God and the Constitution

 

Sir, – Bruce Arnold’s opinion piece “We have just voted God out of the Constitution” (May 30th) is, despite its headline, a timely reminder of how far we have yet to travel to take God out of the Constitution. In addition to the preamble, citing “all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ”, and article 6.1, citing all powers as deriving from the people “under God”, there are several more mentions of a deity in our Constitution.

For example, other articles direct that important public office holders – the President, members of the Council of State and members of the judiciary – swear an oath of office in the “presence of Almighty God”.

Article 44.1 states that “The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God” and that “It shall hold His Name in reverence”.

There have been calls in recent days for the Citizens’ Assembly to be reconvened to address the role of religious organisations in the provision of education.

Perhaps the Citizens’ Assembly could also be tasked with examining how to take God out of our Constitution once and for all so that Mr Arnold’s opinion piece would match its headline. – Yours, etc,

SÉAMUS WHITE,

Dublin 1.

Sir, – Bruce Arnold’s Nietzschean proclamation that we have just voted God out of the Constitution couldn’t be wider of the mark.

While the Constitution, adopted in 1937, has references reflecting the Catholic orthodoxy of the time, the courts have not interpreted its provisions on fundamental rights as Christian rights.

In the McGee case in 1973, the Supreme Court emphatically rejected the idea that natural law was God’s law, finding that the fundamental rights in our Constitution derived from universal values of prudence, justice and charity.

Only last year, the High Court, in Friends of the Irish Environment v Fingal County Council, confirmed that natural law is a universal secular human concept when it identified a fundamental Constitutional right to an environment consistent with our well-being and human dignity.

The reality is God hasn’t been voted out of the Constitution because God was never in it in the first place. – Yours, etc,

FRED LOGUE,

Smithfield,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – Bruce Arnold states that the electorate has succumbed to the original “fake news” uttered to the woman in the Garden of Eden.

The serpent in question, however, told Eve the truth; there was nothing fake at all about what she was told.

There are indeed consequences from the knowledge of good and evil but Eve was not lied to by the serpent. – Yours, etc,

PAUL KOMIEROWSKI,

Ballyconnell,

Co Cavan.

Sir, – Bruce Arnold is concerned that “we have just voted God out of the Constitution”.

She should never have been there in the first place. – Yours, etc,

ULTAN Ó BROIN,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.