Irish Blasphemy Referendum Oct 2018

€2,505 of €5,000 goal

Raised by 53 people in 3 months
Created August 7, 2018
This October, Ireland finally has a referendum to remove the offence of blasphemy from our constitution. Please help to fund Atheist Ireland's campaign against this anachronistic and dangerous law. We support and comply with the SIPO laws that regulate political funding in Ireland, and we include details below on donation limits.

Atheist Ireland supports the right of everybody to hold their religious or nonreligious beliefs, and to have their safety as individuals protected by the law. We also support the right of everybody to criticise the content of religious or nonreligious beliefs. The Irish blasphemy law infringes on these rights.

Atheist Ireland has been campaigning for this referendum since we were founded a decade ago. The Irish Law Reform Commission, Citizens' Assembly, and several all-party Oireachtas Committees, have all called for the removal of the blasphemy law. So have the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the Venice Commission.

Silencing effect on Irish media

Ireland passed a new blasphemy law in 2009. While it has not yet been formally enforced, we know that some media outlets choose to self-censor themselves, rather than get involved in even the chance of a blasphemy case. Last year the police dropped a blasphemy investigation into Stephen Fry because they did not find sufficient public outrage. It is irresponsible for a law to tell people that they must demonstrate public outrage if they want to have a blasphemy case taken.

The Venice Commission, the body of European lawyers that advises the Council of Europe on constitutional matters, has said that the purpose of any restriction on freedom of expression must be to protect individuals, rather than to protect belief systems from criticism. It has said people must be able to criticise religious ideas, even harshly and unreasonably, and even if it hurts other people’s religious feelings, as long as they do not advocate hatred against an individual or groups.

Damaging effect internationally

The blasphemy law has also damaged Ireland’s reputation abroad, and contributed to the persecution of Christians, atheists, and members of minority faiths in states such as Pakistan. Islamist States at the United Nations, led by Pakistan, have called for the wording of Ireland’s law to be introduced internationally, in order to bolster their own laws against blasphemy and apostasy.

In Pakistan, a Christian mother, Asia Bibi, currently faces execution for blasphemy, and Ahmadi Muslims are persecuted because they have different Islamic beliefs to the Sunni majority. Last year Atheist Ireland, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland, and the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland, jointly asked the United Nations Human Rights Committee to bring an end to the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

United Nations and Minister for Justice

Professor Heiner Bielefeldt, former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief, supports our campaign. He asked Atheist Ireland to tell the Citizens’ Assembly that: “those countries that continue to have an intimidating anti-blasphemy practice like to quote European countries to unmask Western hypocrisy.”

Atheist Ireland agrees with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan’s statement that:

“In terms of Ireland’s international reputation, this is an important step.  Regrettably, there are some countries in the world where blasphemy is an offence, the punishment of which is being put to death.  In these countries, such laws are not an anachronism but a very real threat to the lives of those who do not share the views of those enforcing the laws.  Such situations are abhorrent to our beliefs and values.  By removing this provision from our Constitution, we can send a strong message to the world that laws against blasphemy do not reflect Irish values and that we do not believe such laws should exist.”

Donation Limits

Atheist Ireland is a 100% voluntary organisation. We seek help with funds to pay for our costs in campaigning for the removal of the blasphemy law. We plan to have a public conference, public meetings, print and online publications, media work, and public canvassing. 

We are registered as a third party with the Standards in Public Office Commission, which limits the donation amount we can receive and whom we can accept donations from. The main regulation is that, if you live in Ireland or are an Irish citizen either in Ireland or abroad, then you can donate to our fund up to a yearly limit of €2,500.

You can read our donation policy here
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€2,505 of €5,000 goal

Raised by 53 people in 3 months
Created August 7, 2018
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