I agree, there is a very strong whiff of anti-religious bias to this thread, and to what Doubting Thomas claims he is attempting to do.
Frank Hamilton, I think you are not understanding that Comhaltas is:
1)an Irish organization with branches around the world, and is NOT US founded or headquartered;
2) that it is more than just a music organization. It clearly states in it's constitution that is also an organization that promotes the Irish language and Irishy culture;
3) that the Catholic ethos of Comhaltas is deeply rooted in the Irish Gaelic speaking community's cultural traditions, which includes teh Catholic faith;
4) not one jot of this has anything to do with whether the US is officially a Christian nation (it is not), or Ireland being an officially Catholic nation (it is, just like Poland is).
In Ireland, where Comhaltas is based, the cultural and language aspects of the organization are every bit as important to it's membership as the music. Also, it is a very common practice in Ireland, for many organizations, local governments, etc. to offer a mass in conjunction with community events and festivals that take place over the weekend.
Now then, Comhaltas has nothing whatsoever to do with the US government, or vice versa. It is not a US organization, it is an Irish organization, with branches in the US, in Canada, and around the world in the Irish diasporan community. Perhaps Frank, you didn't read my post above where I took great pains to cite from the source--the organization's constitution.
So I am wondering Frank, why you keep insisting that this organization should be cleansed of it's religious roots? The constitution being discussed here is not the US constitution, but Comhaltas' constitution, which I quoted extensively from in my post above.
You say: "We do have organizations that are non-profit with a particular leaning but they do not represent our county as governmental or necessarilly American cultural bodies."
Again, I think you are misunderstanding what we are discussing. Comhaltas is not an American organization, it is an Irish organization with branches here. It is headquartered in Dublin. Comhaltas doesn't "represent" the United States in any way, shape or form. It is no different than many other immigrant community organizations that exist in the US, with ties to the immigrant community's home country.
You ask: "Can a Jew be a Comhaltas member? Can a Muslim be a Comhaltas member? So the mission statement ostensibly says. But can a Jew in good conscience attend a mass other than as a disinterested spectator? Can a Muslim? Can a Protestant for that matter? Can an Atheist?"
Why on earth would a member of any religious faith NOT be able to attend another religion's services with a clear conscience? What does that have to do with anything? That is just such a bizarre suggestion.
You then state: "A religious ethos promulgated in an organization doesn't make me feel wholly comfortable with it."
Well Frank, with respect, it looks to me like you just plain don't like religion, and aren't interested in participating in organizations with a religious ethos. That is fine and dandy, and you are fully within your rights and reason to be and think that way. But it does NOT give you a right to dictate to others that they adopt your way of thinking and being on religion, and organizations with a religious ethos.
Don't like Comhaltas' Catholic ethos? Then you don't have to have a thing to do with it. That is your choice. But to suggest that Comhaltas should cleanse itself of it's Irish cultural ethos, which does include the Catholic faith, is pretty bigoted, in my opinion.