Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Gospel Truth

Seeing as it’s Good Friday, some gospel:

Quote:

‘The industry inside us is vipers with fangs trying to bite us
Drug suppliers is the health care providers
We cakin’ makin’ narcotics outta household products
We ain’t workin’ out til we exorcise the demons that’s inside us
Plus they seem to just provide us with enough rope to hang ourselves
Enough dope to slang ourselves, enough toast to bang ourselves
It’s officially nigga season, these niggas is bleedin’
That’s why I’m spittin’ freedom, we had enough of trigger squeezin’’

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Moses Basket Case

David Quinn expects great things of Cardinal Sean Brady, mainly based on the fact that he is a nice bloke and a team player who shuns the spotlight to deliver the goods. A bit like Phil Neville, but more like Moses.

There’s a wonderful story about how, when he was rector of the Irish College in Rome , he used to regularly help out a homeless Irishman who would call to the college from time to time.

Why, that’s frickin’ marvellous: an Irish priest who helps the homeless Irish. Clearly a pastor who knows his own (Irish) sheep. Next week: I have a wonderful story about this Irish doctor who used to help this Irish sick person from time to time.

My interest in church politics is scarcely more elevated than my interest in the relative effectiveness of shaving equipment for ladies. But it always amuses me how, in this world of cloisters and incense, the divine seems to sit unhappily on the same pew as the mundane. On the significance of Brady’s appointment:

But in fact it would have been quite insulting to Armagh and to Sean Brady if they were passed over again.

Unlike Jehovah’s victims in Egypt. More to the point, would anyone under the age of 65 in the Diocese of Armagh have really cared? And would humble and mild-mannered Sean Brady -who is as orthodox as they come, apparently- have been entitled to feel insulted? One trembles with indifference at these questions.

Quinn says that one area in the real world where Sean Brady might come in handy is in his own hobby horse of schools.

Obviously there are too many denominational schools in this country. But reducing their number is not enough for our die-hard secularists who want them reduced to zero. To achieve this end they are using extremist language comparing the enrolment policy of faith-based schools with the apartheid regime in South Africa. This is rhetorical nuclear war. They dream of a system entirely dominated by the State and in which parental choice counts for nothing.

One presumes that ‘rhetorical nuclear war’ is an ironic use of ‘extremist language’.

Now that I’m a parent, I feel nicely enabled to preface remarks on any matter at all concerning children with ‘Speaking as a parent…’, thus endowing them with an unshakeable moral weight. Speaking as a parent, I do not give a rat’s ass about ‘parental choice’ when it comes to picking a school. For me, it really does count for nothing.

I don’t want a choice. I want a decent school for my child and other children in the community to attend, paid for by my taxes. Children shouldn’t be denied access to a decent education and decent educational facilities as a result of their parents’ religious beliefs (or lack thereof), and if the Catholic church or any other religious agency is creating an obstacle to this, then the obstacle needs removing. I have no idea who the satanic ‘die-hard secularists’ are here, and am inclined to infer that they are mere men of straw.

Let me continue with the matter of parental choice for a moment, bearing in mind that in Quinn’s terms of reference, parental choice means having the choice of sending your child to a denominational school or not.

Since these schools educate many thousands of children whose parents worship many false idols but no God, and thousands of others whose denomination is not that of the school, we should be asking whether Quinn’s apparent viewpoint -that greater choice exists now than would be the case if the number of denominational schools were significantly reduced- is accurate.

Well, for starters, many are sending their children to denominational schools because they have no choice. For those lacking in any religious principles, the possibilities are often a well-established and well-equipped denominational school or a non-denominational school based in a series of mobile classrooms. It is equivalent to the choice between fillet steak and frozen turkey goujons (no disrespect to the many teachers who do a fine job making the most of what they have in the latter establishments).

The only people who benefit -in terms of choice- under the current system are those (overwhemingly Catholic in denomination) who, driven exclusively by religious convictions, can happily take their pick from different denominational schools.

Therefore, reducing the number of denominational schools would actually increase parental choice.

If you are not religious, why else (apart from the aforementioned factors) would you choose to send your child to a denominational school? I am agnostic on the question of whether Ireland ever benefitted from the existence of ‘faith-based schools’, which until recently were known simply as ‘schools’. (I am thinking here about the ‘faith-based’ bit, and not the ‘schools’ bit.) Catholic Church-run schools have educated countless criminals, corrupt politicians and robber barons in this country, but it is impossible to prove if this is a direct consequence of learning Hail Holy Queen off by heart. Likewise, it is impossible to prove a direct link between improved literacy rates and the Memorare.

To continue with Quinn’s Moses comparison, here’s hoping that Cardinal Brady, like Moses, will say “Let My People Go -and run their own bleedin’ schools.”

The Interpretation of Eames

How many good things can one say about Robin Eames? The BBC has a stab.

Peace advocate Lord Eames, 69, led the Church during the worst years of the Troubles and was a key advocate for peace.

Just for emphasis’s sake, let’s cut to the meat of that sentence:

Peace advocate Lord Eames [….] was a key advocate for peace.

And there’s more:

He has also received a prestigious peace award, the Tipperary International Peace Award.

I’m sure there’s a way of saying that in terms less…gushing. Anyway, he’s been awarded Freedom of the City of Armagh, whatever the hell that is.

I can reveal that he is partial to the odd Kit-Kat, as he once stood in front of me in a queue at a filling station, and I saw him pick one up. I like Kit-Kats too.

My Straight Lord

Objections were raised to the text on the placard raised aloft during the Pride march in Belfast on Saturday proclaiming ‘Jesus Is A Fag’.

Slugger O’Toole quotes a DUP councillor saying that

Christians all over the province, and indeed, the world will be disgusted by this slur.’

But what is the ‘slur’? The person holding the placard clearly does not intend it as a slur, since it would contradictory to celebrate gay pride on the one hand and slur a person for being gay on the other.

Also, as a commenter to Slugger points out, the person clearly believes that Jesus is some sort of transcendent being, since the claim is made in the present tense. From the point of view of the theologically hypersensitive, it would have been far worse had the person held a placard proclaiming ‘Jesus Was Straight’, since this would imply that he is dead.

(An alternative interpretation would be that he was straight, but is now gay, but let us not dally too much with introducing things where they are not wanted)

That said, having witnessed this parade in previous years, I would not be surprised if the placard was being carried with deliberate intent to provoke those Christians so worried about the effects of homosexuality that they go out and protest –with their own banners- against the parade.

A couple of years back I saw a couple of girls approach the religious protesters and proceed to snog the face off each other. Such depraved horrors appear to have left the protesters so offended that they feel the need to return each year and bear witness once again.

If the protesters stayed at home, preoccupying themselves with the beams in their own eyes, such banners would probably not appear.

Voices

Sometimes, you get out of bed on the wrong side, and you’re wracked with doubt, and you think, shit, I’m going to pack this all in and become a Christian fundamentalist. Those guys have all the answers.

It worked for Stephen Baldwin, as Max Blumenthal reports:

Spreading the Gospel to US troops is only one of many crusades Baldwin has waged in the name of the Lord. During 2006, Baldwin frequently stationed himself on the sidewalk outside a pornographic video store in New York. There, he photographed the license plates of people entering the store and threatened to publish an ad in a Nyack paper publicizing the names of those who patronized the store. “In my position, I just don’t think I’m supposed to keep my faith to myself,” Baldwin told a group of Texas Southern Baptists in 2004. “I’m just doing what the Lord’s telling me to do.”

Now why can’t I get some of that? A voice in my head telling me what to do would sort my life out big time. But nothing. The only thing I hear calling in the night is an Alsatian from down the street. Say, you don’t think….?


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