The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55980   Message #874642
Posted By: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
25-Jan-03 - 11:05 AM
Thread Name: Irish Music and Religion
Subject: RE: Irish Music and Religion
Before I say anything, I want you to know that I love the Comhaltas and have been a member. We were delighted to visit Belgrave Square and to know how important the organization is to the furtherance and support of Irish music.

Now, the issue at hand. The Catholic Ethos. In the States, a lot of people say that we are basically a Christian nation. This is used as a pretext for promulgating Christianity over other forms of religious expression by certain reactionary sects such as the Southern Baptists.

Is Ireland a Catholic nation? At first blush it would appear so. It would seem that if the majority of the membership of Comhaltas would like to have a Catholic mass conducted under it's banner, then this is OK.

Here in the States, we think of this as the "tyranny of the majority".
It goes back to the philosophy behind the framing of our
Constitution. The United States is not a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Zoroastrian country. 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. It may be different in Ireland, I don't know.

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? Does this bias enter into the selection of those contestants at a Fleadh? jA religious ethos promulgated in an organization doesn't make me feel wholly comfortable with it.

I don't know the answers. These are questions not opinions. I confess an ignorance of Irish "culture" although I loved our visit to Ireland and the Irish people that we met. I also love the Comhaltas and what they do. Wish we had something like that here in the States.

The closest thing I can think of is the "bluegrass" community which as far as I know doesn't have a formal church ceremony under their respective auspices but there is a cultural bias.

I wish the Comhaltas well and hope that this difficulty can be resolved. I do see it as a problem.