Isn’t it funny how we all think we have right on our side?

Bray People - - COMMENT - FR MICHAEL COMMANE

DO YOU think you are brain­washed? Do you think that pro­pa­ganda in­flu­ences you? What about news­pa­per and tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tis­ing? Does it play a role in what you buy?

I imag­ine most of us say we are not brain­washed, that pro­pa­ganda does not in­flu­ence us and that we are ad­verse to all forms of ad­ver­tis­ing. And at the same time we will be con­vinced the ‘other side’ are brain­washed and in­flu­enced by pro­pa­ganda.

Last week Queen El­iz­a­beth and her hus­band, the Duke of Ed­in­burgh threw open the doors of Buck­ing­ham Palace to greet, laugh and chat with Ir­ish guests. Ev­ery­one who went to the event came away full of praise for the Queen and thought it had been a great evening. Imelda May said she had a great night and was greatly im­pressed with the Queen when she came to Ire­land.

Next week Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins and his wife, Sabina are go­ing on a State visit to Eng­land – the first of an Ir­ish Pres­i­dent. On Tues­day the pres­i­den­tial party will be guests of hon­our at Wind­sor Cas­tle and that same day Pres­i­dent Hig­gins will ad­dress both Houses of Par­lia­ment.

How it has all changed and changed of course for the bet­ter. It’s not at all that long ago since Queen El­iz­a­beth was no friend of Ire­land’s. There was a time when it was not fash­ion­able to lis­ten to Queen El­iz­a­beth’s Christ­mas Day ad­dress.

I have men­tioned it in this col­umn on a pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sion that I have been lis­ten­ing to a far right wing US ra­dio sta­tion – Pa­triot Ra­dio. It is scar­ing me be­cause I keep lis­ten­ing to it. I have heard some­one on the sta­tion say that all Mus­lims are not ter­ror­ists but all ter­ror­ists are Mus­lims.

A few days af­ter the white blue and red flag was hoisted in Crimea I was speak­ing to a Rus­sian who was so happy that Crimea had re­turned to Rus­sia. This woman is wise, ed­u­cated and knows what she is talk­ing about.

And the same goes for reli­gions. Chris­tians, or should I say, fa­nat­i­cal Chris­tians, be­lieve they have the clos­est ear to God but so too do Jews and Mus- lims.

It is most likely some­one born in Dublin will be Chris­tian, some­one born in Tehran Mus­lim and some­one in Haifa Jewish. All ac­ci­dents of birth.

And yet just look around the world, look at his­tory and ob­serve the dam­age that has been done in the name of so many ‘isms’.

When I hear church people be­moan the dan­gers of sec­u­lar­ism I find my heart­beat jump to a new strato­sphere. I con­sider it a gift and great priv­i­lege to live in a state that is sec­u­lar. With all its faults and lim­i­ta­tions a mod­ern-day democ­racy has a lot to rec­om­mend it.

And even in demo­cratic sys­tems it is al­ways pos­si­ble that crazy brands of fun­da­men­tal­ism will raise their ugly heads. I can still re­mem­ber a time when I gen­uinely be­lieved that Protes­tants, Jews and Mus­lims could be big­oted and never for a mo­ment think­ing that there could be such a thing as a Catholic bigot.

These days I look about and am re­ally con­cerned about the lev­els of big­otry that are to be seen within the Catholic Church.

Isn’t it funny how we all think we have right on our side? But maybe the more we see and learn about other cul­tures and reli­gions we will be­gin to be wiser and more tol­er­ant of people who think and be­lieve dif­fer­ently than we do.

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