Thursday, February 04, 2010

Now the National "Secular" Society tries interfering with the judiciary

It already has the British government jumping to its tune and a pliant media dutifully broadcasting its propaganda but still that's not enough for this dangerous organisation. Now it's demanding a supine judiciary which will do its bidding as well. Clearly there are no limits to its insane ambitions.

This should alarm anyone who believes in any kind of liberty at all. The National "Secular" Society is not a secularist organisation in any meaningful sense of the word. It is an anti-religious one with a strong streak of authoritarianism as this story demonstrates. It works to restrict the democratic rights of religious believers and routinely foments hatred against its targets in the most bigoted of terms.

One thing it won't do, however, is reveal its membership figures, which could be as pathetically low as 7000.

Well it should be required to. And then sent packing back into the 18th Century novel it crawled out of.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, so "authoritarian" is the NSS that it criticised the banning of Anjem Choudaary's Islamist group (http://www.secularism.org.uk/banning-islamist-opinion-endange.html).

Is it really a "democratic right" of chemists to refuse to serve certain pharmaceutical products, even though the shop stocks them? What about the rights of a woman who needs emergency contraception? Is is more authoritarian to refuse to serve them, or to ask the refuser to stand aside or get a job where their beliefs won't hurt others?

Dan

2/05/2010 2:12 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

I see Titus and his mates have returned to their old theme of how Mark Thompson isn't fit to head the BBC because he's a left-footer. Considering how often Titus gets interviewed on the Beeb, and how soft the questioning usually is, I'd say the inquisitors were slacking on the job.

Still, it'll be fun to see them in September, arm in arm with the Orange Order and the Free Presbyterian Church. Back in 1690 where they belong.

2/05/2010 3:53 PM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

Hi Dan,

Post your comments here anytime. This blog believes in free speech. Just one thing - could you get yourself a blogger ID? It makes things a lot easier.

You say emergency contraception, I say emergency birth control. The morning after pill cannot be shown not to prevent a blastocyst from implanting in the uterus. Hence it cannot be described just as a contra-ceptive.

Forcing people to act against their consciences is cruel and counterproductive. It transfers powers from the citizen to the state and should be opposed by all liberally-minded persons. Those with an enthusiasm for forcing people to act against their consciences are not, I think, likely to stand in the way of the state forcing its will on the citizenry in other ways. At this point I note that one of the NSS's honorary associates is one, Baroness "tell the poor to have fewer children" Flather.

I note also that provision of the morning-after-pill over the counter has not arrested the UK's abortion rate, though this was the main rationale for the move. On the contrary, in fact. In the years following, the number of abortions continued to record increases.

There are many believers, as well as non-believers who have very strong ethical principles concerning the value of human life. I'm thinking especially of Bishop John Botean, an Eastern Rite bishop and member of the USCCB, who threatened to excommunicate any member of his flock who fought in the Iraq War. Bishop Botean held that a war which was even then widely known to have been illegally prosecuted did not meet the conditions of a Just War. Hence he held that the war was an unacceptable threat to human life and so took the stand that he did. In hindsight, I think many people would applaud him for his actions. Standing up for conscience rights should not be seen as obstructive but rather heroic.

Apropos your first comment, I think it's a shame that the NSS is not more consistent in its defence of free speech. Instead free speech seems to be invoked by the NSS whenever it suits it, ie on purely opportunistic grounds. The NSS opposed the Race and Religious Hatred Bill - as did many religious groups - on the grounds that it would infringe rights to religious criticism. It has not opposed the Equality Bill even though the Catholic Bishops Conference noted in its briefing that aspects of the bill would have a "chilling effect on free speech".

The NSS's crude and stupid Make the Pope Pay campaign deliberately fails to to take account of the fact that the Pope's visit to the UK is a state one - the Pope is a head of state - and as is proper the host nation pays for visiting dignitary's security. Mentally-ill people have been known to hurl themselves at pontiffs, brainwashed men have been known to attempt their assassination. The NSS's campaign seems to me to be an invitation for people to attempt physical attacks on the Pope. I think that's taking religious hatred a step too far.

2/05/2010 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll consider getting an ID.

Pharmacists are regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council, whose ethical code states that personal interests should not compromise the interests of your patients. A pharmacists personal lifestyle preferences should not prejudice the services they provide.

Don't be a pharmacist if you can't meet the requirements of the job. It's a state regulated profession, it's no good whinging about state control.

>>There are many believers, as >>well as non-believers who have >>very strong ethical principles >>concerning the value of human >>life.

Quite so. That's why I support the availability of the morning-afer-pill.

The point of course, is that state-regulated pharmacists are governed by a code of ethics. If you disagree with the code of ethics then you shouldn't be a pharmacist.

>>It has not opposed the Equality >>Bill even though the Catholic >>Bishops Conference noted in its >>briefing that aspects of the >>bill would have a "chilling >>effect on free speech".

You're assuming the Catholics Bishops Conference is right. They're not. They're wrong.

>>The NSS's crude and stupid Make >>the Pope Pay campaign

Crude and stupid? Compared with the stuff the Catholic church comes out with regularly? I don't think you quite get how much anger there is over the church's behaviour on some issues.

>>deliberately fails to to take >>account

How about "ignores"?

>>of the fact that the Pope's >>visit to the UK is a state one - >>the Pope is a head of state

They *call* it a state visit, and the Pope, thanks to the concordat with Mussolini, has a technical "head of state" status, but I don't consider him a head of state at all. In fact I find the idea absurd. He's the head of a religious organisation.

>>- and as is proper the host >>nation pays for visiting >>dignitary's security.

"Proper"? The point of the "Make the Pope Pay" campaign is that public money shouldn't be spent on a visit by a religious leader. Especially given the behaviour of the church in question.

>>The NSS's campaign seems to me >>to be an invitation for people >>to attempt physical attacks on >>the Pope. I think that's taking >>religious hatred a step too far.

Ha ha. Well obviously the NSS's campaign is no such invitation, and it's low of you to even suggest it. Clearly, if the Pope can't *afford* to visit Britain unless he is treated like a head of state, then it might be better if he didn't come at all, if he's that worried. Other people have to contribute to security costs, I don't see why the Pope should be exempt if we decline to accept him as a "head of state". I expect the Catholic Church could find a few quid to sort something out, no?

But really, what amazes me in comments like yours is how little self-consciousness is displayed. There's never any understanding, or any attempt to understand, why people might object to the behaviour of the Church. It's all, apparently, a mystery explainable only by pathological religious hatred or anti-Catholic bigotry.

All I ask is for a little reflection.

Dan

2/16/2010 4:01 PM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

I'll consider getting an ID.

Jolly decent of you :-)

Pharmacists are regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council, whose ethical code states that personal interests should not compromise the interests of your patients. A pharmacists personal lifestyle preferences should not prejudice the services they provide.

Before I go on, is there any chance that you can do some thinking for yourself rather than doing what looks to me like a cut 'n' paste job? And the possessive requires an apostrophe, hence a pharmacist's shoes/lollypop/ethical obligations/personal lifestyle preferences and so forth.

Next, you are confusing personal interests or lifestyle choices with democratic rights. The right to refuse to participate in something one considers gravely wrong, war, say, or animal slaughter, or abortion is not a mere preference. Indeed the personal preferences are all yours: that all pharmacists be forced to provide the morning-after-pill or else.

Don't be a pharmacist if you can't meet the requirements of the job. It's a state regulated profession, it's no good whinging about state control.

This is what I mean by thinking for yourself and reading rather more substantive works than the latest screaming hysterical crap from the NSS.

Evidently you are not aware of the fact that pharmacists have the right to refuse to dispense drugs they consider to be abortifacient, just as doctors have the right not to perform abortions. It is people like you who want to take that right away from pharmacists and presumably doctors, since why allow doctors conscience rights but not pharmacists?

In other words, pharmacists have never been required to dispense the morning-after-pill. It was never in their job contract. You want to change their job contracts unilaterally, put untold pressure on them to conform to your personal preferences and then not give a damn if people are put out of work for nothing more than your authoritarian obsession with forcing people to do what you tell them to do. Well, er, no. It aint that kind of party.

>>There are many believers, as >>well as non-believers who have >>very strong ethical principles >>concerning the value of human >>life.

Quite so. That's why I support the availability of the morning-afer-pill.

A pat meaningless answer.

The point of course, is that state-regulated pharmacists are governed by a code of ethics. If you disagree with the code of ethics then you shouldn't be a pharmacist.

Er no. The point is that that code of ethics has never demanded that people act against their consciences indeed could not be called a code of ethics if it did. I suggest you do a little more homework before proffering your opinions, by the way.

Comment continued underneath.

2/16/2010 7:50 PM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

Cont

>>It has not opposed the Equality >>Bill even though the Catholic >>Bishops Conference noted in its >>briefing that aspects of the >>bill would have a "chilling >>effect on free speech".

You're assuming the Catholics Bishops Conference is right. They're not. They're wrong.

And you are assuming that an assertion makes an argument. It doesn't. Go away and demonstrate how the Bishops' Conference is wrong to worry about free speech. And while you're about it, tell me, what was the NSS's position on the Coroners and Justice Bill? Did it support Waddington's amendment? Did it campaign against it? Why not?

>>The NSS's crude and stupid Make >>the Pope Pay campaign

Crude and stupid? Compared with the stuff the Catholic church comes out with regularly? I don't think you quite get how much anger there is over the church's behaviour on some issues.

Yes crude and stupid and dangerous and nasty while we're about it.

Out of interest do you actually know what the Catholic Church comes out with? I mean do you actually know the first thing about Catholicism? Do you ever read anything about what the Church comes out with which isn't mediated by the NSS or BHA? I doubt that you've ever read a Papal encyclical in your life. I don't think you know what you're talking about. It kind of shows.

"The Church's" should have a capital "C". "The Church's behaviour" should be explained as should "certain issues" or it's difficult to know what you're talking about.

I know very well what the mood is in amongst a tiny minority of people concerning the Church, because I make it my business to know. Whether that anger, as you describe it is either legitimate or genuine is another matter. I contend that it is neither. Rather such ill-feeling as there is has been skillfully manipulated and cynically whipped up by the NSS, its satellites and associates. Serious-minded people should know better than to listen to its bigoted tirades.

>>deliberately fails to to take >>account

How about "ignores"?

How 'bout getting your apostrophes and capital letters in the right places, smarty pants?

>>of the fact that the Pope's >>visit to the UK is a state one - >>the Pope is a head of state

Commment continued underneath.

2/16/2010 7:51 PM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

Cont.

They *call* it a state visit, and the Pope, thanks to the concordat with Mussolini, has a technical "head of state" status, but I don't consider him a head of state at all. In fact I find the idea absurd. He's the head of a religious organisation.

Who is "they"? Her Britannic Majesty's government? The CIA? And - oooh Godwin's law, or whatever its equivalent is - you mentioned the fascists, deliberately, I think to make the Vatican look extra bad. Well boychik, the Vatican has a diplomatic history going back centuries, the fourth, in fact. And who the hell cares what you consider absurd or not? I reside in the realm of facts. You are imprisoned in the kingdom of fantasy. C'est la vie, I suppose.

>>- and as is proper the host >>nation pays for visiting >>dignitary's security.

"Proper"? The point of the "Make the Pope Pay" campaign is that public money shouldn't be spent on a visit by a religious leader. Especially given the behaviour of the church in question.

The point of the xenophobic bigoted hatred-fomenting campaign you mention is that it's yet another example of the nasty lengths anti-religious groups will go to.

Your comment, "especially given the behaviour of the church in question" is rather more damning than you realise. It shows just what how much you've been infected with irrational anti Catholic bigotry. Well one bigotry is much the same as another in my book. Once upon a time racism was all the rage, then homophobia, then Islamophobia, now it's anti-Catholicism which is the fashionable prejudice. There is nothing new under the sun. Still, there's always hope. You've taken the first steps to recovery by coming onto this blog.

>>The NSS's campaign seems to me >>to be an invitation for people >>to attempt physical attacks on >>the Pope. I think that's taking >>religious hatred a step too far.

Ha ha. Well obviously the NSS's campaign is no such invitation, and it's low of you to even suggest it. Clearly, if the Pope can't *afford* to visit Britain unless he is treated like a head of state, then it might be better if he didn't come at all, if he's that worried. Other people have to contribute to security costs, I don't see why the Pope should be exempt if we decline to accept him as a "head of state". I expect the Catholic Church could find a few quid to sort something out, no?

Ha bloody ha. Mentally-ill people have been known to throw themselves at Popes, brainwashed nuts to attempt their asassination. You may find that funny, I don't. Violence doesn't amuse me.

I don't know which other heads of state, writers under fatwas or foreign nationals living under death threats have to contribute to their security costs in the UK. I don't see why the Pope should pay for his here while say, the President of Kenya, Salman Rushdie or the late Alexander Litvinenko do or did not. Perhaps you can suggest why the Pope's life is any less valuable than Kibaki's and Rushdie's is and Litvinenko's was.

I'm sure that the Kenyan State, PEN, Amnesty International and indeed the National Secular Society could stump up the costs of Kibaki and Rushdie's security, if the hard-pressed British taxpayer decides not to accept that Rushdie or Kibaki deserve protection. The National Secular Society has many rich patrons and influential meedja allies, I say it should put its money where its mouth is.

Comment continued underneath.

2/16/2010 7:53 PM  
Blogger Red Maria said...

Cont.

But really, what amazes me in comments like yours is how little self-consciousness is displayed. There's never any understanding, or any attempt to understand, why people might object to the behaviour of the Church. It's all, apparently, a mystery explainable only by pathological religious hatred or anti-Catholic bigotry.

Pots and kettles. But if you dislike this blog so much, with its bold free speech and vigorous argument policy, what are you doing here?

I understand very well what prompts people to feel blind irrational hatred against an institution and its members of whom they know little, if anything at all because I know such sentiments are whipped up. As a journalist and discerning politically-engagé adult with an elephantine memory and love of history, I am more than well versed in the rhythms of the media and the political campaign and lobby groups with which it has a dependent relationship. As someone who has furiously agitated against racism all my adult life I have some knowledge of the virulence of prejudice. And I am sufficiently endowed with rat-like cunning in order to work these things out.

All I ask is for a little reflection.

Really? I think you want agreement not reflection in your interlocutor. But I'm happy to give you the benefit of the doubt.

If you really are interested in dialogue and understanding my point of view then get back to me on this thread's comments box with your email details, which I will not publish. Then I'll email you with details of some books worth reading.

2/16/2010 7:53 PM  

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