British atheists Richard Dawkins and Stephen Fry are testing Ireland's blasphemy law . Dawkins posted the following letter to the editor which has an excerpt from his best-selling book, The God Delusion:
Sir, – As a gesture of solidarity with Stephen Fry, I quote a sentence from my book, The God Delusion: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
Every one of these adjectives is amply documented, with full biblical citations, in Dan Barker’s book, God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction.
I shall be giving a public lecture in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, on June 12th, and I shall therefore be available for arrest on a charge of blasphemy. – Yours, etc,
RICHARD DAWKINS,It will be interesting to see what happens (if anything) to Fry or Dawkins as they challenge the idea that blasphemy laws should exist in a 21st century democracy.
Apparently the fine under the Irish blasphemy law is €25,000 (roughly $27,000). The text of the statute, according to the Independent, makes it illegal to use words that are:
"grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred to any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion."Wild!