proposed fines for blasphemy to €25,000, July 2nd). I think the original penalty should stand. As one overhears what passes for everyday conversation on the streets, in buses, at football matches, in restaurants or on that instrument of the devil the mobile phone, a swift calculation shows that the country’s economic woes could be cured by next Monday at the original rate.

To reduce the penalty to €25,000 means we won’t get out of this mess until July or possibly even August.

Mr Ahern could even restore the construction industry to its former glory by engaging it to erect another Tower of Babel as a tribute to the loquacious people of this land for their generous sponsorship. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL H.G. MAYES

Langford Place,

Cork.

Madam, – I wish to vent my anger and shame at the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern for wishing to uphold the medieval concept of blasphemy in our Constitution. I find it disappointing that in the Ireland of 2009 no mainstream politician has taken a stance against this.

Mr Ahern previously made the comment that the law is already in the Constitution and that it would be too costly to hold a referendum. Why does you not allow the people of Ireland to express their opinion on this matter alongside the Lisbon referendum?

Even if the law could not be removed why do you not place a token fine of €1 for the “crime”? Why is insulting someone’s faith any more worthy of being called a criminal offence than insulting someone’s mother or their favourite football team or their political stance?

Would you have Richard Dawkins arrested for his accurate depiction of the Judaic/Christian god if a judge was of the opinion that he knew that saying this would offend a lot of people?

The Bible, Koran and Torah are not a guide to living a moral life. They were books written by uneducated men and have no problem with slavery. They are misogynistic, homophobic and intolerant of anything beyond their limited sphere of irrational belief.

No decent person wants to deliberately hurt peoples feelings for no reason, but if by doing so results in a healthy debate on how we should live our lives at the start of the 21st century then I think it is a worthy cause.

This debate has an international context as the Islamic world and the Vatican are pushing for the UN to impose a similar law. Do the Irish people really want to help act as a catalyst for this irrational nonsense.

CYRIL BUTLER,

Blanchardstown,

Co Dublin.