Anti-Blasphemy Laws Are Blasphemous

And they’re a threat to religious liberty.

The profane long has coexisted with the sacred. During earlier ages the secular authorities often sought to protect established faiths by punishing blasphemy. Even where organized religion is dying, the rule sometimes lives on. In October Ireland will vote on whether to eliminate a clause banning blasphemy from its constitution.

The provision, and the corresponding criminal law, have not been enforced for years. But they are not without support. Five years ago the Catholic Order of the Knights of Saint Columbanus and Islamic Cultural Center both argued for retention of the measure at a constitutional convention. But almost certainly the poll will doom even the theoretical possibility of blasphemy prosecutions.