I find the Pope’s lack of faith disturbing

The Daily Mail’s claims that ‘militant atheists’, the ‘PC brigade’ and ‘celebrity vendettas’ are out to destroy the Christian faith in Britain have been loud and clear for several years now, but the visit of the Pope has really drawn out just how ludicrous these claims are. It reminds me of the media narrative that ‘you can’t talk about immigration’ that has existed for years but was screamed loudly and repeatedly during the last election. As I pointed out at the time: the media, political leaders and the vast majority of phone-in shows, interviews and so forth were absolutely dominated by the topic of immigration. The media whilst claiming that they couldn’t talk about immigration, in reality filled front pages and reams and reams of copy talking about nothing but immigration.

This leads me to the coverage of the Pope’s visit. Whilst the Daily Mail claims that the BBC is a hotbed for left-wing atheism and obsessive negative coverage of the Pope’s visit – you know, for mentioning that the current Pope is directly responsible for the cover-up for the rape of hundreds, perhaps thousands of children – we actually have a huge amount of positive BBC coverage which actually drowns out – wrongly in my view – the child abuse, the Aids issue and the rabid homophobia of the Catholic Church. It is another media narrative that is completely false; the Daily Mail is equating justifiable public disquiet and protest for Britain being an heathen society deliberately setting out to destroy our ‘Christian tradition’.

The Pope – as The enemies of reason suggests – seems to have gained his entire knowledge of Britain from the Daily Mail and the tabloid press have predictably been loving every ignorant minute of it. The Pope claims that:

‘There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.’

This is perfectly constructed nonsense that a tabloid newspaper would be proud of. Firstly, it is always ‘those’ people or ‘them’ in the context of this media narrative; we are never actually told who these people are or who they purport to be representing. Likewise, the people who might be offended are ‘those of other religions or none’, again, we have no idea who is actually offended, but in saying this the Pope appears to be certain that someone is arguing that that Christmas should be discouraged and that someone, somewhere is claiming offence at the festival.

Tabloidwatch has a brilliant round-up of the ‘Winterval’ stories that appeared in pretty much every tabloid newspaper following the Pope’s claims and it makes depressing reading. The myth that one council tried to replace Christmas with the more neutral title of ‘Winterval’ has been repeated every year hundreds of times in print, on TV, during phone-ins and so on as evidence that ‘they’ really are trying to ban Christmas. In reality Winterval was one council’s attempt to – you might say cynically – stretch out the Christmas period so that shoppers and revellers would enter the city centre and spend money not just during the traditional Christmas period but also in the weeks before and after. As the council made clear at the time – and makes clear every Christmas when brainless reporters start ringing for a comment: Christmas was the central part of the celebration and that:

During the part of that period traditionally celebrated as Christmas, “there was a banner saying Merry Christmas across the front of the council house, Christmas lights, Christmas trees in the main civil squares, regular carol-singing sessions by school choirs, and the Lord Mayor sent a Christmas card with a traditional Christmas scene wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

The name Winterval was created in order to stretch the period the council and shops could milk Christmas without incurring the wrath of starting Christmas celebrations too early – something that ironically tabloid newspapers do not like. It was never created to replace ‘Christmas’, which, as the council makes clear, was the focal point – in all of its traditional garb – for the whole celebration. The name Winterval makes perfect sense when you consider that the Mail is already running stories this year on shops starting Christmas too early: ‘As the summer holiday kick off and the sun shines Selfridges launches CHRISTMAS grotto‘. Still, it is safer for Selfridges to start Christmas early than attempt to re-brand the period running up to Christmas because any attempt to do so would be used as more ‘evidence’ that THEY are trying to ban Christmas.

The worst part about the Winterval myth is that it is so clearly a myth. It has been debunked on so many occasions, one quick Google search and the truth is revealed; yet it has lost none of its appeal to tabloid readers who seem to believe it year after year. We will all see it trotted out over and over again this Christmas every time a piece of tinsel falls from an office ceiling it will be blamed on ‘those’ people that want to ban Christmas. If any council tries to save taxpayers money by not buying a 40ft Norwegian Christmas tree it will be because they are SCARED OF OFFENDING MUSLIMS.

And on and on and on.

This post wasn’t even supposed to be about this myth. It was supposed to be about why the Pope is a fraud.

The Pope is a fraud because – this is stolen from Bill Hicks before anyone slams me for stealing it – because he is supposed to be the supreme icon of religious faith in the power and protection offered by God… but he drives around in an armour-plated car. This just seems as if the pope is admitting that he has no faith in the protection of god and has instead turned to the evils of science for protection – which given his views on science is pretty ironic and hypocritical. Consider that the pope believes that condoms spread aids or at the very least they offer no protection, he is using his position to essentially kill people, take away their only protection against a sexually transmitted disease. Then consider that this same man is driven around in an armour-plated car and afforded every technological protection possible and you can start to see why I really despise him.

As for his rallying calls for the faithful to take up arms against science, reason and secularism I don’t think this is at all a christian way of approaching things. I had always thought that faith was supposed to be a very personal thing, that having faith was an internal process and didn’t need external reassurance – because that would dilute the real meaning of faith. It seems odd therefore that a man of faith even cares what other people think about faith or religion. Firstly, as a christian he should just turn the other cheek, and secondly, as a man of faith he should have no concern with what others think or how they act, external factors should have no relevance to internal faith.

God supposedly gave us all free will, yet here we have the pope trying to imply that such free will should be resisted and challenged, as if somehow the existence of science and reason was somehow damaging the internal pursuit of faith. If you really believe in god and the eternal afterlife of heaven, why would you care about worldly issues that have no impact upon your internal faith? Not to mention why would you bother armour-plating your car – if the pope fears death then what hope do other Catholics have about the afterlife?

The last two points I want to quickly make is that I find it highly amusing that the pope criticises the shallow pursuit of celebrity, fashion and fame… whilst he stands dressed in silly (not to mention obscenely expensive) robes, carrying a huge gold cross and wearing a huge gold hat whilst being the ceremonial head of an obscenely rich organisation followed by over a billion people. Whilst at the same time he is trying to act repentant about the terrible ‘shame’ the Catholic Church felt over the child abuse scandal, when in reality it is he who should feel ashamed, given how it was he who decided the course of action that the church took in response to child rape (hide it, move the priests on and excommunicate anyone who speaks out). In between these apologies he kisses as many babies as possible.

The Daily Mail vs humanity

Cardinal Walter Kasper’s comments that landing in Heathrow was like landing ‘in a third world country’ was clearly a complaint that Britain has far too many awful black people and foreigners. The comment seems rather strange, given that the defense wheeled out for the Catholic Church is always along the lines of: ‘Sure, they raped a lot of children and then covered it up for years and years and still haven’t done anything to curb the problem, but look at how they help poor people’. Now we have a aide of the Pope declaring that it’s awful that black people – from the third world – can now be found in large numbers in Britain. I’m not sure god – if he was real of course – would approve of this.

Not surprisingly these comments have gone down rather well with Mail readers and the Mail itself, both of whom have been pushing the narrative that you cannot be religious in Britain anymore and that we’re overrun with awful black people and heathens. Still, the Daily Mail and Catholic Church have much in common: both enjoy spreading misery, bullshit and misanthropy (with an emphasis on misogyny); as institutions they feel like kindred spirits.

One look at the Daily Mail frontpage today, along with a laughably hypocritical editorial defending the Catholic Church, just demonstrates how conservative and backward the Daily Mail is. I still suspect that Paul Dacre believes that the earth is flat, but a massive and hateful leftist conspiracy has convinced everyone that it’s actually round. We know that the Catholic Church systematically covered up the sexual abuse of children and that the current pope was a key figure in that cover up. He had the power to take action, he declined and only acted to ensure pedophiles were moved to fresh pastures and new victims. We also know that a senior aide is clearly racist, add this to rabid homophobia, a murderous policy on condoms and aids and you have numerous justifications for protest.

Indeed, you might even feel it is your duty as a compassion human being or even Christian to protest, to defend decency and humanity. But not as far as the Mail is concerned. If you dare protest against the systematic abuse of children you a merely being led by Stephen Fry on a ‘atheist hate campaign’. As for the racist comments made by the pope’s aide… they were only considered racist by heathens: ‘Cardinal Walter Kasper… was condemned as racist by secular protesters determined to disrupt the Papal trip’.

Actually, he was ‘condemned as racist’ because he clearly made racist remarks. He bemoaned a multi-cultural Britain because he didn’t like landing at the same airport as black people. Condemning him as racist is the reaction of a decent human being, it has nothing to do with the seperate disgust at the actions of both the pope and the Catholic church, or secularism.

The Mail’s pathetic attempt to claim that this is merely a ‘celebrity vendetta’ rather ignores the fact that intelligent people across the UK completely are frustrated that an organisation known to be harboring pedophiles has been given a red-carpet reception simply because they happen to believe in a giant sky fairy and that therefore the laws we have to abide by somehow don’t apply to them.

The language of the editorial reserves outrage and anger for the protesters, whilst the pope is blanketed in sickeningly understated language. Covering up the rape and abuse of children, is this unacceptable, sickening, outrageous? No, according to the Daily Mail it is merely:

‘Yes, the Pope has handled the pedophile scandal with lamentable insensitivity.’

‘Scandal’ equates the systematic cover up of the sexual abuse of children with Wayne Rooney allegedly sleeping with prostitutes. ‘Handled’ implies that the sexual abuse was not lamentable, rather the problem is that the pope has a ‘lamentable’ public relations team. ‘Insensitively’ is completely meaningless, no one wanted a ‘sensitive’ response to the rape of children, they simply wanted a response, not the complete refusal of adults in fancy costume to give up the perpetrators because the silly costumes they were wearing meant that they were actually above the law.

Stephen Fry has taken the time to laugh at just how mad the Daily Mail has become and points out a few of the most obviously stupid arguments employed by the Mail:

I can always be certain that I have done a good thing when out of all the descriptions they can choose, their leader writers select “quizmaster”. “What has this country come to,” they want to know, “when an egregious, self-satisfied quizmaster presumes to make moral pronouncements on a two thousand year old institution etc etc.”

As it happens I have spent many many more hours of my life as a writer and a journalist than as a “quizmaster”, yet, oddly enough, we don’t read the Mail coming up with: “What has this country come to when a journalist presumes to make moral pronouncements on a two thousand year old etc.?” Perhaps the Mail leader writer would be kind enough to explain to the world what qualifications are needed to allow one to express an opinion, or write a letter to a newspaper? What profession should one belong to and can we have a list of those which in fact disbar us from expressing one’s views?

And he continues:

The most laughable element of the Mail’s weird outburst today is the way that the paper wants its readers, whoever the poor darlings may be, to see agnosticism, atheism, humanism and secularism as ‘fashionable’ and ‘established’ and therefore to figure themselves as maverick outsiders storming the ramparts of the liberal establishment.Yeah, right.

Actually, that’s not true, the most laughable element is their outrage at the idea we signatories are not being very hospitable to a visitor from overseas. Let us think for a moment about the richness of that before we vomit with laughter. The Daily Mail if you please, wagging its finger about kindness to visitors from overseas and hospitality to foreigners in our midst.

Maybe funnier even than that is the happy circumstance that the daily giveaway on the front page today is a DVD by that proud atheist David Attenborough, who recently revealed the hate-mail and threats he has received over the years from those who do not believe in Darwinian science.

Some of the most intelligent, thoughtful and eloquent writers around have taken the time to write coherent, factual and polite requests for the Pope not to be given the privilege of a state visit and that the Catholic Church should face real questions about it’s lack of action over pedophilia and it’s damaging action over Aids and condoms. In response, the most mocked and laughable newspaper currently in publication responds with a series of twisted attacks in which the peaceful, rational and coherent speakers become the angry and unreasonable mob, being brainwashed and ‘led’ by Stephen Fry.

Whereas the Daily Mail, of course, would never dare tell it’s readers what to think and how to hate. No, the Daily Mail is the voice of the people, elected, sainted and approved. Anyone disagreeing with this voice is an enemy of the people (since the Daily Mail assumes its editorial line is at one with the people) and part of some liberal elite leftist conspiracy.

I’ll let Stephen wrap things up:

Because I have a theological turn of mind, the people I feel most sorry for, and always have, are those who work for the paper. I have never met a Mail journalist whose first words weren’t an apology. “We’re not all Paul Dacre types….” they mournfully beg us to believe. Well, leave before it’s too late! Just imagine that there really is a St Peter to greet you after death. Suppose he asks what you did with your life, your mind, your heart, your whole being and your immortal soul and that you have to reply you that wrote for the Daily Mail. Wow!

If I am “pompous”, “egregious and self-satisfied”, all failings of mine that especially upset the poor leader-writer, it is because I have the right to that Hated By The Daily Mail badge. More than a CBE or honorary degree it tells me, and forgive my lack of modesty, that I am decent, clean, kind, thoughtful and honourable.

I’ll just pause to say, how can I get one of these badges? Surely I’ve done enough to earn one? After all, Stephen Fry already has the luxurious comfort of not reading the horrible rag everyday.