Sunday, May 03, 2009

Irish Blasphemy Minister's Homophobic Past

I suppose I wasn't really surprised to learn that the man whose idea it was to criminalise criticism of religion has, in the past, voiced some very intolerant views on gay rights.

It's somewhat ironic that he was appointed to the role of Justice and Equality Minister.

He wants to use his time in the role to make it illegal to "publish or utter.....matter that is grossly abusive to matters held sacred by any religion." There are surely elements of all religions that could seriously annoy some followers of others to the point of outrage before you even get to the atheists. Surely any modern society should be encouraging tolerance of different beliefs.

I am naturally very suspicious of anyone whose natural instinct is to stifle diversity and open debate. There are much easier ways of resolving this constitutional anomaly, but he has chosen the most complicated and divisive one imaginable.

It's good to see wider media coverage, none of it in favour of the proposal, and that Green TD Ciaran Cuffe has called for a referendum on it. This is important as the law is unlikely to pass without Green Support. If the Greens can put enough pressure on the Minister, then there's hope of change.

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