Pope arrest plans, church championing hate, trusting God safe again and league star driven to thanks… A God’s-eye overview of some of the madness, mayhem and moments of clarity involving issues of faith in our world currently.
It doesn’t get much worse than sex abuse within the supposedly safe haven of the church which is no doubt one reason Richard Dawkins has transformed from a scientist to a crusader determined to crush religion.
Not content to quietly unbelieve, Dawkins is putting his unfaith into action and along with fellow disciple, Christopher Hitchens, is bankrolling legal investigations into having the Pope arrested.
Dawkins and Hitchens want Pope Benedict XVI arrested for ‘crimes against humanity’ when he arrives in Britain in September.
They allege a cover-up by the Pope of sex abuse in the Catholic Church on the basis of a letter written in 1985 in which, according to The Guardian newspaper, the then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger urged that a paedophile priest not be exposed for the ‘good of the universal church’.
When Dawkins and Hitchens have finished with the Pope, the aped-crusaders may like to take a tilt at Westboro Baptist Church.
This small church of 70 to 80 people is clearly determined to prove that size is not the most important determinant for impacting the community.
In the spirit of the Inquisition, they have taken to turning up at the funerals of dead soldiers with signs such as ‘Thank God for Dead Soldiers’, ‘You’re Going to Hell’ and worse. To be fair, they staged a similar protest after the deaths of 29 miners in West Virginia last week.
Numbingly, they do this because they believe each death represents God’s judgement on the US for tolerating homosexuality.
One father, burying his dead Marine son, took exception to the protests and sued the church. He won the first court battle before the verdict was tossed out on appeal. It will now go before the Supreme Court.
Albert Snyder, the man taking the action, said he would drop the matter if the hateful church would just stop turning up at people’s funerals. They won’t.
Experts are now predicting that Mr Snyder will lose the case because the church is protected by the US Constitution’s First Amendment pertaining to freedom of speech.
Dawkins and Hitchens, forget the Pope, I’ve got another name for you – Pastor Fred Phelps – the pastor of this ‘chur…’ I can’t say it. Oh, but I just discovered, Phelps hates Catholics too so I’m not sure if that puts you on the same side…
Meanwhile the American constitution has been wheeled out in another court case, this one to determine whether US currency should carry the words ‘In God We Trust” and whether the pledge of allegiance should include the phrase ‘under God’.
By a two-to-one margin, judges of the federal appeals court in California have overturned a previous ruling and decided the phrases are constitutional.
That’s a relief, I don’t think the US economy could take any more hits.
And trusting in God may be a little higher on Alan Langer’s agenda after his recent brush with the law.
Admitting in court to drink driving, rugby league legend Langer said he couldn’t have lived with himself if he had killed or maimed someone while driving drunk.
‘I just thank God I didn’t have an accident that night and hurt someone or destroy some innocent family.’
Thank God indeed, Alan. And while you’re at it, with the fear of God freshly in your thoughts, put in a few prayers for this crazy world of ours… PH