Letters to the Editor

Honest enquiry debased to ‘yet another anti-Catholic distribe'

Criticism of my letters inevitably attach a deliberate distortion of what was said allied to accusations of anti-Catholic bias. Recently I questioned why no Nazi was excommunicated for their part in the Holocaust yet a Catholic doctor assisting in an abortion, under strict legal and professional guidelines, incurs automatic excommunication. This honest enquiry has been debased by G Savage (August 29) to ‘yet another anti-Catholic diatribe’.

The paucity of truth in this claim of anti-Catholicism is easily exposed.

In previous correspondence I have challenged Protestant fundamentalists like the Rev John Gray and the Rev Phillip Campbell and I have rejected any religious argument requiring justification from an ambivalent Holy Book. I have consistently argued for the separation of all religion from government and education, and highlighted the fundamentalism of the DUP which militates against reasoned debate.

Having jettisoned any semblance of honesty G Savage nullifies credibility with the insulting claim that Protestants should shoulder most of the blame for the rise of Nazism.
This is a statement which was not, as correspondent implied, the core meaning of John Bullock’s book which tried to analyse the dynamic of both Hitler’s and Stalin’s careers that resulted in initial success followed by unparalleled terror. He is well aware that my letter had nothing to do with Nazism, but if he wishes to open the can of worms re his Church’s record during Hitler’s regime he might reflect on the following: the Catholic Church opened its genealogical records to the Nazis to facilitate the easy identification of anyone with Jewish blood; the Vatican itself assisted Nazi mass murderers to escape via the infamous ‘rat line’ to South America where they helped  dictators carry out further atrocities.

Of course none of this proves anything with regards to Hitler’s rise. Many religious, and non-religious people risked their lives to save thousands of Jews but historians are generally agreed that the Christian Churches abdicated their moral responsibility to the Jewish people.

This must not be considered analogous with blame for the rise of Nazism, the reasons for which are far more complex.

G Savage knows that his sectarian accusation against Protestants is as irrelevant to my argument about excommunication as his claim of anti-Catholic bias is false.
His exaggerated statement that there has been a “relentless propaganda war on the Church”, is purely an attempt to command the moral high ground of victim hood for his Church.
It seems that any criticism, no matter how valid, must be put down and perhaps this is where an analogy with Hitler is valid.

D TREACY
Templepatrick, Co Antrim

 

Israeli hasbara trying to destroy Corbyn’s leadership

Maerton Davis (September 4) writes from his home in northern Israel querying Francie Molloy’s visit to a peace conference in Tunisia honouring the courage and tenacity of the Palestinians ethnically cleansed from their homes and lands, and the members of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation killed in an Israeli bombing attack in Tunis in 1985.

Mr Davis has joined the chorus of Israeli hasbara in trying to destroy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party because they fear that should he be elected he would not blindly support Israel the next time they carry out wholesale murder and destruction in Gaza, unlike the present Friends of Israel in all three major Westminster parties.

Since March we have all watched Israeli snipers cutting down unarmed protesters in the Gaza concentration camp. More than 150 have been killed including many children and hardly a word of condemnation from our western governments. 

On September 5 the  Supreme Court of Israel gave permission for the demolition of a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank to make way for a Jewish town which will permanently divide that territory into two halves, signalling the end of whatever hope there was of the ‘two-state solution’.

Recently the Israeli parliament passed the law entitled ‘Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People’, clearly reducing the status of Arab residents to second-class citizenship. South Africa under apartheid would have been proud of a similar piece of legislation.

And Mr Davis can find nothing better to concern himself with than Mr Molloy’s visit to a conference in Tunisia.

EUGENE F PARTE
Belfast BT9

 

Blurred voting patterns

Karen Bradley after eight months as secretary of state is now of the firm belief that nationalists would never vote for a unionist party or vice versa.

I take it she does not know that in local elections if people do not think their own politically assigned candidate has a chance of winning, they normally pick a candidate from the opposite political perspective who has a chance of unseating their most unfavourable candidate. That is why a large number of nationalists vote for Alliance in East Belfast, or unionists vote for SDLP in places like West Belfast, Derry or West Tyrone.

Seeing that the vote for both the main nationalist and unionists parties are roughly neck and neck, the balance of power basically rests with the Alliance voters. How Alliance voters would vote in a border poll is anyone’s guess, seeing they have a high percentage who are pro-European, pro-LGBT, pro-liberal, and election savvy nationalists.  Maybe its convenient for the secretary of state to convince herself that all Alliance voters are broadly unionists.

As for cancelling elections for the foreseeable future, this is more to do with planning around a No Deal Brexit than any plan to help the restoration of power sharing. The last thing that the British government wants just before or after a No Deal Brexit is an election here that would show that most people would choose to exit the UK than exit the EU.  

JOHN McSORLEY
Belfast BT5

 

Minority  rights

Can I draw readers’ attention to the recent report that minority shareholders in some private hospitals want their beliefs protected without suffering financial disadvantage and the curious response this news brought from the Sinn Féin health spokesperson, Louise O’Reilly. 

She expresses shock that “somebody would interfere on behalf of themselves as minority shareholders” flying in the face of a legitimate concern. 

Notwithstanding any legal challenge that might flow once the relevant Dáil legislation emerges, the attitude taken by Ms O’Reilly is all too familiar to former Sinn Féin voters – minorities have no rights and the protection of legitimate concerns counts for nothing. 

Hardly very republican and even more jarring as the party attaches itself to the 50th anniversary of the early Civil Rights marches in Tyrone and Derry.

If minorities have no rights, what are Sinn Féin in politics for?

EILEEN DUFFIN
Downpatrick, Co Down 

 

Objective morality

Dr Niall Meehan (August 30) opposes ‘moral absolution’ in the case of abortion. He suggests the authority of the Church has been eroded by such absolutism – witness the legalisation of abortion last May.

Although he omits to say so he explicitly seems to apply the alternative – moral relativism. Hence ‘situation ethics’ viz, circumstances change cases; realism thus trumps idealism; pragmatism prevails.

Another adverse aspect is that of subjectivism ie always leaving the power of decision wholly in the hands of those human individuals involved.  Tellingly, however, the leading ancient Greek philosopher Plato acknowledged the all-persuading presence of objective morality. 
Hence ‘conscience makes cowards of us all’.
For truth is truth.

JA BARNWELL
Dublin 9

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