In case anyone might be left in doubt, the theme of the march was “Bye Bye Roe Hello pro-life future.”
The event wasn’t an exact descriptive fit with Mencken’s A Religious Orgy In Tennessee but similarities abound. Images of red smoke - the thought of supposed witches burning in hell for the assumed sin of abortion is Viagra to the adherents of Hate Theology. It's what gets them up . . . not just in the morning.
These days, religious arguments against a person not behaving in accordance with the religious opinion of somebody else, are so easily ridiculed that the holders of such gunk mask their religiosity in the discourse of human rights or child protection. Citing a religious reason as to why another should or should not be doing something is a sure way to obtain a beaten docket. A tell tale sign that the theotard is at large is to be found in the assertion that life is sacred from conception, followed by the false equivalence being drawn between zygote and infant-teen-adult. This has resulted in calls to ban the morning after pill on the grounds that it is an abortifacient, something which only a religious zealot could object to. The engine room of opposition to abortion is tightly manned by the religious lobby, and the captain wears a mitre.
There are of course some who find abortion abhorrent for authentic secular reasons, but they seem few and far between. Their arguments are of interest and should be considered in a way that a religious one should never be. What the pastord or the practitioner of priestcraft might believe the unicorn thinks about abortion should not be factored into the considerations of society. That is not to exclude religious people from expressing an opinion on whatever they like. Just that in an evidence-guided quest for clarity, superstition can have no place. The bishop has as much right - but no more - to a view as the captain of a cricket club. The cricketer might genuinely believe that the wicket fairy at the bottom of his crease opposes abortion. There is evidence aplenty that wicked nuns hate both abortion and children but none to show the same of wicket fairies.
Prior to yesterday's march, Catholic Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, Archbishop Eamon Martin referred to the ruling by the right wing Scotus judges as “hopeful and encouraging”. He would, wouldn't he. Still, his right not to have an abortion when he gets pregnant is something that must be vigorously defended even though we could bet our last cent on the certainty that if altar boys could get pregnant the bishops would declare abortion a sacrament.
Bernadette Smyth, a long term opponent of reproductive rights for women, told the crowd that it was the “pro-life generation”. It is anything but. That generation had its day and was eclipsed by the Repeal the 8th movement. Aontú’s Peader Tobin, still a polished performer who at least believed in something when so many of his colleagues in Sinn Fein believed in nothing, and who was hounded out of the party for his anti-choice stance, seems to have lost his marbles on this one. He compared anti-abortion groups to the “abolitionists who brought the slave trade to an end” in America. The abolitionists stood for a freedom hardly consonant with enslaving women. But sure if it sounds good - even if it overlooks the US pro-life movement having more in common with the Ku Klux Klan than with abolitionists - say it.
The Catholic right had the streets of Dublin to themselves yesterday. Few felt sufficiently threatened by the rightwing lurch in a far off courtroom to come out on the streets to counter the anti-choice marchers. Let them party on five loaves and two fish, washed down by the wine from Cana, there being more than enough to go around. The young activists of the Connolly Youth Movement had considered mobilising against them but in the end expressed concerns about rushing in and bringing people onto the streets without sufficient safety measures in place. On the balance of probability, a prudent decision on their part.
Still, Kate Murphy on her Tod faced down the marchers, who to their credit did not physically attack her: a solitary figure holding aloft her placard proclaiming “The Christian Far Right Can Go And Shite”. Crude but effective.
|Photograph: Tom Honan @ Irish Times|
It is what they do, Kate, every time they open their mouths. There is no sewer big enough to carry their effluent theobabble away so that it might part the Red Sea in two. Holy shit.
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