Monday, December 20, 2010

Not an official "question," but one I'm often asked....

Why are atheists so angry?

There's a short answer and a long answer to this question...which are you prepared to consider?

Short answer: We're not "angry," we're just disappointed.

Long answer:

Just because someone references Jesus/Mohammad/God/G-d/Whatever in a conversation doesn't mean that you have to get your serious-face-armor on immediately. 

Atheists aren't angry at you, they're angry at the piety to which you subscribe.

We are angry because we can't have a conversation with you that doesn't end up with you presenting some circular logic bullshit about the bible that we have already heard 8 million times.

We're angry that you don't "get" where we are coming from because you're delusional, solely because nothing "too bad" has happened in your life to challenge your faith, or you were just too delusional to see the fact that your mother/father/sister/brother got cancer/died in a car wreck/was murdered wasn't an act that was "according to God's plan," but a bullshit fact of life that sucks.

We're angry because we can't empathize with you when you're asking for prayer...because we know it's bullshit.

We're angry because you think we aren't charitable and that we don't consider the welfare of humanity an important aspect of current day life (because we have no basis for having any kind of morals whatsoever).

We're angry because we buy an ad on a bus to tell you we're here, and your idiot champions pay for a bus to follow us around telling us the God we don't believe in still loves us anyway.

We're angry because we can't make/help you understand the logical fallacies surrounding the FACT that the world isn't only 4,000 years old, and "Adam and Eve" are Hebrew words that carry the meaning of "humanity."

We're angry because you take the word of people like Jim Bakker, Ed Young, C.S. Lewis, and Billy Graham as absolute gospel fact without looking into what they are saying for yourselves.

We're angry because you're behind us. Intellectually. Spiritually. In general.

We're angry because you purport and spread shit all over the world that limits the evolution of our minds, and therefore our species.

We're angry because you can't feed the hungry or help the poor without bringing your precious savior into the mix. (Hungry people don't give a shit about the God that has abandoned them and left them homeless, FYI)

We're angry because you laugh when a champion of reason like Christopher Hitchens is dying of cancer.

We're angry because you are all so self-centered and living the dreams and prophecies of people you've never met and who couldn't even speak our language.

We're angry because you're ignorant. YOU ARE IGNORANT. And worse, you're okay with that.

Are we superior? I would say yes. I'm an angry, arrogant heathen who has used the last bit of tolerance I have within me and I cannot stand to placate your bullshit delusions of grandeur any longer.


That's why we're angry.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ask an Atheist: from CyberKitten

"Did you become an atheist after a crisis of faith or have you never believed in God?"

Thanks for submitting the first question! I cannot access your blog, but from your profile, I can see your an inquisitive person (perhaps that is the reason you have Kitten in your name?)

I am glad to write about my "de-conversion," and have done so before. Here are some posts I've written in previous years that might give some insight...
Ask Me Why
Confession of a Former Church Camp Counselor

While both of those posts may seem to indicate a crisis of faith, I would instead say I had a realization of my incapacity for faith (in a religious sense). Being raised Methodist, I don't really recall it being a super important message that Jesus was a deity. I remember the service, fellowship, and missions more than anything.

Sorry this took me a few days to post for you, let me know if that answered your question, or if you want to "discuss" further. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ask An Atheist December Blog-a-Thon

I don't claim to be an expert on "proving" my lack of "faith," but I would like to open the doors to "Hell" for everyone during the month of December. If you have a question about atheism, being atheist, why we don't say "I'm AN atheist," why atheist isn't capitalized, what we do for "Christmas," or anything else, shoot me a Facebook message, reply to my Reddit feed, or comment on this post. Anonymous questions won't be considered for discussion, and hate mail will be published throughout the month for all to see, so play nice. I'd love to have a question a day, but we'll see how it goes.... Stacy

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dembski got Hitch slapped...but who am I to judge??

My editorial nonsense and opinions on the "debate" between Dr. William Dembski and Christopher Hitchens from November 18, 2010 at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.
I don't regularly attend any social functions with atheists. I don't have an overabundance of atheist friends. I don't have t-shirts or bumper stickers that tell everyone what I don't believe in. But...if you're reading this, you know I don't need any of those things to let you know. I don't have a habit of being secretive about being atheist. I do not believe in any god. I do not possess the "gift" of faith. If there was a word like "atheist" that meant without faith (afaithiest?), that's what I would be. I know a lot of people (in fact, most of the people I know) who have this "gift" of faith.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11: 6(NKJV)   (whoops)
Stop getting antsy. I'm getting to the debate....

I heard that Hitchens was going to be at PBC during Muse in the News on 1310 The Ticket (thanks, Gordo!) the day before the debate. I couldn't believe I didn't already know about it...then I remembered that whole thing about few atheist friends, yada yada yada. I immediately ran to the kitchen, even though we don't allow running in the house, and told Jared. It took 2 seconds to decide we were going.

 Atheism isn't a choice I've made lightly.
Hitchens isn't my favorite author to read, but I do love hearing him speak...something about the British accent. I didn't know who Dr. Dembski was, but as the opposition, I assumed he was a Christian...and being a doctor, he was obviously someone who had been able to hold on to faith, despite his knowledge of science. People like that fascinate me. Being that I found out the day before the debate, I didn't have time to do any research on or read anything written by Dr. Dembski. Of course, I have read God Is Not Great... by Hitchens. Great book.
Heathen reading
And, ironically, the only white book on the heathen shelf.....hmmmmm...

As we entered the sanctuary at PBC, a place I have been only once before to see a Nicole Nordeman concert, we were directed to the top rows...the lower section was completely reserved for students, as well as the first 7 rows of the top-middle section. The sanctuary seats 7,000 people, and by my estimation, it was at about 90% capacity. (If you're interested, if every person in the sanctuary had to buy the $5 ticket, PBC made about $30k off that 3 hours...I'm not sure what they paid the if you wanted to PDF of the laughable debate guide, it was $35.)

As my friend Chris said, "Call me naive, but it never dawned on me that there would be 20 minutes of hymns before the Hitchens debate."  The first hymn was, appropriately, called "Just the way it is." No better way to start a debate on the existance of God/god. The praise team proceeded to sing 2 or 3 more songs, and it became apparent during this time that there were approximately 2 non-belivers in our section, and maybe 40-50 elsewhere in the sanctuary. Four songs, two prayers, an introduction...and finally the speaking began.

Hitchens went first with the opening statement. He was mild, and we began to wonder if he was holding back because he was looking into the faces of THIRTEEN year-olds as he was speaking. He spoke in layman's terms, briefly visited the Big Bang theory and personal experience. I thought his opening was rather weak, compared to the Hitchens we're used to hearing.

 *side note, Hitchens was diagnosed with metastatic esophageal cancer back in June of this year, a fact that the XIAN crowd obviously had not been made aware of, as they laughed when he wiped at and blew his nose during the debate*

Once Hitchens finished his opening, which again, I would say was pretty innocuous, Dembski shuffled his papers and began reading. Yes, reading. I was TRULY disappointed in this. A prepared opening statement. To be read. Verbatim. The kicker to this opening was that Dembski's ENTIRE opening was about Hitchens and what he believes. He also prepared some sciency statements, much of which left me utterly confused as to what he was talking about. While sciency Christians fascinate me, I didn't think there was any need for the sciency-ness, as Hitchens is not a scientist. He's a social commentator and contributing editor for Vanity Fair. He uses science that you can see on Discovery, not science you have to be able to understand the mind of Hawking to get...

I did take some notes, and here is what I have written down from Dembski's opening remarks:

Complexity = Intelligent Design
Theists have more options, atheists MUST believe in evolution - video of cell complexity
Analogy - Murder : Design :: Natural Causes : Non-design
Complex scientific principles (i'm lost here??)
evolution advances the atheist agenda (what is our "agenda"?)
Junk DNA book

I did find Dembski's references to Boethius interesting - he was cited as presenting that the problem of evil may be that of Christianity, but the problem of good belongs to atheism. Boethius was born sometime during the 5th or 6th century, but I'm interested in finding some of his writings.

Here are some other notes I have from Dembski's orations (click to enlarge)

Vaginal mutilations...??
Now, don't go getting upset about that vaginal mutliators bit. I guess it's true...apparently there are more people in communities who practice vaginal mutilation as a form of contraception than there are secular folks in the western hemisphere. Although, I'm not sure what that has to do with anything about God/god. ??

The circular logic of God defining good, therefore he can't be anything but good, and anything bad that happens isn't him being bad, it's just a plan we don't understand...yeah, that whole idea....maybe I'd bite on it if I were sheepish, but I think Dembski thought he was debating to an audience of believers only (see above, vaginal mutilators vs. secular westerners).

Toward the latter part of the debate, Hitchens sparked up (he claimed Starbucks). He was spot on. Game on. Don't mess with the Hitch. He was challenged to define morality without God or the Bible. It's called Humanism. Love your fellow man. Do things that promote the survival of our species. How does this not make sense to Sciency Dembski? We're all humanists...some of us just need divinity to define why we are so.

I'm not saying a lot of what Hitchens said because he mostly described his personal feelings of Christ, Christianity, and morality in response to Dembski. It's difficult to debate a Christian as an atheist, because the matter of God/god isn't really debatable in your mind. Hitchens was trying to prove that morality can exist without God/god, and that there are other explanations for how we got here, and all Dembski did was try to prove Hitch wrong with God as the proof. It was kind of sad.

I am surprised that PBC hosted this event, specifically for their Prestonwood Academy students. Baptists do have a tendency to be a little, shall we say, uppity about their faith. I would love to have the opportunity to talk to the students who sat through the debate. I can't imagine how my life would have been different if I had heard Christopher Hitchens speak when I was 13, going to ho-hum Methodist church. I can imagine he had some impact on the students - if nothing else, enough to get their noses out of the Bible and realize there is a big world out there to explore, and a large number of people who don't agree with their doctrine.

Aside from Hitchens' rant on Mother Teresa, my favorite line from him was what I will leave you with:

"Don't think of that [absolute authority and salvation] as a gift. Think of it as a poison chalice. Push it aside, however tempting it is."

On Monday 11/22/10, you will be able to see the debate online, sponsored by PBC at

Thanks for reading, it's been awhile. :)

**update, debate can be viewed on this youtube channel:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A moment of Silence...

All we are saying, is "give repeat a chance."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The music may sound different, but the message is the same

1981. Sonseed wasn't THE pioneer of "new" Christian music, but their one line of lyrics (the title of this post) has proven to become a movement in its own right.

I know the allure, I was captivated by it. The church choir has morphed into the "praise band" or "praise and worship team." Lights, camera, action! I've heard everything from U2 to Macy Gray sung on stage at a church service.

If there's one thing I miss about being a Christian, it's the music. Jennifer Knapp, Katy Hudson (now known as Katy Perry), Chris Rice, and Michelle Tumes still have a special place in my heart and in my music collection. Notably, though, none of these singers are ones who trick up the music (i.e. the music may sound different, but the message is the same)...all are pretty classic, soulful, acoustic, and truly vocally and lyrically talented. I don't love the Jesus or God they sing of, I love what they have done with music.

Some artists I remember who were contemporary trick masters..the Benjamin Gate, Audio Adrenaline, DC Talk (followed by their solo acts), and who can forget WOW! Hits and Worship collections. I know of some Benjamin Gate songs that you wouldn't think twice about if you heard them played in dance club amidst the strobes and sweaty ecstasy whores.

I think "alternative" Christian music had an honest beginning - in that there were Christian people who liked to rock (ie Petra, the Greek word for "rock") and didn't care for 'The Old Rugged Cross' being sung by the old lady with the waddle in church. If you're musically gifted, and you can pull it off...more power to ya. But it seems in the last 10 years or so, the Christian music industry has become a single-handed way to save souls who otherwise would tell you where to shove it. Couple music that sounds like Pearl Jam with a hot Christian guy might as well be in the 60's worshipping The Beatles. (I wonder what the world would be like if The Beatles had been a Christian group??)

So, to my Christian friends...what is your favorite "worship" music? Do you like the "new" stuff, or do you stick to the classics? What's on your ipod?

To my de-converted you miss the music like I do? :)


Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Freedom" of Speech abroad

Having Irish roots, I'm glad whoever from my family left Ireland whenever they did.

I think most Americans take our freedom of speech right for granted.
The Irish Constitution defines and protects freedom of speech as
(Article 40.6.1(i)):
The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:
i. The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.The education of public opinion being, however, a matter of such grave import to the common good, the State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State. The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.

Currently, the "punishment" for blasphemous, seditious, or indecent talk is €25,000-($35,800). It would cost me more for one week of Facebook status updates than I make in an entire year.

All this talk has come about due to the squeaky wheel Atheist Ireland who have started a grassroots campaign for a secular constitution. The nerve!

What I think is awesome about Atheist Ireland is that they give a damn. I know that there are atheist groups in America who daily campaign for a secular constitution and other civil liberties, but they're not called Atheist America...they're called American Atheists.
Are we really American THEN atheist? I think atheism defines who I am moreso than being American. I think the Irish think the same way. (Maybe my Irish blood is stronger than my American blood!) But, we in America so SO hung up on our individuality. I am not's how we're raised. I would like to say I am part of atheist America, but I have to settle for "being a member" of American Atheists.
Atheist Ireland has stirred up controversy this week by posting 25 blasphemous quotes...some by the lord Jesus himself. I wonder if the government of Ireland is going to get them for is €625,000?
Here's the controversial list, reproduced by written permission on their website. (the link is the cached version of the page - the actual link isn't working at the time of this post).

List of 25 Blasphemous Quotes Published by Atheist Ireland

1. Jesus Christ, when asked if he was the son of God, in Matthew 26:64: “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” According to the Christian Bible, the Jewish chief priests and elders and council deemed this statement by Jesus to be blasphemous, and they sentenced Jesus to death for saying it.

2. Jesus Christ, talking to Jews about their God, in John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” This is one of several chapters in the Christian Bible that can give a scriptural foundation to Christian anti-Semitism. The first part of John 8, the story of “whoever is without sin cast the first stone”, was not in the original version, but was added centuries later. The original John 8 is a debate between Jesus and some Jews. In brief, Jesus calls the Jews who disbelieve him sons of the Devil, the Jews try to stone him, and Jesus runs away and hides.

3. Muhammad, quoted in Hadith of Bukhari, Vol 1 Book 8 Hadith 427: “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their prophets.” This quote is attributed to Muhammad on his death-bed as a warning to Muslims not to copy this practice of the Jews and Christians. It is one of several passages in the Koran and in Hadith that can give a scriptural foundation to Islamic anti-Semitism, including the assertion in Sura 5:60 that Allah cursed Jews and turned some of them into apes and swine.

4. Mark Twain, describing the Christian Bible in Letters from the Earth, 1909: “Also it has another name - The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated by God. It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies… But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy - he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered. He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty… What the insane Father required was blood and misery; he was indifferent as to who furnished it.” Twain’s book was published posthumously in 1939. His daughter, Clara Clemens, at first objected to it being published, but later changed her mind in 1960 when she believed that public opinion had grown more tolerant of the expression of such ideas. That was half a century before Fianna Fail and the Green Party imposed a new blasphemy law on the people of Ireland.

5. Tom Lehrer, The Vatican Rag, 1963: “Get in line in that processional, step into that small confessional. There, the guy who’s got religion’ll tell you if your sin’s original. If it is, try playing it safer, drink the wine and chew the wafer. Two, four, six, eight, time to transubstantiate!”

6. Randy Newman, God’s Song, 1972: “And the Lord said: I burn down your cities - how blind you must be. I take from you your children, and you say how blessed are we. You all must be crazy to put your faith in me. That’s why I love mankind.”

7. James Kirkup, The Love That Dares to Speak its Name, 1976: “While they prepared the tomb I kept guard over him. His mother and the Magdalen had gone to fetch clean linen to shroud his nakedness. I was alone with him… I laid my lips around the tip of that great cock, the instrument of our salvation, our eternal joy. The shaft, still throbbed, anointed with death’s final ejaculation.” This extract is from a poem that led to the last successful blasphemy prosecution in Britain, when Denis Lemon was given a suspended prison sentence after he published it in the now-defunct magazine Gay News. In 2002, a public reading of the poem, on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, failed to lead to any prosecution. In 2008, the British Parliament abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.

8. Matthias, son of Deuteronomy of Gath, in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1979: “Look, I had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.”

9. Rev Ian Paisley MEP to the Pope in the European Parliament, 1988: “I denounce you as the Antichrist.” Paisley’s website describes the Antichrist as being “a liar, the true son of the father of lies, the original liar from the beginning… he will imitate Christ, a diabolical imitation, Satan transformed into an angel of light, which will deceive the world.”

10. Conor Cruise O’Brien, 1989: “In the last century the Arab thinker Jamal al-Afghani wrote: ‘Every Muslim is sick and his only remedy is in the Koran.’ Unfortunately the sickness gets worse the more the remedy is taken.”

11. Frank Zappa, 1989: “If you want to get together in any exclusive situation and have people love you, fine - but to hang all this desperate sociology on the idea of The Cloud-Guy who has The Big Book, who knows if you’ve been bad or good - and cares about any of it - to hang it all on that, folks, is the chimpanzee part of the brain working.”

12. Salman Rushdie, 1990: “The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas - uncertainty, progress, change - into crimes.” In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie because of blasphemous passages in Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.

13. Bjork, 1995: “I do not believe in religion, but if I had to choose one it would be Buddhism. It seems more livable, closer to men… I’ve been reading about reincarnation, and the Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fuck the Buddhists.”

14. Amanda Donohoe on her role in the Ken Russell movie Lair of the White Worm, 1995: “Spitting on Christ was a great deal of fun. I can’t embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages, and that persecution still goes on today all over the world.”

15. George Carlin, 1999: “Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!”

16. Paul Woodfull as Ding Dong Denny O’Reilly, The Ballad of Jaysus Christ, 2000: “He said me ma’s a virgin and sure no one disagreed, Cause they knew a lad who walks on water’s handy with his feet… Jaysus oh Jaysus, as cool as bleedin’ ice, With all the scrubbers in Israel he could not be enticed, Jaysus oh Jaysus, it’s funny you never rode, Cause it’s you I do be shoutin’ for each time I shoot me load.”

17. Jesus Christ, in Jerry Springer The Opera, 2003: “Actually, I’m a bit gay.” In 2005, the Christian Institute tried to bring a prosecution against the BBC for screening Jerry Springer the Opera, but the UK courts refused to issue a summons.

18. Tim Minchin, Ten-foot Cock and a Few Hundred Virgins, 2005: “So you’re gonna live in paradise, With a ten-foot cock and a few hundred virgins, So you’re gonna sacrifice your life, For a shot at the greener grass, And when the Lord comes down with his shiny rod of judgment, He’s gonna kick my heathen ass.”

19. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, 2006: “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.” In 2007 Turkish publisher Erol Karaaslan was charged with the crime of insulting believers for publishing a Turkish translation of The God Delusion. He was acquitted in 2008, but another charge was brought in 2009. Karaaslan told the court that “it is a right to criticise religions and beliefs as part of the freedom of thought and expression.”

20. Pope Benedict XVI quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor, 2006: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” This statement has already led to both outrage and condemnation of the outrage. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the world’s largest Muslim body, said it was a “character assassination of the prophet Muhammad”. The Malaysian Prime Minister said that “the Pope must not take lightly the spread of outrage that has been created.” Pakistan’s foreign Ministry spokesperson said that “anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence”. The European Commission said that “reactions which are disproportionate and which are tantamount to rejecting freedom of speech are unacceptable.”

21. Christopher Hitchens in God is not Great, 2007: “There is some question as to whether Islam is a separate religion at all… Islam when examined is not much more than a rather obvious and ill-arranged set of plagiarisms, helping itself from earlier books and traditions as occasion appeared to require… It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or ‘surrender’ as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain. There is nothing-absolutely nothing-in its teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption.”

22. PZ Myers, on the Roman Catholic communion host, 2008: “You would not believe how many people are writing to me, insisting that these horrible little crackers (they look like flattened bits of styrofoam) are literally pieces of their god, and that this omnipotent being who created the universe can actually be seriously harmed by some third-rate liberal intellectual at a third-rate university… However, inspired by an old woodcut of Jews stabbing the host, I thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffeegrounds and a banana peel.”

23. Ian O’Doherty, 2009: “(If defamation of religion was illegal) it would be a crime for me to say that the notion of transubstantiation is so ridiculous that even a small child should be able to see the insanity and utter physical impossibility of a piece of bread and some wine somehow taking on corporeal form. It would be a crime for me to say that Islam is a backward desert superstition that has no place in modern, enlightened Europe and it would be a crime to point out that Jewish settlers in Israel who believe they have a God given right to take the land are, frankly, mad. All the above assertions will, no doubt, offend someone or other.”

24. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, 2009: “Whether a person is atheist or any other, there is in fact in my view something not totally human if they leave out the transcendent… we call it God… I think that if you leave that out you are not fully human.” Because atheism is not a religion, the Irish blasphemy law does not protect atheists from abusive and insulting statements about their fundamental beliefs. While atheists are not seeking such protection, we include the statement here to point out that it is discriminatory that this law does not hold all citizens equal.

25. Dermot Ahern, Irish Minister for Justice, introducing his blasphemy law at an Oireachtas Justice Committee meeting, 2009, and referring to comments made about him personally: “They are blasphemous.” Deputy Pat Rabbitte replied: “Given the Minister’s self-image, it could very well be that we are blaspheming,” and Minister Ahern replied: “Deputy Rabbitte says that I am close to the baby Jesus, I am so pure.” So here we have an Irish Justice Minister joking about himself being blasphemed, at a parliamentary Justice Committee discussing his own blasphemy law, that could make his own jokes illegal.

Finally, as a bonus, Micheal Martin, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, opposing attempts by Islamic States to make defamation of religion a crime at UN level, 2009: “We believe that the concept of defamation of religion is not consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights. It can be used to justify arbitrary limitations on, or the denial of, freedom of expression. Indeed, Ireland considers that freedom of expression is a key and inherent element in the manifestation of freedom of thought and conscience and as such is complementary to freedom of religion or belief.” Just months after Minister Martin made this comment, his colleague Dermot Ahern introduced Ireland’s new blasphemy law.