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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Ireland’s Blasphemy Ban Is Gone, But Dozens of Countries Still Enforce Them

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Irish Christians hope the change will put pressure on places like Pakistan, where Asia Bibi faces the death penalty for remarks against Muhammad.


An Irish law that could fine individuals up to 25,000 euros (about $28,500) for “the publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter” will be amended to remove the crime of blasphemy.

In a referendum on the old blasphemy law, which came alongside the country’s presidential election last Friday, nearly two-thirds of Irish voters decided to revoke the controversial policy.

Even though no one had ever been prosecuted for blasphemy, Irish evangelicals joined religious groups and fellow nonprofits campaigning to remove the law from the books so that dozens of countries who do enforce such bans can no longer cite their homeland as an excuse.

The change is also seen as another move toward the largely post-religious context of its European neighbors. “Today’s vote is another important step towards a human rights compliant Constitution,” said Ireland’s Amnesty International executive director Colm O’Gorman. “It follows the massive support for the constitutional referenda allowing marriage equality and ending the abortion ban.”

Neither the Catholic Church nor the Church of Ireland opposed the repeal vote. The executive director of Evangelical Alliance Ireland had previously stated that blasphemy bans hurt religious dialogue and religious freedom, particularly for religious minorities. “Those who truly believe in God should realise that He is big enough to look after Himself without needing any assistance from the Gardaí (Irish state police),” he wrote.

At their Autumn General Meeting, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference said the law was “largely obsolete, and may give rise to concern because of the way such measures have ...

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