Churches must ditch altar egos: Unite to form Christian party
(John Coulter, Irish Daily Star)
This island urgently needs the formation of an Irish Christian Party to combat the potentially fatal crisis which has befallen many churches.
The time is nigh for Christians of all denominations to set aside their theological differences, launch the ICP and get candidates elected to the Dáil and Stormont.
ICP activists must show the same zeal to succeed in getting elected as their forefathers in the Spanish Inquisition and the Puritan witchfinders.
The ICP is not a movement for pussy-footing whimps, who seem to dominate many churches in modern Ireland.
The depth of the crisis facing Irish Christianity cannot be swept behind the pulpit.
If the slide continues, within a generation there will be more people in Ireland who are non-Christians or non-worshippers than currently exist in the pews.
Practically, when – not if – this becomes a religious reality, Catholic chapels will close and the smaller Protestant denominations will cease to exist.
The clerical abuse scandals within Catholicism have created the false stereotype that only predator homosexuals and child molesters want to become priests or join Holy Orders.
At one time, Ireland was one of the Vatican’s beacons of Catholicism in Western Europe. Families saw it as a badge of honour when they proudly declared a son was entering the priesthood or a daughter becoming a nun.
Has it become a case that folk who feel called to religious orders prefer to conduct their vocation overseas away from Irish eyes for fear of being falsely branded a pervert?
Many Protestant churches find themselves in an equally precarious position.
There are more than two dozen different denominations all claiming to be the one, true Protestant faith.
The Irish Catholic Bishops got a right kick in the theological balls when the Republic voted in favour of same-sex marriage.
The island’s largest Prod denomination, the Church of Ireland, is at war with itself over same-sex marriage.
The gay debate is about to split Presbyterianism as liberals and evangelicals lock horns, with some clerics supporting same-sex marriage; others vehemently opposing it.
Some clerics in many churches need to grow a set of balls when it comes to dealing with the problems of young people, as they are more interested in their image in the community than helping folk.
The fundamentalist churches are more interested in fighting over types of worship, women’s hats, men’s ties, what translation of the Bible to read, going to the cinema, heavy metal, and when, where and how to have sex!
Christians of whatever faith need to face the bitter reality that to survive as an influential community in Ireland, they must unite and organise politically. The IPC must copy the tactics and zeal of their opponents.
In less than a generation, the gay community has gone from having homosexual acts branded as a crime to being the most vocal and powerful lobby on the island.
The IPC must adopt this strategy. It must dispel the myth that it is a bunch of fringe religious nutcases to become the majority voice of order, reason and control in parliament and council chambers.
The IPC must instil in its membership the same discipline for Christian devotion as Islam has created among moderate Muslims.
Just as thousands now flock to gay pride events across Ireland, the IPC must sell its message through a series of massive Christian Pride Festivals.
The IPC must rekindle the spirit of the famous 1859 religious Revival which swept across Ireland.
Forget denominational rituals and traditions. When Catholic and Protestants get together under the banner of the Irish Christian Party, they will find there are more issues which unite them than divide them.
July 28, 2015 ________________