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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.
Tomorrow the country goes to the polls to vote on the proposed amendment to the Constitution. My personal opinion is that the stakes are not as high as either side is claiming. I believe the potential harm or good that Article 42A can do is limited.
There has been plenty of gloating on the part of some Barack Obama supporters after his narrow win on Tuesday, and lots of self-flagellation and, frankly, panicking among Republican supporters. It calls to mind Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army fame (Clive Dunne (pictured) who played him died at age 92 yesterday. RIP). Some people are saying the Republican party has to ditch social conservatism, which is to say its support for unborn children and the family based on marriage, if it is to regain the White House.
There is a marriage gap in US politics. Married women are more likely to vote Republican and single women are more likely to vote Democrat. Eleanor Clift, a Democrat supporter, draws attention to this fact in an article in The Daily Beast, but ironically in a manner which shows life has gone dramatically backwards for many women in America today.
Here is the key question concerning the children’s rights referendum; if passed will it make it too easy for the State to decide what is in a child’s ‘best interests’ and thereby allow the State to override parents in wide-ranging circumstances? A seminar in Trinity College Dublin last night considered this very thing.
We’re accustomed to hearing Sweden is Nirvana for women, especially working women. In part this is because it has heavily subsidised, universal day-care. However, new data shows that Swedish mothers are more likely than their counterparts in other developed countries to claim disability benefits. So things are not as rosy as they seem on the surface.
New research shows that the vast majority of teenagers watch porn, especially boys, and children as young as 11 are addicted to it. Writing in The Daily Telegraph today Jemima Lewis argues that there is no way to shield your children from porn. She’s only half-right in my view.
US Vice-President Joe Biden (pictured) is another of those Catholic politicians who likes to say, ‘I’m pro-life, but’. What he means is, ‘I’m pro-life but I wouldn’t dream of imposing my views on anyone who disagrees with me’. However, when it comes to values he really holds dear, the Veep takes a different approach entirely.
A court in Northern Ireland has ruled in favour of unmarried heterosexual couples and same-sex couples being able to adopt children. I was asked by the Breakfast Show on Newstalk about the ruling. Labour TD, Anne Ferris was also on the show.
The number of people in Western countries, including Ireland, who say they belong to no religion is on the increase. Census 2011 showed that almost six percent of Irish people say they belong to no religion, while a new poll in the US puts the figure at one in five. But can Richard Dawkins (pictured) and other atheists claim all these people for their camp? The short answer is, absolutely not.
New figures from the CSO show that one household type, and one only, has suffered an overall loss in gross income in the years between 2005 and 2010, and that was households consisting of mothers and fathers with one to three children. The Government must take care not to hit them hard again.
One of the best philosophers working in Canada today is Margaret Somerville. She has devoted a lot of her energies to examining the ethics of assisted human reproduction and as a natural extension of this has been examining the issue of same-sex marriage, which she opposes. Why does it make sense to extend your ethical framework from assisted human reproduction to same-sex marriage? The reason is that both attack the central importance to children of the natural ties and of motherhood and fatherhood.
Professor John Haldane, during his talk to the Iona Institute, stated that sexual relations in modern societies were “governed by two principles; the principle of sexual attraction and the principle of sentiment”. He said: “The argument that has evolved from that is very simple. It’s just this: that sexual attraction and love are the determinates of human happiness and should be consummated where sincerely and consensually felt.”
During the debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly this week over same-sex marriage, it was suggested that legalising gay marriage could threaten the freedom of Catholic schools to teach the traditional view of marriage. However, Conall McDevitt of the SDLP scoffed at this idea. He asked “Are Catholic schools teaching children about divorce?”
The Dáil debate on the Government's children's rights referendum has, sadly, generated precious little light. It was, instead, full of clichés. Instead of a nuanced discussion of the finer points of the wording itself, the debate (and that word is used very loosely in this context) rehashed a series of unfortunate misapprehensions about what the children’s rights referendum will actually solve.
In his weekly column in The Irish Times Vincent Browne complains that the proposed children’s rights amendment (CRA) doesn’t go far enough. For example, he maintains that even if passed it will still be too difficult to adopt children in foster care because it will still give too many rights to the natural parents.
We're all familiar with the fact that people are waiting longer and longer to get married, and that cohabitation is more and more common among young people. However, this doesn’t mean most young people no longer want to get married, even though a growing number don’t.
On Tuesday, RTE aired a documentary in which a gay man examined his options as to how to become a father. The programme, Gay Daddy, followed TV presenter Darren Kennedy as he examined the possible routes by which he could become a father. But it is fair to say that it did not really examine any of the profound ethical issues raised by the subject.
On Sunday, David Quinn and Fergus Finlay of children's charity Barnardos debated the Government's proposed children's rights referendum on RTE Radio's This Week programme. You can listen to the debate here.
It's a rare thing, these days for a West European politician to “do God”. It's rarer still when the politician in question does so in a thoughtful, considered way. That's what makes Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles' (pictured) article in the Daily Telegraph the other day so interesting.
This week the OECD produced figures showing Ireland devotes less time on average to teaching science and maths than other countries, and more time teaching RE. We’re rightly worried about falling literacy and numeracy skills here and some people have concluded that the answer is to spend less time teaching RE.
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