The whole world knows what happened here in Ireland on Friday last. At least they know what the media is telling them: Ireland voted for 'Gay marriage'.
Fact: Nearly 40% didn’t vote
Fact: just over 23 % voted no (a poor result I admit).
Fact: just over 36% voted yes – a little over a third of the population have decided for the rest of us.
How did this happen? I agree with some that clericalism (and its relatives anti-clericalism and laicism) has done damage. A Presbyterian colleague (a good Ulster man) last week said the whole thing was anti-Catholic. But years of poor catechesis, acceptance of contraception, secularisation (US and British TV dominate much of Irish culture) and to top it off the damage done by the clerical abuse scandals have taken their toll. Ireland hasn’t been a Catholic country in reality for a long time. There remains a superstitious attachment to the rituals of baptism, first communion and the funeral but even the church wedding is becoming less popular. The Catholic Faith is in poor shape above all on the East coast (i.e. Dublin).
The main reason the referendum passed is simple: CASH
The Yes side were massively funded from the US, in particular, and many corporations and big companies got actively involved (Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter etc), Ryanair offered free flights for those going home to vote. They were able to use focus groups and professional expertise to manipulate language and emotions and so to swing the younger voters behind their side. The media were entirely on the Yes side. Even the head of the Referendum Commission was publicly advocating a Yes vote!
The No campaign won the TV debates and the Irish Bishops were balanced and careful (strong tactics having failed spectacularly in earlier referenda) but we were out gunned. The No side could not compete with the Yes as regards resources but even so the Yes side were worried it would not go their way – I think where they succeeded, apart from the young voters, was in making the waverers decide not to vote. They used emotion to bully people away from voting No. The Guards (police) were even caught tearing down No posters!
For those who were not here – who did not experience the unrelenting talk and propaganda and the pressure from family and friends, on Facebook, in conversations, signs everywhere and with the expectation that one could not possibly vote No – it’s impossible to imagine. There was huge pressure to conform, to be with the 'in crowd' and to 'go along to get along'. The language was perfect: 'love', 'respect', 'equality' - all undefined but packed with emotional weight. There wasn't enough moral or spiritual fortitude to cope and sufficient numbers voted Yes or just opted out to let the Yes side win.
There will be a price for this. This will not stop at marriage. As long as Catholics and other Christians are around, along with those who simply recognize the objective nature of moral law, then we will be a living sign of contradiction and we will not be tolerated. I expect that the legal route will be taken first but I doubt they will be able to resist the temptation to go further. The homosexual community are but the tool of darker forces and persons who wish to use them as cover for their own perversity. There are dark days ahead but we will survive. The Faith will not die out in Ireland. The blood of martyrs is seedbed of the Church.
At the moment though I feel like a Jew in the early days of Nazi Germany. Pray for us.