Merry Christmas!

A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...
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Best wishes to all my readers, subscribers, facebook fans and stumblers. Here’s to you and yours having a wonderful Christmas. I leave you with a poem by T.S. Eliot. A fitting poem for the year that we have had I think.

The Journey of the Magi

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times when we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities dirty and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wineskins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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LGBT Carol Service in Cork

On Monday 20 December a Carol Service will take place in St Annes Church, Shandon Street Cork at 8pm. This will be a a Celebration of Welcome. A non-denominational service to welcome everyone.

Singing the Carols will be Mná, Mná, a choir put together for the event and winner of Chambers Got Xtra Talent Darragh McGann.

The service has had some coverage across the pond on LezGetReal who have a post that is well worth reading.

Mince pies and mulled wine will be served after the service.

I for one am looking forward to this.

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Blasphemous Libel

Okay so the whole Blasphemous Libel thing has taken off and is a cluster on Irish Blogs and a lot of people are up in arms about it. Some posts are offensive to some people. As pointed out to me on twitter. As blasphemy is a crime according to the constitution, it has never been so in criminal law. But what is Blasphemy?

According to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (On Reference.com)

blasphemy, in religion, words or actions that display irreverence toward or contempt for God or that which is held sacred. Blasphemy is regarded as an offense against the community to varying degrees, depending on the extent of the identification of a religion with the society at large or the government.

It goes on

Blasphemy has been a crime in many religions and cultures, wherever there is something sacred to protect. Socrates was prosecuted for blasphemy, and Mosaic law prescribed death for cursing the name of God.

It also states

Secular modern states often retain blasphemy laws, but they are infrequently enforced.

In South Austrailia in 1977  the Criminal Law and Penal Methods Reform Committee stated that “today it would seem anachronistic to charge anyone with blasphemous libel.” (Law Reform Commission New South Wales, Discussion Paper 24(1992) – Blasphemy). So why are we making it an offence now?

England and Wales abolished the offence of Blasphemy in July last year, and here we are, a secular republic introducing this archane law. Would hate speech not cover this want they want to do here?

My big issue here is that as a non-christian who does not believe in one all powerfull god. Also under Islam, blasphemy is

speaking ill of Muhammad or of any other prophet mentioned in the Qur’an, or to claim that there is more than one god or that Jesus Christ (the son of Mary) is the son of God, or to speak ill of God.

So that means under this legislation a Priest could be taken to court under this law for Blasphemous Libel as it stands.

Its strange considering out own Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution recommended that blasphemy should be dropped from the Constitution here is our Government trying to bring it in.

I am amazed and concerned.

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