Thursday, September 09, 2010
I disagree with many of his teachings. But it's those who oppose Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain who are the real bigots
By Stephen Glover
When Pope Benedict XVI touches down in Edinburgh next Thursday at the start of a four-day state visit to Britain, he may be forgiven for thinking he is not particularly welcome. The Devil himself could hardly have got a worse press.
For the first time in my memory, there has been constant coverage in parts of the media, especially the BBC, about the costs to the taxpayer of such a visit, put at some £10 million. At a time of belt-tightening this expenditure is considered by some to be scandalous.
Yet I can’t recall many people querying the costs of previous state visits to Britain. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa is a misogynist polygamist, whose corrupt government is now bearing down on a free Press. Very few complained that the red carpet was being rolled out for him, and the fine wines uncorked, when he came here in March.
Worse still, Pope Benedict is being treated in some quarters as though he were a war criminal.
In a newspaper article yesterday, the well-known Leftist barrister Geoffrey Robertson suggested that instead of offering him a state visit we should be preparing a legal case against him because he has not dealt with sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church as robustly as he should have.
In an even more extreme — if not lunatic — vein, the militant atheist and Christian-hater Richard Dawkins suggested a few months ago that he might orchestrate a ‘citizen’s arrest’ of Pope Benedict during his visit to Britain for ‘crimes against humanity’.
Mr Dawkins was only 37, and perhaps too young to contemplate a citizen’s arrest, when the blood-soaked tyrant President Nicolae Ceausescu made a state visit to Britain in 1978, staying at Buckingham Palace with the Queen. But I can’t remember anyone else advocating locking up Mr Ceausescu.
Many of the things being said and written about Pope Benedict XVI are not merely discourteous to an 83-year-old man who is leader of more than a billion Catholics in the world, not to mention six million in this country. They are also nasty, and reveal disturbing traits of intolerance among this country’s supposedly liberal intelligentsia.
Let me declare that I am not a Roman Catholic. If I am wholly honest, I suppose that, like many Englishmen brought up on tales of the Spanish Armada and the Roman Catholic Queen ‘Bloody Mary’, I retain a few traces of anti-Catholicism that are largely irrational. More rationally, as an Anglican whose father was a clergyman in the Church of England, I resent the Roman Catholic view, promulgated as recently as 1896, that Anglican orders are invalid.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is by this definition little better than a witch doctor. As for the doctrine of ‘Papal Infallibility’, first proclaimed in 1870, that seems barmy.
Nor do I agree with some of the moral teachings of this Pope, or his charismatic predecessor, Pope John Paul II, on matters such as birth control or women priests or homosexuality, which Pope Benedict once described as a tendency towards an ‘intrinsic moral evil’, though he has on other occasions demonstrated some understanding for gays.
Despite these reservations, which will be shared in varying degrees by lots of people, including many Roman Catholics, I nonetheless acknowledge that Pope Benedict expounds what he believes is Christian doctrine in a courageous way.
Unlike many bishops in the Anglican Church, he does not bend to fashionable secular trends, and holds fast to beliefs which are those of the traditional Church. Isn’t that admirable?
And before he is dismissed as a fuddy-duddy ultra conservative, we should remember that he criticised the Anglo-American imbroglio in Iraq, and recently spoke out against the sudden forced expulsion of Roma gipsies by the French Government. Whatever else, Pope Benedict is a humane man.
As for the countless heinous cases of child abuse involving Catholic priests, it can certainly be argued that, like his predecessor, Pope Benedict was slow to grasp the severity and extent of the problem. But despite ingenious attempts to implicate him in some way, there is no evidence at all that he condoned what took place. I believe in the sincerity of his expressions of regret.
Here, surely, is a good, clever and holy man with whom we can disagree on some, or even many, issues. But he is not a monster and child abuser to be vilified as though he has deliberately committed acts of evil.
In his newspaper article Geoffrey Robertson imagined the Pope ‘engaging in hate-preaching against homosexuals or allowing the Catholic Church to operate a worldwide sanctuary for child abusers’. Who is the extremist here?
I have been trying to puzzle out the sheer bloody mindedness and unreasonableness of some of the Pope’s critics. In part it must arise from ancient feelings of fear and hatred about the Vatican and the Papacy which run very deep in this country for well-known historical reasons, and which I have owned up to sharing, albeit in a tiny degree.
But there is something else at work, even more intolerant. It is the voice of secular humanism. I accept, of course, that lots of secular humanists are tolerant and reasonable people. But there is a hard-core which embraces and promotes atheism with the blind fervour of religious zealots. Richard Dawkins is my prime exhibit, but there are many others.
Such people can just about put up with wishy-washy Anglican clerics who substitute fashionable secular platitudes for traditional beliefs, and often display a very faint faith in God.
What these zealots find detestable in Pope Benedict is not only his utter refusal to buy into their secular liberal beliefs, but also his power and effectiveness in sustaining an alternative, God-based moral system.
Parts of the BBC — the Today Programme on Radio 4, for example — offer the secularist zealots an ever-increasing platform from which to undermine Christian belief. Mr Dawkins is a great favourite. So is a philosopher called Anthony Grayling, who campaigns against Christianity. He was at it again on the Today Programme yesterday morning.
It is difficult to disagree with Cardinal Keith O’Brien, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, who recently accused the BBC of ‘a consistent anti-Christian bias’.
The Cardinal noted that the BBC — whose director-general Mark Thompson is, strangely, a Catholic — is broadcasting a programme on the eve of the Pope’s arrival called Trials Of A Pope. He suggested, rightly I am sure, that this will be a ‘hatchet job’.
Notwithstanding all the hatchet jobs that have been executed and others that are planned, Pope Benedict’s visit will probably make a deep impression on many people, including non-Christians.
We may not agree with everything he says, or even with his most fundamental beliefs. But his visit should be welcome because he is something rare in the modern world. A decent man of principle.
Affirmative action loses its gloss
It's been a rough year, politically, for the glass-ceiling smashers. Neither feminism nor the civil rights movement, which claimed credit a couple of years back for the golden gifts of Nancy Pelosi and, especially, Barack Obama, cannot have anticipated what their breakthrough moment in 2008 would lead to.
In 2008, the United States had never had a black -- or, if you like, mixed-race -- president. Nor had it had a woman speaker of the House. In 2009, it got both. Are we glad yet?
If we judge officeholders by the now-inane touchstones of sex and class, why, yes, we're ecstatic. Whoopee, let's break out the champagne!
If, on the other hand, the proper electoral criteria in these cases are sound judgment, prudence, tact and such like, well, that's another matter. When it comes to those long-admired attributes of leadership, both the president and the House speaker now come up short, as voters apparently see it.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Not in the parlance of those who have long lectured us about the death grip of white males on the leadership corps. No, we had to do something about that grip. We had to have Barack. We had to have Nancy. They had to bring new perspectives, new outlooks, new ways of doing things; they had to weave new constituencies into the political fabric.
Well, now, that was fine: The only trouble being that America's first black president and its first woman House speaker inspire many to question the whole premise of promotion based on biological tendencies. On affirmative action, that's to say.
It's a premise very 20th-century American in its origins -- and completely nutty in its implications. Affirmative action in electoral politics makes no more sense than it makes on the factory floor or in the corporate office. The content of one's character, as Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated for having said, should be what counts. Indeed, it was to embrace this truth that Americans knocked down at last the segregative walls that had divided the citizenry. Show us what you can do, was supposed to become the operative injunction directed at job-seekers and political candidates.
Race wasn't the only factor that propelled Barack Obama to the White House, but it was a big one, as the mixed-race scholar Shelby Steele noted during the campaign. Whites wanted to feel good and affirming about backing a black candidate, Steele said, so they embraced Obama.
Pelosi, congresswoman as she was from San Francisco, was a different kettle of fish. No national constituency chose her; rather, her Democratic colleagues elevated her to leadership. Still, the moment of her elevation became an occasion for congratulations all around. A woman speaker! No good ole boy, she! Man, O man, as we said in more barbaric times than these, things are sure gonna be different now.
Well, er, yes. Things are sure different -- starting with the widespread sense that the Obama administration and its allies have worn out their welcome. Poll after poll suggests disaster for the Democrats this fall, as partial punishment for the present 9.6 percent jobless rate. Never mind, Democrats don't read polls. If they did, they might not, under Pelosi's leadership, have enacted a health care program for which there was no great demand, and instead worked to bring the economy back.
Might not a white male team have done as badly? Yes, certainly. That's part of the point. Many voters saw, and some still see, race and sex rather than good ideas and basic competence, as the governing considerations for leadership. They got their way, didn't they, for better and, as often, worse.
It won't be that easy again: which is good. A candidate of any race or either sex who has great ideas, coupled with impressive skills and deep experience, qualifies for the vote of any intelligent American. A candidate who's merely -- yes, merely -- black or female, or for that matter white or male, hardly qualifies for a second look. It's been a chewy lesson to ingest. But nutritious.
My Hate Speech Conviction
Over the summer, I was convicted of anti-gay hate speech. The most incredible thing about it was that I never set foot in Canada. The conviction happened while I was in Colorado. But the offense took place almost 15 years ago.
In the 1990s, a friend of mine announced that he was divorcing his wife because he had decided (after a couple of unhappy marriages) to pursue the gay lifestyle. My decision to support him was born out of ignorance. Not only was I harboring the illusion that there actually was such a thing as a gay gene. I was also ignorant of the fact that gays could be successfully cured through therapeutic efforts.
My decision to label my own verbal support of his lifestyle choice as “hate speech” makes sense only after one becomes educated about that lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 82% of all known sexually-transmitted HIV cases in 2006 were the result of male-to-male sexual contact. Moreover, gay and bisexual men account for over 60% of all syphilis cases.
Some will say that homophobia is the indirect cause of such numbers. They claim that fear of stigmatization keeps gays from seeking information before they become ill and from seeking medical help afterwards. But, clearly, that is not the case. In cultures where homosexuality is more accepted the numbers are worse. That is why I steadfastly maintain that supporting my friend’s decision to turn to the homosexual lifestyle was indeed an example of hate speech.
Most gays become angry when someone tells the truth about the health consequences of their lifestyle choice. The reason they get angry over the facts is because their conscience convicts them. When I came to realize that I helped make it easier for my friend to pursue his unhealthy lifestyle my conscience was convicted. I have regretted my verbal support of his decision ever since.
No sane person could ever posit that the act of rectal sodomy is safe, normal, or healthy. The rectum is a one-way street. It is a sewer meant for the expulsion of poison. Treating the rectum as a sex organ is damaging to the health – especially for the recipient of such abuse. That is why it is an act of hate, regardless of whether some choose to call it “love.”
But the gay lifestyle has never been about love. The average number of lifetime sex partners is four for a heterosexual, fifty for a homosexual. Monogamy is the norm (82%) among heterosexuals, and an aberration (2%) among homosexuals. This promiscuity is routed in the pairing of similar traits, which is an inevitable result in homosexual relationships.
It should go without saying that women have greater emotional needs than men, while men have greater physical needs than women. They need each other to balance one another out. And that is why when two men are together the physical aspects of the relationship spiral out of control to the point of compulsion. That is why estimates show that anywhere from 21-43% of homosexual males have had several hundred sex partners.
One study of white male homosexuals, published in the 1970s, showed that 43% of white males had sex with over 500 partners. Over one-quarter (28%) had sex with over 1000 partners. When these drives are unchecked they often go in dangerous directions. Although homosexual men are only about three percent of the population, they commit about one-third of all acts of child molestation.
Even pseudo-conservative Andrew Sullivan knows that homosexuality is about unbridled sexual pursuit rather than love. He openly claims that homosexuals need more than one sex partner and that heterosexual relationships are too restrictive. But he refuses to see succumbing to sexual temptation as a weakness. Instead, he calls it a sign of “honesty” and “flexibility.”
Andrew Sullivan thinks we should all become more like gays. In his calls for the majority to conform to the minority he reveals the fundamental narcissism that is at the core of the gay lifestyle. From Andrew Sullivan’s perspective, homosexuality is all about self-gratification.
But love, by definition, seeks the ultimate good of the loved one by forsaking all others. That is why we must steer our loved ones away from the homosexual lifestyle and suffer the slings and arrows of the true perpetrators of hate speech.
Australia: More Muslim violence against a young girl
A man who broke into a house to attack his sister for "slutting around" has pleaded guilty to charges in Darwin Magistrates Court. Ahmed Al-Tai, 21, was expected to contest the charges, but yesterday pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, property offences and breaching a domestic violence order.
Prosecutor Sergeant Brett Verity told the court Al-Tai flew to Darwin from Broome about 3pm on June 18 after his parents told him his 17-year-old sister had run away from home. He went straight to the house the girl was staying at, smashed a window and glass door to get inside, punched her, stomped on her, kicked her and dragged her out by her hair - while their mother watched.
Sgt Verity said Al-Tai said during the attack: "You want to run around and slut around? I'm back. Where do you think you're going to go now?".
Their mother drove Al-Tai to the hospital, and then took the girl home to wash, telling her to make up a story to tell doctors before she took her to the hospital. When the girl arrived at Royal Darwin Hospital, she told medical staff she had been assaulted, and police were called.
The girl needed surgery to repair a broken tooth, and had a swollen face and a number of bruises.
Al-Tai spent about 25 days in custody after his arrest. Chief Magistrate Hilary Hannam indicated she would need a pre-sentence report and more evidence before sentencing. "It's a very serious set of facts, (committed) on two suspended sentences," she said.
Al-Tai's lawyer Gus Bernadi said the offence was "unique". "I know the offences are serious, but it came out of a particularly unique set of background circumstances," he said. [It's not the least bit unique. It is common Muslim behaviour]
Ms Hannam adjourned the matter until November. Al-Tai's bail was continued.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.