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  • Writer's pictureDonal Horgan

Is 'Pride' the New Piety?

Updated: Jun 23

1954 is now best remembered in Ireland as the Marian Year. Dedicated to Our Lady, the year was marked by a special sense of piety and devotion in Ireland. It saw the erection of numerous shrines and grottos throughout the length and breadth of the country. It was, in every sense, intended as a way of marking out the public space for a particular Catholic belief system.


Seventy years later, it seems like Ireland has changed beyond recognition. Or has it?

The thing about piety and the near obsessive virtue signalling now associated with ‘Pride’ is that both are intended as much as public displays as they are a way of fulfilling any private personal need.

Marian Year 1954 Grotto

The practice of marking out the public space for a particular belief system remains as much a feature of life in Ireland in 2024 as it did in 1954. Today, even non-descript pedestrian crossings are repurposed as ‘rainbow crossings’ with local authorities competing in a sort of virtue signalling Olympics to see which council is the most virtuous with regard to LGBTQ+ matters.


The subliminal message here would appear to be that a pedestrian crossing is not just intended for conveying pedestrians safely across a street but is also an opportunity to remind those same pedestrians of a new vision for society – the LGBTQ+ vision. There are Marxist echoes here. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, some of Mao’s more fanatical Red Guards even took offence at the negative connotations associated with red traffic lights and switched them to green!


If 1954 was the Marian year and May was the month of Mary, no one  needs reminding these days that June is now ‘Pride’ month. The rainbow regalia is everywhere and is intended to be so. What started out as a simple one day event has now morphed into a three month extravaganza rivalling the packed calendar of any religious organisation.


The religious processions have given way to parades which, at this stage, are starting to take on a distinctly religious and devotional overtone. The papal flags, a feature of many of those religious processions, have now given way to the Progress Pride flag. It’s much the same story with the May altar of yesteryear which is now more likely to have been replaced by rainbow bunting in the home or at the workplace reception.


The wholesale adoption of Pride by the corporate world is noteworthy. Not surprisingly, corporates have always been wary of getting involved with political lobby groups on the simple basis that their primary purpose is making money. However, these days they now appear to be all singing off the same corporate hymn sheet with the now near mandatory Pride flag flying outside the workplace front door.


The key factor here in getting the corporate world onboard with the LGBTQ+ world view has been the role of the powerful American Big Tech sector. Drawing on its west coast hippy roots, Big Tech has literally dragged a conservative corporate world into the same camp as people who hold some highly unorthodox and unscientific views on biology and science.


This now plays out in some truly bizarre sights like Ireland’s Department of Finance changing its social media logo to a rainbow theme for the month of June. Once better known for its exacting instinct for fiscal probity, Ireland’s taxpayer funded Department of Finance is these days busy aligning itself with gender ideology, an increasingly contested and disputed ideology.

Why the Department of Finance (or any other corporate or public body for that matter) feels the need to involve itself in sexual politics has never been properly explained. Presumably, that may well be down to the inordinate influence wielded by NGOs  these days over Ireland’s public sphere.


There may well be a marketing theory somewhere that insists that adopting the rainbow agenda can only result in a win-win scenario for any particular organisation. Everyone, the theory goes, is well disposed towards radical gender ideology so why not associate your organisation with it and reap the benefits? However, I would suspect that such a theory is more likely a piece of LGBTQ+ generated folklore about itself rather than an independently verified marketing theory.


The notion that publicly aligning your organisation with the rainbow lobby can only have a positive outcome for that organisation is open to question. Certainly, it’s fair to say that, for a lot of Irish people, seeing the Pride flag flying alongside the Irish national flag atop Ireland’s historic GPO is unlikely to produce an entirely positive reaction.


That said, few if any of these people are going to do an about turn from entering that same GPO when buying a stamp or collecting that pension. Most peoples’ lives are simply too busy for that kind of high principle.


However, it could be argued that a corporate reputation is more usually lost one bit at a time and the sight of the Pride flag flying over Ireland’s historic GPO counts as a big bit for a lot of Irish people. In this way, no one should underestimate the power of the silent majority who are rarely heard particularly so when it comes to Pride month.


Much has changed with Pride even in the space of a decade. The LGBTQ+ lobby, far from being some marginalised group, is today a powerful lobby which has no problem in trying to silence its critics. People who question them and the belief systems behind gender ideology are increasingly viewed as ‘hateful’ people who need to be silenced through hate speech laws.


Every belief system has a tipping point, a point when the power of a belief suddenly starts to lose its power to control. That is true of the type of Catholicism common in Ireland in 1954 and it’s also increasingly true of ‘Pride’ and the LGBTQ+ lobby.


If the saying goes that ‘pride comes before a fall’ then surely you have to wonder when, not if, the whole Pride month extravaganza comes crashing down. Will the corporates, those notoriously conservative entities who were late to the Pride table be the first to signal that the party is finally over for Pride? Time will tell.


Far from being the marginalised outsiders challenging the consensus, Pride has now become all about a powerful vested interest attempting to enforce a consensus about its own belief system on the public space.

Perhaps that’s the thing about Ireland 2024 – it’s starting to look so much like Ireland 1954.

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