TWO GERMAN lawyers have initiated charges against Pope Benedict XVI at the International Criminal Court, alleging crimes against humanity.
Christian Sailer and Gert-Joachim Hetzel, based at Marktheidenfeld in the Pope’s home state of Bavaria, last week submitted a 16,500-word document to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the Hague, Dr Luis Moreno Ocampo.
Their charges concern “three worldwide crimes which until now have not been denounced . . . (as) the traditional reverence toward ‘ecclesiastical authority’ has clouded the sense of right and wrong”.
They claim the Pope “is responsible for the preservation and leadership of a worldwide totalitarian regime of coercion which subjugates its members with terrifying and health-endangering threats”.
They allege he is also responsible for “the adherence to a fatal forbiddance of the use of condoms, even when the danger of HIV-Aids infection exists” and for “the establishment and maintenance of a worldwide system of cover-up of the sexual crimes committed by Catholic priests and their preferential treatment, which aids and abets ever new crimes”.
They claim the Catholic Church “acquires its members through a compulsory act, namely, through the baptism of infants that do not yet have a will of their own”. This act was “irrevocable” and is buttressed by threats of excommunication and the fires of hell.
It was “a grave impairment of the personal freedom of development and of a person’s emotional and mental integrity”. The Pope was “responsible for its preservation and enforcement and, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of his Church, he was jointly responsible” with Pope John Paul II.
Catholics “threatened by HIV-AIDS . . . are faced with a terrible alternative: If they protect themselves with condoms during sexual intercourse, they become grave sinners; if they do not protect themselves out of fear of the punishment of sin threatened by the church, they become candidates for death.”
There was also “strong suspicion that Dr Joseph Ratzinger, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of his church and as Pope, has up to the present day systematically covered up the sexual abuse of children and youths and protected the perpetrators, thereby aiding and abetting further sexual violence toward young people”.
By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~
We atheists are frequently subjected to this question – or criticism. Often, it appears the questioner thinks she already knows the answer, and is simply implying that we’re angry out of defensiveness, as one gets when he is backed into a corner with no arguments left. It’s not that simple.
But I want to offer an answer to the believer who is genuinely curious and really wants to know. Now I can’t speak for everyone, but I think most atheists would agree that we get angry for a great number of personal and social or civic reasons.
You see, we all grew up in a god-saturated society, everyone does. No one is born believing in a god. We were all indoctrinated in belief, to one degree or another, if not by our parents, priests, or pastors, then by our peers and society at large. We all began hearing about this god when we were toddlers, just old enough to understand a bit of our native language. We were told that there is a very powerful, invisible man in the sky, and he is very uptight about how we should act. We were told he not only knows everything we do, but he listens in on our every thought.
Most of us also got the standard stick-and-carrot lesson, as well. See, there’s this kind of deal we have with this god, even though we were never asked and never agreed to any deal. If we largely do what people and the bible tell us what god wants (he never speaks to any of us directly, of course, so we have to take their word for it), then we can go to heaven after we die, to live again. If we don’t do what they tell us he wants, then we go to this god’s concentration camp after we die, to live again, in eternal torment.
Many of us took all this stuff quite seriously. We were only kids after all. But, over time we began to have questions about this god and what he supposedly did and wanted. And we got too many unsatisfactory answers. Very often, we were shocked at what we found in the sillier (Leviticus) and nastier (Exodus) parts of the bible. As just one example, it simply made no sense to most of us for a god to create humans, if the majority of them were destined to suffer eternally in hell. We treat our children better. If we knew that most of our children were destined for such a future, we wouldn’t have them in the first place. Why would a god do what we found so repugnant, and so immoral?
For others of us, we simply saw no logical necessity for a god in this universe, and saw no credible evidence of one, so we simply abandoned that hypothesis.
Now, where the anger comes in, is that once we see the light, once our reason tells us there is no god and never was, we feel that we have been had, been fooled, hoodwinked. Ask yourself, do you get angry when you feel you have been lied to, or cheated, played for a fool? Anger is a very natural and expected response in such situations.
Many atheists feel that their society has been unfair to them in subjecting them to religious indoctrination before they had developed fully developed brains and enough maturity and confidence to question what grown-ups told them. Watch some little children for awhile and see how often you hear them yell, indignantly, “But that isn’t fair!” A sensitivity for fairness is hardwired into all of us, and in many other animals, too. Chimpanzees, for example, have been observed to become downright vicious with members of their tribe who have treated other members unfairly.
Many atheists also get angry at the way believers throw their weight around in the public square against abortion rights, gay marriage, the teaching of evolution, and such, when all of their arguments are ultimately based on ancient writings by primitive tribesmen.
Many of us feel the anger of helplessness since the system is stacked against us, as most people are god-believers. We are convinced that religions are based on falsehoods, and decisions based on false premises are usually wrong. For instance, I get angry that people lobby against gay marriage simply because some primitive people wrote that god abhors homosexuality. The same book says god abhors eating shellfish and people who work on the Sabbath, too, but believers conveniently ignore the obvious fact that the bible preaches a very primitive “morality” which our own legal systems have sensibly outgrown. We have no laws against any of these things that god supposedly abhors (or thinks are “abominations,” if you prefer the exact biblical language).
We get angry that politicians can’t be honest about their lack of belief and still get elected. Fifteen percent of Americans are non-religious (even more among those with higher education degrees, such as those in Congress), but only one member of Congress admits to being an atheist. Now there are 535 members of Congress, so there should be at least 80 who are non-religious, but they dare not admit it. And if the hidden non-believers in Congress are opposed to religion-backed legislation, they have to be very subtle or be found out and not re-elected. And are they justified in keeping the secret of their non-belief? Absolutely! Without them, we non-believers would have no representation at all.
We atheists also get angry that we are forced to subsidize religion through unfair taxation; churches in America pay no property tax and there is a housing tax benefit for clergy for which the rest of us don’t qualify. We get angry when we think how stupid our governments are, in this 21st century, to provide special benefits to some, solely because they are pushing ancient superstitions onto the populace.
We get angry that the members of each religion are convinced that all other religions are mere fantasy, yet they cannot see that that in itself is a clue that they are ALL just fantasy. They ignore the fact that no on has ever had enough evidence or proof of the truth of any one religion to cause the disappearance of all the other religions. And they never will! All religions are based on blind faith, not evidence gleaned from the real world, yet the believers of each all persevere in their smug assurance that they alone know the Truth. They’ve made their guess, and they’re stickin’ to it!
We get angry that our national Pledge of Allegiance had a “god” put in it in the 1950s, that our government promotes such a divisive superstition. We get angry that here in America, we have the most powerful military in the world, the CIA, the FBI, SWAT teams, the border patrol, billions worth of new airport security all over the country, and yet all of our money says, “In God We Trust.” Given the facts of the matter, doesn’t that motto ring kind of hollow? We certainly aren’t trusting in any god for our security. There’s a blatant lie in all this.
We get angry that various god beliefs have made our world such an unsafe place, with Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others all fighting each other in various combinations all over the world, sometimes involving different sects of the same religion (Sunni vs. Shia, Catholic vs. Protestant), and for century after century. And, perhaps most of all, we are angry that defenseless children are still being indoctrinated in these ancient superstitions; and many of these children will be on the front lines of religious terrorism and the religious wars of the future. All in subservience to man-made, make-believe gods which never existed. Doesn’t it frustrate and anger you that millions of helpless little children are being indoctrinated into that silly, and false, Hindu religion? Now, do you begin to see how we atheists feel, since we think all religions are false?
Now, if you asked another atheist why atheists are angry, you would get a different list, and hers may well include some things that are not part of my experience; things like the waste of thousands of their dollars in collection plates, thousands of hours wasted in church, Sunday school, helping out with church benefits, etc., and the hypocrisy they encountered in their congregations. And, likely, their anger includes a frustration with themselves for not seeing that it was all based on a lie. They know now that it’s extraordinarily unlikely that a man died 2,000 years ago, and then got up several days later and walked away (they no longer believe in zombies). The “evidence” couldn’t be any weaker. That they believed it just because the story was written in the Gospels (and nowhere else), in a superstitious, pre-scientific age, now seems almost unbelievable to them.
Now there are some atheists who say they don’t get angry, and that appears to be true. And that is their business. But, for myself, I believe the anger most of us feel is absolutely necessary to achieving positive change in the god-saturated world we live in. Anger is a great motivator. Anger gets things done. Without anger there would have been no American independence, no end to slavery, no women’s voting rights, no civil rights for blacks, no broad acceptance of gays, and this is obviously just the short list. Passive people don’t fight for change.
Atheists are fully justified in their anger, and that anger may be the last, best hope for our species surviving our own ignorance and gullibility. If religious forces ever manage to quell our anger, then they will have won the battle . . . and lost the world.
Seeing as the first one is flooded with illiterate morons, time to start fresh!
Let’s start off with an “offensive” picture of Muhammad, shall we?
On the other hand, however, one measly picture like that is sure fire to trigger BLOOD RIOTS of demented Islamic assholes!
So they finally decided to turn the other cheek?
Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who incited world-wide debate over his plans to burn copies of the Quran, said Saturday that he had already accomplished his goal of exposing a radical element of Islam and that he wouldn’t follow through with his Quran-burning plans under any circumstances.
Appearing on NBC’s “Today Show,” Mr. Jones said he had come to New York in the hopes of meeting with Imam Feisal Rauf, a partner in the project to build an Islamic center two blocks north of Ground Zero. Mr. Jones has been lobbying for that project to be moved away from the site.
As Saturday progressed, however, it became apparent a meeting was unlikely to take place. People familiar with the matter said the imam will not meet with Mr. Jones and that this has become clear to the people in Mr. Jones’s camp.
Asked on the “Today Show” whether he would proceed with his plans to burn copies of the holy book, Mr. Jones paused for several seconds before saying he had decided to cancel the event.
Mr. Jones then said he could “absolutely guarantee” that he wouldn’t carry out his original plans, even if the Islamic center gets built on its proposed site. “We hoped that would open up a door to be able to talk to the imam about the Ground Zero mosque,” he said.
Mr. Jones originally announced plans in July to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11. On Thursday, he abandoned them after a direct appeal from U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Mr. Jones said he dropped his plans after reaching an agreement to move the Islamic center away from its planned location near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks. However, representatives of the center denied there was any such agreement.
On Friday afternoon, speaking at his Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., Mr. Jones imposed a two-hour deadline on the imam to notify him whether he planned to relocate the Islamic center. The deadline passed without any contact from the imam, and it remained unclear what Mr. Jones’s ultimate plans were as he traveled to New York Friday night.
Mr. Jones arrived at New York’s LaGuardia airport late Friday night as a throng of news trucks and cameras awaited him.
In his television interview on Saturday, Mr. Jones insisted that his plans weren’t a ploy for publicity for his church but rather a mission from God.
“Of course, Abraham was also wiser than us,” he said. “He told no one.”
(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) — The leader of a small Florida church that espouses anti-Islam philosophy said he was still praying about whether go through with his plan to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11, which the White House, religious leaders and others are pressuring him to call off.
The Rev. Terry Jones said he has received more than 100 death threats and has started wearing a .40-caliber pistol strapped to his hip but still did not back off his plan Tuesday to burn the book Muslims consider the word of God and insist be treated with the utmost respect. The 58-year-old minister said the death threats started not long after he proclaimed in July that he would stage “International Burn-a-Koran Day.” (See pictures of Muslims in America.)
Supporters, though, have been mailing copies of the holy text to his church of about 50 followers to be incinerated in a bonfire on Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Gen. David Petraeus took the rare step of a military leader taking a position on a domestic matter when he warned in an e-mail to The Associated Press that “images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence.” (See pictures of Muslims observing Iftar.)
Jones responded that he is also concerned but is “wondering, ‘When do we stop?'” He refused to cancel the protest at his Dove World Outreach Center but said he was still praying about it.
“How much do we back down? How many times do we back down?” Jones told the AP. “Instead of us backing down, maybe it’s time to stand up. Maybe it’s time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behavior.”
Jones gained some local notoriety last year when he posted signs in front of his church declaring “Islam is of the Devil.” But his Koran-burning idea attracted wider attention. It drew rebukes from Muslim nations and at home as an emotional debate was taking shape over the proposed Islamic center near the ground zero site of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.
His actions most likely would be protected by the First Amendment’s right to free speech. The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear in several landmark rulings that speech deemed offensive to many people, even the majority of people, cannot be suppressed by the government unless it is clearly directed to intimidate someone or amounts to an incitement to violence, legal experts said. The fire department has denied Jones a required burn permit, but he said lawyers have told him he has the right to burn the Korans, with or without the city’s permission.
Legal or not, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder during a meeting Tuesday with religious leaders to discuss recent attacks on Muslims and mosques around the U.S. called the planned burning idiotic and dangerous, according to a Justice Department official. The official requested anonymity because the meeting was private.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton added her disapproval at a dinner in observance of Iftar, the breaking of the daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
“I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths,” Clinton said.
Local religious leaders in this progressive Florida city of 125,000 anchored by the sprawling University of Florida campus also criticized the lanky preacher with the bushy white mustache. At least two dozen Christian churches, Jewish temples and Muslim organizations in the city have mobilized to plan inclusive events — some will read from the Koran at their own weekend services. A student group is organizing a protest across the street from the church on Saturday.
Gainesville’s new mayor, Craig Lowe, who during his campaign became the target of a Jones-led protest because he is openly gay, has declared Sept. 11 Interfaith Solidarity Day in the city.
At the White House, spokesman Robert Gibbs echoed the concerns raised by Petraeus. “Any type of activity like that that puts our troops in harm’s way would be a concern to this administration,” Gibbs told reporters.
The Koran, according to Jones, is “evil” because it espouses something other than biblical truth and incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims.
Muslims consider the Koran along with any printed material containing its verses or the name of Allah or the Prophet Muhammad to be sacred. Any intentional damage or show of disrespect Koran is deeply offensive.
Jones’ Dove Outreach Center is independent of any denomination. It follows the Pentecostal tradition, which teaches that the Holy Spirit can manifest itself in the modern day. Pentecostals often view themselves as engaged in spiritual warfare against satanic forces. The world’s leading Sunni Muslim institution of learning, Al-Azhar University in Egypt, accused the church of stirring up hate and discrimination, and called on other American churches speak out against it.
Last month, Indonesian Muslims demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, threatening violence if Jones goes through with it.
Jones dismisses the response of the other churches as “cowardly.” He said even if they think burning Korans is extreme, Christian ministers should be standing with him in denouncing the principles of Islam.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2016699,00.html#ixzz0z067l7r8
Gainesville city officials have denied a burn permit for a church that plans to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11.
Interim Fire Chief Gene Prince said Wednesday that an open burning of books is not allowed under the city’s burning ordinance.
The Dove World Outreach Center drew international attention after announcing its plan to burn copies of the Islamic holy text on church grounds to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Prince says the church will be fined if it holds the burning.
In an e-mail sent out Wednesday, the church said, “City of Gainesville denies burn permit – BUT WE WILL STILL BURN KORANS.”
The Gainesville church made headlines last year after distributing T-shirts that said “Islam is of the Devil.”
Thanks to JT. Hundley for the link
Blind passengers are being ordered off buses or refused taxi rides because Muslim drivers or passengers object to their ‘unclean’ guide dogs.
One pensioner, a cancer sufferer, told how had twice been confronted by drivers and asked to get off the bus because of his guide dog, and had also faced hostility at a hospital and in a supermarket over the animal.
The problem to carry guide dogs on religious grounds has become so widespread that the matter was raised in the House of Lords last week, prompting transport minister Norman Baker to warn that a religious objection was not a reason to eject a passenger with a well-behaved guide dog.
While drivers can use their discretion to refuse to carry non-disabled passengers with dogs, they are compelled to accept guide dogs under disability discrimination law.
Yesterday both the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the National Federation of the Blind confirmed the problem was common, and, according to the latter organisation was ‘getting worse’.
The tension stems from a strand of Islamic teaching which warns against contact with dogs because the animal’s saliva was considered to be impure, the Muslim Council of Britain said.
It urged Muslims to show tolerance and common sense over the issue.
‘We need to be flexible on this,’ a spokesman said. ‘Muslim drivers should have no hesitation in allowing guide dogs into their bus or car.
‘If a dog does lick you, it’s not the end of the world. Just go home and wash yourself.’
George Herridge, 73, a retired hospital maintenance manager, told the Daily Mail he was ‘stunned’ to be twice asked by bus drivers to leave their vehicles because of his guide dog Andy, a black Labrador.
Mr Herridge, who lives with wife Janet, 69, in Tilehurst, Reading, said that on the first occasion two years ago, he got off at the request of a Muslim driver because some Muslim children on board were ‘screaming’ because of the dog.
He found himself in a similar scenario in May last year, when a Muslim woman and her children became ‘hysterical’. Mr Herridge this time refused the driver’s request to alight.
He complained to the bus company which launched an investigation. It later informed him the matter had been dealt with ‘internally’.
Jill Allen-King, spokesman for the NFB, said she had been repeatedly left on the kerb by Muslim taxi drivers who refused to take her dog.
One cab driver told her he would have to ‘go home now and wash myself’ when she tried to enter his car with her dog.
Mr Baker yesterday warned bus and cab companies that, while there were within their rights to ask a passenger to leave if the dog was causing a nuisance, it was ‘much more questionable to be asked to remove a dog for religious reasons’.
He added: ‘One person’s freedom is someone else’s restriction.’
In 2006, Muslim minicab driver Abdul Rasheed Majekodumni was fined £200 and ordered to pay £1,200 costs by magistrates in Marylebone, central London, after being prosecuted for failing to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act when he refused to take a blind passenger because her guide dog was ‘unclean’.
In May 2005, the province of Quebec showed leadership when its legislature voted unanimously to pass a motion against permitting shariah law to be used in the province’s legal system.
Moving the historic motion in the Quebec National Assembly, Muslim member Fatima Houda-Pepin said, “The application of shariah in Canada is part of a strategy to isolate the Muslim community, so it will submit to an archaic vision of Islam … These demands are being pushed by groups in the minority that are using the Charter of Rights to attack the foundation of our democratic institutions.” Four months later, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty would ban the use of all religion-based tribunals in the province, thus ending all hopes Islamists had of creating a beachhead for shariah law in North America.
Now, Quebec has taken another bold and courageous step to stall the inroads being made by Islamists in Quebec society: In a bill that could soon become law, Quebec will refuse all government services, including education and non-emergency health care, to Muslim women wearing face masks (known as the niqab or burka). Jean Charest, the Liberal Premier, said the bill is aimed at “drawing a line” to demonstrate that gender equality is a paramount Quebec value.
As a Muslim Canadian, I am thrilled at this development, and welcome the rescue of all Muslim-Canadian women who were being blackmailed, bullied and brainwashed into wearing attire that has no place in either Islam or the 21st century.
Muslim women — my wife, mother, sisters, daughters and friends — were deeply angered that cowardly Islamists were using their faces and heads as the flag of Islamism. Their faces were never the property of hateful, joyless men who wish to consign women into dark, mobile prisons. If faces of Muslim women are a source of sexual tension to these men, it is these men who must shut their eyes and lock themselves in permanent prisons.
The burka is not just a piece of clothing: It is a symbol of Islamofascism and a rejection of the West and its cherished value of gender equality. The cruel reality is that the burka implicitly castigates women as a source of evil ( a’wra), condemning them to a life of isolation away from the gaze of men.
Beyond that, it is important to understand the more practical reasons as to why Quebec is right in listening to the call of liberal and progressive Muslims who asked for a ban on the burka:
– Security: As news from around the world shows, thieves and terrorists are using burka disguises to evade checkpoints, hide explosives and commit crimes.
– Safety: Anyone who has tried on a burka knows that it provides minimal peripheral vision. Walking is hard enough. Would you want to be on the highway with drivers whose perspective is constrained by such a human tent?
– Health: Doctors have provided evidence that vitamin D deficiency, which is associated with serious health problems, can result when a face-covering blocks all incoming sunlight.
To the Islamists and their apologists who argue that Canada’s position on the niqab should be based on Canadian values of equal citizenship, rather than assimilative French values, I simply say: Canadian values are themselves based on French and British values. They did not fall from the sky. Furthermore, if importing ideas from France is so suspect, then smuggling the values of tribal monarchies and theocracies into Canada is far worse. We would rather embrace France’s equality than the institutionalized misogyny and polygamy of Iran and Saudi Arabia.
– Tarek Fatah is the author of The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism, which will be published by McClelland & Stewart in October 2010.