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Monday, 30 March 2009

No punches pulled on papal poppycock

While almost every Eurocentric suggestion of interference is treated with contempt by Africans, this deadly one couched in a defunct, outdated moral code is lovingly respected. Irony does not come thicker than that.

Commentators are still finding things to say about Herr Ratzinger’s facile views on condom use, and the passage above is from a blog called Thought Leader, brought to us by the South African newspaper Mail and Guardian. (It’s a few days old now, but I stumbled across it and wanted to share it.)

It’s written by one Grant Walliser in a column called “High Voltage” – and it’s one of the best and clearest arguments I’ve read on the Pope’s ridiculous recent ramblings about AIDS and handy bits of stretchy latex, and how the latter are thought to prevent the former.

Walliser pulls no punches. It’s worth reading, whether you agree with Ratzinger’s view (it may convert you, who knows?) or not (you may just enjoy the read). That quoted bit is telling. While so many Africans see Europeans as the former colonisers, therefore a Bad Thing, they are quite happy to hang onto the religion those former colonisers brought into the continent, obviously seen as a Good Thing.

He also has a go at an Albanian Catholic nun called Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, a.k.a. that fraud, Mother Teresa, in a paragraph that reads:

I could not find a number large enough to put to the harm Mother Teresa vested on the world by her repeated bleating to stop abortions and ban birth control and condoms. Deaths aside, her insistence that suffering was a divine right for the poor and that terminal patients should suck it up and die in pain without spending a cent of her massive donation money on proper painkillers, puts her true agenda into perspective for me.

This wizened prune “shamelessly used her faith” says Walliser, to “catapult her church’s dangerous views around the world”.

Perhaps this column should be required reading in the Vatican. But they’d probably just throw holy water at it and hold up Latin crosses before it and hope that it will crumble to dust. After all, Walliser must be the spawn of Satan in their eyes.


Baal's Bum said...

You can't fault his reasoning, unlike the paps.
Mind you not using condoms is a slow but effective method of population control and as an added bonus there is nothing like pain, suffering and disease to get people reaching in their pockets.

Anonymous said...

"Doubly ironic here is the fact that the Pope has millions of followers in Africa who were only too happy to rid themselves of colonial governance and all forms of colonial oppression except that of the imported religions that came with it. While almost every Eurocentric suggestion of interference is treated with contempt by Africans, this deadly one couched in a defunct, outdated moral code is lovingly respected. Irony does not come thicker than that."

It is ironic only if one does not realize some things about African culture, or if some things about African culture are ignored for the sake of being pc.

The African contempt for “Western” culture is not based on any objective assessment of the value or otherwise of that culture. It is a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that the colonists repressed indigenous culture. Thus, the exceptions are telling.

Indigenous African culture had religions of its own (e.g. Worship of Ancestral Spirits) before the advent of the colonists. Modern indigenous African culture still has them.

In accordance with all religion, indigenous religions are steeped in superstition. Hence, the continuing popularity of Methodism, Catholicism, etc. with Africans who are now free to jettison them. Frequently, the adoption of "Western" religions in Africa is not exclusive. It is done while retaining or incorporating indigenous religions.

The African response to AIDS is a further example. Anti-retrovirals are a "Western" invention which is insisted upon by Africans in spite of the fact that their own leaders (named in Walliser's article) remind them of the value of traditional African medicine.

Just as an aside, I recently attended a talk by the self-outed Edwin Cameron, the highly-respected AIDS and Gay Activist, just elevated to the position of judge on the South African Constitutional Court. On the subject of those - probably few - Africans who rely exclusively on indigenous medicine for the treatment of AIDS, he stated, first, that such medicine was based in indigenous African religion, and, secondly, described all religion as "bizarre".

What one would like to regard as a salutary African contempt for “Western” culture, values, institutions, practices and inventions comes with telling exceptions. It should not be surprising.

Anonymous said...

All I know is that we didn't have these problems with the RC church when the Italians were popes.

For the last 25 years we've had and uptight Pole and now a former Nazi German.

And all hell has broken loose.