The barmaid walked right into that one.

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Discussion (60)¬

  1. E.A. Blair says:

    Any deity that can’t do its own smiting doesn’t deserve to be worshipped, believed in or defended.

  2. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Phoney cults need laws against blasphemy
    As well as death for apostasy
    They can’t make a case
    Of truth, not a trace
    An excuse to go on a killing spree

  3. Son of Glenner says:

    Interesting to read that, when Stephen Fry was reported to the Irish Gardai for alleged blasphemy, the Gardai did not go ahead with prosecution, as they could not find anyone who was offended by SF’s remarks (presumably apart from the original complainer). And Ireland used to be so priest-ridden, which is presumably why it had a blasphemy law in the first place.

  4. Son of Glenner says:

    Author: Edit function seems not to be functioning.

    Wait, it is functioning on this post!

    (I normally edit my comments in the comment box before submitting; I recommend this to others who complain about the erratic edit function.)

  5. Caf says:

    I can’t check this at the moment, but I read that not even the person who made the official complaint claimed personal offence; he claimed to be doing it simply because he assumed the speech to be offensive and as such a crime one must report to the police. I will hunt for links after work

  6. Abhijeet says:

    Strange place this Ireland, where you can’t even find a dozen people who get offended by a speech. We have quite a surplus of snowflakes here in hot, tropical India. Want us to export some to you?

  7. dr John de Wipper says:

    I placed a rather belated answer to you in the previous thread.

  8. dr John de Wipper says:

    SoG & Caf:
    That surely sets Ireland apart from Indonesia!
    The governor of Jakarta just was sent for 2 years to jail, because it was judged blasphemy when he stated that the Koran (choose your favorite spelling here) does not forbid muslems to vote for non-moslems….

  9. What a delight to wake up to this one, Author. Brilliant beyond your usual. Thank you.

    What can one say about blasphemy laws? Such an obvious denial of a basic human right. At various times in my life, my very appearance has caused offense to people. Fortunately there were no actual laws against the way I looked, though the social pressures could get rather intense. Since my youth, those social pressures have relaxed somewhat, which I take to be a sign that my culture is becoming more sane. Of course there are always reactionaries fighting a losing rear guard battle, and they seem to be the ones calling for or trying to enforce blasphemy laws. Fuck ’em all, and the stupid fuckin’ god they believe in.

    BTW, the English don’t get to feel all smug about their tolerance and sophistimacation compared to the Irish. Not as long as Stephen Gough is in jail.

  10. LD50 says:

    “The barmaid walked right into that one.”

    Yup. Fair’s fair. They got her that time.

    DH: I hadn’t heard of Gough. That’s so sad, and a bit ridiculous.

  11. koppieop says:

    I dislike circular reasoning, but this explanation is a really round circle!

  12. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Caf, you are right. The complainant did so not because he was personally offended but because he felt it his duty to report a suspected breach of the blasphemy laws. Sounds like somebody that we’d all want as a neighbour 🙂

    Son of Glenner, there’s still no shortage of priests in Ireland and the Catholic Church is still a major influence in the government, particularly in education, it’s just that the general populace has finally woken up to the fact that they’ve got better ways to waste their time.

  13. pink squirrel says:

    your mohamm sucks cock in hell

  14. Smee says:

    AoS : Do the irish populace not have a vote: You’d think if they did and were genuinely tired of religion they’d vote to repeal the blasphemy laws.

    In the same way you’d think that they’d vote for the Irish Doctor’s and Nurses who let that poor pregnant Asian woman die of sepsis, just because she was a “feckin heathen” be struck off!

    The Irish have a little way to go yet!

  15. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ooh, someone’s seen The Exorcist!

  16. Daniel Landi says:

    Uau. At least a first comment in todays story.

  17. Your work is spot on. I link to your site often, showing a toon and making a comment, if necessary, as to why your take on religion matters, because it does. Keep doing what you are doing because you add a little light to the world that needs it in the most profound ways.

  18. DCM says:

    Bullseye!!!! One of your most incisive yet.

  19. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Smee, I don’t disagree with you, but the Irish people first have to find politicians willing to stand up to the church which is, as I said earlier, still a powerful force in Irish politics. One only has to look to America, where the majority of the population on both sides politically favour fewer restrictions on abortion, to see how influential religion is in politics.

  20. Chris Aikman says:

    Someone or something did some pretty good smiting at Chicxulub, and again at Sodom & Gomorrah. Just nature, perhaps, though the timing seems appropriate.
    Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here.

  21. Laripu says:

    Blasphemy laws are there to stop people from saying the anti-religious things they’re thinking. You’d think the omnipotent one would already know what they’re thinking and could punish them in advance.

    On a separate note, ever notice that faith healers can “cure” cancer immediately, but a broken bone takes 6 months? And god never wants to heal an amputated limb … those limbs must all have been amputated as punishment for blasphemy.

  22. Graham ASH-PORTER says:

    The religions of Hate!

  23. Someone says:

    Despite some political figures in this country being ultra-religious, to the point where they have impeded free speech in the name of religion, I am glad there are no so-called blasphemy laws in place in Australia. Loud true believers, sure, but nothing as bad as Ireland, Poland or the Middle East.
    None that I am aware of, anyhow. But then I have only seen people protest the speech or performance of an artist or individual, and these incidents are only ever threatened with obscenity laws, if any.
    A euphemism, perhaps?

    Edit, never mind, they do have them here in some jurisdictions but tend to be merged with common law, and are rarely invoked. Still won’t stop me from expressing my views.

  24. god should be expected to show up in court and defend himself or it should be thrown out.

  25. Deimos says:

    The Irish case is a bit of a red herring, it was filed to highlight the idiocy of blasphemy laws. The police also ignored it with great force and only investigated when forced to. I’m afraid that blasphemy laws, hate speech laws and all other sorts of protections against naughty hurtful words simply make me want to settle all arguments with big sticks.

    As many have said before – how can you have blasphemy laws when the words of one holy book are blasphemy to other religions? Blasphemy laws only work in states with a single religion or official state religion.

    I seem to be turning into a libertarian.

  26. Deimos says:

    Oh I’ve just had a deeply meaningful divine vision, I am moved to create a “Barmaid Bible”.

    This will consist of all the biblical or koranic quotes used by the Divine Pint Puller to mock the boys in robes.
    Then I will register it as a religion and charity to promote free public scripture readings and cheap pints.

    But as this would infringe the authors copyright can I instead suggest that he does it.

  27. machigai says:

    I hate like/dislike buttons.

  28. LD50 says:

    Chris Aikman,

    “Someone or something did some pretty good smiting at Chicxulub, and again at Sodom & Gomorrah.”

    Are you saying god smote the dinosaurs (and lots of other living things)? Were they perhaps dissing the Lord? Or ‘knowing’ strange flesh?

    Or perhaps a big rock just hit us. Lots of other rocks hit the earth and the moon (and Mars and presumably lots of other heavenly bodies). Whom was god smiting on the moon? Surely not The Clangers?!

    S&G are Chicxulub mark II? Shouldn’t be too hard to find the crater then…

  29. LD50 says:

    Daniel Landi wrote:

    “Uau. At least a first comment in todays story.

    Semantic analysis:

    Uau: possible homophone of ‘wow’. Presumably intended as exclamation, ‘Wow!’, of astonishment (possibly feigned).

    At least: expression of redeeming feature of some fact, given some explicit or implicit circumstances. In this case there is nothing explicit and I can’t determine anything implicit from the preceding comments.

    A first comment: indefinite noun phrase.

    Todays story: presumably genitive intended: “today’s story”.

    In todays story: of or pertaining to to today’s story.

    Great. Good. : Expression of approval. Doubled, yet without exclamation marks — indicates sarcasm?

    Attempted parsing: Daniel is not astonished that the current strip has a first comment, but thinks that some of the rest of us are.


  30. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Machigai, I have a love/hate relationship with the Like/Dislike buttons.

    LD50, it’s usually considered good form to check that a commenter is a native English speaker before criticising them. Also, Daniel Landi is not a name I recognise from my eight or so years as a regular here, so it is possible that Daniel is either a first-timer or has changed his ‘nym recently, in which case his comment may have been submitted when no others had been made but was held in moderation and wasn’t cleared by Author in time to take the coveted first comment spot.
    Just saying. Carry on.

  31. Some Dude says:

    Blasphemy laws and hate speech laws are restrictions on the most important right upon which all the rest of our liberties are based: free speech.

    Besides, nothing good can come out of driving people underground for expressing an impopular opinion. When you do that, it always thrives and gets even worse than it ever was.

    What’s more, the range of opinions considered “hate speech” can change as soon as a jiffy, and whatever you think can become hate speech at any time.

    That’s why I personally can’t tolerate people who support the imposition of either blasphemy laws or hate speech laws.

    Thanks again for your witty strips, Author. Cheers 🙂

  32. Chiefy says:

    Cause them to stray from what? “The path of righteousness” has to be an oxymoron in this context. Speaking as a former walker of the path, I find your wit painfully accurate, Author. You keep reminding me how much better things are, now that I have escaped faith.

    Is “oxymoron” the right term here? Fellow pedants, help me out.

  33. LD50 says:

    Oops. Sorry Daniel.

  34. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Yes, Chiefy, in this context it’s as oxymoronic as mature student, civil war, and Des O’Connor sings.

  35. Someone says:

    Acolyte, another that springs to mind: Christian Science.

  36. Chris Aikman says:


    Without the Chicxulub 10-km asteroid impact 65 M years ago, dinosaurs would still be roaming the Earth. Not much chance for mammals or humans to shine.

    The Sodom & Gomorrah event was almost certainly a Tunguska-type asteroid, maybe 50-60 meter asteroid, which burst without impacting to form a crater. Without it we never would have heard of Abraham. Seems it left quite an impression on him.

    Of course these ‘smitings’ are natural events. That neither proves nor precludes that there could be a plan behind these occurrences.

    The only point that can be made is that it is remarkable that we are here at all. That fact alone is enough to give pause.

  37. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Someone says, that’s as opposed to science on Christians. I’m generally anti-vivisection, but…….

    Another oxymoron; religion of peace.

    Edit for another one; Shakespearean comedy 🙁

    Edit 2. Chris Aikman, I thought Tunguska was an exploding alien ship. Well, that’s according to a documentary I watched on the History channel 🙂

  38. Grumpy says:

    Some of my favourite oxymorons: Military Intelligence, Happily Married, Amicable Divorce and Intelligent Design.

  39. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Donald Tru….oh, sorry, that’s an oxy-breathing moron.

    Grumpy, I wouldn’t be doing my reputation as a pedant any good if I failed to mention that the plural of oxymoron is oxymora.
    Hmm, is ‘pedantic liberal’ an oxymoron?

  40. Grumpy says:

    AoS: HaHaHa, thank you for that. I now consider myself edumacated.

  41. MH Talukdar says:

    Can you do one about the fact that if Mo was illiterate, how did he check that what he dictated was correct and unabridged?

    Mind blown! I actually got in trouble for that at the mosque as a kid.

  42. ac says:

    Chris Aikman, the asteroid you assume to do with that Bible myth actually exploded in today’s Köfels, Austria(!) Anybody who assumes that exactly this also destroyed two mythical cities that nobody knows where they were is more than overstretching.

  43. HelenaHandbasket says:

    The Irish blasphemy law dates from 2010. Its not some medieval hangover. This is the same Ireland that was the first country to bring in gay marriage rights by popular vote (2015). Yes, the division make it interesting.

  44. Anna O. Zacher says:

    What’s happening? Nothing here since 5/13… nothing to say about blasphemy?

  45. two cents' worth says:

    Y’all (Laripu in particular) might enjoy today’s Dilbert cartoon for

    Not quite punishment in advance, but close enough.

  46. two cents' worth says:

    There are other Dilbert robot/religion cartoons, but I’m not sure exactly when they started, and that thread is interwoven with other threads. You can search for them at . I’d do it, but I really need to get back to work now :-/ .

  47. Someone says:

    I just watched Alien: Covenant and after taking in that movie’s big reveal, this characterization of believers and deities seems somehow even funnier than before.

  48. Bones'sDog says:

    HelenaHandbasket, England has had anti-blasphemy laws for centuries. Still technically does though few have been taken to task for breaching them recently. The bit of the Irish isle now called Eire, southern Ireland, had an anti-blasphemy law when it was sort of part of “England” some years back, so technically Eire’s anti-blasphemy law is quite old, it just got a facelift in 2009. One of many perils of letting geriatric virgins with daddy complexes run your legislative chambers.
    I only mentioned it in last week’s comments (6/5/17 and 10/5/17) because Mr. Fry is usually so outspoken against religions in general but this time he backed off quite rapidly. I thought it unusual for the man.

    Someone, thank you, I wasn’t aware of the movie’s existence. It’s nice of you not to provide us with every detail of the plot.

    Anna O. Zacher, I do indeed have some things to say about blasphemy as a concept and anti-blasphemy laws as concrete threats to my peace and comforts but there was little point and much danger in doing so.
    Nothing I would have said would have changed anything unless I went full-on ranty and got myself jailed for falling afoul of those very laws. I would never have improved anything.
    There is no way to improve this.
    There is an election campaign happening for placements in England’s parliament. Not one single candidate nor any political party with any hope of winning a seat has mentioned repealing any anti-blasphemy laws should they win, not even as part of the Brexit-Super-Repeal event. None ever will for that would piss-off the churches, reduce the funds available for their campaigns and lose them any hope of being elected.
    (As an aside, none are campaigning on paying Scientists more, paying more towards science and research or even stopping the utter idiocy of “Daylight Saving Time” but I suppose those would be too much to expect from them (they are almost so far outside the possible “vision” of candidates and parties as such things as removing headlamps from road vehicles and replacing them with luminous panel to increase visibility and reduce blinding glare, building overhead monorails instead of railways to prevent accidents on level-crossings, making Internet access free to all and other helpful notions, but I digress mightily.)
    No sitting Member of Parliament will sponsor a Bill to remove blasphemy as a concept from our legal framework, not even should I request it of whichever M.P. “represents” me next month.
    Nor will my vote affect which M.P. wins the seat covering my home. The sitting one has far too large a majority to ever be booted. Anyway, the nearest two or three other candidates for the post are nearly identical to him in every way so even were he replaced his replacement would be a virtual clone.
    There is no way for me to effect any change in the situation myself and going public on the issue would only encourage the asocial mobs of fire-brand wavers to set light to my house with me in it. I’m quite fond of my house and even more fond of me so “doing something” is never going to be an option.
    Hell, I even posted here pseudo-anonymously because the mobs terrify me.
    As they do the M.P.’s and even the Lords.
    There is great merit in mocking blasphemy and anti-blasphemy laws if one can get away with it, but there is absolutely no merit in ever expecting anything to change.
    Except for the worse.
    Currently the English anti-blasphemy statutes mainly cover the Christian schisms of the Abrahamic religion and mostly don’t have the death penalty as a punishment for their contravention. There are those in England who fervently want this to change.
    Things can always get worse.
    And probably will.
    Fairly soon.

    Sometime, soon, even this cartoon will be banned.

  49. Bones'sDog says:

    Damn, but I miss the edit function.

    Even with three or four runs of proof-reading, I goofed.
    “… luminous panels …”. I think ” ..the …” should have been added before ” … blinding glare …”, but maybe not. The “… mightily)” should have had two closing parentheses. ” … ever be booted.” should have ” … out” before the period.

    As a very wise man once reported, ‘Nuff Said.

  50. Michael says:

    Acolyte of Sagan wrote: “Donald Tru….oh, sorry, that’s an oxy-breathing moron.”

    Are you saying the Maximum Leader of America is an ox and a moron?

  51. wrinkel42 says:

    is god today?

  52. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Michael, I wouldn’t cast such a slur on an ox. Even ‘moron’ might be flattering the Trump a tad too much.

  53. Someone says:

    Bones’s Dog, you’re quite welcome. Before you check it out, maybe see Prometheus first. It’s basically the same story.

    Sarcasm aside I’ve given away nothing the first film hasn’t discussed. If I really went into detail, then you’d be pissed. But I’m that big an asshole.

  54. Someone says:

    Goddamn it, that should read not that big, etc. Alas when I tried to edit my WiFi dropped. Oh well.

  55. LD50 says:


    Well, I suppose one could try prosecuting Muslims in Ireland on the basis that they (or the Koran ?) claim that Jesus was just a prophet?

    Then one prosecutes the prosecuters for prosecuting Muslims…

  56. Bones'sDog says:

    LD50, the reason Mr. Fry’s case was dropped, according to the local cops, was that there were no parties harmed by his speeches. So far as I can tell, the muslims in Eire haven’t mobbed-up and set light to anyone, yet. An action against them would get no further than did that against Mr. Fry.
    However, the would-be-prosecutors of said failed action could be done for hate crimes and possibly blasphemy as the rising hordes of ultra-offended muslims would be eager to testify to the hurt having been done to them. Eager to testify and to burn down the court should their just request for justice not be fulfilled in every detail.
    That is the difference between a church living in the 21st Century that is a minority in the community and one living in the 14th that is rising towards being a majority and sole power.
    The Catholics are waning and will eventually vanish into the realm of myths along with Ptah and Boand, the muslims are heading towards exterminating their enemies and becoming the one true catholic church.
    Attacking them is futile and personally dangerous, being attacked by them puts one in an indefensible position.
    They win.

    Someone, I know you were being nice when you didn’t give away the plot details to “Alien : Covenant” but by telling us it is the same tale as it’s prequel you just have.
    I’ve seen the prequel. I didn’t think much of it. It was basically “Alien” with more SFX and a more stupid robot. And a less-than-Ripley Ripley. But that’s no surprise as Ripley was a unique.
    A sequel to “Prometheus” should have been the tale of Shaw taking on the planet of the BigBuggerAlienDudes, but I suppose that was never going to be.
    It’s a shame. Shaw could have been better than River Tam had that one been done properly.

    All of which is off topic a little.
    But I don’t see your “true believer” in any of the Alien-franchise films. The robots certainly are not; those are just Vista with legs, poorly programmed “angels”. The “corporate scum” are not true believers, they are just greedy. The nearest to true believers are Ripley and Jonesy, the former being a believer in Man and the latter in the divinity of a cat.
    The BigAlienDudes are certainly not any sort of gods. They don’t even seem to have good FTL ships.
    That, of course, may be deliberate. Long-lived entities may like taking the slow path. Though one would expect their milk-floats to be more efficient as the eggs and seeds could spoil over a slower than light journey.
    Anyway, Someone, I Wikied the new movie. I don’t think it’s worth a trip to the cinema but I might buy the DVD someday.

    Now, could we convince a properly dimwitted muslim priest that the entire Alien franchise is anti-Mo’ and anti-Beardy because it proposes that Man was made in a test-tube by BigEvilBaldyDudes and not by their daddy? Surely that is rankest blasphemy?
    Anyone up for poking the hornets’ nest?


  57. Bones'sDog says:

    Grumpy, “Military Intelligence” has nothing to do with smarts, cleverness, wit or how bright the military are as individuals or collectives. It is “militarily useful information“.
    And today’s military are damned good at gathering it. Their leaders may not be smart about using what the machines and grunts on the ground gather and the politicians who sometimes in some places control the military are even less likely to be wise and clever but the information can be obtained in many exceedingly complex and clever ways.
    “Military intelligence” being used to illustrate the meaning of “oxymoron” is a poorly chosen example.
    Political intelligence” might be a better choice.
    Religious truth” certainly is.

  58. Bones'sDog says:

    What, no Edit?

    On the previous, no, I’m not military. Never was. If anything I suppose I could be described as a Librarian. Loosely.

    And, ‘Bye.

  59. Someone says:

    Boenes’s Dog, last word on the Alien topic.
    Just to clarify, your initial comment I actually thought was sarcasm, apologies for that.
    As for Prometheus and Covenant being the same story, that was my way of not spoiling the surprise but verifying certain notions that the first film brought forth.

    Even though you checked the movie on Wikipedia Bones, if anyone else reads this and wants to/hasn’t yet seen Covenant, I’ll only go so far to say that the themes of creation and destruction the first movie discussed are carried over here, without giving anything else away. But I was satisfied with the final product and as a movie, I’d say Covenant works better than the former.

    Side note, one idea that Prometheus brought that I’ve also enjoyed was the theory of the Engineers having the intent to destroy humanity about 2000 years ago in reaction to an event here on Earth. The movie states we worshiped them as gods; it also states the corpses have been dead for roughly that period of time. And what happened on Earth to a god-like figure 2000 years ago?
    Ridley Scott actually though about exploring that theory in full in the first movie, but thought it would be too much for the casual viewer. He may have been right.

  60. Bones'sDog says:

    Someone, I was being mildly ironic, or even more mildly sarcastic in my first comment about spoilers. It would have been easy for you to do massive plot reveals,WikiP does.
    Covenant” being better than the first movie is not much of a compliment. The first one was basically “Alien” retold. Only not as good, and filmed with Clint Eastwood lighting techniques a lot.
    The franchise seems to have run out of good writers, or any writers, which is a pity as it could be really excellent if only they would stop retelling the same origin story and get on with the saga.

    “Prometheus” is basically the “Alien” franchise’s “The Force Awakens“.

    As for it being the JC story or the story of the Elder Gods or even Olympus Falling, well some people said that about “Man Of Steel”, too. It seems to be a common theme running through USAlander movies recently.
    Again, running out of original writing and writers.

    Maybe Hollywood is moribund?

    The “2000 years” thing is due to USAlanders not really having a sense of proportion about History. They think the 1990’s are Ancient History and Arthur, Sherlock and Ra were contemporaneous compatriots.
    Poor dears.

    Anyway, thanks, Someone, I’m done.

    ‘Bye, bye.


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