Lisbon and religion

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In a veiled defence of the Yes campaign, David Quinn writes in the Irish Independent that “religious believers” can be unified behind a Yes vote if our political masters merely rally around a few core issues. He sets out a few examples where Irish ministers and governments have never raised their voice when it came to issues of concern to the same “religious believers”:

  • no defence of mentioning God in the preamble of the EU Constitution back in 2003
  • funding embryo stem call research at EU level, and
  • endorsing research and symposia on same sex marriage and not funding groups that believe that it is not right.

“None of this helps” says Quinn. “It gives the impression that the European Union is a cold house for Christians”. I could take apart each of the examples he gives as being specious examples (France objected to it so it had to go, stem cell research is a broad term and no evidence provided of the last one) but I won’t. But what is objectionable about this particular cri de couer is that David creates an antimony where there is little need to.

David aligns Sean Brady, “religious believers” and Christians on one side and the EU (and our clearly heathen politicians) on the other. If demands on these issues could be met, it would whip the rug out from under the support of Cóir and other such orthodox Catholic groups. We could comfortably call ourselves European Christian Democrats and face up to our “Christian heritage”. There’s then the introduction of a pure canard by Quinn: the Equal Treatment Directive. I can only assume that he is referring to this Directive. This “prohibit[s] direct and indirect discrimination as well as harassment and victimisation.” This has nothing to do with voting Yes or No on the Lisbon Treaty.

Photo owned by Moucha (cc)

So what can be done? What can the Irish government do, in advance of October 2nd, to help shore up this relentless march towards a State-sponsored secularism which will obviously mean that all Marian shrines will be torn down by your local authority on October 5th?

“What would help is being much more attentive to the legitimate concerns many religious believers have about certain tendencies within the European Union and then doing something about them instead of actively assisting them, as our Government has done in some cases.”

That’s fighting talk from David . Be more attentive to many people about certain tendencies, do something about this, especially in some cases where it seems kind of….well, vaguely present. Clearly having a grasp of the Directive, its content and intention, Quinn appeals to them to make some changes to the text of this Directive so that “it will significantly increase its chances of persuading the undecided religious voters into the ‘Yes’ camp.”

David’s just being more than a little vague and this is deliberate. Religious believers? Who are these? Catholics? Muslims? Seventh Day Adventists? Set up a vague target, give some seemingly appropriate yet fallacious examples and then link it with something current but completely unconnected. He’s clearly got a problem with the Directive and I’m sure there are some problems with it – it’s not yet passed by the way.  I suggest this has more to do with members’ divergent and varied experiences of established Churches and recent migration of those who do not hold the majority faith than anything else.

But please let’s not pretend that the Lisbon Treaty is an attack on the democratic rights of “religious believers” and then make out that we are not fanning the flames of an orthodox Catholic fringe group raging in the corner. It’s funny also how only certain issues are deemed to be of interest to religious people: not migration, not fair trade and certainly not the global recession.