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.


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.


The evidence that boys and girls really are different

By Frederick Bosch on 12th May 2014. ~ Categories: Other

In her new book, Gender Hurts, the radical feminist Professor of Sexual Politics at the University of Melbourne Sheila Jeffreys claims that gender disorders like “gender dysphoria” are only problems because we have gender at all. So, while Facebook now offers 56 genders (sadly, still one less variety than Heinz beans, but give them time), Jeffreys wants none. Indeed, Jeffreys describes “gender” as placing girls in a “sex caste,” behind “bars of a cage.”


Further thoughts on whether polygamy should be legalised

By Ben Conroy on 10th May 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A couple of weeks ago David Quinn blogged in response to news that three lesbians in the US have ‘married’ one another. He issued a challenge – asking if the essence of marriage is consent, then why shouldn’t this ‘throuple’ be allowed to get legally hitched? A couple of people took up the challenge, including Colette Browne in the Irish Independent and blogger Peter Ferguson, also known as ‘Humanisticus’...


Why the fates of Donald Sterling and Brendan Eich cannot be compared

By Ben Conroy on 8th May 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Much has recently been made of the effective sacking of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich over his opposition to same-sex marriage, and rightly so. Even many SSM supporters blanched at the idea that the creator of Javascript could lose his job as head of a tech company simply because of his views on this question. But after the recent case of Donald Sterling, the basketball team owner who received a lifetime ban from the NBA after making a series of blatantly racist comments about black people, Eich's been taking renewed heat in the blogosphere and the press.


Think Ireland has a stable, health marriage rates? Try reading history

By James Hart on 7th May 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The recently carried a story that the CSO has released census data going back to 1864.The press release from the CSO noted that marriage rates had remained remarkably stable since 1864. This is on the face of it more or less what Fintan O’Toole argued when he attacked the Iona Institute for claiming that marriage was in decline in Ireland. The CSO statistics, of course, do not lie - but they do give a very misleading picture if you read them without some knowledge of Irish History - and particularly the Great Famine.


The slide towards soft totalitarianism

By JP Valerand on 6th May 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

In a guest blog, JP Valerand argues that Soviet subversive agent Yuri Bezmenov's description of the USSR's method of demoralising its populace could be a guide to understanding the last few decades of Western society.


Fighting for the freedom to dissent from the new ideological conformity

By David Quinn on 3rd May 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The effective sacking of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for supporting traditional marriage continues to provoke reaction. The latest and most notable is a statement signed by supporters of same-sex marriage who believe that what happened to Eich is a step too far. Meanwhile, Spiked editor, Brendan O’Neill, comments on the statement and says that the Eich incident is not a one-off but rather is part of an ideology intent on crushing anyone and everything that still believes in the traditional family and traditional sexual morality


Ireland's marriage rate since 1864: consistently low (mostly)

By David Quinn on May 1, 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The CSO has just made available its annual reports on births, deaths and marriages covering the years 1864-2000. Looking at the marriage figures only, they tell us that Ireland’s marriage rate has been remarkably consistent over the period, consistently low that is.


The new climate of libertine puritanism

By David Quinn on 29th April 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The always worthwhile Theodore Dalrymple (pictured) has added his tuppence worth to the discussion about the de facto sacking of Mozilla's Brendan Eich for donating to a campaign in favour of traditional marriage. He says that Eich fell victim to the notion that 'repressive tolerance' must not be tolerated.


Please explain why this ‘throuple’ can’t marry one another

By David Quinn on 25th April 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

They call themselves a ‘throuple’ and they consist of three women who say they are ‘married’ to one another and are expecting a baby. A ‘throuple’, since you ask, is a variation on the word ‘couple’ but is made up of three people, not two. Now, here is my question to those who support same-sex marriage; if gender is not essential to the nature of marriage then why limit it to two people? Why not allow multi-partner marriages like this if more than two people are willing to commit to one another?


Cameron’s 'Christian' Britain ruffles atheists’ feathers

By Frederick Bosch on 24th April 2014. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice

An alliance of public figures has accused British Prime Minister David Cameron of “fostering division” within the UK by claiming that Britain is still a “Christian country.” Writing a letter published in the Daily Telegraph, these intellectuals and politicians claimed that Cameron’s message will have “negative consequences for politics and society.” Cameron’s crime? Well, for one, he described Jesus Christ as essentially a forerunner of the welfare state, whereby the Conservative party’s “Big Society” initiative was continuing Jesus’ work.


The de facto sacking of Brendan Eich and Section 37

By David Quinn on 22 Apr 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

In a recent issue of The Irish Catholic I wrote a piece strongly criticising the de facto sacking of Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla. Eich was shown the front door because he once made a donation to a campaign in favour of traditional marriage. In turn it was pointed out to me on social media that my stance seemed in direct contradiction of my support of Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act which allows religious organisations not to employ anyone who would undermine their ethos.


Catholic schools continue to outperform State schools in NI

By John McBride on April 17th 2014. ~ Categories: Schools and Education

Last week the Community Relations Council in Northern Ireland published its latest Peace Monitoring Report. It found that Catholic schools continue to outperform State schools at all levels of society.


Where have all the girls gone?

By Frederick Bosch on 15th April 2014. ~ Categories: Other

A new survey of birth ratios has been launched by the British government recently, “amid fears that sex-selective abortions are taking place in Britain.” Earl Howe, a UK health minister, “wants to ‘monitor the situation’ and ‘remain vigilant’ following evidence that some doctors in the UK are carrying out selective abortions.” This is old news. The Daily Telegraph uncovered these practices in 2012. And the British Director of Public Prosecutions’ response? “There may be circumstances, in which termination of pregnancy on grounds of fetal sex would be lawful.” Nice to know the DPP is protecting the weak and vulnerable.


Why parents should pay less tax

By Ben Conroy on April 9th 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Slate magazine is famous for publishing contrarian writing, and the piece they recently published by Reihan Salam certainly fits the bill. What, after all, is more contrarian than saying “me, and people like me, should pay far more tax?” The category Salam belongs to, and the one which he believes should be taxed more heavily, is childless people.


Euthanasia: so much for the guarantees

By Frederik Bosch on 7th April 2014. ~ Categories: Other

Our wise ideologues are never short on assurances that every last one of their society-changing initiatives are brimming with “guarantees” and “safeguards.” The obvious one is abortion. In 1996, Bill Clinton said “abortion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare.” In New York in 2012, more African-American babies were aborted than were born. Ah – the Ratchet Effect upon morality. Euthanasia is a more recent controversy. Under the guise of individual choice for the sick, and compassion from the healthy, lobbyists have fought hard to get euthanasia on the statute books. Again, “guarantees,” “safeguards,” “safe,” “rare” – we’ve heard these promises before.


What does Frances Fitzgerald think of egg and sperm donation?

By Ben Conroy on 4th April 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald's recent proposal to give adopted people greater access to information about their biological parents is a genuinely good idea. If they don't run afoul of the constitutional right to privacy, Minister Fitzgerald's proposals could end up helping many adoptees to trace their roots and discover their origins. So I'm curious as to why the same government currently advocating common-sense reforms like these, which acknowledge the importance of the natural ties, is simultaneously planning to pass a family law bill that almost completely ignores them?


David Quinn takes part in childcare debate on Today with Sean O’Rourke

By Ben Conroy on 2nd April 2014. ~ Categories:

David Quinn was on the Sean O'Rourke programme yesterday discussing childcare with Roisin O’Hara, who juggles work with having four small children; Evanna Boyle, also a mum of four who gave up work as a solicitor to mind her kids at home; Independent Senator Jillian Van Turnhout and Theresa Heaney, Chairperson of the Mothers’ Alliance Ireland. They discussed parental leave, child benefit, and whether the state should be picking sides in favouring working mothers over those who choose to stay at home.


Gay marriage: the fastest formed orthodoxy ever?

By David Quinn on 1st April 2014. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The first same-sex marriages took place in the UK over the weekend. Brendan O'Neill, the editor of the online magazine, Spiked, has an article today asking a very pertinent question: how did support for gay marriage become the conventional wisdom so quickly? It hasn't been all that long since same-sex marriage was barely thought of or proposed by anyone, (it was even a minority position among LGBT activists). But now it has become an absolute article of faith for anyone who wants to be called a ‘liberal’.


A deeper look at the Hobby Lobby religious freedom case

By Ben Conroy on 28th March 2014. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

There's a great guest post over at the Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy blog from Prof. Michael McConnell of Stanford university, taking an in-depth look at the Hobby Lobby religious freedom case currently before the US Supreme Court.


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