ADFAM –– Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage
Business Name Reg. No. 593257; Business Name Owner, Séamas de Barra.
ADFAM, the Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage, are urging our supporters to contact their TDs and Senators to urge them to vote NO to the Blasphemy Referendum Bill.
Our reasons for that are set out in the appended sample e-mail.
Séamas de Barra,
ADFAM, Unit 104, 35 Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin 6. D06V4A0.
Sunday, September 16, 2018.
(087) 131 3425.
Dear Deputies and Seanators,
It is proposed that the Dáil are to gallop through ALL STAGES of the Thirty–Seventh Amendment of the Constitution (Repeal of offence of publication or utterance of blasphemous matter) Bill 2018, on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at 18.05. When, or if, ALL STAGES are passed in the Dáil on Tuesday, the Dáil are to discuss a ‘Motion re Statement for the Information of Voters’ in relation to the same. On Thursday, September 20, 2018, at 15.00, it is proposed that the Seanad pass ALL STAGES of the same Bill. It is planned that the Amendment Bill is to be voted on, on the same day as the Presidential Election, Friday, October 26, 2018. As you’ll know from the Draft Leaflet I have sent you on the matter already, the article the Government propose to be amended is Article 40.6.1ºi of Bunreacht na hÉireann/ Constitution of Ireland. The relevant part reads as follows:
the publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.
The Government are proposing that the word ‘blasphemous’ be deleted from that part.
I set out for you in the appended my reasons for urging you to vote NO to this Amendment Bill.
Séamas de Barra,
Sunday, September 16, 2018.
Why Vote NO to the Deletion of the word ‘blasphemous’ from Article 40.6.1ºi
1) The proposal is poorly thought out, like the other proposal to remove recognition of ‘woman’s life in the home’, Article 41.2.1º, a proposal that the Government have had to postpone for the time being. The Government are insulting the intelligence of the voters.
2) There is no guarantee that, by deleting the word ‘blasphemous’ from Article 40.6.1ºi, the offence of ‘publication or utterance of blasphemous matter’ will be abolished. The Government are engaged in what has become known as ‘virtue signalling’ –– utterly pointless in this case. What is the logic of having a Referendum on Article 40.6.1ºi, and leaving Article 44.1 untouched? The latter Article reads: ‘The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.’ The use of ‘shall’, and not ‘will’, implies something that is a legal requirement. If the Constitution said ‘will’, that part of the Article would be purely aspirational. The only God referred to in the Constitution is the Trinitarian God of Christianity –– see the Preamble.
3) Speaking of which, as long as the Preamble to Bunreacht na hÉireann/Constitution of Ireland remains, and the word ‘seditious’ remains in Article 40.6.1ºi, it will be open to judges to convict persons of the equivalent of ‘publication or utterance of blasphemous matter’. The Preamble acknowledges that ‘all authority is from the Most Holy Trinity,’ ‘to Whom all actions of both men and States must be referred’. The Preamble goes on to say that ‘We, the people of Éire’ humbly acknowledge ‘all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ.’ In that context, how could ‘the publication or utterance of blasphemous matter’ be other than seditious?
4) What is the point of the Government’s proposing the deletion of the word ‘blasphemous’ from Article 40.6.1ºi? They would appear to be aiming at making the Preamble redundant. If that is the case, why not straightforwardly propose the deletion of the Preamble instead? Is it not because they realize that most of the Republic’s voters, even today, would reject that as a barefaced attempt at demoting Christianity in public life here? There would be a similar reaction, if the Government attempted to have Article 44.1 removed also. It would appear that we have not yet got beyond the ‘culture’ of our ‘charming Irish mania for the indirect approach’.
5) It may be argued that it is incongruous in the type of Republic we have today, with divorce, abortion, and the attempted redefinition of marriage, to be bothered with such an offence as the ‘publication or utterance of blasphemous matter’. But people sometimes actually learn from their really bad decisions. The English journalist and commentator, Peter Hitchens, is a revert to Anglicanism from Trotskyism, and a brother of the late Christopher Hitchens, who was a prominent New Atheist. Peter says that the concept of marriage in England is legally dead because of their divorce law there [Peter Hitchens, ‘Marriage Debate | Peter Hitchens | Opposition’, OxfordUnion, February 10, 2012, YouTube.com]. The People’s Republic of China are actively discouraging divorce. They are also set to reverse their abortion policy [Alexandra Ma, ‘China is so desperate to prevent divorce that it’s making couples take an exam before they can break up’, uk.businessinsider.com]. Approximately a quarter of the world’s population lives in the People’s Republic. Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, holds that ultimately, the idea of human rights retains its solidity [and its justification] only if it is anchored to faith in God the Creator [‘If God does not Exist, Human Rights Collapse’, letter to Marcello Pera, September 29, 2014]. Liberal Calvinist, John Lennox, a native of Armagh, and Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, points out that, without such a final reckoning, most people who ever lived will never experience justice [‘Professor John Lennox | God DOES exist’, OxfordUnion, published December 21, 2012, YouTube.com].
6) Admittedly, many Irish people, hold, because of the sexual abuse scandals, and the treatment of unmarried mothers and their children in the past, and all the accompanying cover–ups, that Christianity, and specifically Catholicism, have failed them. None of those scandals, or of that mistreatment, are to be tolerated or explained away. That said, the 20th century was the most violent century in human history. Communism and Nazism were political philosophies that denied God, and tried to control or kill off Christianity. Communism managed to kill off hundreds of millions worldwide, and Nazism, scores of millions. The death toll attributable to them in one century is much much more than all the deaths attributable to those claiming to be Christian in the 2000 year history of Christianity. History has proved that without Christianity, we do an awful lot worse.
7) Whether we are believers or unbelievers, we are ill-served by denying reality. Part of that reality is that our Western Civilization is based on the assimilation by the Judaeo–Christian religion of the Graeco–Roman civilization. That civilization has spread all around the world, and if it goes entirely, we are in for a return to barbarism. The Canadian clinical psychologist, Jordan B. Peterson, author of Maps of Meaning (Routledge 1999) and 12 Rules for Life (Penguin Allen Lane 2018), makes the valid point that there are very few genuine atheists, because most self–declared atheists actually work from principles derived from Christianity [“Jordan B. Peterson vs atheist Susan Blackmore: Most people who claim to be atheist aren’t,” ‘Unbelievable’, Premier Christian Radio, YouTube.com]. The much–vaunted ‘liberal’ tenet of separation of Church and State was first taught actually by Christ himself: ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ [Mark 12: 17]. Our Western Civilization is part of our culture, part of our history [Christopher Dawson, Religion and the Rise of Western Culture (London 1950)]. We have a right to it.
Published by ADFAM –– Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage
ADFAM, Unit 104, 35 Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin 6. D06V4A0