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← Lord Patten attacks 'intolerant' secularists

Lord Patten attacks 'intolerant' secularists - Comments

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

The former governor of Hong Kong and current chancellor of Oxford University, who described himself as a cradle Catholic, said his own experience was that people looked down on him intellectually for having religious belief.

Looked down on him? Looked DOWN on him. Apparently they didn't look down on him enough to stop him being a cabinet minister, governor of Hong Kong, Chancellor of Oxford University, Chairman of the BBC Governors, Member of the House of Lords, and all-round one of the most successful and looked-UP-to men in England today!

His appointment now means that both the Director General of the BBC (Mark Thompson) and the Chairman of the Governors are practising Roman Catholics. You'd think he'd be delighted at this triumph of his religion, in monopolising two of the most influential positions in world media. What has he got to complain about?


Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:08:56 UTC | #618881

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 2 by AtheistEgbert

"Some of the arguments put forward by secularists against the Pope's visit were lacking in intellectualism and were extraordinarily mean-spirited,"

But what are those arguments? You haven't stated them, but what you are doing is smearing a group of people.

"It is curious that atheists have proved to be so intolerant of those who have a faith,"

Another smear. What about the intolerance of Catholics against homosexuals and women for example?

The language of intolerance and discrimination from someone so privileged as 'Lord' Patten is an utter disgrace.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:12:06 UTC | #618884

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 3 by prettygoodformonkeys

"Their books would be a lot shorter if they couldn't refer to the Spanish Inquisition, but it is them who tend to have a level of Castillian intolerance about them."

This sentence is approximately the same length as the sum total given to the Inquisition by Richard Dawkins, in all his books combined.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:15:57 UTC | #618889

Flapjack's Avatar Comment 4 by Flapjack

"I'm surprised the atheists didn't have better arguments [against the Pope's visit]."

So which argument didn't quite cut the mustard then? The one about institutional Vatican homophobia? The one about sheltering hundreds of child abusers from the law? The one about claiming condoms spread HIV which has resulted in an epidemic across Africa? Or the one that we were paying for the priviledge with our taxes at the peak of a world recession? I'm still trying to find what the argument FOR inviting him was and I'm drawing a bit of a blank. Perhaps someone can help me here?

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:18:37 UTC | #618891

Crimbly's Avatar Comment 5 by Crimbly

"It makes people think I'm peculiar and lack intellectual fibres because I don't have any doubts about my faith, but I'd be terrified to have doubts.""

Well there you have it. Comfort in faith.

And honestly... comparing the Spanish Inquisition to atheist "intolerance"? To paraphrase PZ Myers: "A New Atheist is someone the Catholic Church may no longer legally burn".

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:20:02 UTC | #618892

Crimbly's Avatar Comment 6 by Crimbly

Comment 4 by Flapjack :

I'm still trying to find what the argument FOR inviting him was and I'm drawing a bit of a blank. Perhaps someone can help me here?

He has an awesome hat.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:21:14 UTC | #618894

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 7 by prettygoodformonkeys

That horrific sucking sound I hear is the increase in intellectual vacuum with every comment from this man.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:24:09 UTC | #618896

paulmcuk's Avatar Comment 8 by paulmcuk

It's really odd how a group that is so powerful (has there ever been a PM who didn't at least claim christian faith? Oh, possibly Disraeli) is so fearful in the face of criticism. Nothing new from Mr Patton but it does demonstrate how christians are using recent court cases as rallying cries - the man with a palm cross in his van being the latest martyr for the cause.

Regardless of the cause, it's convenient and easy for them to lay the blame at the door of the evil atheists/secularists/communists (all the same thing of course). Now, those cases about christians discriminating against gay people should be rightly held up as examples of religiously inspired hatred but, frankly, I do wonder what the driver is behind cases of people being told they can't wear crosses or, in this latest case, have a palm cross in his work van. I don't care if they do. Am I wrong to not care? Am I right to think that for athists to support such bans is pointless and counter-productive as it just gives christians ammunition to claim they're under attack?

Of course, all that is said in the knowledge that media reports of these cases rarely give the full story and that most are likely to be the result of HR departments setting silly rules and then enforcing them beyond all reason and refusing to lose face and back down until the full force of the Daily Mail is on their heads.

I suppose what I'm saying in a rambling, ill-thought out way is that, while it's important to challenge irrationality and dogma, we shouldn't waste our time on whether people wear crosses.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:26:48 UTC | #618898

GentlyDownTheStream's Avatar Comment 9 by GentlyDownTheStream

Disraeli was baptised a Christian, and was an Anglican and therefore did not fall foul of the constitutional requirements before or after Catholic Emancipation.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:50:59 UTC | #618903

Philoctetes                                        's Avatar Comment 10 by Philoctetes

Patten is a politician; honesty (intellectual or otherwise) is only important for him when serving his purpose. Most of us feel some embarrassment or even shame when caught reciting the preposterous, which is why so few of us are shameless to be politicians or proselytisers.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:52:36 UTC | #618904

danconquer's Avatar Comment 11 by danconquer

Yes such aggressive, intolerant secularism people like Lord Patten must have to put up with, being offered such humiliatingly lowly positions as mere Chairman of the BBC. Aww Diddums!

Anyway, here is some very, very useful information for everyone here concerning Lord Patten. It is not necessary to damn him by mere association with Catholic bigots, as he has damned himself with his own voting habits. On the occasions that this servant of the people bothered to turn up at the House to vote HE CONSISTENTLY VOTED IN FAVOUR OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST HOMOSEXUALS.

And now he bleats about "intolerance"! What a prat.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:57:54 UTC | #618905

Philoctetes                                        's Avatar Comment 12 by Philoctetes


"Am I right to think that for atheists to support such bans is pointless and counter-productive as it just gives Christians ammunition to claim they're under attack?"

I'd be much inclined to agree with you. I've never been one to wear my heart on my sleave and I think those that are, are just a little bit pathetic, but basically harmless and we don't gain much credibility by challenging them.

On the other hand, suppose the offending sign of a deeply held personal belief was a swastika? Still pathetic but harmless? Were'n't the nazis responsible for genocidal mayhem? Or was that the christians? I always get those two mixed up.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:58:46 UTC | #618907

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 13 by Neodarwinian

Relativism. How was anyone intolerant here? I am afraid we must tolerate your insane religious ideas. What we do not have to do is respect those nut bag beliefs you hold and we do not have to tolerate your imposition of those beliefs on society in general.

Why do these people get to redefine the meaning of words when it suits their purposes? Putting these nutters in a mental health facility, or a concentration camp would be intolerant. Making the pope pay for his own visit and making him responsible for the crimes of his church is not intolerant.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:02:52 UTC | #618909

Cosmicshore's Avatar Comment 14 by Cosmicshore

I love this time of year, all the persecution stories start coming out, trying to make religion relevant for a few days. It'll pass.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:06:05 UTC | #618912

Cosmicshore's Avatar Comment 15 by Cosmicshore

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:06:38 UTC | #618914

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 16 by Alan4discussion

Patten was a twit who rose to power as one of Thatcher's stooges. I am reminded of the satirical TV show "Spitting Image", where Margaret and the cabinet were seated for dinner. She had selected her meat course and was asked "What about the vegetables?" - "Oh! they'll have the same!" she replied.

This is another "jobs for the old boys" appointment.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:14:29 UTC | #618917

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 17 by Rich Wiltshir

When your arguments fail declare you're being picked on.

If you present arguments and opinions that are forged without logic in the crucible of traditional deceptions: expect to be challenged and exposed as a fool.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:21:45 UTC | #618918

Flapjack's Avatar Comment 18 by Flapjack

Alan4Discussion - Since you brought it up, I'm reminded of Patten's own musical number from Spitting image, when he privatised the water and sewage industry... he was talking crap even then!

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:21:49 UTC | #618919

JonathanWest's Avatar Comment 19 by JonathanWest

It's worth remembering that Patten is also on the Board of Advisors of his old school, St. Benedict's Ealing, which has had a terrible record of sexual abuse.

Patten has neither resigned his place on the board nor spoken publicly to criticise the failures there.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:45:08 UTC | #618924

danconquer's Avatar Comment 20 by danconquer

Haha, great Spitting Image clip. I ended up linking to this equally hilarious one too while I was there: My God Is Bigger Than Your God. That song nicely sums up the quietly weary, withering attitude most Brits have towards religion.

Where is such bold, biting, brilliant satire to be found today on mainstream television? It isn't.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:45:24 UTC | #618925

green and dying's Avatar Comment 21 by green and dying

When you remove special privileges from a group of people they interpret it as an unfair disadvantage to them because a lot of people seem to assume the world is already fair. Christians with a persecution complex think that secularism, which treats no religious belief (or non-belief) as special, disadvantages them because it lowers the status of their beliefs when actually all it's doing is getting rid of special treatment. The way they see it, the world is fair already, therefore lowering their status must be discrimination. It's the same with any group. I'm always shocked by the number of adults who seem to seriously think the world is basically fair and therefore any efforts to lessen disadvantage of one group is unfair special treatment of the disadvantaged group and/or discrimination against the advantaged group.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:45:39 UTC | #618926

TheVirginian's Avatar Comment 22 by TheVirginian

Yawnnnnn. Same old, same old. Of course, no one expected the Spanish Inquisition in his comments. I'd prefer to reference the 600,000 Americans who died in our Civil War, which was fought by Christians in defense of the Christian institution of slavery. Then there's the 6 million Jews who were butchered by Christians in WWII because of traditional Christian antisemitism. And even the "godless" Bolsheviks mostly were brought up as Christians. Lenin, Stalin etc. learned their ideas about morality, authority, society, etc. in church. Stalin went to a seminary. The USSR was in many ways a Christian society; it simply substituted a new god and church for the old god and church its adherents grew up with. Then there's Rwanda; most of the killers were good Christians. And Argentina's Dirty War, where priests blessed and comforted the killers. So, I don't need the Crusades or Inquisition. Christians have killed so many people in the past couple of centuries that we don't need to go Medieval on his posterior to "refudiate" him.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:46:38 UTC | #618927

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 23 by God fearing Atheist

I'm sure some argued the abolition of slavery would reduce the privilege of the white man.

Ah, the Secular Spectre, the terror of the privileged religious bigot!

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:51:59 UTC | #618929

ukantic's Avatar Comment 24 by ukantic

Patten blithers:

"Some of the arguments put forward by secularists against the Pope's visit were lacking in intellectualism and were extraordinarily mean-spirited,"

Oh I see, and I suppose you think it's perfectly normal and wholesome to use a state visit as an opportunity to viciously attack atheists in another country and mendaciously attempt to associate them with the crimes of the Nazis. It's nothing less than sheer hypocrisy to criticise us but not the Pope's malicious, totally untrue and damaging statement.

Patten blithers on:

It makes people think I'm peculiar and lack intellectual fibres because I don't have any doubts about my faith, but I'd be terrified to have doubts.

No one gives a flying fig about your bloody faith. You're supposed to be representing either the electorate of this country in the lords or the TV licence payers. You’re not supposed to be misusing your position to ride some religious hobby-horse on behalf of the Catholic Church or trying to encourage people to break the laws that the rest of us have to obey, or trying to create anarchy in the workplace by encouraging people to break the regulations, or trying to create social divisions with this rabble rousing nonsense.

If you are not prepared to act in a democratic and responsible manner then you should resign your position, because you are no longer fit to lead; especially as the country has become largely indifferent to religion and in which (if my statistics are correct) a good 92% of the population are NOT Catholics.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 20:03:03 UTC | #618932

josephor's Avatar Comment 25 by josephor

Patten should wake up and face reality.People have every right to display their disgust at those who protect child rapists and in no way is it offensive to demand the arrest of pedophile protectors,regardless who that person might be.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 20:08:15 UTC | #618940

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 26 by Alan4discussion

"Some of the arguments put forward by secularists against the Pope's visit were lacking in intellectualism and were extraordinarily mean-spirited,"

Patten preaching on lacking in intellectualism and being mean-spirited, Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Back to "Spitting Image"!

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 20:18:05 UTC | #618943

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 27 by Mr DArcy

What me intolerant of Christianity! Well what a profound insight from such a lofty and persecuted man. How could I possibly be tolerant of an ideology that thinks the universe was created by a Jewish carpenter with three heads? If Patten calls me "aggressive" for stating so on a public forum such as this, then I will plead guilty. Of course his own particular brand of this obnoxious cult is hardly tolerant of anything outside its own restricted world view. Excommunication if you spill the beans about paedophile priests. Bully boys and bar stewards comes to mind. Patten has something of a struggle on though. The BBC's own Christianity message board is more populated with atheists than Christians! Having been resoundingly beaten in rational arguments, the resident Christians seem to drop off, attack the non-believing posters, rake up Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot etc., or more frequently change the direction of the thread.

But I suspect that Lord Patten is something of a paper tiger. He will be too busy having nice lunches, paid for by someone else, and so full of Christian "charity", that he will make bugger all difference.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 20:21:07 UTC | #618945

yesnomaybe's Avatar Comment 28 by yesnomaybe

He said: "It makes people think I'm peculiar and lack intellectual fibres because I don't have any doubts about my faith, but I'd be terrified to have doubts".

Keep up the good work Chris!

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 20:22:52 UTC | #618948

Drosera's Avatar Comment 29 by Drosera

How do people like Patten obtain such a job? What does he know about television? Did he have to fill in an application form? Were there other candidates?

We can probably forget programmes on the BBC critical of the RC Church from now. The disgusting servility displayed by the BBC during the Pope's visit was probably a rehearsal for things to come.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 20:23:35 UTC | #618949

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 30 by strangebrew

Patten = A Pedo lover never so pompous! By his undoubted biased support of a crumbling and vicious perverted little tyranny based in Rome he has declared his intellectual(sic) allegiance.

"It makes people think I'm peculiar and lack intellectual fibres because I don't have any doubts about my faith, but I'd be terrified to have doubts."

And there you indeed have the confession of a morally bankrupt and sniveling coward of a jeebus sunbeam. One that dare not even question the basis of that delusion he holds as 'faith'...what a complete jerk off! His lack of 'fible' is only eclipsed by his abject fear that he is wrong in assigning such a fairy story as a 'truth' So much faith has he that he dare not examine case it terrifies him!...really a maggot of his class.

A nasty little ruthless right wing politician that licked the ass of a mad cow and got benefits above and beyond most mortal men...that man is a flake....and not even a man to be accurate.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 20:31:23 UTC | #618953