Monkeys and blasphemy

Monkey at a typewriter, via Wikipedia.On the monkeys-and-typewriters principle, I suppose it was inevitable that Kevin Myers would eventually write something with which I would agree. He did, today, in the Irish Independent:

I have the right not merely to offend people, but to intend to

… The Ahern law on blasphemy must be the first law ever whose instigator is desperately hoping that it will never be invoked. Its potency depends not upon any legal definition on what blasphemy actually consists of, but solely on the “outrage” that the remark in question might intentionally cause.

… Well, frankly, I think I have the right not merely to offend people, but the right to intend to do so. It is up to them, and their personal capacity to control their emotions, as to whether or not they are outraged. …

Polemical as always, and trenchant, he is making much the same point as I essayed here and here.

On the same principle, it was probably just as inevitable that I would at some stage feel a little sorry for Gerry Ryan. I did, today, when I learned that he had been the subject of a complaint to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission for wondering whether it would be considered blasphemous if someone said on air that “God is a bollocks”. The BCC rejected the complaint (see decision here – warning .doc), and quite right too. Even though he was obviously courting controversy for the remark, I felt sorry for him that he had to spend some time defending himself to the BCC against such a silly complaint.

Finally, via Gerard Cunningham’s 200 words, I learn that the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Reverend Paul Colton, via his Twitter account, recently asked:

Can we start a campaign now to have a referendum on the removal of the reference to blasphemy from the Irish Constitution?

Hear, hear

Bonus links: also in the Irish Independent Opponents to continue fight after blasphemy made illegal. See also Irish Examiner here and here | Irish Times here and here | Paddy McKenna here and here.