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What is so difficult about a secular state?

This Saturday's Irish Times contains the following snippet under in its column In Short.

The High Court has reserved judgment on a challenge to the constitutionality of a provision of the Charities Acts which outlaws the sale of Mass cards except through an arrangement with the Catholic Church.

Thomas McNally, head of Mass card producers MCC, New Street, Co Longford, and his sister, Marie Reilly, a card retailer of Ard Na Rí, Ardnacassa, Co Longford, have taken the action against the State over the measures, which became law in early September.

The plaintiffs claim the Act is unconstitutional in that it unlawfully confers a monopoly on the sale of Mass cards to clerics of the Catholic Church or to persons approved by them.

What is significant here is that the legislation in question, the Charities Act, was not introduced at the tail end of the 1960s, in the austere 1950s, the needy 1940s or the reactionary 1930s. It was introduced last year, in 2008. This year brought blasphemy as a criminal offence.

What's next? Mandatory religious indoctrination in the national school system?  Oh...

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