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Tax breaks go way beyond churches

John Colgan (Letters, Jul 11) feels strongly about having to subsidise churches in this country by way of the tax breaks they enjoy as registered charities.

In a country where some 84% of the population sign off as Catholics, according to the most recent census, he might be holding a minority view here.

On the other hand, it is harder to estimate just how many of the population will be seriously upset by having to subsidise abortion on grounds of completely unverifiable suicide ideation.

He should also be aware that churches are not the only organisations to benefit from taxpayer largesse.

There are many other groups and quangos that many people in this country would have serious reservations about who also draw from the public purse.

One case in point is the Spunout website for young adults which offered advice on threesome relationships, among other things.

This service received funding from the HSE. Yes, the Constitution sets a limit to freedom of conscience at the point where it clashes with “public order and morality”. I suggest that most reasonable people would not put abortion or its facilitation beyond that limit. Yes, “ordinary” Catholics have been silenced by “Vatican mandarins” for preaching against the church’s official position.

Lucinda Creighton has, on the other hand, been silenced by Fine Gael mandarins for upholding FG policy or what was FG policy up the last general election. Furthermore, she did not seek to impose her views on anyone else.

She merely requested a free vote on the issue something that is an established precedent in political parties around the world when individual conscience finds itself bound by a higher law than that of any party or parliament.

Citing conscientious objection where a nurse is merely asked to place a crucifix, a Bible, a menorah or any other religious symbol by the bedside of the recently deceased so that their families can ritualise their passing according to their personal faith does not come anywhere close to what is understood by a violation of individual conscience.

Margaret Hickey
Co Cork


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