Stephen Fry ‘blasphemy’ probe dropped because not enough people were offended

Nick Duffy May 8, 2017
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Stephen Fry cleared of blasphemy charge after police probeIrish authorities last week launched a probe investigating Mr Fry, a gay comic and TV host who is well-known for his atheist views.

A citizen reported the gay celebrity over comments he made on The Meaning of Life, a TV show hosted by Gay Byrne, which initially aired in 2015.

On the show Fry had explained that any God who exists would be “monstrous”, “mean-minded” and an “utter maniac” for allowing suffering in the world.
Stephen Fry
However, the Irish Independent reports that the probe has been dropped.

A source told the newspaper: “This man was simply a witness and not an injured party. Gardaí were unable to find a substantial number of outraged people.

“For this reason the investigation has been concluded.”

Under Irish law, it is illegal to say anything “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion”.

However, the lack of outrage left to the case being shelved.

If found guilty, Fry could have faced a fine of €25,000.

The man who made the initial blasphemy complaint also got in touch with the newspaper to deny being a “religious zealot”.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said: ““I simply believed that the comments made by Fry on RTÉ were criminal blasphemy and that I was doing my civic duty by reporting a crime.”

The case has led to pressure for a change in law, which may require a referendum.

Health Minister Simon Harris said: “It’s silly… it’s a bit embarrassing. It needs to be changed.

“I’m very pleased that the Government wishes to see a referendum in relation to this issue. It obviously does require constitutional change.”

“I’d hope to see it sooner rather than later. This is a democracy. People have the right to express whatever view they do.

“Stephen Fry, regardless of your own religious views, was clearly making a number of points that he clearly felt very strongly about in his usual witty way. I think we do need a referendum.”

When on the show, Byrne asked Fry what he would say to God.

The question launched Fry into a long dialogue that highlighted the injustices in the world.

Fry started: “Bone caner in Children? What’s that about? How dare you. How dare you create a world in which there is such misery which is not out fault. It’s not right. 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. That’s what I would say,” he added.

When asked if he thinks he would be able to “get into heaven”, Fry retros that he “wouldn’t want to”.

Fry, who was nominated for an award for the speech, explained: “If I died and the 12 Greek Gods then I would have more truck with it. The Greeks didn’t pretend not to be human in their appetites, their capriciousness and their unreasonableness.

“They didn’t present themselves as being all seeing, all wise, all kind, all beneficent because the god who created this universe.

“God was quite clearly a maniac. Utter maniac. Totally selfish. We have to spend our lives on our knees thanking him? What kind of God would do that? Yes the world is very splendid but it also has in it insects. Insects, whose whole life cycle is to burrow into the eyes of Children and make them blind,” he added.

The multi-hyphenate explained that he subscribed to Atheism because the God he knew to exist is “monstrous”.

“Atheism is not just about not believing there is a god. But on the assumption there is one, what kind of God is he? It is perfectly apparent that he is monstrous, utterly monstrous and deserves no respect what so ever. The moment you banish him life becomes simpler, purer, clearer and much more worth living in my opinion,” he concluded.

Related: Stephen Fry says his husband has become an expert on his mental health


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