Monday, September 20, 2010

Jiggery Popery

It's nice to know that the Pope thinks I'm a dangerous subversive, threatening the moral fabric of modern society. Yes, I'm one of those atheist secularists he was railing about on his recent visit to the UK. A visit that I - as a taxpayer - subsidised, incidentally. It's bad enough having religious fanatics ranting at me, but I find it doubly galling when it turns out that I'm paying for the privilege. The level of intolerance for any perspective which a reasonable person might describe as 'progressive', shown by Pope Benedict during his visit simply reinforced my aversion to religion. It's knee-jerk reactionaries like him who remind us of just why this country rejected Catholicism. After having to put up with wall-to-wall coverage of his offensive bile, thanks to the news media who seemed to conveniently forget that the Pope is not the UK's spiritual leader, I'm left wishing that Good Queen Bess had burned a few more of the bastards at the stake. And that's the really sad thing - that the Pope's visit has left me with such extreme feelings toward the Roman Catholic church and religion generally. Despite being a non-believer, I've always tried to be tolerant of the beliefs of others, defending their right to worship and genuinely trying understand something of their faith. Pope Benedict has made clear that such attitudes aren't reciprocated. He rails against 'aggressive atheists', but what does he expect when he and his ilk demonstrate such arrogant disregard for our beliefs, (or rather, lack of beliefs)?

Perhaps most offensive amongst his remarks was the assertion that it was thanks to secularists and atheists that the Nazis came to power in Germany. So responsibility for the holocaust lies with us non-believers, eh? Of course, it's perfectly possible to argue that the opposite was true, that the casual anti-semitism promulgated by both the Catholic church and Lutherans in inter-war Germany, created an environment in which Nazism could thrive. Moreover, I'm willing to bet that there were far more Christians (of all denominations) in Germany during the Nazi regime than there were atheists. Let's face it, most of those German soldiers marching across Europe were , at least nominally, Christians, as were the SS men who massacred prisoners and civilians, and the Gestapo officers who victimised Jews, the mentally ill, communists, even catholics, sending them to concentration camps. Oh, and the SS guards at those camps probably went to church on Sundays, as did the politicians and ordinary Germans who all enabled the Nazi regime. But none of that means that the Roman Catholic church supported the Nazis, or even inspired their regime. Such arguments are far too simplistic - just like the Pope's crass attempts to equate atheism with fascism. Most incredibly, the visit ended with our pathetic excuse for a Prime Minister fawningly telling us that the Pope had all given us something to think about. He certainly did - I'm thinking of going out and burning a few priests at the stake...

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