mirrorshard: (Lammas print)
Disclaimer: the following contains a fisk of an Daily Mail article written by Norman Tebbit. Please do not read if black, gay, female, or under the age of 65, or while eating or drinking. (via [livejournal.com profile] valkyriekaren)

you were warned )
mirrorshard: (Default)
There's two things I really don't get about this business. First, the Church are claiming that complying with anti-discrimination regulations (binding on organizations accepting government money) and placing children with gay couples is against their principles.

If you'll excuse my language - bollocks it is. Their religious principles, even the bad, wrong, counterproductive ones that say homosexuality is a sin (and if I recall correctly, that's from Leviticus. The same book of the Torah Bible that prohibits the wearing of mixed fibres, advocates the death penalty for witches and women taken in adultery, and lays down the Jewish dietary laws) have nothing whatsoever to say about accepting government funding. With the option of going it alone freely available, suggesting that their religious principles are being compromised is complete nonsense.

Secondly, the Church are claiming that if they don't get an exemption, they'll have to scream and scream until they're sick close their four adoption agencies, which between them place 200 children a year. "Oh, no," they say. "It's not a matter of sulking at all. We'll just have to close for lack of funding if we can't accept the conditions attached to your dirty dirty government money."

If you'll excuse my language - bollocks they will. This is, let me remind you, the Catholic Church we're talking about. The same millennia-old incomprehensibly rich organisation that spent most of its existence running a substantial fraction of the globe. The same guys who, for a long time, more or less defined civilised Western society... we used to call it 'Christendom' for a reason.

And they're telling us they can't afford to run four adoption agencies, in the faith-based charitable sector, with all the cheap labour costs that that implies? My heart goes out to them, really it does.

Whoever's using the World's Smallest Violin, please pass it back, the Catholic Church needs YOU.


Apr. 20th, 2005 01:11 am
mirrorshard: (Default)
If I have a religion at all, I am a Quaker, I suppose - and as such, belong to a long tradition of social conscience, independence, good works, and abhorrence of spiritual authority. Indulge me, then, in a few moments' good old-fashioned polemic.

Now, I do not hate the Catholic Church, and I do not think that it is uniformly a bad thing. But I cannot condone dogma, or inflexible assumptions; and I cannot accept received truth.

My dislike, my pity, my contempt, is not based on policy, nor on theology, nor on dogma, nor on social effects. It is not because they oppose measures that save lives and avert epidemics, nor because they institutionalize very restricted social norms, nor because they condone and cover up misdeeds in their own ministry.

It is because they are, in essence and of necessity, the enemy of progress and the common good - implacably opposed to any kind of sensible error-checking mechanism, devoid of humility or of intellectual integrity, cowering inside their own sophist's house of cards, a small, sad structure of cold, uncompromising logic built in a vain effort to hide from the messy, confusing, wonderful, ambiguous world where actions have real human consequences.

You're wise and infallible, you say? And how are we to know this? Ah, yes, it's because you, being wise and infallible, told us so. And if we still doubt, you refer us to your interpretation of a two-thousand-year-old document of dubious provenance and unknown reliability, which can be read as a history, a parable, a metaphor, a work of fiction, or as the drug-inspired ramblings of a series of semi-literate peasants, at your pleasure. And if we're willing to accept the stigma of plebeian tastes and abilities, we can even read it in our own language.

It's a wonderful story, it's a compelling tale, but claiming moral and spiritual authority on the basis of that is laughable. As for being told to have faith and not to question - tsk. Questioning is what we do, it's how our civilization developed to the point it did.

Thank you for listening, ladies & gentlemen. This will almost certainly not appear in the exam.


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