Irish Police Investigate Stephen Fry for Blasphemy

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry
Pool photo by Justin Tallis

Liam Stack and Ed O’Loughlin report at NYT:

The British actor Stephen Fry is known as many things: a witty television presenter, a roguish Twitter personality and an outspoken atheist. Over the weekend, the Irish authorities considered whether to add another label to the list: alleged blasphemer.

The Irish police opened an investigation into whether remarks Mr. Fry made in a 2015 television interview — saying that God, if he existed at all, was a selfish maniac who deserved neither respect nor praise — had run afoul of a controversial blasphemy law enacted in 2009.

The inquiry didn’t last long. The authorities said on Monday night that no charges would be filed against Mr. Fry. But the news that they had even pursued the complaint to begin with set off an outpouring of bemusement and anger in Ireland, which has been grappling with its deeply conservative Catholic history.

My late colleague, gay rights pioneer and Harvard-trained astrophysicist Frank Kameny, used to say, “What the world needs is more and better blasphemy.” Here’s to him, and to Stephen Fry (who is, you know, family).



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