Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fintan O’Toole: Ireland has left ‘tolerance’ far behind













Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times


We’ve made it clear to the world that there is a new normal — that “ordinary” is a big, capacious word that embraces and rejoices in the natural diversity of humanity. 

LGBT people are now a fully acknowledged part of the wonderful ordinariness of Irish life. 


It looks like a victory for tolerance. But it’s actually an end to mere toleration. Tolerance is what “we” extend, in our gracious goodness, to “them”. It’s about saying “You do your own thing over there and we won’t bother you so long as you don’t bother us”. 

The resounding Yes is a statement that Ireland has left tolerance far behind. It’s saying that there’s no “them” anymore. LGBT people are us — our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends. We were given the chance to say that. 

We were asked to replace tolerance with the equality of citizenship. And we took it in both arms and hugged it close.

20 comments:

Ahab said...

Woooo! It's a beautiful new tomorrow for Ireland. Let's hope more countries (including the U.S.) follow suit.

The Surfer Dude said...

We have to wait and see what the heavily Catholic Supreme Court will have to say on gay marriage.

Since the Catholics on the court will be influenced by their religion and not the constitution, I'm not too hopeful.

I remember my parents telling me about how JFK had to make a speech promising he wouldn't be influenced by the Catholic Church if he was president.

Now look at the Supremem court, and how their religion will influence the entire country!

Infidel753 said...

O'Toole does make an important point. The repression of homosexuality was always dependent on making gays "the other", an alien and suspect group which "we" had to decide what to do about. Even tolerance extended on that basis would never be very stable or reliable. Once people started to realize that their own relatives and friends included some gay people, and the distinction of "us" vs. "them" started to erode, genuine acceptance was probably inevitable in the long run.

I hope this will eventually mean we'll stop trying to put people in such categories at all.

Surfer: Not all Catholics are real Catholics. If they were all Scalias, the vote in Ireland would have gone quite differently. I'm not too worried that Sotomayor will suddenly defer to the Pope on this issue.

Jerry Critter said...

Equality under the law does not eliminate tolerance but it is a move in the right direction.

Rational Nation USA said...

The citizens of America are moving slowly in this direction. If it can happen in Catholic Ireland it can (and will) eventually happen here. It will just take a little more time.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Jeebus. Maybe the Surfer Dude read this:

Constitutional horror: Clarence Thomas argues states can establish official religion

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argues states may establish an official state religion, and sees no problem with an individual state making Christianity the official state religion.

Thomas believes the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause does not apply to the states. The Establishment Clause is that part of the First Amendment that says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
The Establishment Clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another, or none.

While Thomas believes that the Establishment Clause “probably” prohibits the federal government from establishing an official, national religion, he sees no problem with individual state establishing an official state religion.
In the recent, disastrous Supreme Court ruling that found Christian prayers used to open government meetings to be constitutional, Thomas went further than his other conservative colleagues in condoning sectarian prayers at government functions. In his dissenting opinion Thomas disputes the widely accepted notion that the First Amendment’s ban on the “establishment” of religion even applies to state and local governments.

Rational Nation USA said...

My problem is this, as the decsion to enter into the union was voluntary by each states should individual states be denied the right to withdraw from the union if they desire? This has always been my position and IMO Thomas' argument is valid. So, if individual states want to start a State sanctioned religion let them withdraw from the union. If they remain in the union the Establishment Clause binds them.

Jerry Critter said...

I think the right of states to withdraw from the union has already been established. They don't have it. We fought a war over it, although, off hand, I don't know if the supremes have ever ruled on it.

Rational Nation USA said...

Yes Jerry we fought another mistaken war over it. Bet you are thinking it might have been better to allow the rebel states to peacefully withdraw back in 1860. But... it's all about centralized power. Oh well, and so it goes.

Infidel753 said...

Allowing the treason of 1861 to stand and the theocratic Confederacy to become independent would have meant allowing them to keep their slaves, and slavery would likely have lasted at least another generation or two there (preserving slavery was the entire reason for secession, and any claim to the contrary is simply a lie). After that, we would have had a hostile border drawn down the center of what we now call the US, and eventually likely a civil war within the Confederacy when the slaves revolted with the help of every decent country on Earth, keeping the US too distracted and weak to turn the tide in Europe in 1914-1945. The results would likely have been very undesirable from any sane viewpoint.

If we had let the slavers "peacefully withdraw", the US would not be dominating the world today. But someone would.

dmarks said...

Jerry: I wonder how the secession votes by those states would have gone, had all in those states, black and white, voted.

Rational Nation USA said...

We will not be dominating the world forever. No nation state has and likely no nation state will.

Power corrupts is a universal truth. It is a major reason humankind will continue to war. And, those who profit from war hold great influence.

Dervish Sanders said...

What I've been hearing is that the Supremes will rule in favor of gay marriage. This is why the Right is currently freaking out... One example being the Huckster saying the scotus isn't the supreme branch and certainly not the supreme being (and if he were Prez he'd ignore their ruling).

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin after Ireland, a Catholic nation, became the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by popular vote... "We [the church] have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities. We won't begin again with a sense of renewal, with a sense of denial … I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day. That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live. I think it is a social revolution. (source).

I don't know if that means anything as far as the Catholic scotus members go. The court is majority Catholic, although not all the Catholics are conservatives. But nobody is expecting Sotomayer to vote against marriage equality, right?

I bet Thomas might feel differently if a state voted for a state religion that wasn't Christian.

Dervish Sanders said...

I wonder how the secession votes by those states would have gone, had all in those states, black and white, voted.

I don't know why anyone would wonder about that... Unless they were making the racist argument that slaves were happy being slaves. An argument I'm sure dmarks is not making. Still, I don't get his point. The secession issue wasn't voted on by all Southern Whites. Certainly Southern Blacks voting on it had a zero percent chance of occurring.

Jerry Critter said...

Dervish,
I had kind of the same question about dmark's question. If all blacks could have voted, they would not have been slaves and the whole question of secession would have been moot.

Infidel753 said...

I think his point was this. RN was implying that letting the secessionist states go without a fight would have been respecting the self-determination of those states -- by implication, the will of their inhabitants. By raising the issue of how the slaves would have voted had they been able, Dmarks was pointing out that secession was not, in fact, supported my many of the inhabitants, and that RN's hypothetical was ignoring the issue of blacks who, unable to vote, were being dragged out of the Union against their will.

Jerry Critter said...

Speaking of secession, if Texans are serious about seceding, let them see how they can do without any help from the federal government in dealing with the severe weather they are having. I can just imagine them asking for foreign aid.

Rational Nation USA said...

You can make that case Infidel753, and like you said it is about respecting the will of the voting inhabitants of the individual states. So, since everyone has the right to the ballot now let states who want to establish a state religion succeed and fly solo. Otherwise the Establishment Clause binds them.

My quip to Jerry was what it was. Had it happened that way slavery would have ended regardless.

Rational Nation USA said...

Interesting how attitudes change as circumstances change isn't it Jerry?

Dervish Sanders said...

...secession was not, in fact, supported my many of the inhabitants... blacks who, unable to vote, were being dragged out of the Union against their will.

If that was his point, then I think it is a good one to make, although I've never seen him bring this up before (I refer to a discussion on a Libertarian blog where the host argued strongly in favor of allowing the southern states to leave, and on the evilness of Lincoln... Who wanted to steal from the south by way of tariffs).

(According to Wikipedia) when the American Civil War broke out in 1861, British public opinion was sympathetic to the Confederacy, in part because of lingering agitation over the tariff. As one diplomatic historian has explained, "the Morrill tariff bill... was essentially and intrinsically immoral, scarcely less so than larceny or murder".

Was the tariff more immoral than slavery ...I would ask those who argue that the Southern states should have been allowed to leave the union (and yes, the war was fought because of slavery, as Infidel points out). That seems to be the opinion of some.