Former President Mary McAleese has accused religious institutions in Ireland of being “channels for homophobia” and said she has questions to answer.
The former president said “unfortunately” she believes that leaders of all major religious groups need to reflect on their teachings.
“We also need to have a debate about where does this hate come from? What keeps him going? What can’t challenge him,” she told The Anton Savage Show on Newstalk.
“And I still think, regrettably, that in a country where religion plays a very, very, very big role and is a huge key factor in recruitment, I think the churches – and I’m not just talking about the Catholic Church , I speak of all major denominations – because they are all conduits for homophobia.
“They all have questions to ask about whether or not and to what extent they were channels for hate.”
Despite calling Ireland a safe place to live, she said homophobia – and homophobes – are out there.
“It’s out there, it’s on the streets,” she said.
“When my son got married a few years ago – he’s gay – when he and his husband got married, I preached a sermon at the wedding.
“I was just pointing out how fortunate we are to live in a place where he and his partner, his husband, can walk the streets relatively safely.
“But knowing that there are always homophobes, there is always hatred that can surface — but also knowing that there are parts of the world he just can’t visit.”
Former President Mary McAleese added that despite progress in recent years, including the landmark referendum on marriage, the problem of homophobia in Ireland has “never gone away” and more effort is needed to address it.
Ms McAleese’s comments come as her son Justin McAleese wrote an open letter Irish Independent was: “Open letter to young gay men: Being gay is not wrong, it’s not a choice, believe in yourself”.
In it, Justin McAleese urged gay men to embrace their sexuality and come out to family and friends.
He said: “The Ireland you come to voted overwhelmingly for marriage equality. The Ireland you are coming to is one that loves you, embraces you and accepts you.
“You’ll feel lighter, you’ll be able to breathe and be yourself in a way you haven’t since you were young. Believe in yourself and be yourself.
“We’re here for you.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/all-of-them-are-conduits-for-homophobia-mary-mcaleese-says-irish-churches-need-to-reflect-on-their-teachings-41558820.html ‘They are all channels for homophobia’ – Mary McAleese says Irish churches need to reflect on their teachings