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ireland, irish, ulster, ireland, irish, ulster, Sinn Féin, Irish America

Jesus could sort out the parades: Church could find solution

(John Coulter, Irish Daily Star)

Ireland's Christian Churches have a moral duty to take the failed Haass bull by the horns and find a solution to the crisis engulfing parades, the past and flags.

The political parties are using the doomed Haass document as an excuse to campaign for votes in May's elections.

Over the past five years, the Churches have sat on their asses and wasted the renewed interest in Christianity created by the 150th anniversary commemorations of the Great Spiritual Revival of 1859.

The Churches must seek a return of Biblical Christianity as a central core of political thinking by getting parties to focus on the New Testament account of the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ as told in St Matthew's Gospel Chapter Five.

For any true peace and reconciliation to work in Ireland, this Sermon by Jesus must be the foundation stone of political thinking.

Christ outlines a series of attributes, commonly known as The Beatitudes. There is a school of ideological thinking – to which I personally belong – which maintains that communist hero Karl Marx based his 'Das Capital' on The Beatitudes.

His overt criticism of religion was merely a tactic ploy to disguise the fact that he had pinched his ideas from the Bible, and the words of Jesus Himself.

In reality, Jesus Christ was the first real communist – not Marx. My Christ and State ideology is, therefore, based on St Matthew's Gospel chapter 5, verses 1 to 12. Many of the Beatitudes begin (using the Authorized King James translation) "Blessed are …"

However, when the words of Jesus are taken in a modern context, they make the basis for a realistic political agenda for our Churches to champion. Here are the key points which the Beatitudes highlight:

The poor in spirit (verse 3) – the need to restore national pride in society;

Those who mourn (verse 4) – the need to remember and help the victims of the conflict in Ireland;

The meek (verse 5) – the need to help the working class, and for the rich to invest their wealth in helping those less well off in society;

They which do hunger (verse 6) – the need to combat growing poverty in society, and also provide a sound educational and health system for all;

The merciful (verse 7) – the need for a fair and accountable justice system;

Pure in heart (verse 8) – the need to restore the moral fabric of society, to encourage family values and implement the concept of society's conscience;

Peacemakers (verse 9) – the need for compromise and respect of people's views based on the concept of accommodation, not capitulation;

Persecuted (verse 10) – the need for Christian Churches to have the guts to stand up for their beliefs;

When men shall revile you (verse 11) – the need for a free press with responsible regulation.

Tragically, Irish Christians are bogged down in theological debates about women clerics, translations of the Bible, abortion, gay marriage, relations with Islam, and even petty issues such as should women wear hats to church, and how 'loud' in colour should men's ties be before they can enter a church building!

Christians have even 'gone to theological war' with each other over the type of worship coming from the pews.

Ironically, extreme Christian fundamentalists – particularly from the militant pro-life lobby – have coined the perfect rallying call which can see a rebirth of church influence.

Based on the abbreviation WWJD? – it is commonly known as What Would Jesus Do?

January 15, 2014
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This article appeared in the January 13, 2014 edition of the Irish Daily Star.

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