There has been a lot of comment recently about the now (in)famous interview on the ‘Saturday Night Show‘ where Brendan O’Connor asked Panti Bliss (Rory O’Neill) to name homophobes, and Rory named the Iona Institute plus some other individuals. (I’d love to give you a link to the interview, but it seems to have disappeared. Hmmm.) [Edit, just got the link for it here]
Well, this caused a bit of a stir. In fact, the Iona Institute took such offence that they threatened legal action, and the broadcaster in question (RTE) paid out very, very quickly. They were so worried that they paid out €85,000. You can kind of see Iona’s logic in chasing this. They didn’t want to be branded as ‘Homophobes’, and a few quid in the kitty couldn’t hurt. Could it?
As it turns out, legal action has had the exactly opposite effect to what Iona intended. Rory O’Neill was invited on to the stage in the Abbey Theatre where he gave an incredibly powerful and moving speech about what it’s like to be gay in modern Ireland. I thoroughly recommend you watch it. Newspapers, radio and chat shows are debating homophobia, and the rights of LGBT people in Ireland.
In the Dail, two TDs who are gay spoke of their experiences of dealing with homophobia. Gerry Buttimer was “beaten, spat at, chased, harassed and mocked”, while John Lyons had hoped he was living “in a society where this stuff isn’t acceptable anymore”. (Click here for the Irish Times Article)
I’m certain that they didn’t intend this, but it turns out The Iona Institute turned out to be an excellent catalyst in stimulating the debate. And for that maybe we should thank them.
So we are debating things at last. But some of the discourse is quite disturbing. One theme goes like this:
“Why are we still listening/reading about this?”
Amazing that after just a few weeks some people are fed up with the idea that we need a debate. Do they have a point?
Had the same objection been listened to in the 60s in America, then would the civil rights movement had achieved any of the advances that they got? Would we now have a President Obama?
You see, I believe the debate is needed. As Rory O’Neill stated at the Abbey, he does feel ashamed of his ‘gayness’ sometimes. As Ellen Page stated in her speech, she came out simply because she was tired of ‘lying by omission’.
Why should a person feel a need to be ashamed of their sexuality? Why should any person feel judged simply they are put in a different category? Until we can treat each other with dignity and respect those who wish to love, then we need this debate.
Shur’ Things Can’t be that bad
Well, have a look at Russia. It is well known that President Putin has passed a number of laws that restrict the rights of gay people.
Is perspective on this is so twisted that he thought he was being gregarious when he said that gay people could come to the Sochi Olympics so long as they “leave children alone” And there we have one of the twisted stereotypes: That being gay equates to being a paedeophile, to having a sexual perversion, to somehow being sick
What is not reported is that members of the LGBT community are in physical danger in some Russian cities. (This article will bring you to some videos)
As it is in Ireland, for some people the term ‘Gay’ is derogatory. That is just one of the myriad of ways in which members of the LGBT community can be put down. Imagine. Just the use of a word to describe you can be an insult.
It Just ain’t Christian
Ummm. Really? I must have missed that bit in the New Testament. Jesus spends very little time mentioning any form of sexuality in the Gospels. And yes, I do know that the book of Leviticus does condemn homosexuality, but , if we’re going to play games, then the Old Testament is a number card, and the Gospels are Picture Cards. They trump what had been written beforehand.
Any reading of the person of Jesus, what he said and what he did will give you some subtle hints that he looked out for those on the edges of society. Those who were persecuted, “beaten, spat at, chased, mocked and harassed”.
You see, Jesus didn’t have much truck with the official setup of the time. He worked with people, not ideologies.
And, while we’re talking about Christian concerns, allowing Gay Marriage will not take away from the sanctity of marriage. What you do with your marriage does not affect the validity or the love of mine. Refusing to allow others to share love may, in fact, harm marriage more.
You may find this interesting. St. Valentine lived in the Roman Empire in the 3rd Century. He is famous for helping Christian couples to marry at a time when Christians were persecuted. St. Valentine was executed for this. He was willing to die so as to allow others to share their love. He was willing to stand up for those who were persecuted.
Hold that thought. In the not too distant future we will be asked to vote on whether we feel that gay people will be allowed to marry. Our answer will say a lot about us as a society.
But at least we are now discussing it, and for that I say thank you Iona & Co.