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Opinions contained in The Iona Blog are not necessarily those of The Iona Institute. The Iona Blog is open to anyone who broadly shares the views of The Iona Institute. If you wish to post a comment on a relevant topic please email 200 – 400 words to info@ionainstitute.ie and it will be considered for inclusion in the blog.

Getting married, attending church (David Quinn)

There is a link between marriage and church attendance and it has been highlighted in an excellent book by Robert Wuthnow called ‘After the Baby Boomers: How twenty- and thirty-somethings are shaping the future of American religion’. Much of what it has to say can be applied directly to Ireland.

12/08/08
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Indian case shows that surrogacy laws all about adult autonomy (Tom O'Gorman)

Yesterday's story about a Japanese couple who split up, leaving their surrogate-conceived newborn child in legal limbo illustrates a number of features of the worldview behind surrogacy and related AHR technologies.

07/08/08
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Super-mum culture and its discontents (Tom O'Gorman)

An article in today's Daily Telegraph highlights some of the challenges faced by working mothers, and suggests that “having it all” ie, working and caring for children, might not be all it's cracked up to be.

07/08/08
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Editorial highlights dangers to religious freedom (Tom O'Gorman)

An editorial in Sunday's Washington Times points out that the Californian Supreme Court's recognition of same sex “marriage” in June doesn't just impact of the institution of marriage, it also carries threats to religious freedom.

The leader points out that the Court's ruling held that the non-recognition of such unions was “discrimination”. This has the potential to lead to law suits against any denomination which holds the traditional Christian view of homosexual activity, namely that it is sinful.

Already, the UK has effectively forced the Catholic Church to close down its adoption agencies by forcing them to treat homosexual couples as prospective adoptive couples. In the US, a Methodist group had its special tax treatment withdrawn because it refused to allow its property to be used for a same sex civil ceremony.

The real question is whether such threats could impact on Irish Churches in the future if and when we legislate for same sex civil unions. It seems likely that we will be faced with such issues sooner than we might think.

05/08/08

Split in Conservative Party over role of marriage (Tom O'Gorman)

Ever since being elected leader of the Tory Party, marriage and the family have been central to David Cameron’s political agenda. Over and over again he has stressed that strong families are the key to ending Britain's social problems. To that end, he has promised to give married couples a tax break.

05/08/08
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The growing acceptance of incest (David Quinn)

The modern sexual ethic can be very easily summarised; anything goes between consenting adults. It is neat, easily understood respects the right to privacy as defined in a certain kind of way.

30/07/08
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The UN, marriage and human rights (David Quinn)

The UN Human Rights Committee has demanded that Ireland legalise abortion and cease favouring the family based on marriage.

25/07/08
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Rights and wrongs of Constable Cogman case (Tom O'Gorman)

The case of Norfolk police officer Graham Cogman again raises the issue of religious liberty in the workplace. Coming hard on the heels of the finding of the Central London Employment Tribunal that a London council had violated the religious liberty of a Christian worker, Lillian Ladele, MR Cogman's case seems to be another case of harassment and discrimination against a person of faith.

24/07/08
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Defending freedom of speech (Tom O'Gorman)

The decision by the Australian Federal Court to throw out a law which made it illegal to cause "annoyance or inconvenience to World Youth Day participants” was probably the correct one. If we are to defend the principle of freedom of speech for religious people, we have to defend the principle in general, otherwise it becomes special pleading.

16/07/08
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Traditional family and marriage are the same thing (David Quinn)

In Saturday’s Irish Times Breda O’Brien explained in her column that we have traditionally given special support to marriage because this is how we try to ensure that every child is raised by a mother and father.

15/07/08
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Tony Allwright's article in Irish Times on AHR (Tom O'Gorman)

Belatedly, here's a link to Tony Allwright's article in the Irish Times from a couple of weeks ago, where he mentions the Iona Institute meeting addressed by Joanna Rose.


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Senator Obama talks about the value of fathers (Tom O'Gorman)

Senator Barack Obama has captured the imagination of the public and the media in a way that few other politicians have in recent memory. Despite the fact that he has the most liberal voting record in the US Senate, his appeal seems to cut across party lines, and he holds a solid lead in US opinion polls. And yet, a recent speech he made on Father's Day seemed to belie that liberal image.

11/07/08
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Tory leader's remarks food for thought (Tom O'Gorman)

Yesterday's speech by Conservative leader (and probable next Prime Minister) David Cameron was interesting from a number of perspectives. From the purely social point of view, they contain more than a grain of truth. It has become almost impossible to use words like right and wrong in any serious way because of the paralysing fear that one will commit the most horrid of crimes, that of giving “offence”, or worse, appearing “judgmental”.

08/07/08
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An anti-gay marriage gay (David Quinn)

Here is a very interesting article by a homosexual libertarian who is against gay marriage essentially because he believes same-sex marriage is a surrender to bourgeois norms and to social conformity. He thinks homosexuality should entail a rejection of these norms and therefore should not attempt to encompass marriage.


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David Quinn on Questions and Answers (Tom O'Gorman)

Last night's Questions and Answers highlighted the issue of same sex civil partnerships and the extent to which the Government's proposed Bill on the issue equates such relationships with marriage.

08/07/08
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Irish Times article calling for child-centred approach to AHR (Tom O'Gorman)

Tony Allwright, an occasional contributor to this site, has written a column in today's Irish Times, in which he refers to a talk given at the start of the month by Joanna Rose to the Iona Institute.

25/06/08
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The personal is political? (David Quinn)

A new study commissioned by the Equality Authority finds that women do 39 minutes more work per day than men on average when house work is added to paid work. A study like this gives new meaning to the old 1960s slogan that the personal is political.


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Joanna Rose – Donor-offspring

As you may be aware, last week we hosted Joanna Rose who gave a very powerful talk about her experience as a donor-conceived person who cannot find her biological father. Tony Allwright, a columnist with The Irish Times, wrote about the talk on his blog. You’ll can read his very insightful comments and summary by clicking here

11/06/08
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A 70 year old new mum (David Quinn)

A newspaper report caught the eye the other day. It involved Adriana Iliescu and her three year old daughter. What makes this situation extremely unusual is that Adriana is 70. She used a sperm-donor and Assisted Reproduction to have her child at the age of 67.


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British government can’t make up mind about fathers (David Quinn)

A fortnight ago the House of Commons voted to drop the requirement that fertility clinics must consider a child’s need for a father. This has been replaced with the notion of ‘supportive parenting’. We are to believe that motherhood and fatherhood doesn’t matter, even though every child has a mother and father. Only ‘parenthood’ matters. It’s the kind of thinking that calls husbands, wifes, spouses, girlfriends and boyfriends by the de-gendered, all- inclusive term, ‘partners’.

05/06/08
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Institute for Marriage and Public Policy

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"If I were asked to design a system for making sure that children's basic needs were met, we would probably come up with something quite similar to the two-parent ideal...The fact that both parents have a biological connection to the child would increase the likelihood that the parents would identify with the child and be willing to sacrifice for that child, and it would reduce the likelihood that either parent would abuse the child.."

Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur, "Growing up with a single parent: What hurts, what helps."