Monitoring the Illogic of Modern-Day Religious Persecution

John Allen Paulos in his Who's Counting column at ABC News:

Ireland_Blasphemy2_090731_mn When a modern Western country whose economy is based on science and technology adopts an absurdly medieval law, one would think that this would be a news story of at least moderate size.

Oddly though, almost no attention has been paid in the United Stares to the passing last month of a bill establishing a crime of blasphemy in Ireland.

Approved by the Irish parliament, it states: “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 25,000 euro.”

Furthermore, “a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters 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 (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.”

Even if I weren't the author of a book entitled “Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up,” I would find this bill abysmally wrong-headed.

More here.