St Paddy would vomit his guts up with shame if he returned to the Emerald Isle today and saw the state of Irish Christianity.
Our patron saint, acclaimed with ridding Ireland of snakes, would be spiritually heartbroken at the moral decay and the Biblical-style den of vipers gripping all areas of society.
Instead of an island which spent centuries boasting of the number of Christian missionaries it sent across the globe, so-called reverse evangelism is the holy order of the day.
This is where Christian missionaries from the previous heathen nations are coming to Ireland to convert Irish people to Biblical Christianity.
The Christian Church generally should hang its head and shame and wear sackcloth and ashes because of the state it has left our once spiritually-proud island in.
Every Christian denomination in Ireland should use the St Paddy’s holiday today to renew its pledge to ensure that Biblical principles are once again at the core of our society.
The Bible warns the world will end following the Battle of Armageddon, but Irish Christianity will be on the slippery slope to ‘no influence’ if it does not mobilise to prevent further non-Biblical legislation being introduced across Ireland.
In the south of Ireland, the pope and several senior Catholic clerics voiced their public opposition to same-sex marriage and more liberal abortion laws. Their pleas fell on deaf ears and they lost both referenda.
Now Northern Ireland is next on the agenda. While - when there was a Stormont Executive - Christian politicians could muster enough votes to stop both secular pieces of legislation becoming law, the numbers game is stacking up politically against Christianity.
But as the Brexit crisis hots up, Direct Rule could come back to Northern Ireland making it inevitable that both same-sex marriage and more liberal abortion legislation will be introduced to this Biblical Alamo of a province.
During the same-sex referendum campaign in the republic, there were even rumours the Catholic Church in Britain and Ireland had mobilised a petition containing six million names opposing the then Tory Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to bring same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland.
Some sceptics might say the Catholic Church was only being vocal against gay marriage at that time because it wanted to divert attention away from the embarrassments of the clerical abuse scandals which have been exposed – and maybe more which still have to be unearthed.
The LGBTQ+ rights lobby will brand most Christian Churches’ stance against gay marriages as homophobic.
However, Christian clerics should not underestimate the effects on their preaching if gay marriage and liberal abortion regulations become law on the northern side of the border.
Many clerics regularly deliver Iris Robinson-style rants about the evils of homosexuality from the privacy of their pulpits.
But if the LGBTQ+ lobby wins the day on gay marriage, the knock-on effect could be to severely curtail what clerics utter from their pulpits. Could sermons soon be under the microscope of hate crimes?
Ireland is famous for its religious summer tent missions and beach crusades. Organisations like the Faith Mission still indulge in massive street evangelism campaigns.
But all of these could be consigned to the social dustbin if the Churches lose the gay marriage debate in Northern Ireland.
If marriage is no longer viewed from a Biblical perspective as an exclusive union between a man and woman, what Christian traditions will be targeted next?
Will Christians be banned from wearing religious emblems on their clothing? Will Christians be fined for displaying pro-Jesus stickers in their cars?
Will clerics be issued with a list of inappropriate sermon topics? Or like GPs and solicitors, will clerics require a Government-issued licence to preach?
Will we witness the horrific scenes of clerics being hauled away in handcuffs for breaching preaching codes?
Will I be jailed for publicly suggesting that all schools, colleges and workplaces should begin the day with a Christian prayer, and that Biblical Creation must be taught in all schools as a realistic alternative to evolution studies? See all you clerics in jail!
I hear a lot of talk about Press freedom and freedom of expression. But the only section of Irish society which has true freedom to say what they want unhindered are the judgemental church gossips!
If I, as a journalist, was to publish or broadcast a story about someone’s sex life and I did not have 100 per cent legal, ethical and factual evidence for that story, I will have solicitors crawling all over me like a bad rash - and rightly so!
Media laws and ethical codes exist to protect us journalists, not hinder us in our investigations. But is there any such thing as a Code of Practice for the judgemental church gossips? What sanctions face them if they spread malicious gossip about someone’s sex life and that gossip turns out to be totally unfounded lies?
Judgemental church gossips merely shrug their shoulders when proved wrong, and quote St Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 18 at us journalists. In verses 21 and 22, we find some of the most defining challenges to us as Christians: “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?
“Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven.”
If, as a journalist, I was to appear in court on a defamation charge and I used St Matthew 18 verses 21 and 22 as my sole defence, I reckon I would be referred for psychiatric therapy.
Yes, Christians will face severe challenges if same-sex marriage and more liberal abortion laws come to Northern Ireland as a result of the re-introduction of Direct Rule.
But among the laws which could also come would be the reforms suggested by the 2013 Defamation Act, which although operates in England and Wales, has not yet been extended to Northern Ireland.
Could we see a situation where more judgemental church gossips find themselves before the courts because they cannot produce 100 per cent legal or factual evidence to support their unsubstantiated allegations?
Life is going to get very interesting for the Christian community as a result of Brexit. In the meantime, a Happy St Patrick’s holidays to one and all!
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Listen to religious commentator Dr John Coulter’s slot, Call Coulter, every Saturday morning around 9.15 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM, as part of the ‘At The Table’ show.
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