I could talk about our Constitution, particularly Article 44, which says “The State guarantees not to endow any religion”, or I could talk about the fifth amendment, which, on January 5, 1973, removed the special position of the Catholic Church. Whatever about the legalities of putting a symbol, exclusive to one religion, above the chamber of a decision-making arm of our republic, it is immoral.
I could talk about the Bible and its corrupt morality: for example, the oppression of women, and the promotion of slavery, and of death as punishment for homosexuality, among other ‘crimes’, but that would be beside the point. The point is this: our republic is about freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of religion (or none), freedom to express ones views (even christianity) without fear of repercussion from those who disagree. It is about respecting diversity.
Placing a religious symbol in a council chamber, a chamber that is tasked with representing all of the people, is simply wrong. The test for those who support the erection of this crucifix is this: change the cross for the symbol of another religion. How would that make you feel? How would you feel if a county council had a majority that subscribed to Sharia law as guidance for decision-making?
To those who support religious symbols in institutions of our democracy, I say this: be careful what you wish for. The religious symbol, hanging over those issues that impact your lives, may yet be the symbol of another religion to which you don’t identify. Do onto others as you would have done onto you.
Ireland is not a Catholic country, as some like to claim. It is a secular republic, the constitution of which guarantees to protect the religious freedom of all. Supposedly.