Thursday, December 5, 2013

This is Deeply, Deeply Disturbing

Shane, on the Irish Catholic Forum (an excellent resource) points out an extremely serious and disturbing violation of free speech in NUI Galway. It seems like the Legion of Mary is being suppressed for a poster which promotes Courage, a ministry which supports people with same-sex attraction who seek to live a life of chastity.

Whatever your views on homosexuality, or on religion, you should be extremely worried about the free speech implications of this story.

This charge of homophobia, I have believed for some time, is the battering ram that will be used in the next major persecution of the Faith-- which is coming to a street near you, sooner than you think.

Most orthodox Catholics and Christians have a deep distaste of talking about this issue. I have only once heard homosexuality mentioned in a priest's homily, and on that occasion it was an oblique mention.

Sexuality pervades our lives at a deep, deep level, and I feel enormous sympathy for those who are attracted to their own sex, and who realize that this cannot be reconciled with the Christian ideal of sexuality. How could I judge people who face a challenge I will never have to face, one that I'm not at all sure I would myself be able to overcome?

And yet, I never believe for a moment that homosexual acts are morally licit, or that same-sex behaviour is not a turning away from the very essence and purpose of sexuality. To pretend to think otherwise would be the most violent coercion of my conscience. And I do not think that a society that demands such a suppression of conscience can flourish.

I wrote an email to Dr. Pat Morgan, the NUIG " vice-president for the student experience" who has been NUIG's spokeswoman in this matter. I would also encourage readers to write to NUIG and to newspaper columns about this. This is a big deal and it shouldn't be allowed to pass under the radar.

Here is my email (Blogger won't let me put in paragraph breaks, for some weird reason):

Dear Dr Morgan
I would like to convey how distressed I am by the decision of NUIG to suppress freedom of speech in your campus. You are quoted in the Irish Times as justifying the action taken against the Legion of Mary's poster thus: "NUIG has a pluralist ethos and will not condone the production and dissemination of any material by students which discriminates against other students."
If you have a "pluralist ethos", surely you should encourage a plurality of viewpoints. It is quite clear that nobody was being threatened by this poster. The term "discrimination" is so broad and so infinitely open to interpretation as to be meaningless. Every view of the world "discriminates" against somebody, in that it values or condemns certain behaviours rather than others.
It is clear that this decision was taken because a vocal interest group on campus mounted a campaign of complaints. But the fundamental principle of freedom of expression is that we have the right to express our opinions even if other people find them offensive. Surely intellectual freedom and the open exchange of ideas should flourish in a university campus, of all places?
I am well aware that the Legion of Mary and the Galway diocese have decided not to pursue this matter, doubtless for reasons of prudence. This doesn't afffect the injustice of the decision.
I am afraid that in this situation you have operated as an apparatchick of political correctness. It is the Legion of Mary, and nobody else, who are the victims of discrimation here.

I am not in any way connected to the Legion of Mary.


Maolsheachlann O Ceallaigh


  1. "Whatever your views on homosexuality, or on religion, you should be extremely worried about the free speech implications of this story."
    I don't think so Maolsheachlann. People with different opinions on homosexuality or religion would argue this to be fair. The kind of people who constantly talk about equality and discrimination are the same people who believe there are a plethora of exceptions to the rules.

    I also feel sorry for people who are homosexual as obviously the temptations they face are far worse than those of heterosexuals, but I'll give no sympathy to homosexuals who tell people to mind their own business about "what goes on in the bedroom" one minute, and then march up and down streets parading off their homosexuality in the most tacky and cringe-inducing way possible the next.

    You can't win with these people. Not like this. Accusations of homophobia and discrimination are nothing new. As I said, these people believe in exceptions when it suits. Therefore, you can't win. It was nice of you to take the time to write the letter anyway. The only problem is that, knowing these people, they'll probably start making claims that they received letters (like yours) which made them feel distressed and disgusted for being homophobic. They're a horde of sensationalist morons and cowards.

  2. Accusations of homophobia and discrimination are indeed nothing new, but the point is that when a university uses them to take disciplinary action, it's time to sit up. I do agree with you that many people pushing the liberal agenda will descend to the lowest tactics, but I do believe that there are plenty of gays, and plenty of liberals, and plenty of gay liberals, who are not pleased with the way Christians are being silenced. Even the radical gay activist Peter Tatchell has expressed forebodings about this. And the forum I linked to at the start of my article apparently (I haven't read it) has some similar opinions from many who would have no time for religion.

  3. Rather, the forum I linked to itself links to a forum (, a bear-pit of liberalism) where some rather left-wing people were attacking the decision.

  4. Hi M,
    just spotted this post. It is interesting to contrast the IT article on this:

    with the one in the Guardian:

    Interesting to note that the Guardian reckons the NUIG response was OTT. Maybe the pendulum is finally starting to swing back!

  5. I don't think so, Father. I think it's more that the Guardian have more distance from the Irish situation.

    There is a big Guardian mug in the cupboard of the staff room in the library where I work. I sometimes drink out of it because it's a nice big mug but I always feel vaguely troubled someone might see me drinking from it and think I'm a Guardian reader!

  6. The Guardian uses the term "homophobic" though. I can't really take anything that ends with phobe or phobia seriously anymore - for better or for worse. It's pretty amazing that saying "I'm a child of God. Don't call me gay" is considered offensive, where as saying "Everyone is gay" is not. There are few things more offensive than the gay conquest, as I call it.

  7. I would rip my eyeballs out with a screwdriver before I bought The Guardian, but I sometimes read some of their online articles. While ninety-five per cent of their content is the usual procession of politically correct sacred cows, they are actually quite good at giving a platform to people like Roger Scruton who would be anathema to them-- so fair dues to them for that.