Tuesday, May 5, 2009


From Atheists fight to keep God out of Irish law by Henry McDonald:

A group that claims to represent the rights of atheists in Ireland has launched a campaign to expel God from the Irish constitution, starting with an attempt to block plans for a new blasphemy law.
The Dublin-based writer said many atheists found parts of the Bible insulting, but would not wish it to be banned or discussion about it closed down. "Parts of the Christian Bible suggest that women must not teach and must learn in silence, or that effeminate people are unrighteous, or that people should worship a god who threatens to make you eat your own children. But we do not believe the Bible should be banned, and neither should discussion of the Bible in terms that cause Christians to be outraged," said Nugent.
Atheist Ireland's campaign against the proposed blasphemy law has been backed by Index on Censorship, the global campaign group for freedom of expression. Padraig Reidy, Index's news editor, said: "Ireland's ethnic and religious make-up has changed dramatically in the last 15 years. If the country is to thrive, surely the state must create a space where we can talk more, and more vigorously, about our beliefs and ideals, rather than shut down conversation."

Nugent said blasphemy was not the only anomaly in the constitution. "You cannot become president of Ireland or be appointed a judge in the republic unless you take a religious oath asking God to direct and sustain you in your work.

"What an atheist is offered is an Irish solution - to ignore it, to pretend you believe in God. But this means, for example, that a new judge who is privately an atheist but swears to God is technically committing perjury.

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