Stephen Fry faces blasphemy probe after God commentaries – BBC News

15 days ago
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Police in the Republic of Ireland have launched an investigation after a viewer claimed commentaries made by Stephen Fry on a TV demonstrate were blasphemous.

Officers are understood to be examining whether the British comedian perpetrated a criminal offence under the Defamation Act where reference is appeared on RTE in 2015.

Fry had asked why he should “respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who generates a world …. full of injustice”.

He subsequently said he was not “offensive towards any particular religion”.

According to a report in the Irish Independent newspaper , no publicised cases of blasphemy have been brought before the courts since the law was introduced in 2009 and information sources said it was “highly unlikely” that a prosecution against Fry would take place.

‘Such misery’

Appearing on The Meaning of Life, hosted by Gay Byrne, in February 2015, Fry had been asked what he might say to God at the gates of heaven.

Fry told: “How dare you create a world in which there is such sadnes? It’s not our defect? It’s not right. It’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain? “

He went on to say that Greek gods “didn’t present themselves as being all assure, all wise, all beneficent”, adding “the god who made this cosmo, if it was created by deity, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, wholly selfish”.

The Irish Independent reported a is part of the public made a complaint to police in Ennis in the same month the programme was broadcast. He was lately contacted by a sleuth to say they were looking into his complaint.

The viewer was not said to be offended himself but believed Fry’s commentaries qualified as blasphemy under the law, which carries a maximum penalty of a penalty of 25,000 euros( 22,000 ).

The law prohibits people from publishing or uttering “matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion”.

The government told at the time it was needed because the republic’s 1937 constitution dedicates merely Christians legal protection of their beliefs.

‘Absolutely astonished’

Fry’s representatives have been contacted for a comment.

Speaking to the BBC in 2015, Fry said he had been “absolutely astonished” by some of the reaction on social media to what he had said on the show.

He said: “I don’t think I mentioned once any particular religion and I surely didn’t aim, and in fact I know I didn’t say anything offensive towards any particular religion.”

A police spokesperson told the BBC: “We are not commenting on an ongoing investigation.”

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