The Iona Blog

Opinions contained in The Iona Blog are not necessarily those of The Iona Institute. The Iona Blog is open to anyone who broadly shares the views of The Iona Institute. If you wish to post a comment on a relevant topic please email 200 – 400 words to [email protected] and it will be considered for inclusion in the blog.


Ireland appears before the UN and tugs the forelock

By Admin on July 25 2014. ~ Categories: Other

Ireland appeared before the UN Human Rights Committee and that Committee has now issued a report about Ireland that reads like a politically correct charge sheet. David Quinn writes about the biased nature of these proceedings.


Sacking of Christian from his job a tale of modern ‘tolerant’ Ireland

By David Quinn on 22nd July 2014. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion,Other

When I read in the papers about a man who won a payout of €70,000 after being sacked from his job with South Tipperary County Council for repeatedly talking about his religion during working hours, I have to confess that my sympathies were initially with the Council. But when I read the full account of the case on the Labour Court website, my sympathies changed.


Euthanasia in the UK - the coalition for life

By Ben Conroy on 18th July 2014. ~ Categories:

Lord Falconer's "Assisted Dying" bill is currently being debated in the House of Lords. The bill would legalise assisted suicide by doctors in the UK, and would seriously undermine the principle of "do no harm" as well as the protections that UK law currently gives the terminally ill. It's very bad news. But the prospect of the Bill passing has inspired passionate, intelligent, and articulate opposition, and I've collected some of it below:


Ireland: A misogynist state, or the best country in the world?

By Ben Conroy on 17th July 2014. ~ Categories: Other

It seems that no sooner was Ireland declared the country that does most good for the world (according to the first “Good Country Index”, or GCI), than our human rights record was being lambasted by the UN, and newspaper columnists here were calling us a “misogynist country” and a place where “The Irish Constitution treats (all women) as vessels.” Which is it? We can't be both the best country in the world and a rights-violating renegade – and in truth we are neither. What both of these stories reveal is that the answer you get depends on how you ask the question – and who's asking it.


Why we deserve better from our popular atheists

By Admin on 10th July 2014. ~ Categories:

“What has happened to consistent, coherent atheism?” is the question being asked by Michael Robbins, who's reviewing Nick Spencer's book Atheism: The Origin of the Species for Slate. Spencer's book examines what he calls the 'creation myth' of the orgin of modern atheism, different versions of which are embraced by most of the 'New Atheists' – Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne and others.


Why liberals should love authentically Christian businesses

By Ben Conroy on 8th July 2014. ~ Categories:

As we're greeted today by the news that a Christian bakery in Northern Ireland faces legal action over refusing to bake a cake with a slogan in support of gay marriage, this week's New York Times column by Ross Douthat is hugely relevant. What I like about Douthat is that e's almost never content to trot out the same old line on any given issue, instead inviting his readers to consider things from an unusual angle. His column this week is no different – in it, he argues that left-wing liberals should be fans of Hobby Lobby, the company that just won a case at the US Supreme Court exempting them from having to provide health insurance that covers abortifacients under the Obama administration's HHS Mandate.


Leah Libresco on "Having Better Fights"

By Ben Conroy on 4th July 2014. ~ Categories: Other

We all think it's important to fight for what we believe in. But how do we fight, and could we do it better? Leah Libresco was an atheist blogger for Patheos who converted to Catholicism a few years ago. A Yale graduate, she's written for the Huffington Post, First Things, The American Connservative and elsewhere, and appeared on CNN and MSNBC. She recently gave a talk on "Having Better Fights", hosted by the Irish Catholic, which is essential viewing for anyone in the business of seeking the truth.


Men's brains "wired for fatherhood?"

By Ben Conroy on 4th July 2014. ~ Categories:

There's a new report out from the Institute for American Values and the Center of the American Experiment, which examines some of the ways that men and women's brains and bodies change when they become parents. While the physical changes that happen in women during and after pregnancy are well known, Mother Bodies, Father Bodies, by W. Bradford Wilcox and Kathleen Kovner Kline highlights the research showing that men experience changes too.


A small victory for religious freedom and the hysterical reaction to it

By Ben Conroy on July 1, 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Judging by the end-times rhetoric employed by some journalists, bloggers and Twitterati in response to the US Supreme Court's decision on Hobby Lobby, one might be forgiven for thinking that contraception had been banned nationwide, fundamentalist corporation owners authorised to micromanage their employees' sex lives, and women declared second-class citizens.


Time to consider a ‘living wage’ for the ‘working poor’?

By David Quinn on June 24, 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Can the ‘working poor’ afford to maintain a family? Does being a member of the working poor make a person more likely to divorce? Does it make them less likely to marry in the first place? The answers are ‘no’, yes’ and ‘yes’ respectively. What is to be done? There is no easy answer, but we should look again at the concept of a ‘living wage’.


Bishop of Limerick outlines his vision of religious freedom

By Admin on June 18 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The new Bishop of Limerick, Dr Brendan Leahy explains his vision of religious freedom. The talk was delivered before an audience of almost 200 people in the Strand Hotel, Limerick on June 18.


Polygamy and Same-Sex Marriage - The Questions Answered

By Ben Conroy on 12th June 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Peter Ferguson, who calls himself ‘Humanisticus’, has replied once again on polygamy and same-sex marriage, and asked the Iona Institute a few questions. I'll do my best to answer them here, and I think it might be wise to leave our blogathon at that. In truth, these points have been dealt with in numerous previous blogs on this website, but it won't hurt to answer them in one place and save Humanisticus a bit of Googling.


Some prominent atheists on free will and morality

By David Quinn on June 11, 2014. ~ Categories: Other

Many atheists (such as Richard Dawkins, right) do not believe in free will. They don’t believe in free will because they believe we, and our thoughts, are the products of matter and energy and nothing else and therefore have no more have free will than a robot, or a dog. This belief, needless to say, has enormous implications for the idea of moral responsibility because someone who does not have free will is not responsible for their actions.


The Tuam mother and child home reveals a warped form of Christianity

By Admin on June 6, 2014. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Other

Almost 800 babies and young children died at Tuam mother and child home between 1925 and 1961. Two things were to blame, the very high child mortality rate at the time, and the social and religious attitudes then prevalent.


Got a 9-year-old “Tomboy” daughter? Maybe it's time for sex-change drugs!

By Frederik Bosch on 3rd June 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Other

The NHS is to give children as young as nine years of age drugs in preparation for ‘gender reassignment’. As the Mail on Sunday reported, a treatment using hypothalamic blockers, “which halt[s] the onset of adulthood, is aimed at youngsters who believe they are trapped in the wrong body.”


'Modern families' feel less financially secure new survey finds

By Ben Conroy on May 27th 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

There are few types of survey in this world more reliable than those carried out by insurance companies. When your company's continued existence depends upon the quality of your information, you tend to make very sure that your data is solid. So Allianz Insurance's “LoveFamilyMoney” study on the impact of family structure on financial wellbeing is sobering reading, despite the almost hilariously upbeat tone of the press release.


How about Irish Christians stand up for the Middle East’s Christians?

By Frederik Bosch on 23rd May 2014. ~ Categories:

I must have missed the reports on the protests and vigils outside the Sudanese embassy, after a pregnant Sudanese doctor was sentenced to death for the crime of apostasy. Perhaps they were all busily protesting the Nigerian embassy, calling for greater protection of that nation’s Christians, following the Boko Haram kidnappings. But I’m sure the tweeting by a stern-faced @MichelleObama will #bringbackourgirls in jig-time. Mmmm-hmmm.


All families matter - but marriage still deserves special protection

By Ben Conroy on 21st May 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The single parent support and campaign group, One Family, have released a new video called “All Families Matter.” Produced as part of their campaign to change the constitutional definition of the family, the video is pretty striking. It shows a single mother and her two children being denied a family ticket to the cinema because there's no father present; an unmarried couple with their children being refused a family suite at a hotel; anda gay couple and their daughter being denied access to a family movie on television.


Polygamy, same-sex marriage and children: the state of the evidence

By Ben Conroy on 16th May 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

In my last post on polygamy and same-sex marriage, I noted that Peter Ferguson and Colette Browne, in coming up with coherent arguments against polygamy, ended up acknowledging that marriage is to a certain extent about child welfare I still wonder how this fits with a "love and consent" view of marriage - but it was good to see that both Browne and Ferguson were OK with banning polygamous marriage because of the less-than-ideal circumstances for children of being raised by three or more parents.


The clash between atheistic faith and science

By David Quinn on May 14, 2014. ~ Categories: Other

An interesting new book has just come out called ‘Why Science Does Not Disprove God’. The author is Amir Azcel and in an article in The Wall Street Journal a few days ago he describes how many scientists initially resisted the Big Bang Theory, especially those predisposed towards atheism.


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