Topic Archives: Society and Culture

(Over)Prescribing for the Masses?

Prevention, they say, is better than cure. Public health strategies have focussed on the provision of safe drinking water, safe sewage disposal and mass vaccination. These have greatly reduced death and illness from infectious diseases. Preventative strategies are now being taken further; your GP will ask ‘screening’ questions, and you might get an invitation for more…

‘A Defeat for Humanity’

The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin is reported in the media (Guardian, Irish Independent, Irish Times) today, 27 May, as saying that the ‘Yes’ vote in the recent Irish referendum on equal marriage was ‘a defeat for humanity’. He made this remark to reporters attending a conference in the Vatican. The fuller quote more…

Who was Robert Capa?

Portrait of Taro And Capa

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. —Robert Capa On 25 May 1954, the distinguished war photographer Robert Capa stood on a landmine in Indochina and was instantly killed. Though a pioneer of war photography, he wasn’t the first such photographer to be killed. You may not have heard his name, but more…

Homosexual Marriage and the Conscience Clause: a possible compromise?

So the homosexual marriage referendum passed in the Republic. As Mick noted below this makes Northern Ireland the only place in the UK and Ireland without same sex marriage though not the only place in the British Isles. The Isle of Mann has civil partnership but not homosexual marriage whilst Jersey in the Channel Isles more…

Five thoughts on the #MarRef (including what next for fortress Norn Iron?)

A few personal thoughts on yesterday’s referendum, and then five more… One, this was a victory for middle Ireland, not just its radical edges. 80% in some working class areas of Dublin and majorities in plain if slender majorities each of the two Donegal constituencies (last time we’ll see that happen before the next general more…

As a Christian I would vote ‘yes’ to gay marriage…

"Rainbow flag breeze" by Benson Kua. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rainbow_flag_breeze.jpg#/media/File:Rainbow_flag_breeze.jpg

Christians in Northern Ireland haven’t had the best of press lately; ‘gay’ cakes and court cases, same sex marriage and even one would-be MP who wanted to bring back corporal punishment. Nolan (BBC1  20th May) even interviewed Joshua Feuerstein, who most right wing American Christians would consider to be far right wing. But the Christian more…

Yes to Marriage Equality!

Yes Equality badge

Gay people have long been subjected to the nonsensical presumption that they and the activities in which they engage are unnatural; as if the concept of opposite-sex marriage is somehow more natural than the concept of same-sex marriage. This happens to form one of the most popular moral attacks against homosexuality out there. Both types of marriage are more…

Should MLAs merely serve the pure technology of the law, or seek to change it?

Ashers Bakery

Following on from yesterday’s, here’s some additional thoughts, in which I argue that we all may be getting a little too comfortable with letting judges frame law instead of our elected “Lawmakers” at Stormont… listen to ‘Is law taking primacy over democracy in NI?’ on audioBoom Most recently there has been the recent Asher’s cake row, of more…

#SluggerSoapbox: A compassionate plea for a NO vote in the #MarRef…

The following essay is from Kate Bopp, who makes a passionate pitch for voting NO in this week’s Referendum in the Republic. There is not a single jurisdiction on the planet that alters its constitution on the basis of emotive arguments that relate to adult romantic relationships. Constitutional change follows us and envelops aspects of more…

Government of Ireland’s Plans for 2016 Commemorations

easterproclamation

The School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s and the Community Relations Council, in conjunction with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Community relations, today hosted a briefing on the Government of Ireland’s plans for commemorations in 2016:  Ireland 2016: Centenary Programme, presented by John Concannon, Director of the 2016 Programme. The programme, which more…

Antimicrobial (antibiotic) resistance

The control of infectious disease in the 20th century was very largely due to public health measures, such as vaccination programmes in the population, and to the use of antibiotics in the individual. In the past, lobar pneumonia was a major killer of otherwise healthy you adults; and the progression of this illness was often more…

Ashers verdict: ‘To do otherwise would be to allow a religious belief to dictate what the law is’

1cake

The County Court in Belfast has ruled that Ashers Baking Company and its directors discriminated against a gay customer, Gareth Lee, by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. The judgment was a resounding vindication of the Equality Commission (response here), which backed Mr Lee’s case. It became the latest in a long more…

The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants, edited by Burgess and Mulvenna – Book Review

contested identities

Edited academic collections are often technical and specialized – appealing to academics, but offering little to other readers interested in the topic. The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants (Palgrave 2015), edited by Thomas Paul Burgess (UCC) and Gareth Mulvenna (Queen’s) is an exception to this trend, as it draws in an eclectic range of contributors more…