Secularism and Oireachtas prayers

 

Sir, – If our politicians in the Dáil and Seanad believe that praying to a supposed divinity before the commencement of each day’s business for “holy inspirations” and “assistance” with their “every word and work” will actually help them, then heaven help us all. – Yours, etc,

IVOR SHORTS,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – The constant demand that the governance of Ireland, and of all publicly funded bodies, be radically secular seems at odds with the realities of Irish cultural sensibilities.

No generation starts from scratch in its understanding of the world but inherits various ways of engaging freely and openly in a shared tradition.

There is no escaping the fact that the Irish way of life has been deeply influenced by Christian thought and practice. For instance, as I grew up all greetings were a form of blessing, especially in the Irish language, while the Angelus bell punctuated the day.

The drift towards secularism does not herald a more enlightened shift in the national psyche but an invitation to join a very loosely defined approach to human living rooted in the even more indeterminate world of modernity.

In any society truth will only emerge out of free competition between ideas and beliefs and not through the dominance of any group over another be it religious or secular. – Yours, etc,

PHILIP O’NEILL,

Oxford.

Sir, – We now live in a society where some people fail to see the irony when the wishes of the majority are frequently set aside at the behest of the wishes of a minority who claim to be the upholders of democracy. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN O’SULLIVAN,

Letterkenny,

Co Donegal.