“Radical secularism” : Debunking the latest claims

It’s traditional to stick a few exclamation marks along with the words “Radical secularism”, but since I’m not a religious nut, I’ve left them off.

So the Catholic News Service has a story with a few items in it that deserve some commentary. It is the usual waffle about the evils of secularism…

“Radical secularism” threatens the core values of American culture, the pope warned a group of U.S. bishops visiting the Vatican in January. He called on the church in the U.S., as well as politicians and other laypeople, to render “public moral witness” on crucial social issues.

So lets see if I have this right then, a religious cult that …

  • Permitted its clerics to abuse and bugger small children by simply moving them about and covered up all this for decades
  • Preaches against the use of condoms in Africa, the only known way to prevent AIDS, and thus condemns million to die from this dreaded disease
  • Forbids doctors from carrying out lifesaving abortions
  • Maintains a rigid homophobic stance

wishes to render “public moral witness” on crucial social issues. Well gosh, that has not been going all that well so far.

So what comes next? We have this daft claim …

“The larger concern with secularism is that it damages people, and that it actually keeps people from being reasonable with one another,” said Chad C. Pecknold, assistant professor of systematic theology in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

And in what way exactly does it “damage” people? Like this apparently …

“It creates a great level of intolerance for people of faith.

Dammit yes, he is spot on, I am indeed intolerance of the nonsense, I no longer turn a blind eye to all they do, I shout and protest when yet another priest is caught fiddling kids, I reject their utterly insane supernatural claims that don’t have one jot of evidence. All this secular logic and reason means that when told that a male virgin in a dress can perform a ritual that will magically transform a wafer into the actual body of a god for people to then eat, I laugh.

Now you should note a very subtle word trick being played here. I criticize their immoral ethics, I refute their daft claims, but … and this is the very important bit … I am completely tolerant of them. I fully respect their right to believe whatever they wish, and I am quite happy for them to practice those beliefs. However, what I will not tolerate is their attempt to impose their batty beliefs on others.

That’s the line.

Note that they claim secularism is intolerant, its a trick, a false claim, but then catholics always were good at playing word games. All they are really complaining about is criticism of the nonsense they promote, nobody is seriously suggesting actual “intolerance” is directed towards them to prevent them believing.

If you then read on in that same article, the claims get even dafter, but essentially it is the same trick that is being reused. The claim that people are “damaged” is in fact true of belief, for it is belief that is truly intolerant, especially of those that deploy valid factually based criticism.

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