Friday, 10 July 2009

Why Ireland needs blasphemy

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So, as a commenter on one of my earlier posts points out, in the week that Ireland passes a 21st century blasphemy law, the Virgin Mary turns up in Limerick to show her approval. In the form of a tree stump.

That's right - even the BBC are reporting on this "miraculous" event, as more than 2,000 people sign a petition to save the stump, which was discovered in the grounds of Holy Mary Parish Church in Rathkeale as workmen cut down trees on Monday. Noel White, chairman of the Rathkeale Community Council Graveyard Committee, explained the significance of the find:

"One of the lads said look, our Blessed Lady in the tree. One of the other lads looked over and actually knelt down and blessed himself, he got such a shock. It was the perfect shape of the figure of Our Lady holding the baby."

But, says the BBC, "the Catholic Church's hierarchy in Ireland also feels dubious about the tree stump, according to Limerick diocese spokesman Fr Paul Finnerty":

"The Church's response to phenomena of this type is one of great scepticism. While we do not wish in any way to detract from devotion to Our Lady, we would also wish to avoid anything which might lead to superstition."
Of course this is understandable – the Catholic Church only approves genuine Marian apparitions, like those at Lourdes, or Fatima, or Tepeyac, or Laud, or La Salette, or Banneux, or Beauraing, or Pontmain . . . you get the picture.

So just in case you were wondering why Ireland needs blasphemy, now you know. And we can start with what Christina Martin wrote when she sent me the tree stump story:

"Mary looked like that?! No wonder she was a virgin".

And speaking of blasphemy, Michael Nugent, who is spearheading Atheist Ireland's response to the law, has an opinion piece on the matter in today's Irish Times, in which he argues that Ireland should be building an open, secular society, not passing medieval blasphemy laws.

If you're in Ireland and want to get involved in opposing the law, you can go along to Atheist Ireland's AGM tomorrow (Sat 11th) at Wynn’s Hotel,Dublin from 2pm-5pm.


Naumadd said...

Historically, it speaks and will speak very unkindly of Ireland and the Irish people that delusional human beings were and are allowed to control its laws and cultural direction. One does not turn control of the mental institution over to the patients. One doesn't allow the blind or hallucinating to drive the vehicle. One certainly ought to be free to see in a tree stump whatever one wishes, however, in a genuinely-civilized society, one cannot rightly demand punishment for those who see differently and, I would argue, see better and have the will to speak up.

Naumadd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Oooh! Never seen a post deleted on here before. It must have been really bad. Can we see what they said? I promise not to be offended!

SamTronik said...

The blasphemy thing is dangerous, and stupid. But the tree thing is hilarious! I have never been able to understand why some people think a deity would choose to create something that looks a bit like them.

Why not just go the whole hog (log?) and create a realistic looking sculpture? Jesus was a carpenter, he could have probably made a decent carving. Maybe he passed on some of those skills to Mary. Actually... maybe this is her first attempt. CDT class with Christ? It all just seems so half-hearted.

Anyway, for those who take it all seriously, I hope it was carved by the gods.... It would be awful to think that they might be falsely idolising something that they shouldnt be.