Breda O’Brien addressed the issue of conscience rights and the Civil Partnership Bill in her column in The Irish Times on Saturday. A lot of comments have been posted in response to it, of mixed quality and tone. Many of the pro-gay comments are abusive, which is to say, not very gay at all.
Here is one that particularly took my fancy. It’s from a fellow named ‘Simon’ and it’s worth reading in full because if Erich Honecker, the last leader of East Germany was still alive, he would mightily approve of it. It expresses in full what his view of Church/State separation would have been. At least we now know what the some people in this country have in mind for religious believers; freedom of worship and nothing else.
“By all means let people conduct their daily worship in the privacy of their homes or churches. Their right to do so should most assuredly be enshrined in any constitution. The extension of that right to the public domain, be it in the wearing of religious icons, aspects of clothing, the teaching of a particular faith or religous ethos in a state school or the imposition of personal religious beliefs on the performance of duties in the public sector is to be at the least abhorred and, in general, banned completely.
“Religious freedom speaks of the right to worship in the faith of one’s choice without fear of repercussion or oppression. It does not grant devout believers the right to wield their beliefs in what should be a secular public domain.”