Saturday, June 25, 2011

My people come from Ireland

My people come from Ireland, but we’ve been here in the states since the colonial days. We even fought in the Revolutionary War. I grew up thinking that my family had immigrated in the 1880s or 90s, but recently found out that my family has deep roots. There are no famous people in my family, and thankfully, no pastors either. I would have been the first if I had followed my calling. I took another path. We are farmers. I am a two generations off the farm. It might as well be a thousand years though. I know nothing of farming.

Ireland intrigues me. I’ve visited in 1999. My memories are a drunken haze of pubs, good beer, and whisky. I came away with a taste for Bushmills and Guinness. I felt completely out of touch with Ireland when I visited. It did not feel like home. It felt oddly friendly, yet distant at the same time. Part of my problem was it’s overt religiosity. I was living in France at the time of my visit, and could not believe how little religion mattered to the natives. Yet in Ireland it’s presence was everywhere. It was even represented in your choice of whisky. Were you a Bushmills man, or a Jameson man? Bloody hell. The fucking answer mattered. In truth, I preferred Clontaf (I’m looking at a bottle now). Religion ruins everything.

Ireland has a law that I cannot abide. The Defamation Act of 2009. It states that “a person who publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion”. I’ve been told a number of times by Irish friends, that if I were a Irish national, my blog would be reported and I could face prosecution. It’s a horrifying thought. Free speech is a right we should not take for granted least it be taken from us.


This work of art is called Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mexican artist Alma Lopez was speaking at a conference on Chicano culture. This work was displayed as part of an exhibit. It pissed off the local Catholics, who reported it to the authorities as offensive.

The Catholic Lawyers Blog has posted an update claiming that “a senior Garda in Cork has confirmed that a file will be sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding the exhibition of material which is insulting and offensive to Catholics”.


The Catholics are dead serious. They claim the following on their blog.

This exhibition was closed down in Santa Fe due to public outrage. Catholics are aware of the gravity of  blasphemies against Our Lady, which, as Our Lord revealed to Sister Lucy, fall into five kinds:

There are five types of offences and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary :

1 – Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception;

2 – Blasphemies against Her Virginity;

3 – Blasphemies  against  Her  Divine  Maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognise Her as the Mother of men;

4 – The blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children, indifference or scorn or even hatred of this Immaculate Mother;

5 – The offences of those who outrage Her directly in Her holy images. Here, my daughter, is the reason why the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired Me to ask for this little act of reparation . .  (May 29,1930)

In Ireland, you cannot speak your mind or express ideas that may threaten a religious institution. I’m glad my ancestors left. To an American, the notion of censorship and repression demonstrated in this process border on insanity. How did a civilized European country adopt such a repressive and wrong headed law? What happened to my Ireland?