Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ireland To Hold Referendum To Remove Blasphemy From Constitution

Ireland's Justice Minister announced last week that the Government has approved the holding of a referendum on a constitutional amendment to remove the offense of blasphemy from the constitution.  Currently Art. 40, Sec. 6 of Ireland's Constitution provides: "The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law." In announcing the referendum, Justice Minister Flannigan said:
In terms of Ireland’s international reputation, this is an important step.  Regrettably, there are some countries in the world where blasphemy is an offence, the punishment of which is being put to death.  In these countries, such laws are not an anachronism but a very real threat to the lives of those who do not share the views of those enforcing the laws.  Such situations are abhorrent to our beliefs and values.  By removing this provision from our Constitution, we can send a strong message to the world that laws against blasphemy do not reflect Irish values and that we do not believe such laws should exist.
Ireland's legislature must take additional steps to implement the referendum decision. [Thanks to Law & Religion UK for the lead.]