Since I realised the error of my religious ways in 2003, and devoted my time and mental faculties to freethought and intelligent discourse, I seem to have been mainly ineffective in attempting to get others to see past the pearly clouds of religion and embrace reason and logic, and while everyday I see the effect and transformation that people like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and many other learned people can bring about, I wish to do more than I am doing.
It is for this reason I am contacting you. I recently discovered that firmly set in the Irish Constitution, since it's enactment in 1932, lies a passage in an article that would make public disavowal of Jesus Christ or Catholicism, Unconstitutional and punishable by law.
The actual text of the article goes like this:
It is my fervent wish to remove the word "blasphemous" from this article. While I have very little tolerance for religion, I certainly would not condone open words of hate allowed in public forums, and this is not my intent. I merely want to make sure that if I wish to publicly state at ANY time that I firmly disavow Jesus Christ, the Lord Almighty, Allah, Shiva or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster, if I so please, it will not be Unconstitutional or against the law. Freedom of Speech (the section the above article falls under) should protect intellectually fueled derision of ridiculous belief systems, especially when it comes to Religion.Article 40, Subparagraph 6, Section I:
"The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law."
There are also many more references to religion, especially in the Opening Preamble and I want to get ALL of these removed.
When I first came across the idea to remove this 'blasphemous' portion from the Constitution, that was my only concern, but since posting similar topics on richarddawkins.net forums, other people advised me that it would be MUCH more effective to attack ANY religious references contained within, and that is now my intention.In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
We, the people of Éire,
Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,
And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.
In the year 2008, an article in a country's Constitution condemning intellectual ridicule of religion as 'blasphemy' harkens back to the days of witch-hunts and ex-communications, and I feel very strongly that such an outlawing of intelligent commentary has no place in the Constitution of the country I call my home. And the blatant catholic ass-kissing in the Opening Preamble clearly has no legal merit or place in the founding laws of our country.
And so, to this end, I have contacted you, as while I may have the drive and motivation to attempt to bring such a thing to pass, I'm not sure about how I should attempt it, or what I even need to do to get the ball rolling. I am currently out of the country for a few months, but at which time I return I will most likely begin by speaking to local goverment representatives about the issue, and also speaking to legal representatives regarding the issue, but I would be extremely grateful for ANY assistance you guys could throw at me!
All relevant comments are appreciated.
One thing I need to add also, is that I realise, as will any fellow irishmen/women, that while this law seems to exist, it is barely enforced in Ireland, but even though one could say these things and get away with them, trust me, it would not be long before the fanatics, who probably already know about this cute little piece of text, will be at your door, so my aim is to remove this before it can cause any damage.
Most of this post comes from the post on richarddawkins.net, but below I'm going to include all the offending passages I have subsequently found in the Constitution.
Article 6 under the heading "The State":
Section 8 of Article 12, under the heading “The President”:1. All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.
Section 4 of Article 31 under the heading “The Council Of State”:8. The President shall enter upon his office by taking and subscribing publicly, in the presence of members of both Houses of the Oireachtas, of Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court, and other public personages, the following declaration:
"In the presence of Almighty God I ,do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will maintain the Constitution of Ireland and uphold its laws, that I will fulfil my duties faithfully and conscientiously in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and that I will dedicate my abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland. May God direct and sustain me."
Section 5, Subparagraph 1, of Article 34 under the heading “The Courts”:4. Every member of the Council of State shall at the first meeting thereof which he attends as a member take and subscribe a declaration in the following form:
"In the presence of Almighty God I, do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfil my duties as a member of the Council of State."
Section 6, Subparagraph 1, of Article 40 under the heading “Fundamental Rights”:5. 1° Every person appointed a judge under this Constitution shall make and subscribe the following declaration:
"In the presence of Almighty God I, do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my knowledge and power execute the office of Chief Justice (or as the case may be) without fear or favour, affection or ill-will towards any man, and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws. May God direct and sustain me."
Section 1 of Article 44, under the heading “Religion”:6. 1° 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.
Ending Lines:1. The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.
So there we have it, 8 seperate pieces of this legal document make express reference to the Abrahamic God of Catholicism, protect it from 'blasphemous' commentary or force our Legal officials to swear oaths under this God.“Dochum Glóire Dé agus Onóra na hÉireann”
(Dedicated to the Glory of God and Honour of Ireland)
I recently found an article from 2006 on IndyMedia.ie that spreads the message I am trying to spread from a different perspective, trying to convince us to remove the Angelus (which I personally don't care about since I don't watch Irish TV often enough to come into contact with it)
As I said previously, I have topics on richarddawkins.net:
http://www.richarddawkins.net/forum/vie ... 17&t=44133
And I also have set up a Bebo Group: (either one should work)
So if, like me, you have an immediate passion to change the Constitution of OUR country (a country that should now be free from the years of unwarranted respect for religion) then please, respond to this post.
Lend me your support or give me advice on how to get this done, all suggestions are welcome, but without the numbers and the drive, we will never get this done.
Thanks for your time,