From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Condoms will be handed out to pilgrims en route to a papal Mass at Randwick Racecourse on World Youth Day as part of a protest against the Catholic Church’s attitude to homosexuality, contraception and abortion.
A coalition of religious, atheist, gay and lesbian groups will stage the rally in Taylor Square from midday on Saturday July 19 before marching to the main event of the week-long World Youth Day celebrations.
Awesome. Especially the part where religious, heathen and gay people are all out there together, sending a message to the Nu-Roman Emperor.
“We will say to them, ‘Take up the campaign within the Catholic Church to promote condoms.’ We’re not planning to get into any trouble. We don’t want to condemn Catholic youth for being Catholics. We want to condemn the Pope for being homophobic and anti-condom.”
Good and double-good. The last thing we need is more religious paranoia about the evil atheist/gay conspiracy trying to destroy them. I truly think most Catholics (in the modern, educated world anyway) do not agree with the ridiculous anti-contraception stance of the Vatican and would welcome this protest. However, sadly, I think quite a few would only do it secretly, such is the grip the Empire has on peoples’ minds.
Apart from being an inherently misogynistic and homophobic organisation, the Catholic Empire’s continuing stance against contraception condemns countless numbers of people every year to death or illness from preventable diseases (especially in parts of the third world where the Vatican knows it can always count on peoples’ susceptibility to superstition and faith-based authority) and removes from every person of the faith the choice of whether to conceive during sex. To me, this is a gross violation of the most basic human right! Why should a group of elderly robed virgin bachelors be telling millions of people how to manage their own bodies? You wouldn’t take dietary advice from someone who weighed 200kg and ate creme brulee for breakfast, would you?
So, do the mafiosi of Jesus really get their authority to make these peculiar demands on their following from the bible? Where in the book does it say “you must only have sex to make babies”? Sure, Genesis says “be fruitful and multiply” and Judah’s son Onan was killed by God for spilling his seed (it would seem that God does indeed get quite irate when a sperm is wasted). But it seems to require quite a bit of interpretation to make these few passages imlpy a strict ban on contraception or sex for fun. Christian opposition to contraception does have a long history (it was associated, along with abortion, with heretics such as the Gnostic or Cathars) but it would seem the ban is only really supported papal encyclicals (I guess it’s a fancy way of saying “orders”) and not explicitly commanded by scripture.
Whatever the actual source for this claimed authority to tell people, it just seems like yet another example of the church seeming happy to remain stuck in ancient times, not recognising that the world has changed considerably since the period leading up to the Renaissance, when the Vatican held most of the kings and princes of Europe in its palm (until Henry VIII decided he wanted a divorce and started his own church which had much more relaxed rules, which really just goes to show the worth of organised religion in general). It’s still one of the richest landowners in the world (the Inquisition was quite a successful land-grab), but without tenants to pay the rent you’ll be in a bit of a hole. Hence, I’m happy to assume, the need for fruitful multiplication.
Every so often, though, the Vatican makes some small concession to reality. After 400 or so years, Galileo was eventually pardoned for his “crime” of disagreeing with the Vatican and subscribing to (and basically proving) the Copernican theory that the Earth is not the centre of the universe. Eventually, they also recognised, long, long after the rest of the world, things like gravity, germ theory, atomic theory, the possibility of extra-terrestrial life and even that great faith-killer, the theory of evolution. Every so often, they magnanimously admit to having noticed certain aspects of the real world and the gaps in scientific knowledge that their god used to fill in all his grandeur become slightly smaller. Given this slow but sure lapping away by reality at the shores of their superstition, it’s little wonder that they cling so tightly to subjective things which reality doesn’t have much of a say in, like sexual morality & practice. Homosexuality, abortion, contraception and so forth, these are things that the Vatican can quite happily still claim moral authority on. As long as they stay on the course of issuing behavioural edicts and telling people what they should think and do and how they should make love, science won’t be able to disprove any of it. It’ll be up to the Catholics themselves to eventually cast off the centuries-old shackles of papal despotism and say “Enough!”
One thing about this article has me a bit suss though. I’m not sure I welcome every group on this list with open arms…
Other groups in the NoToPope Coalition are the Socialist Alliance, Resistance, Atheists Sydney and the Raelians, a religious sect that has claimed to have cloned the world’s first human being.
Raelian members Eden Bates and Gerry Texeira said it was unfair that their leader, Claude Vorilhon, known as Rael, was denied a visa upon application while the Pope was being feted by Australian governments.
I don’t actually know anything the first three listed there. But the Raelians? Come on, this is giving any Papist mush-heads a golden ticket to discredit the entire protest as the usual “aw, poor old picked-on Catholics” paranois! Couldn’t the various gay/atheist groups have said a polite “thanks but no thanks”? The last thing any pro-rights movement needs is to be associated with a cult of self-proclaimed (but unproven) human-cloners, especially given the touchiness surrounding topics such as stem cells and embryonic cloning.
However, there is some semblance of a point there. Rael, obvious wacko cult leader, is denied entry to the country because he’s obviously the leader of a wacko cult. The pope, however, gets a red carpet all the way to his holy bidet. One cult leader is denied because he’s the new kid and clearly a bit nutso, but the leader of a more popular cult with better robes which is built on centuries of murder, torture and enriched to an unholy extent by outright theft, that continues to cover for paedophiles, that believes wafers turn into Jewish zombie flesh at the incantation of a magic spell and continues to exert unreasonable moral influence in what should be the private lives of its millions of followers gets more attention & honour than Led Zeppelin.
Well, perhaps in a thousand years, once they’ve managed to gain considerable influence over several million people through missionary work, inquisitions, crusades and centuries of sexual oppression (and gross sexual misconduct, all swept under the rug until you can’t cross the room without a step-ladder, of course), that generation’s Rael-clone may be invited to The Lodge to have a cup of tea with the cybernetically-preserved head of Kevin Rudd.
Watch this space!