I was going to have a good whinge about Bloody Word Youth Day anyway, and then I noticed PZ Myers had opened a “have a whinge” thread over at Squidtopia, giving his Aussie readers open slather to hang some shit on the whole occasion. PZ: good onya mate.
Naturally I hooked in and before I knew it I’d posted a comment:
I strenuously object to my government (the fucking taxes taken off my wages, thank you very much) to prop up a rockstar tour by this elderly virgin emperor. There are lots of things to bitch about when it comes to the Vatican, but as an employee of a respected (& secular!) international aid organisation I’m familiar with the results of the Nu Roman Empire’s reprehensible anti-contraception policy in various areas of the Catholic-occupied third world.
And then I thought that if I wanted to expand on it I should take it over here and do my big “fuck the Pope” rant as I’d originally intended.
Yes, I have a big problem with the Vatican and have for a long time. It continually resists common sense that the rest of the world long ago embraced. If it ever does admit to error, it takes centuries and then the apology is forced and hollow (we all remember Galileo Figaro Magnifico – that was his name, wasn’t it?). It has a long history of corruption & coverups, especially when it comes to the unforgivable crimes against children at the hands of priests, stretching back over decades, perhaps even centuries. It’s a theocracy whose leader is swathed in golden robes and lives in a palace as an emperor while millions of his subjects, living in poverty, are told they cannot use condoms, either to prevent pregnancy or guard against STDs. As a result, easily preventable diseases like AIDS are rife throughout Papist areas of Africa.
Apart from that, it now seems that any kind of dissent (I guess that means any behaviour that isn’t craven fucking fawning) is going to get you arrested, charged and fined up to $5000. That’s five grand Australian, which is about a billion US dollars (though my stock report could be a little out). From the SMH article:
The laws, which operate until the end of July, have the potential to make a crime of wearing a T-shirt with a message on it, undertaking a Chaser-style stunt, handing out condoms at protests, riding a skateboard or even playing music, critics say.
The Catholic Church denied it had called for such powers.
The regulations were quietly gazetted by the Deputy Premier, John Watkins, on Friday afternoon and apply to more than 40 city locations, including museums, galleries and cinemas, as well as Darling Harbour, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Randwick Racecourse and parklands.
Sheesh. So, until the end of July, you’re not allowed to use the most popular locations in Sydney unless you’re a kowtowing Papist, or tip-toeing around kowtowing Papists and showing them more bloody respect than they deserve. There’s a law against handing out condoms? Playing music which might offend Catholic sensibilities? The way I see it, most Catholic sensibilities seem always to lead to public outrage over just about everything…
By the way, forgive me if I have trouble believing the Roman Empire had nothing to do with these new laws. I’m sure the APEC SNAFU had a lot to do with these pre–emptive strikes against dissent, but don’t tell me the Vaticanazis down under didn’t have a word in someone’s shell-like ear…
Regardless, let me make this crystal clear:
YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO NOT BE OFFENDED.
You can complain about it, you can hit back in kind, you can call the offender whatever you want, you can launch frivolous lawsuits, you can go on Today Tonight and accuse people of hate-crimes if you want, but the right to not be offended does not exist. And, it’s for a very good reason: offense is in the eye of the beholder. It’s completely subjective. You can’t legislate for that. It’s like barring unattractive people from bars (which I’d support in theory, but there are as many kinds of attractive as there are people, which is the whole point).
While we don’t have a Bill of Rights in this country (and sometimes I wish we did so utter bullshit like this could be vigorously challenged), the right of an Australian to express their opinion is something we grow up taking for granted – we’ve died and killed for it. We call a spade a spade here, and we call bullshit bullshit. This … this is top-drawer, Grade A Washington DC-style bullshit. This is the kind of post 9/11 hyperreaction that’s become synonymous with George W’s administration and it unfortunately seems to have spread a little a bit.
I hope to El Jeebus Grande that the Chaser boys come out of their semi-retirement and show this up for the hysterical over-reaction is – though, ironically, it was their epic win at APEC (and subsequent dropping of the charges) that seems to have been the impetus for these new laws. The NSW state government and Sydney cops are still living that down and it’s understandable that they want to avoid a repeat performance. But extending the tentacles of the law to punish people for wearing t-shirts which some Catholics might take offense at? You want to talk about offense? Well, I’m grossly offended by an elderly virgin handing out contraceptive & sexual advice to millions of credulous poverty-stricken Catholics. I take great offense to this elected monarch living in a palace, wearing golden robes and being waited on hand and foot while those same millions are denied cheap and effective methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs such as HIV/AIDS (which is rife in the Catholic-occupied third world, especially some African nations). I take extreme offense to this protector of paedophiles being called “father” and fawned over and coddled by every leader of every nation in the world. The fact that this Roman Empire Redux is built on centuries of lies, deceit, torture, theft, highly selective scripture interpretation and inexplicable secrecy offends me. I take offense at the fact that every time some advance is made in nearly any field of science or medicine, we have to see a TV news soundbyte from some collared flunky (often Archfascist George Pell) advising caution against playing God or some such scripturally-inspired bullshit. Why the fuck did anyone ask YOU, a priest, a non-scientist, about progress in (for example) stem cells, medical research, astronomy – things you have no experience with (save for your constant denouncements) and the very things your church has railed against for centuries? Why should I, sitting at home and going “Yeah, that’s really quite amazing progress” have to have my buzz killed by someone who knows less about the topic at hand than I do? Being advised what to think by someone less smart than me is fucking offensive and it happens all the time. While we don’t have the fundie problems that our US brethren do, our leaders/journalists still think they have to ask the “other side” and include the priests in everything, as if it were the bloody 18th century and your local parson is the authority on everything. That’s offensive. Talk to someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Shit, you want offense? I’ve got it right here.
FUCK THE MOTHERFUCKING POPE AND ALL THOSE WHO BOW TO HIM.
FUCK OUR STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS FOR SPENDING OUR MONEY ON ELIMINATING DISSENT AGAINST HIM. FUCK THEM FOR KOWTOWING TO A WOEFULLY OUT-OF-TOUCH EMPEROR.