The Catholic Church's last ditch stand to control Ireland shows the danger in allowing churchs to meddle in government.
In a Christmas message to the Irish people, the head of Ireland's Catholic Church, Cardinal Sean Brady, campaigned against the Irish government's plans to allow a small window where Irish women can have an abortion to save their lives. The whole issue has been brought to a head by the death of Savita Halappanavar. She died after repeatedly pleading for an abortion while she was miscarrying in an Irish hospital. Irish doctors refused because they knew they could be sentenced to long prison terms if they acted to save her life. Ireland is the only country in the European Union where a medical miscarriage is also a misarriage of justice like this. Why does a religion feel that they can dictate the laws of a whole country to match their own views?
I remember spending a beautiful three weeks in Ireland a few years ago. I found the country charming and the people friendly. But it was the most repressed place I have ever been. As an example, I remember attending a play at a theater in Dublin, a revival of the Broadway classic "Gypsy". Just to remind you, the Broadway critic Ben Brantley said Gypsy, "may be the greatest of all American musicals." After the original run on Broadway, it was revived four times in New York and was made into a major motion picture twice.
We're not talking about some sordid, shameful production here.
But the play is based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist, even though it's mostly about her mother and an uncovered ankle was about the extent of the skin shown in the play. In spite of all this, it's the only time I have ever felt like the cops might actually raid the place. Not that I can point to anything concrete. It was just the total atmosphere. The actors on stage seemed ... nervous.
You may recall that Cardinal Brady is also the person leading the effort to bury the crimes of the Irish Catholic Church revealed in the Murphy Report, where an official investigation brought to light decades of abuse of Irish children by dozens of Irish priests. Relations between the Irish government and the Vatican (also a government) have descended to a historic low. The Vatican has recalled their "ambassador" (called a "nuncio" by the Vatican) over the Irish government's insistance that the Catholic Church accept responsibility for their crimes. Cardinal Brady seems intent on "doubling down" and insisting that the Catholic Church doesn't have to follow the moral rules of ordinary people.
The point here is that this is a Christian example of the sort of religious repression that we see all too often in places like Pakistan, Iran, and Israel. I freely admit that America isn't as bad as they are ... yet.
But we could be. The Mormons rule Utah with unrivaled control. The Zionist lobby makes sure that Israel's goals have priority ahead of America's. And throughout the South, Christican evangelicals make sure that their viewpoints are the only ones taught in schools.
We're a good distance down the slippery slope already. It wouldn't take much for women like Savita Halappanavar to start dying in our hospitals because the doctors are forbidden to save their lives.
Oh ... and by the way ... Have a great Saturnalia!