Terror in the Skies & Richard English Book Review: Terrorism – How to Respond

The story of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his plot to bring terror to the American skies has been playing out over this Christmas period. Almost daily revelations of failures to communicate intelligence information, not to mention the apparent ease with which he passed through airport security, have revealed uncomfortable flaws in our systems. So much […]

Contemplating Ireland’s Apathy: Do Irish Citizens Want a Say in their Future?

There is a stunning lack of accountability in Ireland. It doesn’t have to be that way. Writing in today’s Irish Times, columnist Elaine Byrne recounts how an indignant and industrious Icelandic citizenry has peacefully and effectively achieved meaningful political change in the wake of the country’s financial crisis. Demonstrations and mass protests, many organised by […]

Iris Robinson Retirement: Depression, Family Dynasties, Gay Rights and the Battle for Northern Ireland’s Moral Soul

The DUP’s first lady, Iris Robinson, unexpectedly announced her retirement today. Mrs Robinson, a councillor, MLA and MP as well as the wife of DUP leader and Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, cited depression as the reason for her decision. Depression is doubtless rife in Northern Ireland. Societies transitioning from violence typically have high […]

Peter Rollins Book Review, The Orthodox Heretic: Reading ‘Impossible Tales’ at Christmas

At the centre of many Christians’ conceptions of Christmas is a story about how Jesus’ birth came to pass. The gospel writers supply different stories about Jesus’ birth and its significance – for instance, Luke emphasises Jesus’ humble origins and how his birth was announced first to the outcasts of society (shepherds), while John writes […]

A Victim of Clerical Sex Abuse Speaks Out

In all of Ireland’s current sex abuse scandals, it seems the perspectives of the victims keep getting lost as we focus on the bishops of the Irish Catholic Church, or on abusers like Liam Adams. Today an anonymous victim of clerical sexual abuse had a letter published in the Irish Times. It is heartbreaking to […]

Priest Tells Congregation to Shoplift

Shoplifting is a Christian option. So says Fr Tim Jones of St Lawrence and St Hilda Parish in York, who advised the poor members of his congregation to steal from large national businesses if they were desperate in the run-up to Christmas. Fr Jones’ comments have been roundly denounced by the police and by the […]

The Religious Education Debate: Does Religion Need the State?

Terror and wonder. Religious education has the power to instil such emotions in the young. Recent revelations have exposed the physical and sexual abuse that was rampant in many of the state-run, church-controlled churches on this island. On the other hand, in my own research in Northern Ireland I have spoken with people who cherish […]

Sex Sells: Advertising Christmas in New Zealand

A ‘Progressive Christian’ congregation, St Matthew’s in the City in Auckland, New Zealand, has launched a provocative billboard campaign for Christmas, depicting Mary and Joseph in bed, with the words: ‘Poor Joseph: God is a hard act to follow.’ The priest at the church told Ekklesia that the aim of the billboard was to spark […]