Catholics don't have freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, say leading Catholics

[Cross-posted on Artificial Habitat]

The Vatican owes me another irony meter.

Here are a couple of occurances that will be familiar to those who have encountered Catholics in online discussions:

1) They often (always?) claim that any criticism of their superstitious crap by 'intolerant secular bigots' represents a concerted attempt to deny Catholics their freedom of religion.

2) Any comments to the effect that doctors, nurses, MPs, registrars and other public servants have a duty to do the jobs that they are paid for (out of taxpayer's money), which takes precedence over their personal religious views (and inviting them to find another line of work if they don't like that), will be branded as attempts to deny Catholics freedom of conscience. And probably labelled 'intolerance' and 'bigotry' as well - a favourite tactic of theirs.

Well, have a read of this. Straight from the mouth of the Keeper of the Magical Trousers* Raymond L. Burke.

Relevant to point 1), above:
"Who can claim a right to receive the Body of Christ?"
"we can not ever say that we have the right to receive in the Holy Communion"

So, Catholics don't have a right to practice their religion? Interesting. I shall have to remember that, the next time some Catholic tells me I'm trying to suppress their human right to freedom of religion: apparently they have no such right. The Vatican says.

Archbishop Raymond L Burke, pointed out that Catholics, especially politicians, who publicly advocate abortion should not take commune, and said that Church ministers had a duty to deny communion if such people request it until they have reformed their views.

Remember all that bleating about freedom of conscience? Apparently Catholics don't have that, either. Any individual whose views do not agree with those of the Vatican should be denied communion until they stop thinking for themselves and are brought into line.

Now, I personally think that the entire Catholic faith, all the pageantry, the pseudo-cannibalistic rituals, the nonsensical proclamations, etc, is a load of old bollocks. However, to the members of the Catholic church, these rituals have meaning and importance. I would prefer that they woke up and stopped believing this crap, but I see that the rituals are important to them, and that it would be a gross violation of their human rights to take any direct action to prevent them from receiving communion, which I understand to be utterly central to their faith. And yet, in a frankly disgusting act of emotional (I suppose, for them, also 'spiritual') blackmail, this glorious Church is prepared to restrict the freedom of religion of any followers who dare to hold and affirm opinions which deviate from the official line. Furthermore, they are not prepared to allow individual freedom of conscience within their own ranks. Hence the sad loss of my latest irony meter.

If these people are somehow right about all the God and Jesus stuff, doesn't it strike you as just a teensy bit arrogant that a few men in robes feel they have the authority to deny people access to communion with their creator? I thought all the judging was up to the big guy upstairs.

Raymond L Burke also said that when a bishop or ecclesiastical authority prevents someone who supports abortion to receive communion, it "has no intention to interfere in public life but in the spiritual state of the political or public official who, if Catholic, should follow the divine law."

Er, lying much? In what universe is exerting this kind of pressure on Catholic politicians not a direct attempt to 'interfere in public life'. This guy is going on the board**.

So. There you have it. If any Catholics are reading this, take note. I have more respect for your freedom of religion and your freedom of conscience, than the senior figures in your own church. Just remember that the next time you're thinking of accusing me (or any other secularist) of intolerance or bigotry.

*may not be actual title, not that the real one makes any more sense.
**I'll explain later

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Comment by Buffy on August 21, 2008 at 6:52pm
Interesting. Politicians who support freedom of choice WRT abortion shouldn't be allowed to receive communion but that gassbag doesn't seem to have any problem with child diddling clergy receiving it.
Comment by IsThatLatin on August 21, 2008 at 12:55pm
We must have posted round the same time, Hess, as I missed your second post above. Now I just want to add one more thing: It's not just the problems specific with religion that I have a problem with seeping out into society--if that were the case, then they could be stupid all they want with themselves so long as they kept it to themselves. The real problem I have with belief is that kind of thinking--the way it reduces one's critical skills to a steaming, useless pile of shite. People who allow themselves to grossly ignore logic and rationality are also prone to using that mode of thought in other aspects of their lives, and hence, our lives. People in important positions make important decisions, and as far as I'm concerned, the fact that that person might be religious throws his or her judgement in general into a very suspect light for me. Now, imagine a whole society thinking like that. It's no wonder the human race is as screwed up as it is. A lot of us are dumb as bricks.

Okay, that's all.
Comment by IsThatLatin on August 21, 2008 at 12:44pm
I'm with Andrew here. I would love to see religion wiped off the face of the earth , if only we could do so without forcing them to at gunpoint. I believe people should be able to believe whatever they want, but I would prefer them not to be delusional. We shouldn't be passing laws, making certain beliefs illegal, but we do need to educate the human race. Gradually, not within my lifetime, sadly, I think people can kick this faith habit. That, in my opinion, would bring great improvement to our lot overall.
Comment by Hessenroots on August 21, 2008 at 12:37pm
I don't think the idea is inherently a bad thing, it's those that use it as a means to an end that screw things up...if that makes sense. There are certainly negative and self damaging aspects but if a person wants to do that to themselves, so be it, as long as it's themselves and not those around them. This may be a poor comparison but I'd liken it to alcohol abuse. If a person wants to sit and destroy themselves, physically and mentally, that's a choice they've made for themselves. I don't agree with it or think it's a good idea but I'd never knock on someones door and demand they stop drinking. Once that behavior becomes a problem for those around them and society at large it becomes a public issue that needs to be kept in check.

It shouldn't be encouraged or glorified but that personal choice needs to exist.

I do agree that any end should come naturally and that we, as a species, will be much better off should that end come. I don't believe people in the most extreme wings of these various groups will be so rational. Based on that I feel things will get worse before they get better and the interim healing process will likely not be pretty. Eventually someone crazy enough will snap; causing people to wake up and see how insane it all is.
Comment by Andrew on August 21, 2008 at 11:38am
To be honest I would prefer that it was gone. I think there are various negative aspects to people believing certain things. However any end to religion must come naturally, without coercion. While it is bad if people believe stupid things, they must be free to believe those things without fear of repercussions (except where they engage in actions that harm others).
Comment by Hessenroots on August 21, 2008 at 11:11am
Good luck on your new irony meter...they still owe a few from over the years.

I have more respect for your freedom of religion and your freedom of conscience, than the senior figures in your own church. Just remember that the next time you're thinking of accusing me (or any other secularist) of intolerance or bigotry.

I agree with your sentiment here. There's a broad generalization that atheists and other 'heathen' folk would like to see religion wiped from the face of the earth. While this may be true for some I'm of the firm belief that people can believe whatever they like, and should be allowed to do so, as long as they're not off trying to inject it into the lives of others or harming those that don't agree.



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