Suppression fails: Enjoying religious freedom

Our contemporary culture war around secularism and the place of religion — primarily Catholicism in Ireland’s case — in public life can be heated, especially around health or education issues. Historic betrayals animate it too. However, no matter how fraught, no matter how passionate that debate has, thankfully, remained comparatively civilised. Shouting maybe, shooting no.

The Easter bomb attacks across Sri Lanka that killed over 250 people show that this position, one of tolerance if not quiet respect, is not universal. That many of Sri Lanka’s Catholics stayed at home yesterday and celebrated Mass through television because of fears of renewed attacks as churches remained closed underlines a denial of a basic freedom.

The weekend attack on a synagogue near San Diego as worshippers celebrated the last day of a major Jewish holiday, killing a woman, is another sad example of hate directed towards religion. This is strange, as history shows, especially in our pre-independence years, that nothing strengthens religious observance than a campaign to suppress it.

More on this topic

Man dies and shops and mosques are destroyed in Sri Lanka communal violence

Sri Lanka churches hold first Sunday Mass since Easter bombings

Sri Lankan Catholics watch Mass on TV for second week following Easter attacks

Romesh Ranganathan to host Sri Lanka fundraising comedy gig

More in this Section

Five things to look out for in the European elections

Blue Flag beaches: Prized assets

Hate speech: Define ‘interest of public policy’

The housing crisis: Mr Murphy’s co-living nightmare


Lifestyle

Weekend Food: Darina Allen introduces you to some of her favourite Sri Lankan dishes

More From The Irish Examiner