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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Enter the monster – but let’s not make it easy for him

“The Pope has urged Catholic bishops in England and Wales to fight the UK’s Equality Bill with ‘missionary zeal’,” the BBC tells us.

And this is the monster the UK will be welcoming with open arms when he comes here on a state visit later this year.

Ratzo is quoted as saying that the legislation “violates natural law” and could end the right of the Catholic Church to ban gay people from senior positions.

And this is the monster the UK will be welcoming with open arms when he comes here on a state visit later this year.

“[T]he effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal [of equality, dignity and fairness] has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs,” the bigot is quoted as saying.

And this is the monster the UK will be welcoming with open arms when he comes here on a state visit later this year.

As we reported, the UK’s National Secular Society has a petition. It won’t stop the visit if you sign it, but, if it has a huge number of signatures, it sends out a message every time the petition makes it into a news story.

Demonstrations, too, are likely. They, too, won’t stop the visit. There will be huge security. There will probably be human-rights abuses by police, who will be acting on orders from on high to keep demonstrators out of the sight of the monster (as happened with the visit 11 years ago of the Chinese president, Jiang Zemin), or at the very least out of brick-chucking distance.

This blog’s parent organisation, the Pink Triangle Trust, isn’t too keen on Ratzo’s visit, either. The PTT’s secretary, George Broadhead, says in a hard-hitting news release, “This is a thinly veiled attack on the anti-discrimination legislation concerning LGBT people. His claim that our equality laws undermine religious freedom suggests that he supports the right of churches to discriminate in accordance with their religious ethos. He seems to be defending discrimination by religious institutions and demanding that they should be above the law.

“This pope has shown himself to be paranoid about homosexuality. His opposition to LGBT rights knows no bounds. He has declared that saving humanity from homosexual behaviour was as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. This must be the most outrageous and bizarre claim yet made by someone who has already got a well-deserved reputation as one of the most viciously homophobic world leaders on a par with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

“But his entrenched homophobia is not the only reason for criticising the visit,” George Broadhead continues. “The taxpayer in this country is going to be faced with a bill of some £20m as the visit will be paid for by the government, not the Vatican. We therefore call on all Freethinkers, Humanists and like-minded people to sign [the NSS’s] petition.

“It is imperative that the strongest possible protest be made when his so-called holiness visits the UK. This is not without precedent. During the last papal visit to the UK by John Paul II in 1982, a protest called POPE (People Opposing Papal Edicts) was instigated by the Gay Humanist Group. It had the support of other gay and secular organisations including the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and the National Secular Society. On the occasion of the impending visit we must pull out all the stops to demonstrate our opposition.”

I suspect websites and blogs will be ablaze between now and September, when it’s thought this insult to human rights, human dignity and all that is decent will be allowed to place his jackboots on our soil. All power to their keyboards. Let us send an unequivocal message to the Vatican and to our own pusillanimous leaders that this evil obscenity is not wanted here by anyone but misguided Catholics and other members of the Deluded Herd, politicians and those who just don’t give a shit and can’t wait for EastEnders or The X Factor to begin.

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