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Blasphemy in Ireland

Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney

When the topic of blasphemy reared its ugly head at the breakfast table the other morning, the diners weren’t talking about the Spanish Inquisition or George Bernard Shaw’s source of great truths. Mr. Sweeney, avid newshound that he is, had come across a strange piece of intel on the workings of the politicos running the Emerald Isle. It seems there had been tagged onto the second referendum on the European Union's Lisbon reform treaty, a law forbidding blasphemy in Ireland. This is a notion that had never even occurred to the generations of Irish clergy ever after a greater slice of the collective Irish soul---and who would blame them?---as blasphemy seems almost required thinking for a nation not long freed from the oppressors. Sorry, was that blasphemy?

Just what is blasphemy, anyway?

According to Dictionary dot com, it is: 1. An act of disrespect or impiety toward something regarded as sacred: desecration, profanation, sacrilege, violation. See sacred/profane. 2. A profane or obscene term: curse, epithet, expletive, oath, swearword. Informal cuss. See decent/indecent, sacred/profane, words.

Impossible. If you've ever been in a pub, on a farm, at a fair, in traffic, or even read a bit of virtually any book ever written by an Irish person, you'll suss that blasphemy abounds. It seems to be intrinsic to the language. One of the first eye-openers that a naive Irish-hypen-anywhere first generation will experience upon visiting Ireland is that profanity, blasphemy, and expletives color virtually every encounter.

There's nothing meant by it.

To attempt to muzzle the Irish is both futile and foolish. The cattle will go mad altogether without the motley assortment of curses, threats, and imprecations to which they are accustomed, to say nothing of the children. By Jove! It's a sad commentary altogether.

Whatever could they have been thinking? Are they trying to make the Irish politically correct? This will be something to see. Is this the end of blasphemy in Ireland?

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Content copyright © 2014 by Mary Ellen Sweeney. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Mary Ellen Sweeney. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Bee Smith for details.

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