Sunday, 19 September 2010

Dawkins the enemy of Freedom and Liberty

Stephen Fry's painfully disordered psyche won him the love and affection of the British public; here was a man fighting his demons in public and maintaining a stiff upper lip throughout. His comments on the Pope's visit will therefore have hurt many British Catholics who have extended to Mr Fry the same reverence they did to the Queen Mother. Richard Dawkins' life is altogether greyer and duller, and if he's connected with the popular consciousness at all it's as a scientist. But it's Dawkins who has resorted to the most puerile and unscientific vituperation against the Pope and the Catholic Church, terming the latter an 'evil, corrupt, organisation' and the former ' a leering old villain in a frock… a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part'.

Both Fry and Dawkins would do well to read Dignitatis Humanae, now forty-five years old, and promulgated not by the European Commission on Human Rights, the NCCL or the UN, but by the Catholic Church. In it the Church defends the right of all men to freedom of conscience in matters of faith; defends not only the rights of Catholics, but all Christians, and all Moslems, and all Jews, and all Buddhists, and even, one must suppose, the rights of Animists amongst some remote jungle tribe to worship a potato if that is what they believe in.

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.(2) This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.

It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. Therefore the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.

On the matter of how far religious freedom should go in civil society, and prescient in its anticipation of Islamic militants and the evil Jihadists, DH says;
The right to religious freedom is exercised in human society: hence its exercise is subject to certain regulatory norms. In the use of all freedoms the moral principle of personal and social responsibility is to be observed. In the exercise of their rights, individual men and social groups are bound by the moral law to have respect both for the rights of others and for their own duties toward others and for the common welfare of all. Men are to deal with their fellows in justice and civility.

Furthermore, society has the right to defend itself against possible abuses committed on the pretext of freedom of religion. It is the special duty of government to provide this protection. However, government is not to act in an arbitrary fashion or in an unfair spirit of partisanship. Its action is to be controlled by juridical norms which are in conformity with the objective moral order. These norms arise out of the need for the effective safeguard of the rights of all citizens and for the peaceful settlement of conflicts of rights, also out of the need for an adequate care of genuine public peace, which comes about when men live together in good order and in true justice, and finally out of the need for a proper guardianship of public morality.

Against the bigoted ranting of Mr Dawkins, the position of the Catholic Church is positively Libertarian. Dawkins is increasingly resembling the sandwich-board man who used to live on the steps of the old Mirror building in Holborn, a bit cracked. And this is good; for Dawkins, too, has the right to worship a potato, or Mammon, or whatever. What neither he nor Stephen Fry has the right to do is to organise coercion against the beliefs of Britain's Catholics, or deprive them of the rights of conscience.


Anonymous said...

Stephen Fry et al. have the right to protest. I would not have used this oportunity to promote the right for casual sex, but that is the calibre of the best of our intellectuals today.
It is that we do hear the voices of the unsane to determine the well from which they drink and know we are still free.

Chuckles said...

Well said. The paradox of those who can only define their beliefs in terms of what they are not. I am a 'not Christian'...
Perhaps they should study Rainer Maria Rilkes 'What birds plunge through is not the intimate space' for a bit -
'Surround it with restraint. It has no limits. Not till it is held in your renouncing is it truly there.'

Anonymous said...

Richard Dawkins didn't molest children nor did he protect the molestors of children nor does he belong to an organisation with a long, long history of protecting the molestors of children.

Richard Dawkins, the bigot, never instituted an Inquisition to murder anyone who thought differently from him. The Roman Catholic Church did.

Richard Dawkins uses as his tools rhetoric and argumentation. The "Libertarian" Catholic Church has spent the better part of the last two thousand years using fire and iron, torture and murder, war and genocide as its tools.

Richard Dawkins never wore the uniform of a Nazi soldier nor did he belong to the youth wing of the Nazi Party.

All these things put him ahead of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. If you want to whine about how horrible people are to the Pope, maybe you should address the fact that the Pope (a former Nazi) regularly blames me and other atheists for the actions of his former party and for the actions of his co-religionist the Roman Catholic Adolf Hitler.

Richard Dawkins did not give the Nazi salute while standing alongside Hitler and Mussolini. Mr Ratzinger's predecessor, Pius XII, did.

Get your own house in order before you criticise us. And do the world a favour and actually crack open a history tome before you give vent to your own bigotry and ignorance, Raedwald.

Anonymous said...

Caltholicism is an evil for it preaches children are born into Sin and to be 'good' is the way to Heaven. All you get are phoneys sucking the life out of children.

Richard Dawkins preaches an evil because he assumes knowledge solves all, whereas knowledge makes you realize how little you know. So he advocates freedom for perversity because 'goodness' cannot exist. All you get is a heaven of emotionally damaged consentual abusers who look hungrily at children for a sense of life. (Peter Tachell: change the law to 14).

Damned if you don't believe and damned if you don't fornicate.

These are worlds I do not want children to be raised in.

Raedwald said...

Anon - I'm afraid you're one of those tedious individuals with so tenuous a grasp of the meaning of history that no doubt you sign-up to round robins apologising to 'Africa' for slavery or calling upon the government to offer a posthumous pardon to buggers hanged in the eighteenth century.

No institution in the Western world that pre-dates the Enlightenment, that quantum spiritual leap in man's consciousness, is free of the charges you make against the Church, but the past you know really is a different country and I would really rather spend my brief allotted span working now to improve the future than bitterly dwelling on contrived injustices from centuries ago.

Blind Faith said...

Ah, Stephen Fry. That colossus of intellectual magnitude. That towering genius, before whom, we little people must bow in awe. That magnificence of grey matter, that thought (still thinks...) Gordon Brown & New Labour were “The Truth, The Way and The Light”.

Elby the Beserk said...


You have completely missed the point.

Where is Dawkins raging against Islam?

This is targeted hatred.

Me - I hold no candle for any organised religion, but watching what has happened the past few days makes me wonder what happened to the country I used to love.

As for Stephen Fry - well, he's no more than an overpaid BBC sinecure.

thefatlady said...

Radders, you are being selective in your response to Anon. You know full well that some of the injustices to which he refers are neither contrived nor from centuries ago.

Does your future begin now, which is a moving target, yesterday, a year ago, before child abuses came to light, or would you brush all that under the carpet for a convenient "now".

Anonymous said...

When talking of the RC concept Original Sin Dawkin's tells "we are all monsters unless redeemed by Jesus. What a vile, depraved, inhuman theory to base your life on."

These seems the vicious words of someone suffering.

It made me think of The Dalai Lama telling that "kindness is my only religion."

Then I thought of Martin Luther King telling of Christ's injunction to 'love thy enemy.' He said Christ did not ask that you like your enemy; it is impossible to like someone who has bombed your home or killed your children. But he was asking King said, that we give fundamental redemptive goodwill and respect to the enemy.

Then I thought of someone asking Aldous Huxley as he was dying, if he could say what he had learned in all of his work with many spiritual teachers and gurus on his own spiritual journey. Huxley's answer was, "it is embarrassing to tell you this, but it seems to come down mostly to just learning to be kind."

It would be great for this important discussion if Dawkins calmed down, respected those he wishes to demolish, and tried some kindliness.


Raedwald said...

Fatlady -

Those men committed their crimes because they were paedophiles, not because they were Catholics. That at least is simple.

What is not simple is the actions of their bishops, archbishops and principles of the orders in not handing them over for secular disposal, or even in placing them in positions in which they offended again. Understanding this is a challenge to many, including me.

Savonarola said...

Anon "Adolf Hitler a Roman Catholic". Are you serious?

On victory he planned to destroy the Church so to that extent he and your saviour, Dawkins, had a similar view of that institution.

Try visiting a library before you spout this drivel

Budgie said...

Savonarola - I am glad you corrected Anon. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, were all life-haters who worshipped only themselves. Self deification does not seem to me to be an adequate stick with which to beat 'religion'.