Pope gets tax-paid visit to UK to denounce equality of gays before the law…

I am glad to see I am not the only person who finds this unconscionable… I hope the Grauniad won’t sue me for reposting their piece below the fold.

Pope condemns gay equality laws ahead of first UK visit

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned British equality legislation for running contrary to “natural law” as he confirmed his first visit to the UK later this year.

In a letter addressed to the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, the pope praised Britain’s “firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all”.

However, he criticised UK legislation for creating “limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs”. It is thought his comments relate to laws that came in last year preventing adoption agencies from discriminating against gay couples and also Harriet Harman’s equality bill, currently going through parliament.

The pope, whose visit is expected in September, made the comments after hearing representations from English and Welsh bishops on their concerns about the place of religion in an increasingly secular society.

They told him sexual orientation legislation that came into effect on 1 January 2009 had forced the closure of half the Roman Catholic adoption agencies because the law making it illegal to discriminate against gay applicants went against their beliefs.

In his letter the pope said: “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.”

It is also thought the pope was referring to the equality bill, which narrows the special exemption enjoyed by churches allowing them to exclude people whose lifestyles do not fit in with the religious ethos of an organisation when hiring staff. The bishops cited it as another restriction of their freedom of religious belief.

The archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, who is in Rome, said: “It has been clear that he knows the situation and applied it to a move in legislation to look for equality.”

The pope urged the bishops to make their voices heard and to defend the faith, saying Christian teaching did not undermine or restrict the freedom of others.

His remarks drew swift criticism from the National Secular Society, which said it would stage protests during the visit.

Terry Sanderson, the society’s president, said: “The taxpayer is going to be faced with a bill for £20m for the visit – in which he has indicated he will attack equal rights and promote discrimination.”

26 thoughts on “Pope gets tax-paid visit to UK to denounce equality of gays before the law…

  1. Many years ago I helped to edit a local left wing magazine in England and I recall that we were obliged to reject an article submitted by a local left wing loony because, among other reasons, it included the immortal line: “We must squash and kill the pope”.

    I’m sorry now we didn’t keep it.

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  2. Without intending to this post confirms the previous one. The 20 million quid bill that the British tax payer is going to have to foot is the cost of the security arrangements necessitated by the fear that the terrorists will ‘squash and kill’ Bennie the Rottweiler.

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  3. “Natural law” — 12th century sectarianism masquerading as 21st century science.

    The following quote from Oliver Wendell Holms captures this perfectly:

    “The jurists who believe in natural law seem to me to be in that naive state of mind that accepts what has been familiar and accepted by them and their neighbors as something that must be
    accepted by all men everywhere.”

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    1. Absolutely! Natural law is roughly the claim that the moral standards of a particular religion at a particular time are laws of nature. Like women not speaking in church, or not baring their heads in church. Wait… err… that, it turns out, isn’t natural law now.

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  4. Ho hum.

    The “secular” society wishes to impose its views on society, some people object to is views.

    Just politics as normal.

    I do tend to sympathise more with the churches (especially the schools they run) as it seems the intention of the “secualr” society, aided and abetted by labour, is to make all schools equally bad rather than improve the secularally run ones.

    On the 20,000,000 pounds for security, well that’s for an extended stay with shows all around the country, compared to the cost of hosting a G20 summit it isn’t much.

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    1. On the 20,000,000 pounds for security, well that’s for an extended stay with shows all around the country, compared to the cost of hosting a G20 summit it isn’t much.

      British football clubs have to pay the costs of policing their matches. If Bennie the Rottweiler wants to walkies in Britain then the Catholic Church should pay the security costs!

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      1. True, but even footbal clubs are subsidised.

        A better example might be a large public meeting and or march, these are policed out of taxpayers money, not the organiser’s or participants’.
        Just as the additional policing required when popular bands/groups tour the country the cost is taken from the public purse.

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      1. The promoters may pay for the security in and around the venue, i.e. private security firms. The cost of traffic management and crowd control away from the venue is naught to do with them. Same I suspect with the Pope.

        The cost of policing marches isn’t charged to the march organisers, even though city centre matches can be expensive to police.

        Though if you take the Pope to be a visiting statesman (head of the Vatican State) invited by the PM of GB&NI, as he is, then the policing cost is automaticcaly borne by the taxpayer. Just like when other foreign politicians visit the UK.

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  5. I don’t know what this ‘ “secular” society’ is; there are many Christians who believe that equality means just that, and do not share the Pope’s fear and distrust of gays. Of course the Catholic church already employs many gays – the lack of women, no expectation of marriage, and those lovely dresses are all so enticing.
    A good test is to substitute the word ‘blacks’ for ‘homosexuals’, and see how it reads then; I would suggest substituting ‘women’ but perhaps not . . .

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  6. You’d think Captain Catholic would be coming to Merrie Olde England to bitch and snivel about a true abomination; the Act of Settlement 1701! Instead, he’s coming to do a bit of gay bashing. But I suppose now that Benedict the WhateverTH has made it official Church policy to poach all the High Anglicans, he figures he’s going to win through attrition anyways.

    It strikes me as somewhat sad that, given all the evidence of decades (and probably considerably longer) of abuse by priests against young children that anyone actually cares what the Bishop of Rome has to say on matters sexual, or that said Bishop feels he’s in any kind of moral position to make pronouncements on people who, more than likely, aren’t practicing Catholics anyways.

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  7. This made me think back to the notorious business of the people warned by the Old Bill in the UK for wearing clothing that bore the slogan “Bollocks to Blair”. Apparently the police had to respond under the Public Order Act of 1986 if a member of the public complained. Now, what if someone were to complain to the police about Herr Ratzinger’s remarks about gays…

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  8. I don’t think the police ever bothered about recieving a complaint. My The bastard love child of Thatcher and John Major did not go down well
    outside the court engaged in enforcing and imprisoning non-payers and the guy with poll tax anal cracks one got an even worse response.

    My mate got an old job lot of masons regalia in a second hand shop and went for a masons against the poll tax banner in full dress and sash.

    I was thinking of doing the same at the orange order rally staged in the park across the road from where I live and going with “Gay Masons for Equal Rights” but after viewing the large crowd which seemed to consist almost entirly of large heavily built shaven headed gentlemen. Thousands of them. I am rather glad Mason outfits are not that freely available.

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  9. Gosh. Last few posts made me reflect on todays police state and what I saw in the 80’s. Miners demos at 16, C.N.D, riots in st pauls bristol then later brixton and then the big poll tax riot. The riot vans patroling the streets, switching lights off at night and nearly running you down as they drove up the pavements. Snatch squads at Brixton tubes who never arrested a white face. The beanfeild where illegal festival goers were beaten and had their mobile homes burnt by police officers in jump suits with no I.D. on display.

    Worst was one morning when an army of police sealed of St Pauls a predominatly black neighbour hood (unlike Brixton which is pretty multi-cultural) would not let anyone in or out and raided around 500 homes for drugs. They netted 4 oz. of weed and scared the living crap out of everyone.

    The police have moved on somewhat; those were scary and oppressive days. You saw the full force of the state in action far too often.

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    1. Wait a while. You’ll see it again. The lessons learned by the late 60s and early 70s were forgotten again in the 80s. Likewise the lessons learned in the late 80s and early 90s are forgotten now. The public polity is an amnesiac.

      What I find most ironic, historically, is that the warning of an outgoing Republican president still continues to describe the greatest threat to liberty over 50 years later: the military-industrial complex still runs things.

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  10. Yes I can see it to an extent in the interest my kids take in politics. My oldest one listens to the music of my generation that for us was so much apart of my generations politics and anger. What we saw around us and what happened to us.

    But they do not live with the feeling that at any moment the Sherrif of Notingham is going to kick the door in, burn down the homestead and steal all youre chickens to fund youre own oppression.

    I suppose that feeling does not occur until it is too late as it is the feeling of powerlessness and dispair in the face of naked aggression.

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  11. This shit is so frustrating. The Pope’s claims about reality aren’t based any more on fact than Tom Cruise’s. But the fact that Catholicism has lots of followers while Scientology has very few means we have to treat powerful people of The Church like they’re something other than raving lunatics pulling ignorant, superstitious, bigoted nonsense out of their asses, and spend god-awful amounts of money trucking them around the planet so they can spread hatred and stupidity.

    Bah.

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    1. I shouldn’t say this I shouldn’t say this I shouldn’t say this … bugger:

      Kill them all and let God sort them out…

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    2. Now John, sit down, take a deep breath and drink a nice warm cup of tea. There’s nothing like a nice cup of tea when your in a flummox, my mum always used to say.

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      1. Thony’s right. Have a nice cup of tea and contemplate the irony of a bunch of coffee-drinkers having a Tea Party. Maybe they drink the tea while they’re ironing the white hooded robes and get the burning crosses ready to be lit up.

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  12. I don’t want to try and try to suggest that the Popes views are a good thing. Or that as a result people will leave the faith. But it clearly happens and has come back to bite the church on the ass.

    Take the way young women who gave birth were abused in convents. They did not disappear in all cases from the face of the earth, some of the convents were in urban centeres close to where their peer groups and freinds lived.

    Who were very very aware of what happened.
    It has a clear effect on faith and belief. As the rehetoric and the reality are so clearly diffrent.

    The tension between the inbuilt conservatisim of such institutions and the need to adapt to changing cultural circumstances must have always been a feature of such going concerns.

    But it does seem to be very problematic for the catholic church in particular.

    It’s leadership is a creature out of it’s time and lost in a very diffrent world. But still a powerfull one never the less.

    I would hope that the policing of this event would not seek to sheild and hide the pope from any groups wishing to express their opinions.

    But I expect part of the cash will be used to prevent any such ’embarasment’ and loss of face
    for such an important individual.

    I remeber Thatcher sneeking into a party confrence through the back door to save her having to look in the eye of a small group of old miners who stood outside the hall.

    All of her ministers did take the walk of shame and were clearly uncomfortable doing so. |But did so none the less.

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