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It's Now Official: Pope Francis I is Pond-Scum - Moderates of all Nations, Unite! [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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It's Now Official: Pope Francis I is Pond-Scum [Jan. 16th, 2015|02:57 pm]
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When most of the Western democratic world are mourning the senseless murder of unarmed cartoonists in Paris, and rallying in huge numbers to reaffirm such basic values as freedom of speech and the right to criticize and resist religious bullying and authoritarianism, Pope Francis I took this moment as the perfect time to blame the victims and reassert exactly the opposite values:

Pope Francis has weighed into the debate over freedom of expression in the wake of the murderous attacks in Paris, saying that anyone who insults a religion can expect “a punch in the nose”.

In provocative remarks which may cause consternation in France, the Pope said that freedom of expression had its limits, especially if it involved insulting or ridiculing religion.

The timing of this arrogant demand for silent obedience is made even more atrocious by the fact that it comes just as Wahabbi Arabia is sentencing a mere blogger to one thousand lashes, and ten years in prison, for "insulting Islam" -- specifically, for being an atheist and saying so.

At a time when so many established religions face harsh -- but perfectly valid and timely -- criticism over their backward and ignorant doctrines, their horrendous abuses of unearned power and influence, their refusal to effectively stand up for the poor and suffering whom they so pompously claim to represent, their spineless support of policies that only worsen such poverty and suffering, and for the violence they incite and excuse with their paralyzingly rigid doctrines, the very LAST thing any religious "leader" should be doing, is telling people to stop talking about the injustices. (Did Jesus ever tell people to stop questioning him?) This is a time for organized religion to EARN respect, not to demand it as an entitlement.

And let's be clear here: when it comes to religion, ANY form of criticism is almost certain to be labeled "insulting." Criticism of anything related to one's religious beliefs will, inevitably, be interpreted by huge numbers of the believers as an "insult" to the basic beliefs they consider fundamental to their entire lives, and which they consider, by definition, the Word of God and thus incontrovertible by any mere mortal. This is, in fact, why people are so reluctant to argue about religious issues with their friends or family members.

To take just one example: when people started speaking up about the sexual abuse of boys by priests in Catholic schools, the first response of many Catholics was to accuse the critics of anti-Catholic bigotry. And that, in turn, means that this Pope's rule against "insulting religion" would have silenced legitimate criticism of a real and serious injustice.

And then there is the matter of definition. How do you define what speech is or is not "insulting religion?" By whether or not someone says he or she is insulted by it. How else can one define it?

And the following phrase speaks volumes about where this sort of tyrannical demands are coming from:

He made the forthright comments to journalists on board his official plane...

This basically sums up the Pope's position here: the guy who pretends to be an unpretentious "man of the people" is now telling the people, from the safety of his private plane, not to insult the business that gave him his own private plane. If I sat in a coach seat (the closest thing to a private plane I can afford), and told the rest of you not to insult MY religion, would my feelings get a similar degree of respect, or even attention? Don't make me laugh.

Aaaannnnnd...here comes the blatant victim-blaming:

The Pope did not refer specifically to the magazine [Charlie Hebdo] but said that insulting religions was unacceptable and dangerous.

Dangerous? Yeah, it's made dangerous by religious people, like the Pope and his followers, who tell each other that it's perfectly okay to kill anyone who says anything they don't want to hear. Unacceptable? There I beg to differ -- I not only accept it, I find it necessary.

“There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others,” he said.

Like the last Pope making a game of MY religion by blaming "neo-paganism" for the Holocaust?

“They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.”

Excuse me, but what happened to those cartoonists in Paris is nothing at all like what "would" happen to his friend. Unless, of course, the Pope is saying he'd gun down his friend, or whip all the skin off his back, for insulting his mother. (Tip for Dr. Gasparri: this guy's threats are sounding kind of unclear -- find a new set of friends before it's too late.)

Oh, and I notice that the Telegraph article called the Pope's remarks "provocative," and then quoted the Pope calling critics of religion "provocateurs." Intentional or not, this is a damn good hint at the utter hypocrisy of this Pope's demands.

The Pope in no way condoned the attack on Charlie Hebdo...

No, he didn't just "condone" that massacre, he JUSTIFIED it and blamed the victims instead of the actual murderers. That is at least as bad as "condoning" them -- in fact, is there any real difference here?

...insisting that violence carried out in God’s name was “an aberration."

Has this guy read ANY history? Violence in his God's name has been the norm ever since his religion was founded. How dumb does he think his target-audience is?

The hypocrisy of this Pope's threats against critics of religion is compounded by the fact that this Pope is excusing violent religious bigotry while flying to a country where HUGE concerns have been voiced over the Pope's own safety:

“If someone blocks the convoy by trying to get near the Holy Father and the convoy stops, what was a moving target becomes a stationary target,” President Benigno Aquino said before the Pope’s arrival. “I ask you, do you want history to record that a tragedy involving the Pope happened in the Philippines?”...

The history of papal visits to the Philippines offers little reassurance...In 1995, a week before John Paul II’s visit, police uncovered a plot by foreign Islamist extremists to kill him by bombing his motorcade route in Manila.

An assessment of potential threats against Pope Francis, compiled by the Philippines government, identified home-grown Islamist groups as well as al Qaeda and Isil, which has repeatedly threatened to “conquer Rome” and plant its black flag on St Peter’s Basilica.

Damn, what did Pope Francis say to insult their religion? The violent religious hate he explicitly condoned, is a clear and present danger to him, in a country loyal to his religion. The Philippine security folks really should have a word with him about this. [Insert glass-houses reference here.]

This Pope is explicitly supporting the violent extremism and intolerance of another religion -- which could quite possibly turn against followers of his own religion. This is yet another example of diametrically-opposed groups of extremists (in this case, Muslim and Christian bigots), pretending to oppose each other while working together to gang up on a common enemy -- ordinary people who only want to make their lives safer and more just. If I had to sum up my response to all this, I'd quote the first two lines of an open letter I found here:

Dear offended religious people,

Please stop the hypocrisy. The right to offend is not exclusively yours.

UPDATE: Oh look, another conservative Christian singing our most bloodthirsty enemy's praises! Did someone say "people who hate our freedoms?"