May 062015
 

Let us not be under any illusion that religiously-driven opposition to the marriage equality amendment has anything to do with marriage, or with children.  Let us not delude ourselves that it has anything to do with concern for society.  Let’s not pretend it has any relation to ethics, morals or the greater good of society.

Let’s not even imagine that it’s motivated by religious conviction, because it is not.

The opposition to marriage equality is all about power.  This is all about an ancient privileged class using religion as a flag of convenience.  It’s about a profoundly undemocratic tendency staking out its territory, reacting with fury as the formerly-compliant Irish peasantry yet again dare to make their own mind up without waiting to be told what to think.

Though its spokesemen and spokeswomen might be unaware of it, they form part of an unbroken chain of privilege that goes all the way back to medieval times, even though individually they might not all have grown up in privileged circumstances, but that’s how privilege works.  Some have it, others compete for it and some are destined always to be ground under foot.

Order of the Sepulchre  Iona Institute

The likes of the Iona Institute, while undeniably at the shabby end of the yearning curve, are also the most vocal, since that’s what aspiring aristocrats are like when they’re still mere squires hoping for better.  Opus Dei, on the other hand, is an altogether more Patrician brand of ideology, deeper and broader than the shrill salesmen of Iona, but still part of the same continuum, longing for the return of a time when they ruled benevolently over a peaceful and compliant Irish people.

And there’s the problem.

The Irish in recent years haven’t been doing what they were told.  They voted for divorce. They legalised contraception. They decriminalised homosexuality. They closed the Magdalene laundries.   They abolished the industrial schools. They stopped condemning single mothers.

Such impertinence was never a problem in the days when princes of the Church, men like Cardinal Paul Cullen and Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, bestrode Ireland in their colossal hubris, and yet the likes of McQuaid and Cullen were anathema to the covert power structure that gave rise to Opus Dei and its latter-day bargain-basement half-sibling, the Iona Institute.

The last thing such tendencies needed or wanted was an ostentatious display of influence.  These are movements that operate in the shadows, emerging perforce only in the form of obviously proletarian spokesmen like David Quinn and slightly-less proletarian demagogues like Breda O’Brien as the need arises.

Now, I know full well that this is beginning to sound like a demented version of a Dan Brown novel, but that’s  the territory you find yourself in whenever you contemplate silly constructs like Iona and Opus Dei.  The madness is contagious, but still it exists, and therefore, to reiterate, there are people who would always prefer to remain in the shadows.  People David and Breda will never meet.

The men with their hands through the hole in David Quinn’s back will never emerge from the half-light because these are not the sort who benefit from the full glare of the sun. These are the sort who prosper in the penumbra, pulling the strings of hopeful dancing puppets like Quinn, even though he will never be fully welcome at their table.  The tragedy is that he knows it, yet he can’t hide it any more than he manages to hide the accent he grew up with, though he tries, embarrassingly.

That perhaps is the most telling thing about a man such as Quinn, and at the same time the thing we most cringe at, on his behalf.  Not one of Quinn’s puppet-masters tries to disguise the accent of his birth, and why would he?  After all, that accent speaks of centuries of privilege.

Does anyone seriously think the likes of Clongowes Wood sprang spontaneously out of the native rock when the English left this island?  Does any Irish person seriously believe that this is not a society riven by class based on catholic privilege?

It’s true that the aristocracy existed in Ireland before the arrival of the Normans, but it is also true that a parallel class retained privilege based not on Irishness but on adherence to power and later on allegiance to Rome, and that class continued to hold privilege for the same 800 years that the Wolfe Tones banjoed on about.  I never heard those musical freedom fighters resisting the power of the other colonial class.

It suited the covert privileged Rome-based class to promote the Catholic persecution narrative and it still suits them, because that story writes them out of history, which is fine.  As always, in every story where poor people seek freedom, the most convenient story to tell them is the one that suits you most, and in the case of Ireland, the best tale was the one about Catholic oppression.

It’s still the best tale, even though, ironically, when the Brits left in 1922, a new oppressor emerged in the form of the Rome-based conservative ideologues who immediately set about getting rid of every civil liberty imposed on us by the jackboot of British imperialism.  They eliminated divorce.  They got rid of contraception. They ramped up the industrial schools. They introduced the crudest form of literary censorship anywhere outside of Albania.

These people, who were always in power, seamlessly took over control of the medical profession and the law where their descendants remain to this day.

These people were never persecuted or oppressed, though they would like you to accept otherwise.   These people would like you to believe that somehow they represent a traditional version of Irish society when in fact they represent an ancient tyrannical tendency that we thought we had thrown off, but which in reality we still fight against.

Organisations such as the ridiculous self-styled Iona Institute, contain people who are also members of the equestrian orders that invaded the Holy Land as crusaders.  This is not Monty Python humour.  This is fact.

The marriage equality referendum means nothing to the mindset of this movement.  It has nothing to do with religion or principle, but it has everything to do with power and pragmatism.

If they lose, they lose and they’ll move on to the next fight.  If they win, they’ll plan to repeal some other advance of the tolerant society.  It might be divorce.  It might be contraception.  Who can tell?

We can understand the mind of the ideologue, but who can grasp the intentions of ancient power-hunger?

Nobody.

 

 

  24 Responses to “Ancient longing for power behind religious opposition to same-sex marriage amendment”

Comments (24)
  1.  

    Great piece!

  2.  

    Listen up and listen up good, this is the whole point of the exercise and never a truer word that some other hard fought advance of a tolerant society will be lost again and again, if this lot of religious power hungry intolerants are allowed to florish

  3.  

    An excellent read. One of your best.

  4.  

    Interesting that no reference is made to the awful diseases and disablements that those who engage in totally unnatural gay practices are exposing themselves to ….

  5.  

    What gay practices did you have in mind, precisely, Ed? Can you specify them please?

    I’m guessing you don’t mean having great taste in soft furnishings.

  6.  

    Hello? Ed?

  7.  

    Bock,

    I am not getting involved here as there is no point but I think that you know exactly what Ed is talking about so you can drop your pretence now.

    You may fool everyone else here, but you can’t fool me.

  8.  

    No need to fool you, Iap. You do a good enough job of fooling yourself. Now have you finished speaking on Ed’s behalf?

  9.  

    It’s true that regardless of the outcome of this referendum, the real power structure will remain intact.

    Maybe there are some dynasties that manage to retain power and wealth down through the centuries, notwithstanding the old saying, ‘clogs to clogs in three generations’.

    That’s as much a consequence as a cause, however. The majority of people in our so called democracies spend their lives as wage slaves serving the needs of the wealthy – which is why even our more advanced societies are not real democracies.

    This raises the question of why a majority of people invariably vote for a system that oppresses them. The answer it seems is that they are indoctrinated into an ideology that down through history has trumped all other ideologies including democracy.

    It’s the ideology of authoritarianism.

  10.  

    I just thought that it was good to see that Ed had enough foresight and good sense to avoid your usual little trap of drawing people who don’t agree with you into a smutty conversation of homosexual filth.

    On the matter of disease that he speaks about, I will second that as I have a lot of experience of seeing this and I won’t be persuaded otherwise.

    I think that you need to acquaint yourself more realistically about homosexuality and the facts of life — and death.

  11.  

    We’ve had this conversation before. You slithered out of it every time. I’m going to ask you once more: precisely what acts are you talking about? Your reply will specify them in detail or you will not reply at all.

  12.  

    He’s gone away to do some research on gaydar.com and Deuteronomy of course.
    He’ll be back in due course with his findings.

  13.  

    As an undecided voter, I take exception to the suggestion that all ‘No’ votes will be cast by religious bigots.

    My reservation is around the word ‘marriage’ being used in this referendum. I am all for equal rights for the gay community and I believe they should have the same inheritance rights as well are parenting rights too. But marriage for me will always refer to a man and woman together and this is the dictionary definition of it.

    I never married myself choosing instead to live happily in sin these past twenty-six years, raising two fine kids in the process. Therefore I am not writing as a married person. But I do have the utmost respect for “marriage” per se and do not want that diluted or changed. That is my sole reservation.

    So if another name or title for the union of two gay people were to be used and it was on par with marriage in terms of rights and entitlements, I would gladly vote yes to that.

    Just saying ……..

  14.  

    John, there isn’t any suggestion here that all No voters are bigots.

    This piece is about the motivations of the pressure groups driving the No campaign.

  15.  

    Fair enough Bock, but you’d never know by the tone of it.

    I dislike and mistrust the Iona Institute, among others and though still trying desperately to be a good Catholic and treat others as I would like to be treated myself, I still have my reservations about the referendum. So, I will insist that there are some perfectly nice balanced people out there who may waiver or vote ‘No.’

    Some may find gay lovemaking repulsive and that is their right if they so wish. What is not right though is to try to ban it because they personally can”t abide it. Similarly I have sympathy with rights for gays when it comes to money and entitlements because I was the sole income in our home all of my life and paid for all four of us while being taxed as a single man.

    So I have nothing against gays and I say live and let live. But please do not change and dilute the core institution of marriage to suit a minority. Call their union another name and give it the status of marriage to recognize the equality while calling it something different to recognize that it not exactly the same thing as marriage.

    That’s all!

  16.  

    One of the big problems we have these days is people reading the tone instead of the words.

    As regards the core institution of marriage, are you referring to the religious version or the civil version?

  17.  

    “Call their union another name ”
    I liked one commenter’s suggestion there one time – Fonsie had the brain fart of calling it ‘Garriage’. An ideal solution I think he said.

    What name would you suggestion John, to ah give their union the status of marriage but to recognize that it’s not exactly the same thing as marriage? Queer marriage maybe?

    Gay lovemaking repulsive? It’s bigots like yourself and that other bible basher above who are obsessed with the gay lovemaking. Here’s a thought for ye .. the gays mightn’t be into it, and the straights couples might be. A bit of KY might get you over the repulsion.
    It’s really none of your business what you imagine consenting adults get up to.

  18.  

    John, the entire theme of this referendum centres around equality. Having another term for gay marriage distinct from heterosexual or traditional marriage still says to LGBT people that they are different, regardless of whether that new term is equal to marriage or not.

    We’re trying to get to a day when people are just people and not defined or labelled by what way they were born. A yes vote is a step towards that.

    When you say you’re concerned about the dilution of the institution of marriage, what do you mean exactly?

    By that, I mean, why is it worrisome? What negative affect do you honestly think it will have on your life, or anyone else’s life?

    I’m hoping you might reflect on that question, and really ask yourself, and then compare your genuine level of concern of the negatives with what I’m sure you would agree are abundant positives for the LGBT community. Especially young gay and lesbian teenagers struggling hard with their lot in life. You are currently undecided, if you vote yes you are telling those teenagers, our cousins, brothers and sisters, that you regard them as the same as you.

    Please vote yes.

  19.  

    Why is it taboo to call a spade a spade by saying that voting no or advocating a no vote is homophobic?

    In what way is it not homophobic?

  20.  

    It’s not that it’s taboo, it’s just entirely counter productive this side of May 22nd .

    Any no vote imo has homophobia as it’s foundation, but there are varying degrees of homophobia. Some people are open to shedding it through reasoned argument, some never will.

    Ramming the homophobe label down the former group’s throat will only cement their no vote, the latter should just be ignored.

  21.  

    That makes sense.

  22.  

    I would like polygamy ti be legalised, it is after all a loving
    Union, I mean there is a good percentage of population that feel discriminated because they don’t have their capacity to love more than one person recognise and acknowledge with same status as married people. I mean sure I am entitles to love and care for more than one partner?

  23.  

    You might want it, but polygamy is illegal.

    Didn’t you know that?

  24.  

    Hello Bock the robber. How are things in Glocamora? With this referendum on 22, have you any idea why the voting is on Friday which is a day when much of the population will be at work? As voting is not compulsory in Ireland, I seem to imagine that there will be a high absentee count. State voting is always at a weekend here in Australia. I don’t think that I have ever heard of a workday being selected.

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