Justice Minister good for the Humanist Society? Devious or not? You be the judge *

Wise Up Journal
01.05.2009
By Gabriel O’Hara

From the Irish Times and Reuters articles below you can read that the Irish minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, wants to put in harsh new laws for “blasphemy”.  Most people around the world were shocked at the minister, who also wants to release pedophiles earlier, wants to fine people up to €100,000 and imprisonment for “blasphemy”. The Minister said he was creating the new law to uphold the Irish Constitution. To people who know Mr. Ahern this came as an even bigger surprise as he is well known for saying the Irish Constitution is not up to scratch and needs to be changed.

Another Irish Times article, earlier in the same month that Ahern’s idea became public, informs us that the humanist association, “wants Articles 12, 31, and 34, dealing with various oaths, dropped, as it does Article 40, which deals with blasphemy, and Article 44, which endorses religion.” The humanists also said that 250,000 citizens in Ireland don’t believe in God, which means the vast majority do. As you can see they would not have many people on their anti-god side and it would be near impossible for them to get a national referendum on such issues especially with a global economic depression going on. At the end of this article some humanist material is listed.

But the world of politics is very different than the ordinary lives people live. High politics and corporate business operations are like the black and white chessboard game where unsure gray areas can be created by cunning moves to entice the opposition, to use the opposite for your goals. The minister’s €100,000 “fine” idea has caused outrage among the public. Everyone who knows about it is speaking out against it. Even Catholics are against it as they can see it’s a double edge sword that would stop them from criticizing the growing movement of the Church of Satan in Ireland. Over night the minister for Justice’s idea has given the small but influential humanist association a massive following for their little campaign.

The Reuters article below said the minister would remove blasphemy from the Irish Constitution if he could; it says, “he would repeal a 1961 act under which blasphemous libel can lead to a jail term of seven years, but added a new law was needed instead”. People who are familiar with the current minister for justice would know that he is always complaining that a referendum by the people would be required to make any changes to the people’s Constitution. A few ministers said that the Lisbon treaty should not have been put to a referendum that it should have been passed by parliament instead; the Irish people voted no. Like the humanists Ahern is against the blasphemy article but he will not put it to a referendum because it would be a “costly diversion,” he said. So what does he do? He proposed stricter laws and a €100,000 fine getting up every bodies backside. Maybe this time people people will “support” the government’s idea in giving them the power to change the constitution without the need for a “costly diversion” public vote in order to get rid of the blasphemy article and a new scary €100,000 fine.

Does this remind anyone of a grand master playing chess sacrificing one of his knights to lull his opponent into an offensive move, his opponent unwittingly leaving their king in checkmate?

People should remember this example on how high politics and corporate business operate, it is how the world works and normally they play at least 6 steps ahead.

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Irish Times
29.04.2009
BY CAROL COULTER

Crime of blasphemous libel proposed for Defamation Bill

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: “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 €100,000.”

“Blasphemous matter” is defined as matter “that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”

Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court may issue a warrant authorising the Garda Síochána to enter, if necessary using reasonable force, a premises where the member of the force has reasonable grounds for believing there are copies of the blasphemous statements in order to seize them.

In the only Irish case taken under this article, Corway -v- Independent Newspapers, in 1999, the Supreme Court concluded that it was impossible to say “of what the offence of blasphemy consists”.

It also stated that a special protection for Christianity was incompatible with the religious equality provisions of Article 44.

Full article

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Irish Times
04.04.2009

Humanists launch campaign against judicial religious oaths

THE HUMANIST Association of Ireland has launched a poster campaign on Dart trains in the capital against the practice of judges and presidents of Ireland being obliged to take an oath.

The committee had also said it would require a referendum to deal with the issue of judges’ oaths, he said.

The association want the preamble to the Constitution dropped, including its reference to “the Most Holy Trinity’’. It also wants Articles 12, 31, and 34, dealing with various oaths, dropped, as it does Article 40, which deals with blasphemy, and Article 44, which endorses religion.

The poster, headed “Unbelievable”, asks: “Did you know that you must take a religious oath in order to become a judge – or the president – in Ireland?”

It continues: “In effect, this rule disbars up to 250,000 Irish citizens who are non-believers.”

The campaign will take place over a six-week period involving 132 Dart carriages and will cost approximately €7,000

The move was inspired by an advertising campaign in London where atheists, including prominent academic Prof Richard Dawkins, arranged for the city’s buses to carry the slogan: “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Full article

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Reuters
01.05.2009
By Andras Gergely

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland will change a law that provides prison sentences for the crime of “blasphemous libel” but cannot abolish it altogether without a referendum to change the constitution, the justice minister said on Friday.

Dermot Ahern said he would repeal a 1961 act under which blasphemous libel can lead to a jail term of seven years, but added a new law was needed instead due to a constitutional requirement to punish blasphemy.

But Ahern said a referendum would have to be held to change the Irish constitution and that would be a “costly diversion.”

Full article

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Below are some doctrines from Humanism for Schools in the UK that are being presented to school children:

A humanist discussion of… ABORTION
[Teacher’s PDF for children aged 11-16]

http://www.humanismforschools.org.uk/pdfs/Abortion%20(final).pdf

For humanists the issue of rights is more complex. Some (non-religious) moral philosophers have argued that full consciousness begins only after birth or even later, and so foetuses and infants are not full human beings with human rights. Other humanists may work on a kind of sliding scale,

Although humanists do not think all life is “sacred” they do respect life,

Questions to think about and discuss

Should parents be able to choose the sex of their child? Should they be able to abort a foetus of the “wrong” sex?

Can infanticide (the killing newborn infants) ever be right?

Should abortion ever be carried out on a non-consenting woman, e.g. one too young to give legal consent or one in a coma?

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A humanist discussion of… FAMILY MATTERS
[Teacher’s PDF for children aged 11-16]

http://www.humanismforschools.org.uk/pdfs/Family%20Matters.pdf

too much respect for the views of the old can hold a society in the tight grip of tradition

Can we provide enough homes for the growing numbers of people, including many elderly people, who live on their own? Should we, if it increases isolation and has environmental disadvantages?

Should we be encouraging a higher birth rate, so that there are more young people to generate income and provide care for the old? Or is it irresponsible, in an overpopulated world, to produce more children? Perhaps, too, it is irresponsible, in an overpopulated world, to put so much effort and investment into prolonging life,

Should we be increasing fertility when the world is over-populated? Do artificial methods of conception increase population size (if they allow people to delay starting families, they might actually have the opposite effect)?

Questions to think about and discuss

When you are old and infirm, who do you think should care for you? Why?

What should be the age of consent for sexual relationships? Should it be the same for males and females, homosexuals and heterosexuals?

Are there any rights that you think children should have, for example to “divorce” their family or sue parents for ignoring their rights? (The UN agreed on a Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the UK ratified in 1991, and which you might like to read.)

Do humanist principles inevitably lead to liberal ideas about family values?

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 A humanist discussion of… EUTHANASIA
[Teacher’s PDF for children aged 11-16]


http://www.humanismforschools.org.uk/pdfs/Euthanasia%20(final).pdf


Questions to think about and discuss

Could euthanasia ever be right in cases where the patient cannot give consent? Who should make the decision?

What makes a life worth living?

Should seriously depressed people be helped to die?

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On the 1st of May 2009 the Irish Humanist Association had the following stated on it’s website: “The Humanist Association is also involved in Government Dialogue. The Government Dialogue is a process which has engaged a spectrum of organisations which reflect the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe.” “The Humanist Association of Ireland have made several submissions to the Irish Government” one of which includes the ” ‘National Council for Curriculum and Assessment’. ”
- http://www.humanism.ie/website/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=83&Itemid=81

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