As a member of religion about which people often say "grossly abusive or insulting things" that "cause outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion," (never mind that the person making the statement is often a member OF my religion), I'd say the Irish atheists have this about right:
SECULAR campaigners in the Republic of Ireland defied a strict new blasphemy law that came into force on New Year's Day by publishing a series of anti-religious quotations online and promising to fight the legislation in court.
The law, which was passed in July, means blasphemy in Ireland is now a crime punishable with a fine of up to 25,000 euros.
It defines blasphemy as ''publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted''.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has said the law was necessary because while immigration had brought a growing diversity of religious faiths, the 1936 constitution only extended the protection of belief to Christians.
But Atheist Ireland, a group that claims to represent the rights of atheists, responded to the legislation by publishing 25 anti-religious quotations on its website, from figures including Richard Dawkins, Bjork and Frank Zappa.
Michael Nugent, the group's chairman, said it would challenge the law through the courts if it was charged with blasphemy.
Mr Nugent said: ''This new law is both silly and dangerous. It is silly because medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic, where the criminal law should protect people and not ideas. And it is dangerous because it incentives religious outrage, and because Islamic states led by Pakistan are already using the wording of this Irish law to promote new blasphemy laws at UN level.
. . .
''Blasphemy laws are unjust: they silence people in order to protect ideas. In a civilised society, people have a right to express and to hear ideas about religion even if other people find those ideas to be outrageous.''
Mr Nugent said the group's campaign to repeal the law was part of a wider battle to create a more secular republic. ''You would think that after all the scandals the Catholic Church endured in 2009, the introduction of a blasphemy law would be the last thing that the Irish state would be considering in terms of defending religion and its place in society.''
Here, BTW, are the 25 blasphemous quotations. They include some good ones:
Amanda Donohoe on her role in the Ken Russell movie Lair of the White Worm, 1995: “Spitting on Christ was a great deal of fun. I can’t embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages, and that persecution still goes on today all over the world.”
Mark Twain, describing the Christian Bible in Letters from the Earth, 1909: “Also it has another name – The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated by God. It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies… But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy — he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered. He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty… What the insane Father required was blood and misery; he was indifferent as to who furnished it.”
They left out HecateDemetersdatter, who said, "Fuck you, Padrick, you woman-hating, Celt-hating, nasty slave."
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."