There are some peaceful protesters making the Pope feel welcome in the UK.
Protest organizer Mike Williamson, of campaign group “Protest the Pope,” told CNN: “It’s inappropriate to offer a state visit for many reasons. One is the Church pedophile scandal.
“Another is because of the pope’s comments about condoms helping to spread HIV and Aids, even when he visited Africa where many are dying because of this issue.
“The list goes on and on so that’s why we think it’s wrong that the state should be offering a visit to the pope at huge cost to the taxpayer at a time of recession.”
Mike wrote in an email that the coverage isn’t uniform everywhere:
The UK domestic coverage has been abysmal (to the extent that the BBC cut to an aerial shot as the Pope passed us, cutting out the demonstrators entirely), but the foreign media have been quite good…
Meanwhile, there was a bit of a pushback against the Pope’s statements about atheists from an unlikely source. It’s nice to see some non-atheists sticking up for us.
The Pope recently made a ridiculous comparison between atheism and Nazi-ism:
“Even in our own lifetimes we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live.
“As we reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny.”
Rajan Zed, the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, lashed out against him:
Hindus have criticized His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for rough handling of atheists in his speech at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (United Kingdom) on September 16, where he appeared to associate atheism with the Nazis.
Rajan Zed stressed that the Pope should get rid of his obsession against atheism and show some maturity and inclusiveness. Frankly, it was the fault of us religious leaders (which included the Pope also) and organizations that atheism was growing in the world. We (including the Pope) need to do a better job to make religion more vibrant, attractive and engaging to keep people in God’s fold.
Well, actually, the religious leaders only played a minor role with the recent fallout against faith.
I would argue that the reason people are leaving faith is because they’re slowly coming to terms with the fact that all these religions make shit up and they want nothing to do with it. The books written by atheists only help illuminate that idea.
Still, it’s nice to see a Hindu in a leadership position with the courage to tell the Pope he’s being immature. We don’t need to be afraid to tell him Catholic beliefs are irrational and dangerous, either.
(Thanks to everyone for the link)