“It’s Time to Scrap Southie’s St. Patrick’s Parade”

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According to Margery Eagan, columnist for the Boston Herald, “It’s time to get rid of ” the  South Boston St. Patrick’s Parade:

This supposed celebration of Irish pride and culture has instead become a paean to bigotry. It’s an embarrassment to Boston. It should embarrass Irish-Americans. . . . Where do parade organizers even get the idea that celebrating Irish pride and culture means keeping gays virtually in the closet? . . . Where do parade organizers get the idea that celebrating the military means keeping gays in the closet? . . . And where do these same Southie boyos get the idea that Catholics are anti-gay? . . . It’s time to end this embarrassing charade of a parade. It’s time to really move on.

No kidding, it is time to move on from any discussion of whether gays should or should not be allowed to fully participate in any public event. We, especially Canadians, should not even be having this discussion. In Canada, members of LGBTQ communities are not second class citizens; they are fully functioning members of Canadian society.

Unfortunately, John Oakley thinks the controversy around the South Boston, St. Patrick’s Parade is a topic for debate on The John Oakley Show on Talk Radio AM640. Yesterday, Oakley gave air time to Charles McVety.

According to Wikipedia, McVety is a Canadian evangelical Christian leader. and the president of Canada Christian College. According to Rob Breakenridge, in an article in the National Post, McVety is a “free speech hypocrite.” Forget the adjectives; McVety is an all-round bigot, who spews ad hominem attacks on his opponents. Yesterday, when ranting and raving against gay rights didn’t work, McVety decided to attack Justin Trottier, the spokesperson for the Canadian Secular Alliance.  Trottier’s insistence on gay rights and human rights caused McVety to compare Trottier to Fred Phelps, an American pastor who heads the Westboro Baptist Church.

Phelps’s followers frequently picket various events, such as military funerals, gay pride gatherings, high-profile political gatherings, university commencement ceremonies . . . mainstream Christian gatherings and concerts with which he had no affiliation, arguing it is their sacred duty to warn others of God’s anger.

It is McVety who is like Fred Phelps.  It is McVety who encourages people like the female Catholic bigot, who called the show to say that although she has gay friends, they should not be allowed to participate in a parade honouring a Catholic saint.

Let’s cancel all St. Patrick’s Day parades! Why are Catholics and Christians  celebrating during Lent anyway?  Lent is supposed to be a “time of prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial”; it is not a time for carnival. The very best act of self-denial for bigoted Catholics and Christians is denying themselves the pleasure of self-righteous bigotry for forty days. Who knows, they may even enjoy not being bigots.

3 thoughts on ““It’s Time to Scrap Southie’s St. Patrick’s Parade”

  1. I didn’t hear this debate but I did see their “debate” on Coren’s show. But it was not a fair fight with Trotier up against two fanatical Christians, one of them being the host.

    But Trotier got the best line in when McVety tried to argue that Christian traditions in the west go back to the Magna Carta. Trotier asked Chuckles if this is the same Magna Carta that the Pope, the only Christian authority of the day, disowned as being heretical.

    Debating Mcvety really isn’t fair to real Christians. The man lies whenever the facts do not support his twisted views.

  2. I have a fair dash of Irish heritage, but parades really aren’t my cup of tea. Even when I lived in the Boston area for several years, I never felt the urge to do much of anything on St Patrick’s Day other than have a few drinks, and perhaps listen to some traditional music. Still, I’ve always been sort of glad that the parades happen – I like the idea of the auld sod being publicly celebrated, even though I don’t have any need to participate personally. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t the only possible occasion for such celebrations, of course, but it’s a reasonable and traditional one.

    As for the parade in South Boston, a little digging quickly revealed another side to the story. The parade is organised by a group called the Allied War Veteran’s [sic, as far as I can tell] Council. They’re not terribly good at writing press releases, but they claim that the group whose purported request to join the parade was at the heart of the recent kerfuffle – LGBT Veterans for Equality – barely even exists.

    More to the point, the organisers want to restrict it to “Irish and military themes”. While that’s a bit of an odd combination, given the long and honourable Irish tradition of suspicion towards military recruiters and the prospect of military service, it’s not exactly crazy or incoherent. I could certainly understand a decision on the part of the organisers that a gay rights group – even one made up of veterans – was too tangential to the “Irish and military” focus to merit inclusion. Apparently there’s already an alternative parade that welcomes “gay groups”, so it’s not like they’re being left out in the cold anyway.

    To me it sounds like MassEquality, of which LGBT Veterans for Equality is supposedly a part, is being needlessly pushy and confrontational about the whole thing. Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree that Canadians have no particular need to be “having this discussion” – that is, to get worked up over the composition of a particular parade in a particular American city.

  3. I agree. This is not a Canadian issue. But McVety will go to any extreme to justify his vile screeds.

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