Sunday, June 25, 2017

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A Christian Disorder

Anthony McIntyre writes on the phenomenon of Christian arrogance as evidenced in one response to the death of Dr Ann Louise Gilligan.




When people take to telling me that they are Christian, with the implied suggestion that I should think more highly of them for it, a "give a wide berth" alert flashes across my mind. Much like we cross the road to avoid the sandwich board fool proclaiming the end of the world is upon us while simultaneously entreating us to repent of our sins. When the path to salvation lies in listening to prancing clowns waving bibles, I am beyond redemption.  

A while back I was confronted by a youngish man in Dublin's O'Connell Street blathering on about Jesus, sinners and Hell, while trying to thrust leaflets into the hands of passers-by. I asked him his age - 19. I then suggested to him he should be off boozing and enjoying a good ride rather than bothering Saturday shoppers. You would have thought by the look on his face he had just encountered the devil.

It is not Christianity alone that seems sinister to me: any belief system grounded in irrationality, in which people equipped with the power of reason their god supposedly gave them are expected to abandon it and defer to everything that stands in contrast to reason solely on the basis of faith, seems off the wall. H. L. Mencken concisely but insightfully defined faith "as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."


Not all Christians prefer hubris to humility. Many of them seem guided in their daily lives more by the theology of liberation and not that of domination.  They are not the preaching type. More in the vein of Helder Camara than Joseph Ratzinger, they never make it beyond the archbishopric to those lofty heights where Cardinal sinners exercise a monopoly.

Still, the Orwellian character of much Christian posturing, is hard to deny. In Nineteen Eighty Four the Ministry of Love practiced hate. There is something of that to be found among the Christians. 

Following the death of Dr Ann Louise Gilligan, spouse of Children’s Minister ­Katherine Zappone,  words of condolence were ostensibly offered via email by Professor Ciarán Ó Coigligh. The learned professor started out not as he meant to go on but with a velvet touch gentle touch to ease the way for the sharpened steel he intended to thrust into the grieving heart of Zappone:

May the Lord have mercy on the soul of my late good friend and former colleague of almost forty years, Anne Louise Gilligan, and may she rest in peace. It was a privilege to work with Anne Louise and our mutual friend Katherine Zappone over the years on many projects supportive of poor urban and rural students.

With the obligatory pleasantries out of the way he proceeded to the real point of his letter.

same-sex attraction is a disorder that can be overcome and affected individuals restored to orderly sexual orientation; that people are robbed of their human dignity by being defined solely in terms of sexual attraction and grouped under the hideous acronym LGBT; and that a (sexual) relationship between two women or between two men cannot be conjugal, cannot be consummated, and cannot constitute marriage.

This he described as a "Catholic Christian response to same-sex attraction, informed by the latest research in the area." Which made me think that society would be much healthier were it able to overcome and shed itself of the Catholic Christian disorder.

Ó Coigligh referred to his "great sadness to me when Anne Louise told me that she had outgrown her Christian Faith" and then proceeded to rant about the sadness caused him by Katherine Zappone giving: 

ever-more strident voice to calls for the liberalisation of legislation allowing the murder of an infant in the womb as a response to threatened suicide.
What alleviation from grief Zappone is supposed to find in that is something that perhaps only a warped Christian doctrine could explain.  Reading Ó Coiglighg, I - as I so often do when confronted with arrant pious pomposity  - returned to Mencken:

God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters.

He will even create people with disorders so that his followers can impose their order on them.

4 comments :

Henry JoY said...

From this twat's Wiki page:

In June 2017, DCU suspended Ó Coigligh's email account and condemned as "offensive" an email he had sent to all of DCU's staff, about the death of fellow staff member Ann Louise Gilligan, the wife of Katherine Zappone, in which he described same-sex relationships as "a disorder" and stated that a sexual relationship between two women "cannot be conjugal, cannot be consummated, and cannot constitute marriage."

The college stated:

"While Dublin City University supports the concept that universities are fora where views from many different perspectives can be shared and debated respectfully, we do not condone communications that run counter to our policies and ethos of respect and dignity."
— DCU, [

Steve R said...

Born sick and commanded to be well.

Forever concerned with what consenting adults do in their own privacy.

Perfect in it's hypocrisy.

Still reckon that Dub kid had a point though! lol

Niall said...

I hope on my passing that my better half doesn't receive condolences like that! I also hope that my passing is quite a distance away too!!!

Wolfsbane said...

Anthony's opinion of Christians seems to be from a much higher plateau, where he exists with Mencken, who wrote: 'God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters.'

Anthony and Mencken are our 'betters' then.

But to the article: 'words of condolence were ostensibly offered via email by Professor Ciarán Ó Coigligh'. That would indeed be offensive if they were sent to her family. I did not get that from the link provided: 'Text of an e-mail sent to all Dublin City University (DCU) academic staff yesterday from Professor Ciarán Ó Coigligh, President of Newman College, Dublin and formerly of the Irish Departments in NUI Galway, NUI Dublin and Saint Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, DCU.'

So was it to his colleagues, or to her family?

If it was to the former, I can still see how it would be offensive to those who celebrate the LGBTQI, etc. lifestyle. It would be like a colleague CCing a Christian with an email denoting Christianity as 'the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters.
He will even create people with disorders so that his followers can impose their order on them.'

Such comments ought to be welcome in debate or in a blog - but are hardly fitting to be sent as an unsolicited email.

Perhaps you can clarify for me if the email was a blog or was it sent unsolicited, and especially was it sent to the deceased's family?