Tackling homophobia in print in North Cork #MarRef

“There is no equivalency between marriage and sodomy and those who seek to make them equal are only codding themselves and others.”

So begins regular correspondent Mairead Scannell’s latest missive to The Avondhu. It’s a hateful, hate-filled letter, a litany of homophobia, intolerance and what seems to be an obsession with “sodomy”. I was immediately struck that I could not imagine many other newspapers printing it. I reproduce it in full below because it is a frightening and unvarnished insight into the mindset of some of those opposed to marriage equality but be warned that it’s horrible.

Dear Editor,

There is no equivalency between marriage and sodomy and those who seek to make them equal are only codding themselves and others.

‘Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.’ There are any today who wish to live as though God does not exist and work actively to kick God out of every aspect of our lives. God is not mocked. We need only to see the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to know that God will not tolerate homosexual behaviour. Since it is a grave sin, we cannot support sodomy under any circumstance. While we are duty bound to condemn the action (the sin) we cannot condemn the sinner, but speak the truth in the hope that each will live the chaste life that God calls them to do.

In Ireland for the past twenty years, in particular, we have been drip fed the homosexual lifestyle. All the TV soaps, both home-produced and imported, have been softening up the nation with their carefully crafted  scripts so that our acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, that which is so opposed to God’s laws, has taken a ‘soft grip’ on the minds of the people. Along with that, we are warned that any opposition to the ‘gay lifestyle’ will earn us the term homophobic, intolerant, ignorant and old fashioned. While many may be bullied into silence, Christians are called to witness to Christ and to speak the truth, uncomfortable though it may be.

We could never have envisioned that in 2015, Ireland would be asked to vote sodomy into the Irish Constitution and be deluded into calling it marriage. Clearly, those pushing this agenda, believe that after twenty years of gay propaganda, Ireland is now ‘ripe for the picking’. It shows how far down the decadent slope we have slipped. Catholics and Christians of all churches, have a clear choice o make come referendum day to decide whose side they are on. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters,” says the Lord.

Christ does not tolerate hypocrites. He calls us to ‘Be my witness’ and tells us that ‘My sheep know my voice and follow me’. When the sheep wander away from the True Shepherd, they become slaves of a new master. ‘What happened in Massachusetts’ will happen here. A documentary of the same name is available on the internet for anyone who wishes to educate themselves in this regard.

Persecution of Christians will follow here, as it has done in every jurisdiction where same sex marriage has been legalised. It won’t be persecution by one such as ‘Cromwell’ but by the entire establishment. The new ‘Human Rights’ will give Government and its officials ‘the right to do wrong’ and to penalise mothers, fathers, teachers, priests, photographers, bakers and any other person or service providers who do not step into line.

Regards,

Mairead Scannell.

These replies  were published today by the Avondhu.

Dear Editor,

As a teacher of English, I often lament that fewer and fewer young people read language in print. However, it was with relief that I thought of this fact when I read Mairead Scannell’s opinion piece on same sex marriage, published by your newspaper on 12th March. This is a publication that is in most homes across a huge area in Cork, and I dread to think how reading her article would affect a young person (or any person) thinking about, or coming to terms with, their sexuality.

Because of her views against the “gay lifestyle,” Ms Scannell notes that she may be labelled “homophobic,” “ignorant,” and “intolerant.” In that case, maybe her energy would be better spent worrying less about the gay lifestyle. There are worse things out there for Christians to worry about than couples who love each other and want the legal right to spend their lives together. Perhaps she could instead consider the nationwide issue of mental health, or the homelessness crisis?

The article is filled with thinly-veiled fear, loathing, and disgust, under the guise of Christianity; and surely in 2015, we have had enough of the terrible damage done under the guise of Christianity?

Ms Scannell does make one valid point, though. She says that “Catholics and Christians of all churches, have a clear choice to make come referendum day to decide whose side they are on.” Certainly the choice is clear, for the non-religious as well as the religious. Human rights are for all, not just for some, and should never be written in inverted commas.

Yours etc,

Maeve Keane.

Dear Editor,

I write today in response to Mairead Scannells most recent article published by your newspaper, where she lays judgment on LGBT people of the area. As a gay woman born and raised in Fermoy, I’m disappointed to see another hate filled rant, and really that’s all it is, again fill the pages of your newspaper. I have written to the Avondu before on another of her letters which was not published as it was apparently too personal. However there doesn’t seem to be an understanding that when you publish an article like this, I, and other gay people in your towns and villages are personally targeted when you refer to things like a “homosexual agenda” and “gay propaganda’. I’m not quite sure what these are but most of us are simply trying to live our lives like anyone else.

Ms Scannell uses selective quotes from the bible to suit her own argument and she doesn’t seem to be able to tell the difference between a gang rape in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and a loving consensual relationship between people of the same sex and for me that is a really sad place to have to live your life from. Given that she also seems to be working on the misunderstanding that “sodomy is being voted into the law” she also doesn’t seem to understand that homosexuality was already legalized twenty years ago and the sky didn’t fall in and as far as I’m aware we haven’t had the mass Christian persecutions that  Ms Scannell seems to be fearful of. In fact the most damaging force to Christianity in Ireland over the last twenty years has been the behavior of the Catholic church itself.

If we are to look a bit closer at the bible, homosexuality is only briefly mentioned in about six of the Bible’s almost 32,000 verses. The fact that it is so rarely mentioned should be an indication to believers of the lack of importance attributed it and the sections in which it is mentioned bear no resemblance to a modern loving relationship. If Ms Scannell is such an adherent to the bible she should be writing letters about the sins of eating shellfish, getting a divorce, tattoos, working on Sundays, eating fruit from a tree within four years of planting it and men trimming their beards. But she doesn’t, as she is willing to cite Leviticus for what she personally thinks is sinful, while ignoring the things she doesn’t. While the Bible is nearly silent on homosexuality, a great deal of its content is devoted to how a Christian should behave. The New Testament asks believers to embrace fairness, equity, love, and compassion. As Matthew 23: 23-24 says “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.” Love not fear is the most valuable Christian virtue and its a value I’ve experienced growing up in Fermoy.

If you are someone who puts their trust and faith in God, I would ask you to trust that God is loving and that no harm will come to a society in which love and family are prioritized. I hope that Ms Scannell finds some peace in her life and that she finds it in her heart someday to love rather than hate. If you value love and commitment I would ask you to vote yes in the upcoming referendum. Some people will tell you that you should be afraid, but there is nothing to fear from allowing a couple in love to marry and devote their lives to each other.

Yours etc,

Sonya Donnelly

Dear Editor,

I read with interest Ms. Mairead Scannell’s letter of 16th March. I note her concern with the “homosexual lifestyle” and its conflict with her Catholic principles. Ms. Scannell is entirely within her rights to hold these opinions, and to live her life by whatever principles she so chooses. May I suggest, therefore, that if and when the marriage referendum passes in our diverse Republic of many religions, and when loving same-sex couples are entitled to full equality before the law, that Ms. Scannell simply gets on with her life and doesn’t enter into a same-sex relationship herself. After all, it’s the right to marry someone of the same gender we’re voting on, not the obligation.

Yours etc,

Rebecca Murphy

Dear Sir,

Mairead Scannell’s latest letter is, even by her standards, a spectacular. Her talk of Christ and Christianity does nothing to lend moral weight to what is, in fact, a vile homophobic rant.

If the Devil may cite Scripture, it is worth noting that of the 41,071 words attributed to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, nary a one of them did he speak on the subject of homosexuality. If being born gay is the abomination Mairead Scannell believes it is, would the Son of God not have made sure to address it?

There are gay kids growing up in the Avondhu region and it is deplorable that they could read such hatred directed against them in your publication. You would not dare print such bile aimed at any other minority and you should not have published Mrs Scannell’s vicious screed.

I believe in a Republic which cherishes all its children equally and I’ll be voting Yes in the upcoming Marriage Equality referendum. A Yes vote will send a powerful message of tolerance and equality to all our citizens, not least to those who would drag us all back to the dark days when Ireland was run by the clergy. As Collins said, “Give us the future… We’ve had enough of your past… Give us back our country… to live in, to grow in, to love”.

Yours sincerely,

Donal O’Keeffe

(Should you wish to reply to Mrs Scannell, editor@avondhupress.ie)  

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