The Irish Police are investigating blasphemy charge against comedian Stephen Fry after he made a series of negative comments about god during an appearance on TV in February 2015.
The host of the television show titled The Meaning of Life, Gay Byrne, had asked Fry what he would say if he were to meet god in heaven. Fry said: “How dare you create a world in which there is such misery? It’s not our fault? 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?”
The matter came to light after a viewer complained that he found Fry’s comments objectionable and amounted to blasphemy. “I told the Garda [police] I wanted to report Fry for uttering blasphemy and RTÉ [the TV channel] for broadcasting it and that I believed these were criminal offences under the Defamation Act 2009.” The viewer added that while not personally offended by the comments, they still amounted to criminal blasphemy and that “I was doing my civic duty by reporting a crime,” The Guardian reported.
Fry was taken aback by some of the reactions on social media after the show. “I don’t think I mentioned once any particular religion and I certainly didn’t intend, and in fact I know I didn’t say anything offensive towards any particular religion,” he had told BBC. Host Byrne also defended Fry. “Of course, he hadn’t wished to cause offence. But that’s what the internet is for, controversy, debate and people’s opinions,” he told The Guardian.
Ireland in 2009 enacted a law that prohibits people from publishing or saying anything “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”. If Fry is convicted, he may have to pay a penalty of 25,000 euros.
Here’s a clip of the interview: