Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are planning to have the Pope arrested in the UK

Discuss

97 Responses to “Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are planning to have the Pope arrested in the UK”

  1. SKR says:

    The Vatican is a sovereign city-state. The Pope, as head of that sovereign city-state, would have diplomatic immunity. IANAL or Barrister as the case might be however.

    • adonai says:

      I’ve read that Vatican City isn’t recognised as a nation by the UN, so technically the Pope could be arrested in the UK if this goes ahead. Take that with as much salt as you wish.

      • Bevatron Repairman says:

        No. The Vatican has observer status at the UN and is not (to my knowledge) a fully member. But last I checked, that’s the same status as Switzerland. Taiwan has observer status. So does the Palestinian Authority. But the Vatican has diplomatic relations with almost every country on Earth, including the UK as well as with the EU. So, the Pope isn’t likely to be arrested by anyone.

  2. Anonymous says:

    From ‘Salt of the Earth’ (interviews with Pope Benedict) and the Age article it is clear that:

    1. As a teenager, Pope Benedict was a member of the Hitler Youth.
    2. Some 10-20% of youths avoided joining but the Pope still joined.
    3. He wanted evidence of attending the Hitler youth meetings – not because his safety was at risk, but because it gave him a discount on his tuition.

    It is also clear from many other sources that it was NOT compulsory to join the Hitler youth.

    To quote one ex-member (Henry Metelman):

    “I was a member of the Hitler Youth for five years. A number of my friends had not joined up. Some found it difficult to enrol in the civil service and other state-run institutions. But I know of none of them having been punished in any way”.

    (Ref: Guardian, Letters: 25-April-2005)

    However, it WAS an impediment for your career.

    And so Pope Benedict joined the Hitler youth.

  3. roninro says:

    Dawkins also wrote a column in the Guardian about this subject (a week ago), and mentions the poorly chosen Times headline.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/apr/13/pope-prosecution-dawkins

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Dawkins may want to cast his net a bit closer to home:

    “Police estimate that 1 in 3 victims of drug-assisted sexual assault are students, most of whom have their drink spiked in pubs or clubs.”

    http://www.cusu.cam.ac.uk/welfare/safety/goingout.html

    It may be fun to demonize someone on another continent and sell some more books, but he’s sure to find some nasty shenanigans if he just asks the right questions around his own university.

  5. friendpuppy says:

    Aren’t journalists supposed to have 2 sources for their stories? A lot of stuff just gets reported wrong on this site.

  6. Trotsky says:

    >> Trotsky, you just sound a little frothy around the mouth.

    You have a tin ear. The record is unambiguous.

    • robulus says:

      “You have a tin ear.”

      I… what?

      “The record is unambiguous.”

      Indeed. The record shows, unambiguously, that he was unfortunate enough to be a teenager in Germany at that time and legally required to join the Brownshirts.

      • Trotsky says:

        >> The record shows, unambiguously, that he was unfortunate enough to be a teenager in Germany at that time and legally required to join the Brownshirts.

        Or to be more precise, served as card carrying member of the Nazi Party for six long years (1939-1945) and fought faithfully up until the defeat of the Third Reich on behalf of Adolf Hitler.

        In fact, in that NY Times piece I cited, it said he joined the Hitler Youth to acquire a tuition discount. The Times article also mentioned the Scholls and their execution to imply that Ratzinger was under threat of death for not joining the Hitler Youth, but that is not the case. He did so as a means to advance his career, to pay for school.

        Fact.

        • robulus says:

          I’m ambivalent about pursuing this argument, because I’m not a fan of the man, but you’re playing a little fast with the truth. Let’s do one more round and I’ll stop.

          “Or to be more precise, served as card carrying member of the Nazi Party for six long years (1939-1945)”

          No that’s less precise. Neither he nor his family were ever members of the NSDAP.

          “fought faithfully up until the defeat of the Third Reich on behalf of Adolf Hitler”

          He was drafted into the military at 17 and deserted before the end of the war.

          “He [joined the Hitler Youth] as a means to advance his career, to pay for school.”

          Apparently, he missed out on the tuition discount because he didn’t attend the meetings.

          Look, he’s the leader of the Catholic Church, to some the leader of Christdendom, it’s probably fair to hold him to a higher standard than he appears to have met. But if he’d actively joined the resistance the discussion would be a lot more academic, because he’d probably be dead.

          Calling him a Nazi is deliberately misleading.

  7. rb3m says:

    As long as there are explosions and a car chase (with the Popemobile, of course) I’m happy.

  8. arlojeremy says:

    Research please. I understand the desire to get a story out there quickly, but this is already old news, and wrong news. Pretty much every atheist/freethought site has reported that Murdochs rag got it wrong.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I heard this morning on the radio that the Pope ordered an internal investigation of a pedophile priest in 2006 and had him removed, despite his being a big fund raiser for the church. The guy on NPR who recounted this story made it sound like a really great thing, a sort of “give him some credit” anecdote. He was actually impressed that years after the sex scandals were already public, the Pope fired someone after an internal investigation.

    I wonder, in what other circumstance would we allow an organization to conduct an internal investigation for crimes like these? If there were an alleged act of pedophilia in a school, for example, would we let the faculty conduct an investigation? I don’t think we would. I think we’d cut to the chase and call the police. And if the pedophile were caught, would we be satisfied with him just losing his job? It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

    To flip the analogy around, what if it was another type of crime? What if a dead body with a gunshot wound was discovered in a church? Who would we call … the Vatican?

    I was floored as I listened to this guy on NPR. The whole idea that the church could mount an internal investigation, even as recently as 2006, shows how incredibly out of touch they are with reality. Let’s face it: the Catholic clergy is not living in the same century as the rest of us, and I applaud legal challenges like this to remind them of how things work in the real world.

    Fact: when he was a cardinal, the Pope aided a pedophile. He may not have thought of it that way at the time, and he might be under the impression that he gets a free pass because he’s a religious leader. But to remind him of reality, I’m glad someone is working to make sure he has a lot of trouble with international travel.

  10. Trotsky says:

    BTW, is this an appropriate time to mention that this pope was also a member of the Hitler Youth or is that considered piling on? If Ratzinger was interviewing to work at Starbuck’s, I’m pretty sure “Hitler Youth” wouldn’t look good on his application, no matter how artistically he topped the drinks with little foam hearts and crosses. But the Catholic Church let that one slide. It’s not like there weren’t other qualified candidates available who weren’t Hitler Youth. What I’m saying is Hitler Youth is hard to explain away. When you add pedophile protector to that, it’s hard to see why this person is considered anything other than vile. Why do people like this always find a refuge, but not just a refuge, a fast track to success in organized religion? This man is not just *IN* the Catholic Church. He’s the CEO. He’s considered Christ’s representative on earth. If Bill Gates had these “blemishes” on his resume, doesn’t it stand to reason that his shareholders and the greater public might take serious issue?

    Finally, I’d like to add that mentioning “Hitler Youth” in this post does not automatically invoke Godwin’s so-called “law” since this guy *actually was* a legitimate, card-carrying member of the Nazi Party.

    • robulus says:

      Trotsky

      When he was 14 Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth as required by law at the time. It is well known that he attended poorly, disliked the organisation, and his father was an early critic of the Nazi regime.

      The current well supported allegations that he suppressed serious issues of child abuse by clergy is plenty bad enough, there’s no need to get creatively representational with the facts.

      • Trotsky says:

        >> When he was 14 Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth as required by law at the time. It is well known that he attended poorly, disliked the organisation, and his father was an early critic of the Nazi regime.

        It is not well known. It is well spun. It is well disseminated. Difference. By those wishing to present a damning association in a less damaging light. In that regard, identical to the spinning being done on this pope’s actions regarding pedophiles.

        >> The current well supported allegations that he suppressed serious issues of child abuse by clergy is plenty bad enough, there’s no need to get creatively representational with the facts.

        I fail to see what portion of my remarks are “creatively representational.” I said he was a member of the Hitler Youth and therefore a card-carrying member of the Nazi Party. Fact. Unambiguous. True.

        Membership in the Hitler Youth and the Nazi Party at the time of Ratzinger’s membership was mandatory (though it should be noted that it was mandatory in 1936, but the Nazis felt compelled to reassert this again in 1939 since many had avoided joining up until then), but some 10-20% managed to avoid membership. This loving piece from the NY Times details Ratzinger’s “passive” opposition to the Nazis:

        http://bc.edu/research/cjl/meta-elements/texts/cjrelations/topics/new_pope_defied_nazis.htm

        His opposition was limited to being late to meetings or not attending and listening to the radio with his father. And we are told that he mostly “wasn’t into it.” Um, okay.

        Hero.

        Further, Ratzinger served in the Luftwaffenhelfer (anti-aircraft) right up until impending defeat in 1945, “deserting” only after his unit has ceased to exist. In other words, never AWOL and serving faithfully right up to the defeat of the Third Reich.

        Fact.

        Nothing creative about that.

        I’m not sure what significance, if any, his father’s alleged opposition to Nazism has on the actions of the culpability of the adult Ratzinger. Since when do the actions of a relative in any way mitigate the actions of an individual? Perhaps his uncle also secretly loathed the Nazis. Maybe his cousin also hated with equal vitriol. So? What does that have to do with Ratzinger?

        My point is that, as with these allegations about him covering for pedophiles, there’s an awful lot of understanding extended to this man to explain away damning actions. I don’t think it holds up and I think he is precisely who he appears to be.

        In addition, Ratzinger is an enthusiastic admirer and apologist of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (later Pope Pius XI) who negotiated the Reichskonkordat with Hitler in 1933, which disbanded the Catholic German Center Party (Deutsche Zentrumspartei), the last and only major political opposition to the National Socialists. Pacelli conceded Germany to the Nazis in order to retain a position of stability and favor from the life-long Roman Catholic Adolf Hitler in the new order.

        Facts.

        Like I said there’s a lot of concession and spinning offered by apologists to excuse these actions. I don’t think any of those individuals merit that dispensation.

        Hitchens and Dawkins are focusing on the actions of the crime. Of the man. The individual, naked before his deity (for those who believe in such things). Not the trappings of a religion. Or the excuses of those who wish to avoid the ugly truth.

        If anyone is being creative with the facts, it is the individuals who offer all manner of excuse and mitigation for this man.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          I’d be more likely to extend him credit on the Nazi issue if he hadn’t gone on to head the current iteration of the Inquisition. It does suggest a certain mindset.

        • robulus says:

          Trotsky, you just sound a little frothy around the mouth.

          I think the Nazi angle is weak, poorly supported, but has lots of Indiana Jones cache, whereas the actively suppressed serious issues of child abuse and remains defiant about the matter now as head of the church angle is perfectly sufficient to completely condemn the man.

  11. Trotsky says:

    The confused, conflicting PR efforts to stem this pedophilia issue are not isolated.

    >> “Never, never, never,” said Father Frederico Lombardi, to a group of journalists. “The Pope was never in Hitler Youth.”

    >> This, strangely, appears to contradict completely Cardinal Ratzinger’s own words, as quoted in his book of autobiographical reflections from 1996, Salt of the Earth.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8046483.stm

    Lombardi has his hands full.

    >> Nearly immediately after Bertone’s comments at a news conference in Santiago, Chile’s gay rights advocates denounced what they called a “perverse strategy” by the Vatican to “shirk its own ethical and legal responsibility” with a “spurious and disgusting” connection.

    http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/14/1876578/vatican-tamps-down-uproar-over.html

  12. Anonymous says:

    I don’t believe that Messrs. Dawkins or Hitchens have ever attempted to perform a citizens arrest before. Taking on the Pope as their first, might be a tad ambititous. I would suggest that they should practice.. maybe try it on a Nun first?

  13. Anonymous says:

    It seems like Dawkins is twisting his words around and make me think of him even more of an old lady yelling at traffic.

  14. bradmofo says:

    I was at a Dawkins lecture on Saturday and this inevitably arose at the Q&A. Apart from letting us know that “arresting the pope” is now his favourite euphemism for a #2, he gave the simple response that even raising the argument of the Vatican not qualifying as a nation state is reason enough to persue this. And I fully agree.

    • Trent Hawkins says:

      Boy I hope that phrase catches on.

      “hold on a minute, I have to go ‘arrest the pope’”

      sounds better then “I have to take a Superman 64″

  15. JorgeBurgos says:

    Please please Boing Boing, haven’t you learned your lesson?

    NEVER EVER ASSUME A MURDOCH PAPER HAS GOT THE STORY RIGHT!

  16. Antinous / Moderator says:

    they aren’t going to personally arrest the Pope

    Bummer. It would be quite entertaining to see them try.

    • Sekino says:

      After reading about him getting in a scrap with members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, I’m not putting anything beyond the Hitch.

  17. t1wl3t says:

    they should maybe start off by arresting a nun, and work up from there..
    arresting the pope to begin with is very ambitious..

  18. Anonymous says:

    Good news: Colin Firth to play Dawkins.
    Bad news: Robbie Coltrane to play Hitchens.

    In “Pontiff Perp”

  19. ablestmage says:

    Clearly, one man’s “let’s minimize rampant public speculation while we thoroughly investigate this in a patient, detailed manner and get to the bottom of these cases before coming forward with any announcements, so as to protect individuals of less serious, circumstantial accusations from being clustered together with individuals of more potent, serious accusations, in light of fairness to both accused and accuser” is another man’s “let’s lie to everyone and pretend this never happened.”

  20. AnthonyC says:

    I’m fairly certain any nation that arrests the Pope isn’t going to get a lot of international or domestic goodwill, no matter how involved he was in covering up child abuse.

    As such, even if someone did arrest him, I expect he’d quickly be pardoned.

  21. Forteto says:

    Um I am an American an right now arresting the pope seems like a good idea. Or
    declare war on the Vatican. It’s a nation right? Al
    we would need is a single platoon. And down goes the “oh so holy” pope. A
    of you accept child abuse as moral, then, offense
    intended to those who do, your in the same catagory as hitler. And I think our reaction should be the same as what we did to Hitler.

    • Brother Phil says:

      The Pope’s got the Swiss Guards, who in some treaty or other agreed not to provide mercenaries to anyone but the Vatican, because they were so good.

      If I remember correctly, the Swiss army is pretty much the entire adult population of Switzerland, all of whom are trained and issued with rifles.

    • Trent Hawkins says:

      he’s got a house made of gold and only a hundred or so guards. I think we can take him, and I’m from Canada!

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      A of you accept child abuse as moral, then, offense intended to those who do, your in the same catagory as hitler.

      Those videos of the Pope ordering his priests to go out and abuse children are hard to watch, aren’t they?

  22. agentouchie says:

    Sarcasm and pope-mobile car chase scenes directed by Michael Bay aside, I think he should be arrested and even though he won’t be I’m glad people are making a scene.

  23. friendpuppy says:

    “I’ll make it clear for you: Hitchens and Dawkins aren’t actors, they aren’t making a buddy cop movie, and they aren’t going to personally arrest the Pope when he comes to spread his message of peace and love to the people of jolly old England”

    Thanks for that. Next time, don’t divert the fact that you referenced shaky information by placing the blame on my sarcasm detector.

    • cuvtixo says:

      What are you talking about? You accused the writer of not using two sources and then he gave you the two sources.”Sarcasm detector?” I don’t think that word (sarcasm) means what you think it means! In nòmine Patris, et Fìlii,et Spìritus Sancti. I forgive you your sins, my son.

    • Mark Frauenfelder says:

      Friendpuppy, I don’t understand what you wrote.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Its all fine. God owns his soul and Hitchens too! headlines are here today and gone tomorrow..VE day for example puff gone.let these dervishes whirl as ever they will,,,,, knowing all to well that all is tempoary,transient and illusory.This grandstanding speaks volumes of what they value as performance is the yard stick,,,,have we seen compassion,embracement,and prayer vigils for the scared hearts come but from the POPE. so let it be heard,,the POPE is far gentler than I ,,,,Please refrain from your assults on the church and rather file individual charges agist any and all pediphiles whether minister,priest,coach,cop,or your brother…..in the appropriate forum. Less these efforts are indeed and attack and the Swiss Guard is an army !!!

  25. toxonix says:

    The modern Swiss Guard are all Swiss army regulars and are armed with H&K MP5 submachine guns and automatic pistols. Swiss army regulars are pretty good as armies go.

  26. Teller says:

    I like Hitch; don’t care about Dawkins, but them two are just posturing like big dogs.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I can’t say I know British law, but I know that – assuming the well-documented allegations of his role in covering up child sex abuse and moving offenders around to dodge charges and give them new unsuspecting children to prey on are true – in Canada the pope is guilty of crimes that would get a normal person arrested, put in prison for some time, and have their name plastered all over the media as a pedophile. I have to assume that he would also be guilty of crimes in England and many other countries.

    Don’t try to deflect by making this about catholicism or church-hating. There is very strong evidence – I don’t even think he’s ever tried to deny he did it – that he aided and abetted child sexual abuse. If you help someone who commit a crime to evade discovery, capture and punishment then you are guilty of a crime.

    I’m not suggesting that we wait for him to come here and then arrest him and turn it into a crazy frenzy for international lawyers. I am suggesting we issue a public statement that *if* he comes here we *will* arrest him. Presumably at that point he would not come and we would have issued the condemnation of his actions which is probably about the most we can realistically do.

    And I certainly am angry at the catholic church, and I am angry at everyone who supports it given that it’s leader is known to have aided child sex abusers rather than turning them over to the authorities. If you don’t believe these allegations are true then I’m surprised but I don’t have much power to convince you. If you believe these allegations are true but are willing to give him a pass and write off calls for his arrest as anti-church then there is something significantly wrong with you moral and legal compass.

  28. kgish says:

    This is yet another overblown crusade to destroy the church, a wasted effort which for good or for worse is bound to fail. Can’t the pope be treated as a normal human being, taken out of his supreme position in the church, and subject him to the international rules of human rights?

  29. humanresource says:

    Let justice be done or the heavens fall.
    I am so happy to see the pope join the ranks of Kissinger, Tzipi Livni and other monsters who can’t travel freely any more, who are forced to skulk around like the Nazi War criminals the Vatican rescued from the allies at the end of WW2.

    • Sceadugenga says:

      I learned it as Let justice be done though the heavens fall – Fiat justitia, ruat caelum – but yours works well too; maybe even better.

  30. Marcel says:

    kgish #61

    1. There are no international rules of human rights anymore. There was a brief period of time when they seemed to exist, but just about every superpower in the world has since whiped their fat butts with it. And none of them recognize the International Court as an authority.

    2. If you’re suggesting that this emergence of cases of severe child abuse by the clergy of the church is motivated by some desire to destroy the church as an institution, and that the church should therefore be ragarded as a victim in this debacle, I strongly feel you have not understood exactly who is what in this whole process.

    3. The pope can not be treated as a normal human being, because he has been declared the representative of Jezus on earth. And as such, he is supposed to be responsible for how the Roman Catholic church conducts itself.

    Now, given the fact that the Roman Catholic church has already, in the U.S.A. alone, settled court cases involving clergymen abusing children for the total sum of 60 million dollars, don’t you agree that that fact alone constitutes a clear admission of responsibility for the actions performed by those accused?

  31. Trotsky says:

    I love Hitch and Dawkins. Know what I don’t love?

    Pedophiles.

    In a just land, the Pope would be in a prison cell.

    Civilized people need to pursue this whether it has majority support or not. I note that a lot of people who had so much to say about Roman Polanski have clammed up now that we’re talking about institutionalized pedophilia and religion. If the Taliban nurtured a global network of pedophiles, we’d bomb them into the stone age. “We” meaning all of the civilized first world nations of Christendom.

    • knappa says:

      I’m an atheist, I neither love nor hate Hitchens or Dawkins, but I agree with them more often than the average person. However, they are picking on the wrong Pope. These abuses came under the rule (?appropriate term?) of John Paul II. From what I’ve heard, Ratzinger/Benedict was by comparison a reformer. (Though obviously not perfect.)
      Let’s face it, It’s much easier to go after Benedict because he is a crotchety old man and his predecessor was not.

    • millrick says:

      “”We” meaning all of the civilized first world nations of Christendom.”

      are you suggesting that non-Christians are not civilized?
      just wondering…..

      • Trotsky says:

        >> are you suggesting that non-Christians are not civilized?
        just wondering…..

        Of course not. Perhaps the tone of my remarks was not clear. As a non-Christian, I consider myself highly civilized.

  32. Anonymous says:

    The message he sends when covering up such a thing (covering it up in the outside world, those other robed cats know what’s up, transfers pshhhhh) he’s essentially doing that to those that might have the inclination AKA the catholic itch.

  33. HatOfEdshu says:

    Sure, they’re loose cannons, but dammit Chief, they get results!

    • Lobster says:

      Well… no. No they don’t. The last thing Dawkins needs to be doing right now is make atheists look like god-haters.

      • Trotsky says:

        >> The last thing Dawkins needs to be doing right now is make atheists look like god-haters.

        Your political calculation in the face of unspeakable atrocity is precisely what got this pope into trouble.

        Dawkins and Hitchens deserve respect precisely because they aren’t allowing public relations to dictate their response. BTW, where are the other religious groups on this? The Southern Baptists? Presbyterians? Mormons? Methodists? And all of the other assorted pope-less denominations? I’ll tell you…

        They’re sitting on the sidelines because there is honor among thieves and they’re quaking in their boots at the prospect of government prosecution for “internal” church matters… like molesting children. Pedophilia apparently is not as troubling to them as gay marriage or contraception.

  34. ratcity says:

    Seems like they need to talk to Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

    I hope but doubt we’ll see sort of real indictment out of this. Since when is the law about lobbing charges in the press?

    I don’t think the ICC has the budget.

  35. Duffong says:

    This stuff has been going on in various institutionalized forms for years and years. It just takes almost forever to fix.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103569364

  36. Nevermore says:

    Hell, this is the best news of today! Now let’s arrest Jorge Zorreguieta (Dutch princess Máxima Zorreguieta’s dad) next time he sets foot in Europe for his involvement in the Argentinian Dirty War. No one stands above the law. Not a crown-prince’s father-in-law and not a delusional man in a dress.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Dawkins is the Antichrist. Who’d have thought it!

  38. Gutierrez says:

    I’m not sure they quite have the clout these days, but they do know previous guys with the position sanctioned holy wars, right?

  39. muteboy says:

    Murdoch’s rag got it wrong, or at least grossly exaggerated.
    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5415
    “What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope’s proposed visit to Britain. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horme, other than to refer him to my ‘Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope’ article here: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5341

  40. echolocate chocolate says:

    Dawkins himself says this was misreported: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5415

  41. Antinous / Moderator says:

    If not, I don’t understand how you can blame homophobia, the status of women, and the secterian violence in Iraq entirely on the U.S invasion when there is a very clear and self-evident reason for these things: strong religious influence.

    There are plenty of Christians in the US who are as foaming-at-the-mouth racist/sexist/anti-Semitic/homophobic as anyone in Iraq. Our political system restrains them with moderate success. Iraq restrained theirs with vastly more success under Ba’ath rule than in the clusterfuck that we’ve created. I’ve known Iraqis and followed Iraqi politics since the late 70s. I assure you that things are worse in every sense since our invasions.

    • failix says:

      “Iraq restrained theirs with vastly more success under Ba’ath rule than in the clusterfuck that we’ve created.”

      Yeah… well, except for antisemitism. The baath party was openly antisemitic, co-founded by a Christian, and some of their founders were influenced by german antisemitic “thinkers”.
      Other than being a great argument for dictatorship I don’t get your point. Do you seriously think that anti-democratic sentiment from the part of islamic fascism stems from the USA’s presence in Iraq (and Afghanistan for that matter)?

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Are they less anti-semitic now?

        • failix says:

          I guess not, and you could say the same thing about violence. But I don’t think that protecting and funding an antisemitic genocidal dictator ordering the torturing of his people was the best way towards less antisemitism and violence.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            So, we destroyed the whole country, and a million people are dead, AND it’s no better politically than before…and you don’t have a problem with that.

          • failix says:

            Acutally it is politically better; but yes, destruction and death are pretty much what war is all about. Would you oppose any war on these grounds? My guess is that you wouldn’t. America has already spent billions for Iraq and the only people who oppose the reconstruction of Iraq are religious fanatics. Why do you insist on blaming Americans for the current chaos when they are the very people who are trying to fight those who cause it?

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            You’re a straight-up warmonger.

          • failix says:

            You’re a disingenuous regressive isolationist, who probably wouldn’t call Obama a warmonger for his support of the war in Afghanistan.

  42. Sceadugenga says:

    Seriously, good on them. And what’s up with so many news people discussing this blandly saying “Well, we all know that’s not going to happen.”? Are they happy to live in a society where some people are above the law? See Dateline London April 3, 2010 for an example.

  43. biggsdriut says:

    Who put them in charge?

  44. Trotsky says:

    I was not and am not a fan of Hitchens’ support of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but I will say this about him… he’s consistent. Opposing the crimes of theocratic despotism in the Middle East and South-central Asia as well as in the heart of Europe. He means what he says and he acts on his convictions with clarity and purpose.

    • Brainspore says:

      Bullcrap. Iraq wasn’t all sunshine and roses under Saddam Hussein but it was less of a theocracy than most countries in the region, including several allies I could name.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        it was less of a theocracy than most countries in the region

        The Ba’ath Party was notably secularist. Iraq was less of a theocracy than the US. Women enjoyed considerable equality under the law and were educated and well represented in major professions. Since the US graciously liberated the Iraqi people, the status of women there now compares with that of women in the most repressive theocratic regimes in the Middle East. Yay us.

        • failix says:

          Saddam Hussein was profoundly religious, for a glimpse of his religiosity just read the letter he wrote before he was executed. He claimed god on his side in the Iran-Iraq war and put the Takbir on the Iraqi flag which if I’m not mistaken is still on the flag. He repeatedly showed support for Islamic organizations like the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, and the only thing under Saddam’s regime that counted more than religion was Arab nationalism.
          This probably explains why he kept the baath party’s old tradition of secularism, in order to accentuate the importance of ethnicity and unite Arabs, as opposed to unite Muslims. This shows in his support for Sunnis (who are mostly Arab) and his oppression of Shiites (because of the Shiite influence of Iran (Persian)), and his oppression of the Kurdish people (even if most of them are Sunnis, they aren’t of Arabic origins).

          I know it’s easy to compare pretty much every dictatorship in the world with national socialism and fascism, but since the Hitler bomb has already been dropped here: There are very striking parallels between the baath party and national socialism; in addition to the nationalist, genocidal, and totalitarian nature of both regimes, both are often falsely described as being anti-religious when the contrary is way closer to the truth.

          When in the U.S. you see e.g. homophobia and notice that these views find strong support in regions where there are many fanatical religious people, and less support where there are less such people; do you have any difficulties to link it to religion?
          If not, I don’t understand how you can blame homophobia, the status of women, and the secterian violence in Iraq entirely on the U.S invasion when there is a very clear and self-evident reason for these things: strong religious influence.

          “Iraq was less of a theocracy than the US.”

          Please, don’t spread lies.

      • Trotsky says:

        Where did I say Iraq was a theocracy?

  45. Ugly Canuck says:

    There were changes introduced to the Laws of Evidence by conservative governments in the mid-1980s which removed time limits, previously established by the Law, upon any evidence or testimony bringing into the Courts allegations of sexual assault: IIRC, to be heard in Court, the complainant had to come forward to the Authorities within one or two years from the date of the alleged sexual assault. This was termed “The Doctrine of Recent Complaint”, IIRC.
    So what of children? No difference: if a year or two went by, too late to complain to some Authority about the assault. Or so the old Law would have it, IIRC.
    Thus, over the twenty years following this most excellent and needed change in the Laws of Evidence, a seeming flood of claims of child sexual abuse came forward into the Courts, often first as civil claims, and then becoming criminal matters.
    Many of these claims if not all of them would previously (pre-mid-1980s) have been barred from the Courts, on the basis of the presumed unreliability of the complainants’ testimony, due to the simple passage of time.

    This in turn made -and continues to make – people think there’s something rotten that has changed in society, for the worse.

    In fact, things are far far better now with regard to child abuse than they were even a mere 25 or thirty years ago.
    But like a pig in the python, once these old cases clear out of the system, there should be far fewer fresh claims arising.

    But that optimistic thought does not make the old pain, for the past assaults, go away.
    Nor, unfortunately, does it mean that political demagogues, who would advance their reputations upon the sufferings of others or by waving a flag with the word “Sex’ written on it in large letters ( but ‘crossed out’ so’s you can still make it out if you squint), shall cease to use the recent flood of litigation around these sad matters as a useful thing to advance their political agendas.

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to be accusing Dawkins and Hitchens of using the abuse scandal for their own political agenda– which seems quite petty when mentioned in connection to cover-ups throughout the Church. And with such a long history of cover-ups, why should any of us believe it is now “far far better” in regard to child abuse?

  46. Trotsky says:

    >> No that’s less precise. Neither he nor his family were ever members of the NSDAP.

    You are wrong. Hitler Youth and the Nazi Party were one and the same. Hitler Youth was a training process for the SS. Members of the Hitler Youth wore the single Sig Rune (victory symbol) while the SS wore the double Sig Runes. This to remind the youth of what they were striving for.

    >> He was drafted into the military at 17 and deserted before the end of the war.

    Wrong. His unit was disbanded by the allied victory. He did not desert. There was no unit to desert from. He fought until the bitter end. He was nothing remotely close to a conscientious objector. He fought for the Nazis. He was a Nazi.

    >> Apparently, he missed out on the tuition discount because he didn’t attend the meetings.

    You’re really going to hang your hat on him missing out on a tuition discount? That’s your out? Whether he got the discount or whether his attendance was poor or not is not relevant. He joined the Hitler Youth, not because his safety was at risk, but because it was a path for career advancement.

    In addition, you’ll note that the prevaricating, similar to your own on this issue, usually conflates his poor attendance and non attendance. It’s never clear which. Did he attend some, but not all? The story always changes. We’re lead to believe that, well, yes, he was a member of the Hitler Youth and he did fight for the Nazis for six years, but… he didn’t really mean it. And he wasn’t that into it.

    Please.

    >> Calling him a Nazi is deliberately misleading.

    The facts are clear. Your tortured logic is not. He was a Nazi by every reasonable standard one cares to apply. If one cares to apply such standards honestly.

    • robulus says:

      Christ. Whatever dude. People can google it and make up their own mind. I think you’re wrong, but you are definitely feeling this one more strongly than me, so hats off to you. I admire your pluck.

  47. Bevatron Repairman says:

    I’m a Catholic and think my Church — with a few exceptions, here and there — has handled itself with nothing but abject shame in this whole sordid affair. EOM.

    • george57l says:

      “I’m a Catholic and think my Church — with a few exceptions, here and there — has handled itself with nothing but abject shame in this whole sordid affair.”

      I think you meant ‘has conducted itself shamefully’ – a major part of the problem is the huge LACK of “abject shame” being exhibited by a church hierarchy that is still mostly in denial

  48. Anonymous says:

    Dawkins is acting like a blow hard? Shocking!

  49. Trotsky says:

    Applying your logic, if Ratzinger “deserted” because his unit was disbanded by the allied victory, that means the entire Germany military deserted.

    An entire nation of conscientious objectors and secret dissidents. How convenient.

    Who else gets such a pass for claiming they didn’t get the tuition discount and their heart just wasn’t in it? Only popes? Or can anyone claim this exemption?

Leave a Reply