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My intuition, for what it's worth, is that for a given population to be receptive to the equality argument, it must be at least one generation removed from religious hegemony. When scripture, and its earthly interpreters, are an effective guide to daily behaviour and morals, there is no argument. Literally. (This is, of course, a European perspective, I'm not sure how applicable it is in an American context, given the hegemony of religious observance).

Demographically, immigrants to western European countries are likely to be more religiously observant than their host populations.

In France, the anti-equality movement was spearheaded by the vestigial religious right, but included large numbers of French muslims. It is a sad fact that the resurgence of Muslim religious sentiment and practice in France brings a wave of reactionary attitudes on "social" issues. This is, of course, not something inherent to Islam, but inherent in prescriptive religious practice.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 26th, 2015 at 08:35:31 AM EST
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Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life.

In the US, it is very hard to understand what we mean when we talk about religion. "Observance" is not as high as it must seem in the media and from a distance. It is more a matter of identity. Part of that identity for the rabid right is opposition to marriage equality, "socialism," evolutionary theory, and a long list of other ideas they don't like and don't understand. Very few have even read the book they say is the literal word of god (you'd think that would be high on the bucket list) and are confounded if you quote it to them. Anti-intellectualism runs deep in that community. When they say Obama is "articulate" it is not meant as a compliment. It is shorthand for uppity, bookish.

The rituals, such as they are, function to reinforce the identity.

I have Italian friends who assume that it is the catholic church holding up progress here. But a majority of observant Catholics here actually support marriage equality and are far more progressive in general than the protestant right.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue May 26th, 2015 at 10:44:45 AM EST
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My impression from American friends, including recent immigrants, is that people tend to seek out a congregation that they are comfortable with, without necessarily following family tradition or cultural heritage. And the result is that a high level of religious observance may well reflect people clubbing together socially by affinity, in a manner which society in general approves of.  From that point, people reinforce each other's beliefs and attitudes, liberal or conservative, rather than being influenced by their minister.

At the other end of the spectrum, the more zealous evangelicals are no doubt better at outreach, gathering up people who feel a need to belong, and brainwash them.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue May 26th, 2015 at 12:04:23 PM EST
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In fairness, it must be pointed out that quite a large number of prominent lay Catholics and Priests supported the yes side including the last President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, who has studied in the Vatican and holds a doctorate in Canon Law. She spoke as a mother in support of her gay son who my kids know slightly (Ireland is a small country). The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, was clearly conflicted on the issue, and had to be bullied into line with all the other Bishops by extreme lay catholics in the media and pressure groups... As a result, he has probably lost much respect on both sides...

Pope Francis may wrong-foot them all by changing official dogma if he is not assassinated first... Protestant Clergy were also to be found on both sides, but I suspect more on the YES side. although Northern prods are generally more conservative and evangelical - generally to the embarrassment of their southern brethren.  It will be interesting to see if some or all the Catholic Priests who either came out or supported the YES side (or both) will end up being disciplined.   I suspect not as the Bishops have lost almost all moral authority.

See aso my LTE:
McAleese and church stance on gays

Sir, - Fr Patrick McCafferty (January 15th) states, "The church unequivocally proclaims the message of the Gospel " and goes on to quote twice from Romans in support of his argument concerning homosexuality and church teaching. As he is no doubt aware, Romans is not, in fact, a gospel. Why is it that the opponents of gay rights generally quote St Paul rather than Jesus? Could it be because Jesus never actually condemned homosexuality, and indeed healed the centurion's sick pais (male servant/lover)? - Yours, etc,

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 26th, 2015 at 01:50:33 PM EST
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