Benedict sees that secularism itself can be challenged

Andrew Brown, for some opaque and never-explained reason, devotes himself to explaining what the pope meant in his “atheists=Nazis” speech. He does a kind of ventriloquist’s dummy act, saying “the pope believes” or “according to the pope” throughout, while in fact saying things that he clearly enjoys saying.

For him, a nation that turns away from God entirely has nothing to keep it from treating people as disposable means, rather than ends in themselves. The liberal appeal to reason, to choice, and to human rights doesn’t go far enough. He believes in all three, but he thinks they must be derived from something else. That something else was once generally understood to be Christianity. If that is no longer true, Benedict believes we are all shrunken and impoverished.

Yes, we know. We know he believes that. That is what we object to – along with the stunning amount of deference that is paid to the guy and to his vicious illiberal beliefs. We know he believes that reason and human rights “must be derived from something else” and that that something else is “God” and that “God” is “God” as understood by the Catholic church, which means one that thinks women should die rather than have abortions, that people should die of Aids rather than use condoms, that child rape by priests is church business only, and that women must never ever be priests on pain of excommunication. We think that’s an imbecilic thing to believe, and also harmful and authoritarian and reactionary. We know the pope believes that “we are all shrunken and impoverished” if we believe that; that’s exactly why we hate him and his church.

The astonishing variety and force of invective thrown at the pope and his church in much of the media over the last week must certainly, some of it, come from people who would like to drive religious faith out of public life. At the same time, it’s hard not to suppose that in some of this the Roman Catholic church is standing as a proxy for Islam, which is certainly a great deal more unpopular.

So…on the one hand it’s the product of evil secularists who don’t want bishops making laws, and on the other hand it’s the product of evil Islamophobes who are just pretending to be Catholocismophobes. Seriously?

Where secularists see religion as a divisive force, and their own beliefs as the self-evident and true base on which a healthy society can be built, Benedict sees that secularism itself can be challenged.

Here Brown takes the mask off and speaks for himself – and he apparently thinks that a country governed by the Catholic church would be more “healthy” than a secular one. He apparently would prefer 1950s Ireland to contemporary Britian. Of course he’s not a woman, or an impoverished child, but still –


42 Responses to “Benedict sees that secularism itself can be challenged”