Love Thy Neighbour, says a poster prominently displayed in Dublin. A welcome reminder, one would think, except that this Biblical fiat appears under a secular one: VOTE YES. In tomorrow’s homomarriage referendum, that is.
I don’t know, it may be just me, but the two fiats seem to be at odds. I’m not sure that sexual perversion sanctified by the state is quite what either Testament meant by loving one’s neighbour. Then again, love comes in many different shapes, and scriptural texts do leave room for interpretation.
Offering it is one of the functions of the Church, and it still hasn’t wavered in its opposition to this particular step in the march of progress. But the Church no longer wields the same influence in a historically pious Ireland: only 35 per cent admit to following ecclesiastical guidance in such matters.
It may be a pure coincidence, but the polls are predicting a Yes vote of 65 per cent. Since 65 is the balance between 100 and 35, arithmetic indicates where the watershed runs in the Republic.
The country has come a long way since 1993, when she finally bowed to the diktat of the European Court of Human Rights and decriminalised homosexuality. Nonetheless, the distance Ireland has travelled towards perdition still remains somewhat shorter than elsewhere in Europe.
True, the referendum on divorce delivered a Yes vote in 1995. But the government still hasn’t called a referendum on liberalising abortion, which is wise. Why fight a battle you’re likely to lose? Let’s wait until the influence of the Church has dropped down to zero, which it will soon enough under the sage guidance of the European Union.
This, in spite of the EU supposedly being a direct descendant of the Holy Roman Empire, a claim often made by the more fanatical and less clever fans of European federalism.
Well, not quite. The Empire’s adhesive was Christianity, whereas the EU’s is brought together by Germany’s urge to conquer Europe by peaceful means. This is underpinned by France’s fear that Germany might change her mind and again opt for the old way.
Still, it isn’t the EU that’s responsible for originating most of the existential ugliness of modernity. Starting from the counterintuitive pronouncement that all men are created equal, that distinction belongs to the USA by right (or wrong, as the case may be).
Step by step, that dubious idea has degenerated into political correctness, the most pernicious tyranny of our time. Part and parcel of it is the conviction that all men are created equally entitled to marry one another.
Since America is the natural leader and flag bearer of modernity, Europe is often eager to push her subversive notions to their logical extreme, with Holland tending to lead the way. And when Europeans are a bit slow on the uptake, Americans are increasingly eager to lend a helping hand.
As they have done in this case, in the shape of a massive transfer of funds to the Yes campaign and other LGBT causes in Ireland. Specifically, the US charity The Atlantic Philanthropies has pumped £25 million into four influential organisations: GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Network), Marriage Equality, TENI (the transgender Equality Network Ireland) and LGBT Diversity.
Has the money been well spent? The columnist Bruce Arnold thinks so: “In my opinion, The Atlantic Philanthropies has bought this referendum.”
The other side doesn’t disagree. Brian Sheenan, director of GLEN, isn’t bashful about giving credit where it’s due: “Atlantic’s commitment to GLEN allowed GLEN to follow the strategy of building a majority from a minority…”
Broden Giambrone, director of TENI, explains that “Atlantic’s multi-year commitment allows for TENI to employ core staff, which was unprecedented in the trans community.”
And Marriage Equality’s director Healy puts it in a nutshell: “…We have unleashed that potential and that passion that the supporters of marriage equality have, but more than that we’ve been able to channel it into political change.”
While congratulating the Irish on the upcoming political change, I feel sorry they have to rely on American support to promote the noble cause of debauching marriage. We in England managed to do it all by ourselves.
But then we are blessed with an all-powerful domestic resource, called DAVE (Destroy Any Vestige of Ethics).