My argument is that we allow religions to have bizarre laws within secular states. If we relegate marriage as a whole to religions, we ought to tolerate whatever views the religious groups have on marriage. With regards to the State, we ought to just have a civil union, which is sex-blind. If religions then want to maintain their opposition to gay marriages, that is their business, not those of us focused on secular policies. It would be disgusting if they did continue to oppose gay marriages, but we tolerate disgusting views – as long as they don’t infringe on the wider laws – anyway.
The main reason to oppose homosexual discrimination usually has to due with inconsistent application of the laws or rules applied. That is, if sexual orientation truly does not effect whether someone is a better citizen, worker, friend, and so on, then he ought not to be discriminated against if he happens to be gay. This would constitute unfair discrimination, by definition, since you would be treating those who happened to be straight without worrying whether their sexual orientation would lead to a worse friendship or poorer work performance (or you take it for granted that straight people perform better or are more trustworthy, etc.) Unfair discrimination or prejudice is what we (ought to) oppose – but not discrimination by definition, since that would actually be absurd. Continue reading →
Critical reasoning and clear thinking are not synonymous with politics, but this is taking it a bit far. It seems that this arose out of reforming the libel laws. The reason that it suddenly arose seems that within the Bunreacht na hÉireann, it must by law be legal to prosecute for blasphemy. Another reason that it has happened so suddenly has apparently to do with the current explanation for everything we don’t like: the recession. See, the only alternative to filling the void of the blasphemy law appears to be a referendum. But, according to justice minister, Dermot Ahern, that would be costly.
But, as Padraig Reidy has stated in the Guardian: “no one ever bothered to formulate what the exact [blasphemy] offence might be, and we muddled on for quite a long time without anyone worrying about this.” But now suddenly, to make do they are pandering to religious sentiments for no good reason.
It is also difficult to say whether there was religious pressure – isn’t there always that feeling of the Bible pushing against the neck of politics, or Islam collecting stones on the way to the glass-house of politics? – but it does not repudiate the claim that this is a limitation on free-speech.
Blasphemy is a human right, part of free-speech and is in its purest form an extension of the maturity who give each other. By limiting us on what we can and can not say or do, a government or those who have put themselves on higher moral planes, have decided what is best for us. Instead, to be a good government, it should be a show of trusting the people, treating them like adults to decide for themselves how to deal with having their feelings hurt. It is terribly childish to be told “You can’t say that or you will hurt their feelings”. I know little about Irish politics and politics in general, but I do know and fight for freedom of speech and thought – even if I do not agree with it.
In order to progress we need freedom not wishy-washy mewling noises from paternalist regimes. We are living in an age of (ideal) freedom for all men. This is an idea that would’ve shocked many in the Dark Ages and this is exactly the reason that blasphemy is such an extension of thought. We can respect each other without bowing down before our ideas and beliefs. This last thought seems to be terribly difficult for most people to understand and indeed took me many years to comprehend. But with enough vigour and clear-thinking, I hope that more of us will come to see the separation of person and ideas, of religion and the religious, of ignorance and the brotherhood of Man. It is possible but we need to start by getting rid of this thing called blasphemy.