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Saturday, 10 May 2008

Cardinal spin

Religionists just don't get it. If you're going to reach out to the other side, as Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor claimed he wanted Catholics to do, you have to start on neutral ground. He wants to dig his feet firmly into the turf on his side of the field of argument and not stray into the neutral territory in the middle.

In other words, we'll understand you with, as he put it in a lecture in Westminster on Thursday, "deep esteem", but you're still going to have to accept the existence of our imaginary friend.

Well, it was good to see – or rather hear – the atheist biology boffin and author of The God Delusion, Professor Richard Dawkins, have a go at anchor John Humphrys on Radio 4's Today programme yesterday prior to an interview with this cardinal chap. Go to the Today web pages and you may be able to find it to listen to again, if it's still there (it was the featured interview).

Dawkins said people like Humphrys would soft-pedal with men in frocks. Well, he didn't use those words, but that was what he meant. Whereas Humphrys and his ilk would force a politician, say, to prove what he was claiming, to present evidence, this was never the case with men of the cloth. This forced Humphrys to put these points to CM-O'C, of course, not that he got anything back but waffle.

But back to Murphy-O'Connor's lecture. The Pink Triangle Trust has put out a media release on how this tosser wants things all his own way. Well, the PTT is, quite rightly, far more polite than I am, but it amounts to the same thing.

George Broadhead, the PTT secretary and a contributor to this blog, says, “The cardinal says that believers ‘need to recognise that they have something in common with those who do not believe’, but presents his argument entirely from the presupposition that there is a God. He does this by saying, ‘Britain should not become a God-free zone.’ But that presupposes that it's wrong to be an atheist."

Well, that's it with these types. The existence of God and the need to have "faith" is the starting point and they can't shift from it.

George also says, “Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor’s lecture does not once mention the very real friction between the Catholic Church and LGBT people. How can he possibly speak about reaching out to atheists, when many of these can have no truck with Christianity, and Catholicism in particular, because of its sustained and vehement hostility towards their relationships and rights?

"In 2006 the reported sacking of his press aide by Murphy-O'Connor was condemned by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association as ‘sickening hypocrisy’. Murphy-O’Connor had written to The Times saying that homosexuals ‘have the same entitlement to legal rights as anyone else’ and that ‘the Church has consistently spoken out against any discrimination against gay persons’. Yet only a few weeks earlier he had presided over the hounding of one of his colleagues from his job for being gay."

Tellingly (and going back to that radio programme), Dawkins was given a bit over three minutes to make his case; Murphy-O'Connor was given the prestige 8.10 a.m. spot (the longest interview of the morning) and got nearly eight minutes to put his spin on things. He hadn't heard the Dawkins bit: he was "praying", he said, making it sound as if that were something to be proud of ("Look, Daddy, I can pway").

During his privileged spot, this delusional prat has the bare-faced gall to say that "supposedly faithless societies" ruled only by reason are like those created by Hitler and Stalin, ripe for "terror and oppression".

How can anyone take pillocks like this seriously, when they're given valuable airtime to come out with this bollocks? Atheism is responsible for Adolf and Joe. OK, he didn't say that, but the implication is there – writ large: if you don't have faith in sky fairies, you could end up living under terror and oppression.

Oh, right, that puts it all into perspective, then. All the world's ills solved. Belief in the unprovable is the answer.

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