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Pope should come and go in peace - Comments

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 1 by mirandaceleste

But none of this merits the silly over-reaction by self-advertising unbelievers that has greeted his visit, and which has threatened to compromise our reputation as a civilised and hospitable country.

Sigh.

No, offering the Pope an official state visit is what has compromised the reputation of your civilized and hospitable country.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:04:56 UTC | #522822

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 2 by PrimeNumbers

"I can understand why this makes atheists angry. It makes many who believe in God angry, too. And I know the Pope has, both as pontiff and in previous roles in the hierarchy, been culpable, especially in the matter of child-molesting priests. But none of this merits the silly over-reaction by self-advertising unbelievers that has greeted his visit, and which has threatened to compromise our reputation as a civilised and hospitable country."

Wow - he really doesn't get it, does he? The rape of children doesn't justify our anger? The cover-up and moving on of priests that rape children doesn't justify our anger?

A civilized country is one which treats criminals as criminals no matter their beliefs or lack of beliefs.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:05:51 UTC | #522824

evotruth's Avatar Comment 3 by evotruth

Heffer believes that Christianity should have a strong role in shaping both the moral foundation of society and public policy, although he is personally an atheist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Heffer

He is no more an Atheist than the pope!

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:06:56 UTC | #522826

green and dying's Avatar Comment 4 by green and dying

...of calling for more tolerance from the Catholic Church for homosexuals, abortionists and the promiscuous.

The promiscuous? What was on the banners that made him add that in?

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:09:08 UTC | #522829

sdando2000's Avatar Comment 5 by sdando2000

"In a society like ours, faith should be a consideration, such as whether one takes sugar in one's tea. It is entirely a matter of private conscience and taste and of no consequence to anyone else."

When the other side decides to play that way and not push their faith in my face or brainwash children or ...[INSERT ANY OF A MULTITUDE OF OTHER RELIGIUS ATTROCITIES HERE]... Then I am willing to say yes we should be civil and leave the poor deluded idiots alone (as long as taxpayers are not expected to foot the bill).

I have faith that pigs will fly before that day comes, however.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:09:58 UTC | #522831

Randy Ping's Avatar Comment 6 by Randy Ping

Another liar for jesus.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:10:18 UTC | #522832

elenaripoll's Avatar Comment 7 by elenaripoll

The promiscuous?

ha ha ha ha, if he understand WHY someone is promiscuous then he would not be such a dick lol

Is there a disease that stops reporters actually understanding people and their behavior, would that not be a good basis for being able to report on something!!!

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:13:21 UTC | #522835

The Plc's Avatar Comment 8 by The Plc

As a baptised member of the Church of England who at an early age converted to atheism and stayed there, I find the visit of the Pope to this country means remarkably little to me. I am, however, dismayed by the aggression and militancy

Groan. I've made it a principle of mine to stop reading whenever the stock clichéd and refuted-a-million-times drivel about militancy and intolerance appears in an article criticising what they call atheists. It's just boring.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:15:21 UTC | #522837

GodExposed's Avatar Comment 9 by GodExposed

Yawn @ Heffer. Next!

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:22:20 UTC | #522841

Stonyground's Avatar Comment 10 by Stonyground

I started reading the comments there but they immedeately descended into a pointless theological squabble over whether Catholic drivel or Protestant drivel is more valid. Each great rambling screed more tedious than the last. Why is it that god types are incapable of making their point in a concise manner?

As for Simon, did he listen to any of the speeches or do any kind of research I wonder? Reading the post, it doesn't look like it.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:26:18 UTC | #522842

frax71's Avatar Comment 11 by frax71

Heffer is a social and political conservative, in other words an irritating irrelevance and of no importance whatsoever

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:28:09 UTC | #522845

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 12 by Richard Dawkins

No, offering the Pope an official state visit is what has compromised the reputation of your civilized and hospitable country.

Precisely. None of us at the London rally would have objected to the pope coming, at the invitation of British Roman Catholics, to visit them, beatify them, absolve their sins, turn them into wafers, or whatever they want. But that is not what happened. This man who, among other crimes against humanity, knowingly supervised numerous cover-ups of child rape, and murderously abetted the AIDS epidemic in Africa, was officially invited on a State Visit by the British government, through the Queen. He was accorded a degree of pomp and honour that would have befitted the President of the United States, or the leader of another serious country, all at taxpayer's expense, and with the government-financed BBC leading the chorus of sycophantic fawning. That is the point that Simon Heffer completely misses.

Richard

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:37:03 UTC | #522849

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 13 by NewEnglandBob

The article was written by another "I am an atheist, but..."

response: bull shit!

He is too obtuse to understand the actual issues. He wants us to be tolerant of the Pope's cover-up of child rape? Yeah, right.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:49:14 UTC | #522855

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 14 by Steve Zara

I would go further. It's not just a matter of offering a state visit, or even the awful fawning. It's that such a person was given a government platform to preach to us. That's rather an odd thing for a foreign head of state to be allowed to do. It would surely be considered a breach of protocol for, say, Obama to come here and say that our society is in danger of moral collapse and a significant fraction of our population were equivalent to Nazis or had a tendency to evil.

It wasn't just the state visit - the Pope was given all the rights of a head of state, but none of the responsibilities.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:50:34 UTC | #522856

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 15 by godsbelow

For an atheist, this guys sure sounds like Ann Widdecombe. Sexually-repressed Tory alert!

I am, however, dismayed by the aggression and militancy of some of my fellow atheists, who show a shocking intolerance of him and of his faith in the interests, it seems, of calling for more tolerance from the Catholic Church for homosexuals, abortionists and the promiscuous. If this is how they define live and let live, then we really are in a mess.

"Quite right! Heaven forbid that British society should allow sex, of all things, to become acceptable! Particularly gay sex! Oh, no no no, that wouldn't do at all! All that "live and let live" talk shouldn't be taken too seriously, or else society might actually start letting people live their lives however they please!

We mustn't tolerate sodomites, hussies and people of loose morals - or else we really will be in a mess!"

To claim that the protesters were intolerant is perverse and preposterous. Would this writer have called anti-Apartheid protesters intolerant? They were also protesting against a deeply-cherished dogma of intolerance that they considered evil. Denouncing irrational intolerance, of which the Pope is a proud exponent, is a badge of honour.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:54:49 UTC | #522860

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 16 by Cartomancer

Is it me, or has Simon Heffer accidentally run this weekend's anti-pope protests together in his mind with the Gunpowder Plot and the Peterloo Massacre?

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:56:58 UTC | #522864

jsweet's Avatar Comment 17 by jsweet

Well that was confusing... he basically agrees with us, but we're dicks anyway? Because... well, he never really says why.

Huh.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 17:58:37 UTC | #522865

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 18 by Richard Dawkins

That's rather an odd thing for a foreign head of state to be allowed to do. It would surely be considered a breach of protocol for, say, Obama to come here and say that our society is in danger of moral collapse and a significant fraction of our population were equivalent to Nazis or had a tendency to evil.

Excellent point, Steve (as usual)

Richard

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:00:21 UTC | #522867

andreab's Avatar Comment 19 by andreab

The protest was hardly violent and yet seemed to be followed by a wave of disgust from the British press who were calling secularists aggressive even before Saturday.

This insistence that the best response to something you vehemently oppose is a good old British dignified silence would only have given the pope-lovers further excuse to tell us all how universally loved and admired he is.

Nothing was ever achieved by sulking quietly.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:00:36 UTC | #522868

Frying Pantheist's Avatar Comment 20 by Frying Pantheist

The atheists have, though, set a bad example by becoming so unpleasant about the Pope. Let's just hope the religious fanatics don't follow their example.

By "their example" am I to assume he means vocally criticising the pope and holding a peaceful protest? I really hope the religious fanatics do follow that example.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:04:33 UTC | #522874

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 21 by Jos Gibbons

show a shocking intolerance of him and of his faith in the interests, it seems, of calling for more tolerance from the Catholic Church for homosexuals, abortionists and the promiscuous

Catholics vary in to whom they wish the Vatican to extend hitherto unseen tolerance, but data from recent polls show most UK Catholics want pretty much all those groups to benefit from such tolerance. The protesters know all of this, said not a single word against Catholics as a whole, and anything they said against either the Church or of its specific members (e.g. the Pope) had a broad base of support amongst UK Catholics. There was no intolerance of the Catholic faith itself contained therein.

I even had some sympathy with the cardinal who called us a Third World country

Such a comment really merits a defence. How is the UK like LEDCs? It is an MEDC, and MEDCs and LEDCs differ in many statistical ways. Unless at least 1 of these can be named with respect to which the UK is closer to the LEDC end of the spectrum, the comment has no foundation.

I know the Pope has, both as pontiff and in previous roles in the hierarchy, been culpable, especially in the matter of child-molesting priests. But none of this merits the silly over-reaction by self-advertising unbelievers that has greeted his visit, and which has threatened to compromise our reputation as a civilised and hospitable country.

You concede the Pope has committed certain evil crimes. What was silly about the protest in response to this? Why should the fact Richard Dawkins, Andre Copson etc. make no secret of their irreligiosity be a point against their protesting horrid things a major religious figure has done? How does people practising their right to a peaceful protest, of which they gave us literally months of warning, and which never made any slanderous comments, indicative of a society being uncivilised? And why should we be worried people will think our citizens may not prove hospitable to everyone who visits with the state’s funding?

He has come, principally, to see his own followers. Why can't he, and they, simply be allowed to get on with it? It is a short visit and he will soon be home. The devout can cherish their memories of his trip. The rest of us can forget it ever happened.

They were allowed to get on with it; not only did they make their way there, their costs were covered by our taxes! It is all over now, so don’t act as if you’re making a case for modifying our behaviour in the here and now for his benefit. And why does the fact that we should not have funded this (firstly because it is partisan, not secular, and secondly because the Vatican is not a state, as Geoffrey Robertson has shown) escape your appreciation? It is a fact, and it is therefore a matter of principle his visit, however short, and however much fun it was for the local Catholics (and, incidentally, it certainly wasn’t for anywhere near all of them), was inappropriate to receive the Government funds it did.

Only when fundamentalists decide they wish to start to force their feelings on others, even to the point of murder, should the state intervene to protect the liberties of the people.

The state did not intervene in the visit in a way detrimental to the Pope’s aims; citizens did.

individual politicians are free, in their private lives, to do what they like.

Individual politicians can do as they wish in private, yes. That does not mean they can spend our money on it.

The atheists have, though, set a bad example by becoming so unpleasant about the Pope. Let's just hope the religious fanatics don't follow their example.

The example of peaceful, non–slanderous protest with plenty of advance warning? I’m afraid they’ve already gone far further than that. Like the Pope for example.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:06:39 UTC | #522876

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 22 by Stevehill

Look, when an ex-member of the Hitler Youth who aids and abets kiddie-fiddlers gets off a plane at my government's expense and at my government's invitation, and compares me to a Nazi, then my patience is exhausted: the gloves are off. Capisce?

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:14:06 UTC | #522878

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 23 by AtheistEgbert

I am, however, dismayed by the aggression and militancy of some of my fellow atheists, who show a shocking intolerance of him and of his faith in the interests, it seems, of calling for more tolerance from the Catholic Church for homosexuals, abortionists and the promiscuous. If this is how they define live and let live, then we really are in a mess.

I'm shockingly dismayed at this bland piece of theology dressed up as journalism.

Firstly, the protest was about the cover up and freedom of paedophile priests to abuse sexually children. That you missed this, makes you as a journalist redundant.

But none of this merits the silly over-reaction by self-advertising unbelievers that has greeted his visit, and which has threatened to compromise our reputation as a civilised and hospitable country.

Proof enough that you have no sense whatsoever. You are clearly a useful idiot for the neoconservative agenda.

Heffer believes that Christianity should have a strong role in shaping both the moral foundation of society and public policy, although he is personally an atheist.[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Heffer

A neoconservative then, or deluded atheist. Clearly the neoconservative agenda to promote religion in politics is in full swing within the entire range of UK media and political establishment. Congratulations.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:15:35 UTC | #522882

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 24 by Cartomancer

At risk of blowing my own, meagre, trumpet here (especially since I was not in London protesting this weekend) I would like to point out to Simon Heffer that one of the really great things about our country is its history of political activism and non-violent protest. Far from being a bad example, this weekend's protest was very much in the mainstream British tradition of standing up and demonstrating against what we disapprove of. This is just as much an aspect of our national character as the fawning establishmentarian deference of our politicians - more of one in all honesty. It was not for nothing that I composed my silly little poem in the style of Shelley's Masque of Anarchy when I was so annoyed at the BBC's simpering coverage.

We are many, they are few...

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:16:06 UTC | #522884

RJMoore's Avatar Comment 25 by RJMoore

Could someone explain to me, preferably Richard Dawkins{!}, why STDs in Ireland increased so dramatically from 2000-2010 among heterosexuals,nearly 100% in respect of certain infections, while there was nowhere near the rise in new cases of HIV found in this group? The reason I ask is that homosexuals and intravenous drug users, based on their numbers in the overall population, seem to be far more 'represented' in the HIV statistics. In other words, white heterosexuals who dont inject drugs dont seem to be contracting HIV although they are obviously engaging in unprotected sex, as is evidenced by the rise in STDs. I ask this because I find the rates of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa greatly at odds with the figures in the West. Please, this is a genuine question, so if anyone could give me an answer without resorting to swearing or name-calling, I would be very grateful.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:16:26 UTC | #522885

Dr Doctor's Avatar Comment 26 by Dr Doctor

But none of this merits the silly over-reaction by self-advertising unbelievers that has greeted his visit, and which has threatened to compromise our reputation as a civilised and hospitable country.

No, its threatened to compromise our reputation as a country that toadies up to the super rich and powerful.

I'm not sure I find the British establishments' desire to "do faith", permit so many of her subjects to be insulted and serve dinner and sycophancy up to the head of a rogue organisation whose hands are so dirty particularly civilised.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:18:08 UTC | #522886

kamel's Avatar Comment 27 by kamel

First of all, no body get converted to atheism, we just became atheists by thorough examinations of available evidence.The author's ridiculous attempt to assert that atheism is aggressive is totally baseless and meant to deceive,but his sympathy with the cardinal who called England a third world country should raise some genuine concern about his state of mind.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:30:15 UTC | #522899

Caivs's Avatar Comment 28 by Caivs

"Heffer supports the reintroduction of hanging and is socially conservative." Wikipedia tells me.

Well, he may be an atheist, but for sure he is not a humanist. No surprise he dislikes protest against injustice as "unpolite". Typical hypocrite.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:33:33 UTC | #522903

Philoctetes                                        's Avatar Comment 29 by Philoctetes

Heffer lists the reasons to be grumpy about the Pope and the RCC. What he does not do is describe any manifestation of "aggression & militancy" of the opposition. He states we are but gives no examples. Would anyone care to list our transgressions on this subject? Perhaps he should have just listed the RCC intolerance:

Homophobia

Misogyny

Child rape and the Cover up

Lies about Condoms/Aids

Denial of the right to family planning

and then put a sock in it.

I'm halfway through Geoffrey Robinson's book and even though familiar with the RCC's historic actions, I was surprised by the amount of blatant lies and dissimulation in the political field. We all expected it in the credo bollux, but in the affairs of men and society I found it quite staggering given my already cynical view of the RCC

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:42:17 UTC | #522910

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 30 by TheRationalizer

I've always been proud of the British spirit for supporting the underdog and standing up for what's morally right, to go to Birmingham city centre and see thousands of people turning up to celebrate the arrival of a paedophile harbourer by waving flags was a very saddening event.

It was akin to seeing a packed NEC venue for a Gary Glitter concert, and then to have Gary Glitter give us the verbal two fingers by comparing us to Nazis.

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 18:42:31 UTC | #522911