Sunday, January 28, 2007

Anti-Catholicism: The last acceptable prejudice

Two weeks ago, in a sign of his weakening authority, Tony Blair bowed to the wishes of his cabinet and decided that there would be no exemptions for the Roman Catholic Church in the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs). The media caravan has now rolled on.
Yet aspects of this very ugly debate will linger in the mind for some time to come, not least the brazen anti-Catholicism of some politicians, journalists and bloggers. The irony of these people's extravagant claims to be fighting prejudice while indulging in some flagrant bigotry themselves was not lost on this aquatic creature.
The display was shameless enough to merit comment by a number of dispassionate observers. Mary Ann Sieghart wrote in The Times:

"The last time the State allowed itself to be overruled by the Church, over the percentage of non-believers allowed into faith schools, there was deep resentment among Labour MPs. It looked as if the Government was caving in under pressure. They were not going to allow this to happen again — and particularly when the Church concerned was Catholic.
The amount of vitriol being whispered in Westminster corridors this week shows how shallowly buried are the old prejudices. “I’m not going to have some bloody reactionary German Pope dictate the law of our land,” said one minister. Another admitted, only half-jokingly, that his mother had always told him: “Never trust a Catholic.” And a third asked: “Where’s all the child abuse and paedophilia? In the Catholic Church. They should get their own bloody house in order and sort out the way paedophilia lies hidden."

It was the BBC's Nick Robinson who really got to the heart of the matter. He said:

"This is a serious debate about competing rights and strongly held convictions. I am struck by the level of vilification being meted out to those with strongly held religious views. It is stated, as if fact, that Tony Blair is acting under orders from his Catholic wife who's acting under orders from the Archbishop who's acting under orders, presumably, from the Pope.
No-one who has met Cherie Blair would believe that a quick call from a bishop would have her quaking. Ruth Kelly is accused of putting her religion before her principles. One Catholic MP who defended her publicly has since received hate mail.

Gay public figures have, of course, experienced vilification for many years and often from religious people. Allow me to delicately suggest, however, that the attitudes being displayed now towards Catholics in public life must feel to them like a form of prejudice and discrimination."

He's not wrong. That is exactly how it feels. Catholic blogger Joee Bloggs spoke for many of us when he commented:

"I can't help feeling that now is a very tough time to be a Catholic. My Irish grandparents used to say in the 1960s when there were all the troubles with Northern Ireland: don't talk religion or politics. I think these wise words are prudent for the modern day Catholic living in the UK right now on the backdrop of an anti religious and particularly anti Catholic mentality. These are indeed difficult times to be Catholic."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Same old pro-abortionists, same old prejudices

What is the qualitative difference between this:

"Personally, I’d welcome young women having more abortions, instead of opting for motherhood at an age when they can’t possibly know enough about men, aren’t financially independent, etc, etc."

And this:

" ... a high and rising proportion of children are being born to mothers least fitted to bring children into the world and bring them up. They are born to mothers who were first pregnant in adolescence in social classes 4 and 5. Many of these girls are unmarried, many are deserted or divorced or soon will be. Some are of low intelligence, most of low educational attainment. They are unlikely to be able to give children the stable emotional background, the consistent combination of love and firmness which are more important than riches. They are producing problem children, the future unmarried mothers, delinquents, denizens of our borstals, sub-normal educational establishments, prisons, hostels for drifters. Yet these mothers, the under-twenties in many cases, single parents, from classes 4 and 5, are now producing a third of all births. A high proportion of these births are a tragedy for the mother, the child and for us."

Answer: one of them is an RMT activist.

What is the qualitative difference between this:

"Yet proposals to extend birth-control facilities to these classes of people, particularly the young unmarried girls, the potential young unmarried mothers, evokes entirely understandable moral opposition. Is it not condoning immorality? I suppose it is. But which is the lesser evil, until we are able to remoralise whole groups and classes of people, undoing the harm done when already weak restraints on strong instincts are further weakened by permissiveness in television, in films, on bookstalls?"

and this:

"... but then, I’m just an old-fashioned 60s feminist.But I’d also welcome more emphasis on sex education, free contraception, anything that would allow young people to explore their sexuality without young women getting pregnant."

Answer: One of them is the late Keith Joseph.

Give or take some pc fluff, I can't tell them apart.