realitycheck(dot)ie

Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tempest in the Teapot Blues

The totally unnecessary protest at Minister McDowell’s speech at the Equality Authority’s conference causes EWI to ask the question “The Catholic Church protesting against gays or Law'n'Order? Such a dilemma!” with regard to which side Richard Waghorne will take in this debate (he also describes Richard as an uberCatholic and is on tenderhooks waiting for the answer – if only the rest of us bloggers had such a loyal following!).
Speaking for myself, as a someone who opposes gay marriage, an ordinary practising non-ultra/uber Catholic (and who once held a tendre for Michael McDowell) there is really no such question. There is no dichotomy that pits one against the other.
It’s quite simple - people who throw jugs of water, copies of the constitution and pens at anyone should not be taken seriously and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Every movement, every ideaology, every issue that inspires activism inspires some form of extremist. The kind of extremist that foams at the mouth everytime their “issue” is mentioned and somehow manages to integrate and relate their seemingly disparate crankologies in to a conversation about the weather. The anti war gang have those who attack airplanes, those who oppose gay marriage have protestors who are not only wrong in their actions, but lack the imagination to do anything else except use whatever was beside them in a conference as projectiles.
According to Suzy, who live blogged the event, it was a combination of Mother and Child and the Ancient Order of Hiberians.
Mother and Child have long been at the fringes of every single issue that they allied themselves to. While they have right to do whatever they want as Catholics and as citizens of a free democracy (even though they’ve yet to grasp the accepted democratic behavioural norms), they speak neither for the Church nor those who agree with them. Youth Defence/Mother and Child/AOH are well organised small groups of people who get a thrill out of being the martyrs persecuted for their views in, what they no doubt describe, as the “so-called liberal Ireland”. To gain the respect of their fellow travellers, no event is too small not to warrant some spotlight grabbing stunt – the more random, aggressive and utterly pointless the better. Results make no difference to this small group of activist-tourists, it’s the fight that counts. And once their little stunts are publicised, they clap each other on the back – they need do no more now. They need not actually educate themselves or anyone else properly. They need not make coherent submissions to the relevant State bodies that investigated whatever the issue of the day is. They need not discuss their concerns rationally with politicians or the media or those that disagee them. Their work is done.
I really hate how these sort of lunatics colour everyone who broadly agrees with them with the same dark shade of crazy red.
Dossing Times wonders if those who normally love to throw stuff at McDowell will stand up for him now that he is being attacked by their opposites.
I normally agree with a lot of what McDowell says – the civil partnership idea is not something that I’m going to excited about. Part of me agrees that certain rights (property, inheritance, next of kin issues etc) should be extended to all couples in long term relationships but I disagree with marriage being anything other than 1 man, 1 woman.
I have yet to throw a jug of water at anyone (I think, I’m trying to remember all the water fights I’ve been in – mainly balloons or hoses) but I doubt the quiet questioning of the many more who don’t want gay marriage will ever be described as how the “Catholic Church” thinks or acts.

(BTW, the post title is also the title of a song by Johnny Irion from his album “Unity Lodge”)

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7 Comments:

Anonymous EWI said...

...and I am flattered to see a neighbour in this part of the city following my blogging, as well ;-)

I normally agree with a lot of what McDowell says – the civil partnership idea is not something that I’m going to excited about. Part of me agrees that certain rights (property, inheritance, next of kin issues etc) should be extended to all couples in long term relationships but I disagree with marriage being anything other than 1 man, 1 woman.

I don't personally comprehend the attraction of one man for another, but I *can* see that it does happen and is something real. If two adults wish to avail of the protections of marriage (or marriage-like status) for their lifetime relationship, then I honestly can't see why the State shouldn't provide it. It's the decent thing to do.

May 26, 2006 9:31 p.m.  
Blogger Copernicus said...

Not many people know this but it's "tenterhooks" not tenderhooks. Anyway, while I'm in the neighbourhood feeling daffy, how do you square living in a democracy with opposing secular arrangements on religious grounds?

Surely, you religious johnnies should do your thing and let the secular types do theirs. Don't worry, they'll get theirs in the fiery pit. No foul.

May 26, 2006 10:31 p.m.  
Blogger Auds said...

EWI, I'm kinda comfortable with the civil partnership idea - I just think marriage serves a different purpose.

My bad, copernicus. Tenterhooks it shall be from now on. I no longer trust the blogger spell checker as it refuses the word "blog".

"how do you square living in a democracy with opposing secular arrangements on religious grounds?"
Quite OK actually.
I guess all religious views deserve an airing in a democracy, simply because many people share that particular religious view and all views deserve an airing full stop.

However, I don't think there is anything in particular in terms of government/society arrangements that can be solely opposed on religious grounds. It is not enough.
Not everyone shares the same religious beliefs, nor should be expected to, and therefore religious reasoning and arguments are not ineffective, but redundant in greater society.

There are many things that I believe in as a Catholic - and ifI woke up an atheist in the morning, I would probably still believe in them.

May 27, 2006 1:12 a.m.  
Blogger Copernicus said...

I don't know if this is the correct interpretation of your comment vis my comment, but I certainly didn't mean to imply or express that religious views shouldn't be aired. I merely asked how your comment on democracy squared with the imposition of a religiously based prohibition on a secular arrangement between people not affiliated to your own faith brand.

I'm sure you also would contend (as you appear to be suggesting) that gay marriage would have deliterious social consequences as with divorce, and that's a non-religious ground for opposing it. That's an argument for another day, but at any rate I don't buy the fig leaf. Of course, I can't look into your heart and mind so I'll never know either way.

May 27, 2006 1:51 a.m.  
Anonymous EWI said...

EWI, I'm kinda comfortable with the civil partnership idea - I just think marriage serves a different purpose.

If the State were to concede in the morning all the rights, benefits and protections given to conventional marriage to gay couples, but not actually use the phrase "marriage", could you live with that? Remember, gay couples can have and raise children too.

May 27, 2006 9:33 p.m.  
Blogger Cian said...

Not to mention the charming list of "nationalist movements" in his side bar.

I think the notion of marriage occupies two senses, the first is the noun which is used by The Church and the second the adjective to describe a similar set of entitlement and arrangements for couples who co-habit and love and share each others lives etc.

On the first if the church dont wanna share their noun then thats their call, on the second, copernicus is of course correct there can be no denying privelage to one group over and above another on arbitrary faith alone. To my mind there are few if any arguements above faith for the point that Gays can be together.

As EWI said they are anyway so ignoring it is only going to have a damaging and isolating effect.

My two cents by Kent Brockman.

May 28, 2006 12:56 a.m.  
Blogger Cian said...

Whoops meant the first part for the post on the facist nutter.
C

May 28, 2006 12:57 a.m.  

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