Monday, 1 February 2010

Pope confirms UK Tour as he hits out at UK equality

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In a letter to his bishops in England and Wales, reported by Times religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill on her blog, Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed that he is coming to Britain in September, in what will be the first ever state visit by a Pontiff. And in the letter, he appears to make a thinly-veiled attack on proposed equality legislation, which would prevent religious organisations from discriminating against potential employees based on their sexual orientation (no doubt the Lords and Church of England Bishops who opposed the legislation in the House of Lords last week will be pleased to have the Pope's support):
"Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed. I urge you as Pastors to ensure that the Church’s moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended. Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others – on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth. Continue to insist upon your right to participate in national debate through respectful dialogue with other elements in society. In doing so, you are not only maintaining long-standing British traditions of freedom of expression and honest exchange of opinion, but you are actually giving voice to the convictions of many people who lack the means to express them: when so many of the population claim to be Christian, how could anyone dispute the Gospel’s right to be heard?"
So, he'll be here in September to tell us to stop violating natural law with our equality. Here at New Humanist, it's hard not to look forward to the visit, simply because it'll provide us with so much content. We've already had a lot of fun with the idea of Pope Tour 2010, encouraging readers to come up with rock tour-esque names for the Papal visit. One of our writers, Roger Davidson, even drew some tour posters using the names – now seems like a good time to use another of those, so here's The Liturgical Mystery Tour.

But while we're having some fun with Benedict's visit, it is worth pointing out that it's a state visit, and will therefore be funded by the taxpayer. The National Secular Society are promoting a pettition to the Prime Minister to demand that the Catholic Church pays for the visit itself:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ask the Catholic Church to pay for the proposed visit of the Pope to the UK and relieve the taxpayer of the estimated £20 million cost. We accept the right of the Pope to visit his followers in Britain, but public money would be better spent on hard-pressed schools, hospitals and social services which are facing cuts."
So, September's going to be an interesting month, at least in my line of work. We'll have more Pope Tour posters nearer the time.


Eiskrystal said...

-Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others – on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth.-

Except of course for gay rights, abortion, aids and sex equality...and his truth that you are born evil and must be cleansed. Great...

But no apart from that i'm delighted that it apparently costs £20 million to move an old fart from one country to another. Who knew shipping costs had risen so.

No doubt the pope will recoup the costs he didn't have to pay in t-shirts, rosary beads and ticket sales.

Garkbit said...

If we're really lucky Peter Tatchell will try to arrest him.

Anonymous said...

A VOODOO witch-doctor who regards his own genitals as a mortal sin, last night claimed to be the world's foremost expert on the laws of nature.

Mr Ratzinger likes to think about nature while wearing his 'Science Hat'Joseph Ratzinger said his knowledge and understanding of physics, chemistry and biology now surpassed that of any other human being, and anyone who challenged him would be cast into a nine-level supernatural punishment world full of demons and hot brimstone until the year infinity.

Anonymous said...

Eiskrystal, you're forgetting that according to the pope freedom, reason, truth and anything eslse must be subject to faith, so I'm afraid there's no contradiction for him.
That's how religion works...

Good luck for the petition, I'm afraid I'm a foreigner.

Uhm, maybe Ms Smith could recycle the letter she wrote to that holland gentleman?