How far are those opposed to religious liberty willing to go?
In Ireland, pretty damned far apparently:
A HOMILY delivered at Knock shrine by the Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Boyce, is being investigated by the Director of Public Prosecutions following a formal complaint by a leading humanist who claims the sermon was an incitement to hatred.
The gardai have confirmed to former Fine Gael election candidate John Colgan that they have prepared and forwarded a file to the DPP after he made allegations that the address by Dr Boyce was in breach of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989.
The homily, entitled: "To Trust in God" was delivered to worshippers during a novena at the Marian shrine in Co Mayo last August and subsequently reported in the media, including The Irish Times, under the headline: "'Godless culture' attacking church, says bishop."
Mr Colgan, a retired chartered engineer and economist from Leixlip, Co Kildare, referred in his formal complaint to two key passages in Dr Boyce's homily which he believes broke the law.
One of the passages referred to the Catholic Church in Ireland being "attacked from outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture".
A second passage, which was included in the complaint, stated: "For the distinguishing mark of Christian believers is the fact they have a future; it is not that they know all the details that await them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness."
Mr Colgan, who was a leader in the 'Campaign to Separate Church and State' in the late 1990s, said in his complaint: "I believe statements of this kind are an incitement to hatred of dissidents, outsiders, secularists, within the meaning of the [Incitement to Hatred] Act, who are perfectly good citizens within the meaning of the civil law. The statements exemplify the chronic antipathy towards secularists, humanists etc, which has manifested itself in the ostracising of otherwise perfectly good Irish citizens, who do not share the aims of the Vatican's Irish Mission Church."
In his complaint, Mr Colgan said he attributed this prejudice to "hostile propaganda disseminated in school and chapel in the main by or for the institutional churches, for there is no rational or temporal reason". In a statement to the Sunday Independent, Martin Long of the Catholic Communications office said: "Bishop Boyce's homily 'To Trust in God' is available for anyone to read at catholicbishops.ie.
"I advise any person to read it and judge it for themselves. It is clearly a reasonable, balanced, honest -- and indeed self-critical from a church perspective -- analysis of the value of the Catholic faith. Bishop Boyce is a good and holy man and much loved by those who know him."
The entire sermon can be read here and ought to be. First, because it's a great sermon. But more importanly, because it'll become quite obvious that it is most absent of anything a rational person would call hatred.
To see an incitement to hatred in anything written in that sermon is to have given oneself over to delusion. John Colgan is someone who is in dire need of prayer.
Then again, I guess that act in and of itself would also be seen by him to be an incitement to hatred.
H/T to Deacon Greg.