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When God and politics collide

As I crossed the Boyne Peace Bridge, on my way to the pro-life rally in Dublin the other day, an old story popped into my head: King Billy, fresh from battle, was crossing the river, when the boatman asked, “Who won?” And King Billy replied, “Why do you care? You will still be a boatman”. These days I’m almost afraid to ask who won.

It has been a battle royale in France, with a surprise victory for the left and predictable drama in Britain where voters took their bloodless revenge on the Conservative Party. In Northern Ireland, the biggest surprise was the overthrow of Ian Paisley Jr by a former union ally and the near defeat of another DUP stalwart in East Derry by Sinn Fein.

I lost count of the number of times the word “change” was uttered, ruefully by unionists and enthusiastically by Labor ministers – full of promise after a loveless landslide.

Let’s face it: the promise of change isn’t always welcome. Change can be very stressful. Even positive change – like going on holiday – stresses us out.

Change

That’s one of the exciting things about the Lord—He’s always doing something new. But at least you can trust the Lord with your life. Can you say the same about our political masters?

The new British Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, is personally committed to a law change allowing euthanasia. So prepare for an assisted dying policy in the National Health Service (how will we say some might say?). Even Rishi Sunak, his conservative predecessor, said he was not opposed to the idea of ​​a new euthanasia law.

There was a time when pensioners’ main fear of government changes was that their pensions would disappear.

I really hope that the great reset in Anglo-Irish relations is not a mutual embrace of death. Here in Ireland, the Joint Committee on Assisted Dying has recently recommended to the Irish Government legislation on assisted dying.

Of course, euthanasia would be limited to those with between six and 12 months to live – but how long do the limits last? Abortion was supposed to be “rare” but a change in the law has opened the floodgates.

Mainstream politicians from across the political spectrum on both sides of the border – and the Irish Sea – embrace all sorts of strange doctrines”

Bishop Kevin Doran, in his sermon at the Right to Life Mass in St Saviour’s Priory, made a connection between abortion and euthanasia, as some of the arguments are similar.

Perhaps the most pressing question after an election should not be “Who won?” but rather: “Why are politicians so keen to kill the voters?

There was no sound of thunder in this battle, and many of us are sleepwalking through this culture war that is an assault on long-held values.

Mainstream politicians from across the political spectrum on both sides of the border – and the Irish Sea – embrace all sorts of weird doctrines, not just about abortion and euthanasia, but the notion that a child can be born in the wrong body, dissent is hate speech, that drag queen story hour for kids is just panto and the list goes on.

Values

A voter’s worldview and values ​​can no longer be neatly tied to a party label, Conservative or Liberal, Fianna Fail or Fine Gael, Left or Right.

This was illustrated in a headline that appeared in The Catholic Herald on the eve of the Westminster inquiry on 4 July. “You know British politics is out of whack when George Galloway emerges as a viable Catholic alternative.”

Galloway – a political maverick (to put it mildly) – defected from Old Labor to the Labor Party in Great Britain. He now describes himself as “socialist and socially conservative”. Galloway supported Catholic social teaching and declared his love for Jesus “with all my heart”.

Galloway – who has just lost a seat to Labor that he had just won in a by-election in February – has long been a controversial figure. Embracing Jesus is perhaps what now passes for discord in British politics, with a Labor spin doctor once telling former Prime Minister Tony Blair: “We don’t do God”.

They certainly don’t, based on their attitudes to life and death.

“It’s the union, it’s the union, it’s the union,” declared one Paisley stalwart at the DUP’s election launch. I’m afraid it’s much more serious than that”

North of the border, we are distracted by mock battles over which flag is over the door, when the real battle is cultural. The question now is what kind of society do we want to live in? “It’s the union, it’s the union, it’s the union,” declared one Paisley stalwart at the DUP’s election launch. I’m afraid it’s much more serious than that.

Protective

What is the point of protecting the union if the citizens are not free from dangerous laws? What really is the point of a united Ireland, a nation again, if it doesn’t protect life? There is a renewed call for a pan-union front – but surely safety lies in building bridges with those who share core values ​​of life and liberty.

None of the Sinn Fein or SDLP MPs elected from the Catholic tradition in the North are pro-life. Of those who will take their seats, 64% are pro-life and all are union active.

As the Battle of the Boyne is marked on the twelfth of July, there are certainly far more pressing questions than who won the battle.

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