I welcome the decision to rescind the Good Friday licensing laws. As a priest of the
I am convinced that no religion should have its devotional practices enshrined
in secular law! I am all for the protection of freedom to practice a particular
faith, but not to the extent that sanction is imposed on those of other
dispositions. I think in time this judgment will come to be seen as a positive
step both for people of religious affiliation and society at large. We are not
children and as mature citizens we do not need the State telling us we can't
have a drink in a pub on Good Friday. Church of Ireland
Many including myself will aim to abstain from alcohol during this Lent, but that is my decision and it is none of my business if others prefer to do otherwise. Those for whom this observance is important might find it all the more meaningful when it is a matter of choice not law, and calls on them to witness in the face of the prevailing culture. After all Jesus was counter-cultural so why do we Christians want our faith assimilated into the secular order?
In the context of this issue many people have repeatedly raised very valid concerns about the centrality of alcohol in Irish life and its particular association with sport. Others have pointed out that Good Friday is one of the few days in the year when pub owners and staff are guaranteed a day off with their families.
These are valid concerns but we should not use Good Friday as a flag of convenience to deal with them. If we are going to deal with the Nation’s alcoholism lets be honest and open about it and not use religion as a Trojan Horse. To do so belittles both religious faith and our democracy.