This article was published in Taki's Magazine. The vote was lost and Ireland is no longer a Catholic country.
All countries are traditions based on religion and genetics, though in irreligious countries they don’t know it. And all European countries these days seem to be in very big trouble.
Southern Ireland, where until the 1990s divorce was illegal, is about to vote on whether to institute homosexual marriage. Incredibly - in Ireland! - all the political parties are in favor and people who are opposed are being told that they are bigots. Society is constantly persecuting and the intolerance of the old days has given way to a new intolerance. It’s sad for those of us who thought Eire used to be a shining city on a hill.
It’s customary at this point to deny being a homophobe, so I had better do so. The two closest friends I ever had were lesbians and I am completely broad minded in practice, if not in theory. I share Garrett Fitzgerald’s mindset. After reading some complicated text from his civil servants when he was Taoiseach he was reputed to have said “Well, that’s alright in practice, but how does it work in theory?”
“What if a Muslim baker was asked to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding?”
But why should homosexuals want to marry? What was attractive about them was the secrecy and sense of being outsiders, like Communists or Catholics. They should, one feels, drink absinthe and read decadent French poetry. Instead they want respectability, children and PTA meetings.
The Irish referendum result will be affected by the decision yesterday in Northern Ireland to convict some devout Presbyterian bakers who refused to bake a cake with the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’ on it. The bakers didn’t refuse to sell cakes to homosexuals, as until a few years ago it was any baker’s ancient Common Law right to do, but they simply refused to bake one saying ‘Support Gay Marriage’ as you or I might do if we didn’t support gay marriage. There were no doubt socially liberal or venal bakers who would have done so, but someone was trying to make a point. The poor bakers were being set up.
It’s always devout bakers whom homosexual activists pick on and try to ruin. There have been many cases in different countries involving bakers being asked to bake cakes for homosexual weddings and what splendid moral courage the Christian bakers show, quite unsupported by the clergy. Some have lost fortunes in fines. Meanwhile, bishops talk of global warming.
First they came for the bakers but I wasn’t a baker…
The backlash against the court’s decision might just be enough to swing the vote against homosexual marriage in the South but if it does there will be another vote, as always happens. The electorate originally voted not to legalize divorce in Southern Ireland but in these circumstances the electorate continues to vote until they get the answer right. Then no more votes. It’s the same with referendums on European treaties.
Before homosexual marriage is on the statute books in one country after another, even religious ones like the USA, it becomes socially unacceptable to oppose the idea. Homosexuality has become one of the few things European societies hold sacred, as it was in some cults in pagan Rome.
What if a Muslim bakery was asked to bake a cake with a depiction of the prophet on it? What if a Muslim baker was asked to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding?
What would the Guardian and liberal clergymen like Dr. Giles Fraser say then? It would be an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. Liberal Anglicans pretend to think that Jesus, a first-century rabbi, would have thought homosexual acts were fine and dandy. Though they don’t care what the early church thought about the matter they do respect the view of the Koran. But liberals, who canted about freedom and free speech when the cartoonists in Paris were murdered, don’t think free speech should extend to what you write or don’t write on cakes.
No-one minds that vegetarians don’t approve of eating meat and say so, but it is very dangerous and even often illegal to criticise homosexuality. The only reason I can come up with is that anti-discrimination has to be understood as a secular religion in itself. An important function of all religions is to justify inequality and the chimera of equality of opportunity does this. Outlawing discrimination is the way that a society that finds inequality hard to justify justifies it.
Human rights are a new religion which seems to complement but is, in fact, replacing Christianity. Anti-discrimination and welfare considerations, which are wholly materialistic, have taken the place of the sacred in the European imagination. Homosexuality is the issue where human rights and Christianity conflict. It is making the West anti-Christian, instead of merely post-Christian.
Historians will spend much time trying to understand the complete lack of a conservative backlash against the sexual revolution, in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain or Ronald Reagan’s USA, after AIDS suddenly appeared. It was the dog that did not bark in the night. The clergy was as silent as the laity. In any earlier age, even in the 1960s, people would have thought and spoken in terms of the plague being a sign from heaven. Instead, the authorities busied themselves giving away condoms.
G.K. Chesterton condemned the modern and morbid weakness to sacrifice the normal to the abnormal. If only we had polemicists like him today to argue wittily and cleverly against the folly of single-sex marriage. The new teaching or absence of teaching by the clergy on sexual morality is the kind of thing that makes some people convert to Islam, seeking a rock which earlier converts found in Catholicism before the Second Vatican Council. I spoke to an American evangelist recently in Nazareth. He instructs Muslims and Jews who want to convert to Christianity. I found I agreed when he told me ‘Christendom has lost its soul. Islam deserves to dominate Europe.’