Irish Blasphemy

Art stuff below commentary (go to "xxxx").

If you haven't been keeping up-to-date with Irish news and politics, there's a law that was set in place in the 1937 Constitution (link in English) saying that one could not utter or basically produce any blasphemous material. But what is happening in 2009/10 is of interest. Keep reading...
The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.
Now this article, being a stifling provision against the freedoms of speech (freedom of speech being something that I and many others hold dear to our hearts), is total nonsense. It was ignored by officials (judges, etc.) for decades and there still hasn't been any sentencing because of it (as far as I know of), but the fact that it was put in there is still a little reminder of what one "shouldn't" be doing. A commission was set up in 2008 to review the Constitution (this has been done many years) and it commented on the "blasphemy passage".
The reference itself has effectively been rendered a "dead letter" by virtue of the decision of the Supreme Court in Corway. Furthermore, the Committee is of the view that in a modern Constitution, blasphemy is not a phenomenon against which there should be an express constitutional prohibition.
But there always has to be someone the mix into this mess that shouldn't, and this time it was Dermot Ahern*, Minister for Justice and Law Reform and widely known as an idiot. There was a defamation bill in 2006 (PDF) which was passed by a single vote in 2009. Section 36 reads:
36.—(1) A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €25,000.
So, if someone says something extremely defamatory toward any religion or on a religious matter, they could pay €25,000 max if brought in front of a court of law. No matter what religion you are (or not), you should find this is outrageous and archaic. Ahern proposed the amendment for the bill and is just as guilty as the Seanad (Irish senate) for allowing this to happen. Thanks Fianna Fáil, forgot that freedom of speech had such immature restrictions.

xxxx

Anyway, there is a referendum going on and there have been a good amount of public protests/outcries over this law since it went into effect on January 1st of this year. One such outcry is located at the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art (imoca) in an exhibition titled appropriately "Blasphemous". Go check it out if you're into political and religious artworks, as well as satire and "in your face" artworks. Even if you think their full of shite, go ahead and take a look.

Even if I don't agree with some of the works or think that some are trying to get attention by being blasphemous (i.e. may not know what they are actually talking about), it is important to allow such freedoms.


Some pieces:

* Steve Farley / ‘Fuck Christmas’ - "Every year the Christmassers seemed to have the monopoly on electric emblazonment, leaving those outside the merriment feeling increasingly isolated within the imposed intermittent shadows."
* Paul Woods / ‘Madonna and Child’ - "I have chosen to subvert the Madonna and Child format in art, with an image of Hitler as an infant in the arms of his mother Klara."
* George Bolster / All Good Rappers Go To Hell - "All Good Rappers Go To Hell, is not blasphemous in and of itself. It examines and represents the mis-appropriation of religious meaning."
* Will St Leger / God Dates Fags - "His piece, “God Dates Fags”is a unique and simple-yet-profound pun on the religious-right signs of middle-America declaring that, “God Hates Fags,” which doesn’t seem too Christian."

Here's also an interesting article from Time magazine.

Some extra info is here, and a song.
Article 40.6.1.i. reads:


Appropriate song?



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