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RareDenver's avatar

What do you think to the Pope's comments that the UK's Equality Bill "violates natural law" and that he is calling upon Catholic bishops in England and Wales to fight the UK's Equality Bill with "missionary zeal"?

Asked by RareDenver (13038 points ) February 2nd, 2010

There is a story with a few quotes from various sources on this here

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48 Answers

pat's avatar

The pope is a nutjob. Gay christians are ever nuttier for being a part of the homophobic cult. UK should separate church and state completely so that the churches can do whatever they want.

augustlan's avatar

It’s hard to say since I don’t really know what the Equality Bill covers or how things work in the UK. Here in the US, I believe churches have generally been exempt from non-discrimination laws (in a narrowly defined way). If I remember correctly, they can’t be forced to hire someone who doesn’t live according to their teachings. So it would be a purely hateful, political thing for the Pope to launch a fight against our anti-discrimination laws.

Lve's avatar

Everyone is free to live their lives according to their own beliefs, as long as they don’t restrict somebody else’s freedoms. Religious people are entitled to believe that being gay is ‘wrong’, but they do not have the right to discriminate against them based on this belief. Therefore, whatever the pope has to say about a new UK law is unjust and irrelevant.
On a side note, I am happy to see the UK are taking appropriate steps to provide equality for all.

belakyre's avatar

I thought the Catholic Church recognized that homosexuality may be due to a biological factor…and thus allowed homosexuality but forbade the practice of it…I’m not so sure.

But anyway, what happened to “all men are equal?”

laureth's avatar

For me, it says that the Pope and his organization are voluntarily taking one more step towards the abyss of irrelevance. Yes, there will be believers for a long long time still, but instead of doing their best to remain current and relevant to the modern world (evolving, as it were), the Church’s decision to keep trying to live in the medieval “golden” era of the papacy will cost them in the long run, which is just fine with me.

josie's avatar

He is the Pope after all. You wouldn’t expect a Communist to advocate private property ownership, and you probably wouldn’t expect the Pope to be an advocate for homosexuals.

TheJoker's avatar

Personally, I think that if religion cant keep itself from interfering in the internal politics of a country, then it should just get out of that country….

Fyrius's avatar

Why does anyone still take this guy seriously, anyway?

Leanne1986's avatar

I can’t say I am surprised but I am still saddened. This is not the way to go if the Pope wants the Catholic faith to be respected.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

They don’t call him Rat -zinger for nothing. Maybe his days in the Hitler Youth weren’t so long ago as he’d like us to believe.

Blackberry's avatar

The pope needs to be tackled by a lady again lol. But this is not surprising, religion is the biggest lie in the world for a reason…...he’s only helping humanity by showing everyone how full of shit this establishment is.

ragingloli's avatar

It is no coincidence that he looks like Palpatine.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I hate to defend the Pope…

From the little I read about the Equality Bill in the link provided (and I don’t have time to both read more and write this, so I stopped there) it seems that the Bill will extend aspects of anti-discrimination hiring practices to religious orders. I think that is wrong. (Never mind that I think the Pope is fundamentally wrong on a whole lot of issues, including homosexuality, ordaining women as priests… and on the topic of God Itself.) I do think that religious orders have to be able to maintain their ability to discriminate on whatever bases they believe to be valid.

I think ultimately this type of belief will hurt Catholicism (even though it has withstood a lot of tests over time, I grant), but that’s a choice for Catholics to make, and they defer—still—to the Pope to make that choice for them. If churches can’t maintain their ability to discriminate against the things that they see as wrong or bad in society—whether I agree with them or not—then what’s the point of even having religion?

They’re right to fight this, at least as it applies to churches themselves. It’s a bad bill.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@TheJoker , if a religion wants to interfere in the politics of a country, then it should be taxed in that country just like any other political organization. I’m deeply disappointed that we haven’t taken stronger measures in the U.S. to end politicking from the pulpit, as I complained about here.

More recently, Stupak and Ben Nelson killed our health care bill, so I’ve got more reason to be pissed off. Stop subsidizing subversion.

TheJoker's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex…. I’ve gotta agree with you there. & thanks for the link :)

reijinni's avatar

The pope is a dope.

Qingu's avatar

Religions should be free to discriminate… if they are also willing to give up their tax-exempt status.

I don’t know how the UK handles that stuff though.

ETpro's avatar

Newsflash to pope. You haven’t ruled the UK since the reign of Henry VIII.

The Popes have been on the wrong side of human history since back before Galileo tried to tell them that the earth revolves around the sun. Infallible. Ha!

AstroChuck's avatar

I’ve never really cared what the Pope says. He’s just a man, flesh and bone. Nothing more.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

He’s not someone I concern myself with, I hate so much that he stands for.

RareDenver's avatar

@CyanoticWasp you say I do think that religious orders have to be able to maintain their ability to discriminate on whatever bases they believe to be valid.

I say fine, just don’t do it here.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@RareDenver I believe in a very broad interpretation of “right of assembly”, which includes a right of exclusivity, to “not assemble with” those whom we choose to exclude. (Of course I’m not suggesting that I know better than you do what is right for the UK or for you.) But it seems that the whole point of religion is to give people a safe base from which they can congregate, view, interpret and deal with “the rest of the world” that doesn’t share their faith.

Forcing religious orders to accept those whose behaviors are overtly against the tenets of the religion seems to me to be inviting catastrophe. Not that I have any great love of religion in general or Catholicism in particular, I think this is a bad idea.

I tend to be anti-discriminatory myself, but I think a case can be made for its reasoned maintenance outside of the purely public sphere. And religion, despite the fact that churches are public spaces, is as “private” as anything gets.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

does anyone else picture dirty pope things when they see ‘missionary zeal’..gross

bea2345's avatar

I have to agree with @CyanoticWasp. We are not here dealing with the bridge club in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh: this is an established religion with fervent believers. They will, and rightly, resist any law that goes against their tenets.

ragingloli's avatar

@bea2345
Some religions say it is ok to kill gays for being gay. Is it right for them to resist laws that criminalise killing people for that? Should they be excempt from such laws?

RareDenver's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I get what you are saying and I’ve never been one to hide my dislike for organised religion but I just can’t get my head around the idea that a religion should have any kind of specially reserved place above the law on how they behave.

Let’s say I open a bar and don’t allow anyone that is gay or black or female or handicapped to frequent or work at my bar, most people would tell me to get fucked and close my bar down.

Let’s say I start a religion and do the same? Is that okay? Is it okay that the religion has been around longer than me and I just happen to a member of it?

bea2345's avatar

@ragingloli , I asked for that. This is where religious belief and civil law connect. There is a college of higher learning, run by the Seventh Day Adventists, that recently advertised for a lecturer in the daily papers. Initially the advertisement required the applicant to be a practicing Christian. This attracted indignant letters to the editor. 40% of our population is not Christian. We have devout Hindus, Muslims, Orishas and even a few Sikhs. The college would want persons of a certain life style consonant with religious belief, preferably Christian. The equality laws do not permit “preferably Christian.”

ragingloli's avatar

@bea2345The equality laws do not permit “preferably Christian.”
And that is a good thing, is it not? In Germany, too, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on race, gender, religion, etc., neither in selection nor adverts for the job position. You can even sue the employer and if you can show that the reason you were not hired was one of these factors, you can win that job in court. And German courts usually rule in favour of the applicants.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@RareDenver I think that you should have the right to open an establishment and be discriminatory in who you serve and who you select to staff it. (And you should go out of business with no government subsidies, either, of course.) I’m sympathetic, for example, to those elderly couples or single women who want to rent their home to “a Christian person” for example—and can’t legally make that exclusionary statement. I think they should have that right. That battle’s already lost, though.

But most people who feel strongly about their religion swear a closer alliance to it than they do to their government, and I think governments who “win” such battles against religions set themselves up for eventual failure. Catastrophic failure of the government, that is.

ragingloli's avatar

I say that equality should not only be ensured before the law, but also in society itself, because otherwise this equality is nothing more than an illusion and subsequently meaningless.
And to ensure equality in society means making discrimination illegal, not only for the government, but for everyone.

RareDenver's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I guess we’ll just have to disagree on this then. I really don’t believe you should be able to open an establishment that is discriminatory in who it serves and who it selects to staff it, and for you to assume that this behaviour would automatically result in that establishment going out of business is very naive indeed.

ETpro's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I disagree. I have a strong libertarian streak in me too, but when a business seeks the protections the state grants, and expects me to pay for my share of its police and fire protection and other benefits it receives from all us taxpayers, I don’t think it should be able to single me out as not the kind of person it wants to serve. You take my money in tax support, you should take my patronage with a smile, no less.

I do agree that religious orgainzations have rights to set exclusionary policies that private enterprise does not and should not enjoy. But as to government’s setting themselves up to fail when they buck a religion, that’s not borne out by the facts. Henry VIII defied Rome and Pope Clement VII back in 1531, and the last time I looked, Great Britain was still alive and well 479 years later. I don’t know. Maybe it just takes time for your theory to work.:-)

Pope Benedict XVI has as much right to voice his opinion about religious matters as anyone else and he certainly has a bully pulpit when doing do. But the matter is ultimately one for Anglicans to decide for themselves. He doesn’t have a vote. It’s not his church.

mattbrowne's avatar

This Pope is a huge disappointment.

HungryGuy's avatar

The Equality Bill in the UK forbids employers from discriminating against people on various grounds. I believe the Pope objects that the bill may forbid the Catholic church from discriminating against gays.

Like some extremely religious people, the Pope doesn’t care what people think of his views or whether his views help or hurt people; he only cares that his views are in agreement with what he believes are God’s views.

That said, I agree that the church shouldn’t try to impose it’s policies on the electorate; likewise, the electorate shouldn’t impose it’s policies on the church.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – Yes, most are disappointments. This one’s a huge disappointment. In general the Vatican is out of synch with regional modern priests and progressive Catholic communities. Maybe there are some exceptions in terms of conservative popes. How about this one?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_XIII

“Leo, possibly the most progressive pope the Catholic Church ever elected, began the tradition of Catholic social teaching with his encyclical Rerum Novarum. He encouraged Catholic Biblical scholarship to catch up to what German Protestants had been doing for 100 years. And he moved the church beyond its nostalgic desire to revive the old “sacred alliance” of Catholic monarchies into a cautious détente with modern democracy.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@mattbrowne what’s Rerum Novarum about?

mattbrowne's avatar

An open letter written in 1891 and passed to all Catholic bishops, that addressed the condition of the working classes in particular the need for some amelioration for “the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class”. It supported the rights of labor to form unions, rejected communism and unrestricted capitalism, whilst affirming the right to private property.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rerum_Novarum

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@mattbrowne well that’s good, that was and still is an issue to be addressed

candide's avatar

He’s a great guy, but he should stay out of politics!

The_Idler's avatar

This is why Catholics aren’t allowed to be King. Meddlers, always have been, always will be.

The Pope has no say here, he can say what he wants, we don’t care, he’s a crank.
We established that formally a long, long time ago.

ETpro's avatar

The “Violates Natural Law” argument is a sneaky one. Routinely, those who believe in equality under the law and GLBT rights supporters get suckered in by it, arguing that homosexuality is natural and therefore should be legal. Wham, the anti-gay forces have got them, because arguing this accepts the fundamental point the Pope is making that unnatural things should be illegal.

But should they? If only natural things should be legal, then getting a permanent should be banned, because turning your hair from straight to curly is also unnatural. Electric lighting should be illegal, because in the natural world, you have to rely on the sun for light. We could go on and on. Almost everything in the modern world is unnatural.

Nobody in their right mind would accept the Pope’s premise that all unnatural things should be crimes. So why even take up the debate? Instead, the supporters of equality for the GLBT community should simply point out how utterly preposterous the Pope’s argument is.

SamandMax's avatar

pretty much summed that up nicely!

bea2345's avatar

Recently I learned about a Muslim who refused a gay couple a room and has got into trouble about it. It was a holiday place, short rentals kind of thing. I am sorry for all of them, but most for the Muslim. For devout people, certain kinds of behaviour are simply haram: unacceptable. If our businessman is consistent, he will have to go out of the hotel business. That is why the churches are fighting the equality law: in Christianity, you have to “take up my cross and follow me.” Meaning that when the crunch comes, you must be ready to sacrifice anything to preserve the integrity of your religion and its beliefs. Of course, this reflects harshly on most organized religions; how many adherents, whatever their beliefs, are ready to do that?

What I suggest, and it is not tongue in cheek, is that every human person is entitled to enter into a commitment to another, subject to laws designed to protect the weak and the underaged. Why call it marriage? why does it have to be in a church? All couples conforming to the agreed model would be entitled to certain rights and protections, such as against domestic violence, entitlements to survivors’ benefits and such like. Just don’t make demands that the devout cannot entertain, as being against conscience. That is how schisms and civil wars begin.

ETpro's avatar

@bea2345 Put that idea into practice, and suddenly all the ugliness of Jim Crow laws, apartheid, the Nazi final solution, atheist Stalin and Mao’s murderous purge of political opponents or imagined political opponents become perfectly OK because the devout think they are OK. Human rights need to be respected, and developing a religious dogma that has no respect for human rights cannot be acceptable cover, or there are no human rights.

bea2345's avatar

@ETpro – Point taken. That’s why I said ” Of course, this reflects harshly on most organized religions” – adhererents quite often don’t make the necessary sacrifices, they make other people make them preferably if they are non-adherents. If the devout insist on fussing over the name of the thing, they deserve to lose this war. Rather, they should be endeavouring to stop the rot in their own churches before trying to fix others’ problems. So what if your next door neighbours are in a same sex marriage, when you, in your heterosexual, ordained by God marriage, cannot sort out your marital problems? What this is about, the demand here is for the same protections afforded to heterosexual couples. Let it be so; and concede to the churches the right to refuse sacraments to homosexuals; bearing in mind that these exceptions have to be paid for: by the loss of tax-free status, for example.

SamandMax's avatar

Religion has no place in politics. End of.

ETpro's avatar

@bea2345 Thanks. I felt it important to clarify that. I am glad we’re on the same page.

@SamandMax Exactly.

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