“it would not have been our choice to have prayers from the catholic church”

The Antrim Guardian leads this week with news that an ‘enraged’ Christian parent pulled his child off stage during a Christmas Carol Service in Antrim Forum when he learned that a Catholic priest would be jointly leading the assembled audience in prayers. The unnamed parent, a Free Presbyterian, told the paper that he was “literally shaking with anger” when he discovered from the programme of the priest’s attendance and role at the cross-community service. Whilst other political parties- including UUP Deputy Mayor, Adrian Watson, publicly branded the actions of the unnamed parent as “mean-spirited,” an unnamed DUP representative provided the party’s rather interesting take:
“We were totally unaware of the programme in advance and though it would not have been our choice to have prayers from the catholic church, we were present as representatives of the entire community.”

  • pith

    ‘enraged Christian parent’. Says it all really. Who was it said of Northern that it was all religion and not much Christianity?

  • RepublicanStones

    Wow, the priest wasn’t solely leading the prayers, he was sharing the stage with protestant clergy and this bigot still gets angry!!!!!!

  • Ri Na Deise

    What a mentality! What year is this again? 1608?

  • wild turkey

    “I felt physically sick. I was literally shaking with anger,” said the local man, who asked not to be named.
    “I dropped the programme and went straight over to the stage and pointed up at my daughter and told her to come away.
    “I wanted no part of it and as her father it was my duty to protect her. The scriptures are very clear on the question of ecumenical worship, so my conscience was clear.”

    one thing I am not clear about. seeing as the how the scriptures were written early on during the initial spread of christainity and throughout this period there was only one church (admitedly with some geographical subdivisions), just what scripture(s) addresses the issue of ecumenical worship? What scripture clearly states that a true free presb christain should not worship with romanists, greeks etc etc?

    hopefully, enraged parent will next time around checkout the fine print before attending one of these sinful events and by doing so fullfil the scripture which declares

    ‘many are called…but few show up’

  • bertie

    I think that religious tolerance should be extended to this parent. I wouldn’t have acted in this way but that isn’t the point.

    The parents of any children involved should have been told what the event involved.

  • Chris

    A time of peace and goodwill to all men.

    It’s depressing but not surprising to read this.

  • Erasmus

    ”Who was it said of Northern that it was all religion and not much Christianity?”
    Bernadette Devlin.

  • pith

    And she should know.

  • Greenflag

    “I felt physically sick. I was literally shaking with anger,” said the local man, who asked not to be named.’

    It’s people like this poor demented sod who give ‘religion’ a bad name . It’s psychiatric help he needs but he’s probably too far steeped in ‘voodoo’ for it to have any any effect.

    As Father Jack might have put it -this is NOT an ecumenical matter 🙁

    ‘I think that religious tolerance should be extended to this parent.’

    ??? . The only person displaying intolerance was this idiot who upset his daughter’s probable enjoyment of a Christmas pageant by his boorish ignorance and dare I say it ‘unchristian ‘behaviour.

    Northern Ireland has unfortunatley got more than it’s fair share of these imbeciles which is one reason it’s taken 40 years to arrive even at the present ‘farce’ of a temporary solution .

    Anyway as we are now into tolerance -why do Americans , English , GErmans Irish allow ‘mosques ‘ to be built in their countries when in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries – Christian Churches are ‘illegal’?

    Could it be our ‘tolerance ‘ has more to do with getting their ‘oil’ than saving their souls ? Or is it that deep down most of us are basically so far along the secular road that we ‘indulge’ these ‘primitives’ just for the sake of peace and quiet?

  • bertie

    “??? . The only person displaying intolerance was this idiot who upset his daughter’s probable enjoyment of a Christmas pageant by his boorish ignorance and dare I say it ‘unchristian ‘behaviour. ”

    Calling it “unchristian behavour” isn’t a great example of tolerance IMO.

    I am enjoying my feeling of superiority over him as much as the next man but I recognise that for what it is too 😉

  • Not Again!

    Them dreaded bigoted Prods again! Lucky I’m a Catholic and exude only peace, light and tolerance.

    Donnelly really is a one-trick pony. Every post is a cut and paste job on his only theme.

    Come on you pigs in the back row sing up –

    Prod Onionists Bad,
    Catholic Republicans Good.

  • bertie

    LOL @ not again

    Considering what has been done to so many people over the last decades this is really small potatoes.

    I really only have two sympathies here. Primarily the daughter and to a lesser degree the priest.

  • jone

    Still I’m sure the fella and his daughter will laugh about it all in years to come:

    ‘Da, remember that day you pulled me off the stage in front of my friends and peers as I was about to sing in a concert I’d been rehearsing for weeks…those were the days.’

  • willis

    bertie

    “I am enjoying my feeling of superiority over him as much as the next man but I recognise that for what it is too ;)”

    Poor man, you are right.

    How has his “Christian witness” panned out?

    Brave enough to pull his daughter off the stage but not give his name.

    Desiring separation from Rome enough to make a belated gesture but not sign his family up for the Free Presbyterian separatist schools.

    http://www.freepres.org/schools.asp

    http://bible.cc/revelation/3-16.htm

  • OC

    And how many parents would pull their kids at the last moment if a Santeria priest went to work, chanting, with a knife and a goat?

    This incident hopefully will lead to a meeting with leading ministers of all religions as to how they wish to handle situations like this, then spead the word to their respective followers.

  • Mark Simpson

    I’d call it mental abuse of a child.

  • willis

    It’s funny really, a century ago the proud boast of the Ulster Prod male was that he was not “priest ridden” i.e. he made up his own mind guided by the Bible.

    Today it looks like the only “priest ridden” folks are Free P.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’d call it mental abuse of a child.

    I’m sure that parent’s household is a barrel of laughter and fun for a young child grow up in.

    Nonetheless, people are entitled to bring their children up according to their religious beliefs. At school, I was told that children are brought into the world with original sin within them which must be “cleansed” and that bad things happen to people who do not go to mass or confession. To me, that’s all in the same league as this idiot who thinks that ecumenism is the mark of the devil.

    Frankly, I can think of a few Catholic parents who would do the same if the carol service had an Amnesty International logo in the background. The only way we can ever see an end to this nonsense is to try to educate people in the values of tolerance and diversity and the faults of narrow-minded dogma.

  • blinding

    Ah God help us!

  • First of all it certainly is a parent’s ride to decide what type of religious service that their child can attend. It was not ideal that the father only found out about the ecumenical service when the service actually begun.

    Its not unchristian or anything nasty: he was adhering to his religious faith and that is his perogative.

  • is on the way

    Jacob Marley

  • willis

    Ignited

    “It was not ideal that the father only found out about the ecumenical service when the service actually begun.”

    So who has the responsibility? This was a the fourth in a series of Annual Carol services involving local Primary Schools.

    http://www.antrimtimes.co.uk/entertainment/Voices-unite-at-Antrim-Forum.4770578.jp

  • Mark McGregor

    Most seem to be missing the main element of the story preferring to focus on the individual religious position of one parent, which they are perfectly entitled to hold.

    To me the far more revealing aspect is the DUP rep quoted, demonstrating the religious and sectarian core of the leading governing party in the OSC – a position they aren’t perfectly entitled to hold:

    it would not have been our choice to have prayers from the catholic church

  • I love the bit about the DUP. It gives me a smug little kick to think that for years they accused the Republic of being a theocracy.

    I’m not saying it wasn’t, but at least we’ve been getting rid of the witch-doctors, and we certainly don’t elect them to anything. I don’t know of any southern party that would dare to make a statement about anyone’s religion.

    I imagine Christmas in that little girl’s home is a real barrel of laughs though.

  • LURIG

    The lift doesn’t go to the top with some of these religious zealots and I firmly believe a lot of them are not the full shilling. Many of the angry red faced fundamentalists do protest too much and the blokes are probably wearing womens knickers or suspenders under their Sunday best. The ones who shout the loudest are usually the ones with serious character flaws or skeletons in their closets.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Mark is right. I thought the DUP were at least pretending to be non-sectarian these days.

  • David

    ‘I’d call it mental abuse of a child.’

    A fair assessment Mark.

    Utterly depressing and sad

  • Mark McGregor

    Mark is right. I thought the DUP were at least pretending to be non-sectarian these days.

    Posted by Jimmy Sands on Dec 20, 2008 @ 06:51 PM

    *picks jaw up off floor*

    It took many years but i’ve ended up saying something Jimmy could agree with. I’ll go to bed a happy man tonight.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Mark,

    I doubt our views of the DUP are very different.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Sadly this kind of bigotry is milk-fed amongst these types.

    Can anybody think of any major political party, never mind a governing one in western Europe who could get away with what the DUP have said?

    Clarification is called for from the leadership.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Clarification?

    Seems pretty clear to me.

  • Dave

    “Many of the angry red faced fundamentalists do protest too much and the blokes are probably wearing womens knickers or suspenders under their Sunday best.” – LURIG

    Yes, but they feel so silky and smooth to the… whoops!

    “…though it would not have been our choice to have prayers from the catholic church, we were present as representatives of the entire community.”

    Only if the ‘entire community’ is protestant.

    “I had no intention of embarrassing the school or the organisers, but if I had known that there was a chance that my child would be exposed to Romanist prayers I can assure you she would not have been there in the first place.”

    Fair point. The organisers should have informed the parents beforehand.

  • Catholic Athiest

    Actually, what the feck are the DUP doing commenting on a relious matter in any case?

    Yes, the guy is a bigot. But I have met enough Catholic priests in my time to have no time for them either.

    It is the Free Presbos view that the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic is, in fact, the whore of Babylon. That view is no more invalid than saying that only Catholics will get to heaven ie it is a steaming pile of mumbo jumbo.

    In future people should spell out if they are going to have religious appearances from whomever.

    Or, here’s a better idea: tell the lot of them to keep it in their church.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “The organisers should have informed the parents beforehand. ”

    Warning: May Contain Popery

  • Or, here’s a better idea: tell the lot of them to keep it in their church.

    Agreed 100%.
    Church is for Sunday; education is Monday to Friday and ne’er the two should mix.

    But that’s not really the point here; personally, I’d most disturbed to find out that my child has been tricked into performing in front of the tribal witch-doctors without prior notice- the parents should be informed exactly of what’s planned.

  • CW

    “Many of the angry red faced fundamentalists do protest too much and the blokes are probably wearing womens knickers or suspenders under their Sunday best. The ones who shout the loudest are usually the ones with serious character flaws or skeletons in their closets.” LURIG

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, LURIG. It reminds me (and possibly a few other senior citizens of this parish) of the old Kenny Everett (RIP and himself a former candidate for the Catholic priesthood funnily enough) character Mr Angry of Mayfair, a sexually repressed city gent type clad in bowler hat and pinstripes who would complain about the disgusting and depraved nature of the the previous sketch, only to turn his back to the camera and reveal that under his pinstripe suit he’s wearing stockings and suspenders.

  • Harry Flashman

    If the DUP now believes it is some form of quasi religious organisation rather than a political party would they have the decency to let us know and to spell out exactly what their religious policy is.

    As regards the man taking his child off the stage, if it offends his religious beliefs then he has every right to do so. The odd thing is that there seem to be a plethora of stories in the media these years around this time about Christmas services being restricted in schools and public places so as not to offend other religions and strangely the same sort of ‘right on’ types who are so swift to condemn the father in this instance are the same types who are usually behind the moves to “de-christianise” Christmas in order not to offend the self same “bigots” in minority religions.

  • Mark Simpson

    To those who are defending the right of the parent on the grounds that it is their religious belief… if they’d pulled their child off the stage because someone who was black appeared on the platform… would that also have been acceptable to you, or at the very least have some form of defence?

    Or is it just some forms of bigotry which are acceptable?

  • OC

    “(I)f they’d pulled their child off the stage because someone who was black appeared on the platform… would that also have been acceptable to you, or at the very least have some form of defence?”

    A radio advice blowhard was asked if one’s parents didn’t want their children to marry someone of a different religion, isn’t this the same as not wanting them to marry someone of a different race.

    The answer given was race discrimination would be unacceptable as one cannot change one’s race. Religion, on the other hand…

  • Harry Flashman

    “if they’d pulled their child off the stage because someone who was black appeared on the platform”

    He didn’t pull his daughter off the stage because of the religion of some of the participants but because he didn’t wish to have his daughter take part in a ceremony which offended his religious beliefs, they are two entirely separate matters.

    I have no objection to my children having any involvement with children whose parents might not share my political viewpoints but I’ll be damned if I’ll allow them to be used in anything that I might regard as a political demonstration for a cause about which I disagree. It is the same thing with this man and his religious views.

    I fear that citing “racism” is rapidly becoming the last refuge of people who can’t organise a coherent political argument.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m going to get everyone here abusing me, but personally, it “would not be my preference” to have priests or indeed any other religious ministers about the place, other than, of course, those sworn to uphold the word of the many noodly appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    If we’re going to agree that people are allowed to object to religion on the grounds of free speech, then surely it must be quite permissable – if abhorrent – for the DUP to argue that it would “not be their preference” for Catholic priests to be there. It would “not be the preference” of the Catholic church to see a lot of things that other religious beliefs hold going on, but we don’t see that as inherently bigoted; merely part of the observance of a religion.

    FWIW, I find all this to be bullshit and the actions of this parent to be hateful and intolerant. But religions are ridiculous and they all come out with this crap. Some are just better at PR than others.

  • Jim Henson – Muppett Master

    Since the event raised funds in aid of a suicide charity perhaps the organisers should have invited the Education Minister, Caitriona Ruane, to attend. Her views may have united all the religious zealots.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Minister-should-be-ashamed-of.4810788.jp

    As Willis noted via the Antrim Times link:

    “All proceeds from the concert will be donated to PIPS (Public Initiative to Prevent Suicide and Self Harm).”

    http://www.antrimtimes.co.uk/entertainment/Voices-unite-at-Antrim-Forum.4770578.jp

    Not much complaining out of Twinbrook parents. Puts the storm in a teacup into perspctive.

  • gram

    >>He didn’t pull his daughter off the stage because of the religion of some of the participants but because he didn’t wish to have his daughter take part in a ceremony which offended his religious beliefs, they are two entirely separate matters.<< Yea right. Of course he pulled his daughter off stage because of the religion of one of the participants. As I understand it there was a representative from a 3rd religion present who he didn't seem to have a problem with. The racism comparison is appropriate.

  • Paul O’Toole

    Very mixed feelings on this one. My first thoughts were “How pathetic.”, but I have friends who are atheists and refuse to allow their children to be involved in any religious service (although I doubt they would pull a child off a stage in public if they had been too stupid to check for any religious content first), parents do have the right to decide on whether or not there children take part in any religious ceremony.

    If the guy had refused to let her daughter share a stage with catholics then it would have been disgusting, but to refuse to allow her to take part in a ceremony which he believes (however rightly or wrongly) contravenes his religious beliefs is more pathetic than offensive.

    The comments byu the DUP representative are more worrying. The whole idea that the DUP somehow “accepted” the fact that a catholic priest was present on the grounds that they were representing the whole community seems to be put forward as evidence that the DUP has somehow become forward thinking and progressive. This guy doesn’t seem to get the idea that whather or not a catholic priest is present has got bugger all to do with the DUP or any other politician.

  • borderline

    Last Xmas there was no midnight mass so this lapsed Taig went to the prods, for a first.

    Bit bare for a church, but some fine birds.

    I changed the words of Oh come all ye faithful to the good old Latin Adeste Fideles and didn’t even get chucked out.

    They’ve added a line to the Our Father, as if it wasn’t long enough.

    Not a lot different though, all things considered. I’d recommend it.

  • Well, I suppose since Adeste Fideles means Come all ye faithful in latin, you didn’t go too far long.

  • x

    I have mixed feelings about this, while I was at school various parents objected and removed their children from various classes and activities due to their personal beliefs where mormon, Jehovah Witnesses or Free Ps – all perfectly acceptable. At least one of the human rights conventions protects the right of parents to have their children educated accordingto their beliefs and ethos. A point frequently made on behalf of the maintained sector. So while I don’t like or agree with the father’s actions I’ll defend his right to do it. And we need to be careful, once we start moving down the road of qualifying these rights more than we do already we are in dangerous territory.

    Personally I believe that church and state and education and church should be separate so while it is right for children to have nativity plays etc why should any demoninational priest or minister be present, this is a kids play not a church service?

    as for the DUP, well they still have the problem of playing to their looney wing while trying to keep the moderate prods on board. To paraphrase an old saying – scrap the surface and they are religious fundamentalists underneath. So no one should be surprised by the equivocal response to this incident.

    While ordinary liberals are appalled the backwoods men love it so the DUPs will accept it.

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