Posts Tagged pope francis

Picture of the Day

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A balloon flies past Pope Francis during his general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Ah…the irony.

This picture captures Pope Francis’ essence quite expertly, because Francis (like all other Popes) is really just an inflatable air head. He is a figurehead, a caricature who contributes nothing to the world but thin air, a facade, lies, hollow words without backing, recited compassion, dogmatic empathy, ignorance, judgment and hate masked under the lofty, airy yet thin veneer of god and religiosity.  He is a hollow shell, a stand-in  for peoples’ desire for answers and meaning, even though he offers nothing in return but lofty words that pacify your mind and make you sleep better at night.

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Dear Pope

On this Easter, as you address the world and the people sheep who have flocked around you to listen to your hopeful phony messages about love, peace and understanding – concepts you merely like to talk about it seems in lofty attire while releasing doves into the sky but which, given your Church’s track record even as we speak, you have no intention of actually ever backing with real, meaningful actions, let me, as an atheist whom you graciously say is not a monster after all, tell you a few things.

Now, I am not inclined at this moment to go into a whole discussion about the absurdity of religion and, in particular, of your particular brand of faith that prompts you to “pray” for peace every year  and every year we don’t get this peace you, as a especially pious man, have been lobbying for, but I will tell you that Easter is a Pagan tradition that has hardly anything to do with Jesus.

Easter eggs and bunnies and the Spring equinox have as much to do with Christ as Christmas trees, mistletoe and the fall equinox and winter solstice. In fact, there is really nothing Christian or Biblical about forty days of Lent, decorated trees in your homes, engraved images and symbols of Ba’al and Ishtar, the sun Gods, the use of Evergreen and mistletoe, the latter of which Pagan priests (Druids) used to conjure black magic in love potions, “sunrise services”, Santa Clause, decorated eggs, rabbits, hot cross buns and the Easter ham symbolizing and worshiping the Goddess Ēostre.

These things, however, have everything to do with the ancient pagan traditions of Babylon and Mesopotamia. Engaging in such activities makes professing Christians nothing but idolaters, but I guess you know that being the head of the Church. Woops.

Secondly, since you are talking about peace and its importance and how to achieve it, let this lowly atheist enlighten you on the fact that you do not achieve peace by talking about it, but by identifying what the impediments to it are and addressing the challenges that stand in the way of peace, accordingly.

In the larger sense, you achieve peace by recognizing the inherent dignity in all of us; by creating bonds of friendship and bridges of cooperation among people regardless of their identities and inherent attributes.

You achieve peace by respecting and acknowledging an individual’s personhood and inherent value as a rights-bearing, autonomous human being whose agency as a human being should be respected and upheld.

You achieve peace by inspiring those who follow you to respect and acknowledge an individual’s personhood and inherent value as a rights-bearing, autonomous human being deserving of the same rights as everyone else.

You achieve peace by empowering women – which entails recognizing them as fully equal human beings who have the right to maintain control over their bodies and reproduction; as people with their own agency and a right to self-governance because viewing and treating women as second class human beings who ought to have no control and agency over their own bodies according to the finest tradition of your oppressive , bigoted, misogynistic Church and its practices for hundreds of years, is precisely the reason why women are not empowered.

And make no mistake about it: empowerment of women has everything to do with both peace and economic stability and is, in fact, an integral part of it.  By taking a profoundly anti-choice stance, you marginalize women and disempower them, which leads to the very poverty you want to see end.

You create peace by spending some of your tax exempt riches on the under-privileged and poor in society; on educating the ignorant; on giving opportunities to those less fortunate; on giving a voice to the weak, defenseless and exploited by creating communities of support, trust and tolerance where each individual’s autonomy and agency are respected and upheld, instead of spending that money on hate campaigns to insure that gays and lesbians do not get to marry or on political campaigns aimed at controlling what women can do with their bodies.

Sadly, none of that is happening in the Catholic church which still argues that women should not have employment equality; that they should not have access to contraception and abortion; that gay/bi people should not be allowed to marry (which, in the US, denies lots of same-sex partnered people crucial access to partners’ employee-sponsored healthcare, which is a major financial issue); etc.

Colluding with the police to cover up the sex crimes of your priests and blaming allegedly gay priests for the massive cases of pedophilia in your church  – thus equating homosexuality with pedophilia – does not constitute  having done the most you can for victims of childhood abuse as you claim, nor does it constitute “transparency and responsibility” on your part as you also like to claim.

When you condescend to touch a man disfigured by facial tumors as a result of his neurofibromatosis, the church crafts your image as the benevolent leader and compassionate man who does not shy away from touching a man afflicted with a disfiguring  disease, even though not treating someone with a disease or disfigurement like a monster is the most basic sort of human decency, not particularly warranting special accolades, especially not for a man of the cloth who claims to be all about love, acceptance and divine compassion.

Calling transgendered people demonic – is cruel, harmful, dangerous and indecent, not to mention explicitly dehumanizing. It is, per the Church’s own position on demons, eliminationist. It is not a recipe for peace.

As long as you marginalize members of the queer community, as long as you uphold discrimination against women, as long as you value fetuses more than the people carrying them by ordering Catholic hospitals to refuse to give life-saving abortions, or refuse to dispense emergency contraception to rape victims; as long as you refuse to allow unmarried same-sex partners to visit one another in the hospital, and as long as you spend millions of your organization’s tax exempt money on hate, then you are, frankly, nothing but a dirtbag – no matter how many speeches you hold fellating the idea of peace in velvet tones neatly wrapped in false humility and empathy.

When you manifestly refuse to advance a complex deconstruction of the reasons for poverty, such as empowering women, it is mendacious to argue that you are saying bold and challenging things and are a purveyor of peace.

Peace is not achieved by treating some people in society – such as women, gays, lesbians and transgendered individuals  – as less than, ultimately dehumanizing them in the process and depriving them of their rights and privileges – as if they were yours to give in the first place. Helping these individuals to be given the same kind of access, rights and opportunities as everyone else, however, are the things that will empower people and promote peace.

Peace is not achieved through heart-warming speeches, lofty metaphors and, most of all, prayer.  Peace requires a lot of hard work and hard decisions, including the elimination of bigotry and “othering” and all the other myriad of things the Chruch does that are diametrically opposed to the concept of peace and are right-out harmful.

Peace requires humility and thus examining and then eliminating the very things that stand in its way.

That Progressives remain fascinated with you is mystifying as it is  beyond the soft bigotry of low expectations. It is an epic failure on their part to truly recognize the evil behind your organization’s seemingly loving, all-inclusive facade.

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Quote of the Day

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If you happen to be with an atheist who tells you that he does not believe in God, you can read him the whole library, where it says that God exists, and where it is proven that God exists, and he will not believe. [However] if in the presence of this same atheist you witness to a consistent, Christian life, something will begin to work in his heart [and] it will be your witness that brings him the restlessness on which the Holy Spirit works”. –Pope Francis

First of all, I like the, unrelated to this quote may I add, image Lighthouse Catholic Media is using for their post as it is pure PR. By showing the Pope condescend to touch a man disfigured by facial tumors as a result of his neurofibromatosis, the church crafts his image as the benevolent leader and compassionate man who does not shy away from touching a man afflicted with a disfiguring  disease. Like Jesus.

Call me naive, but it is my estimation that not treating someone with a disease or disfigurement like a monster is the most basic sort of human decency, not particularly warranting special accolades, especially not for a man of the cloth who claims to be all about love, acceptance and divine compassion.

Now I do not want to diss the Pope for having done something nice and then be accused of not being able to see the good things people do blah blah yawn, but I want to point out that the accolades the Pope received, both for touching a disfigured man as well as stating that atheists aren’t undiluted evil (a comment which was quietly reversed almost immediately) is emblematic of a larger narrative around Pope Francis that I find deeply objectionable; a narrative that basically says that since Pope Francis is not as overtly heinous as most popes, he is amazing, so let’s make him Time’s Person of the Year and celebrate him as a really amazing human being.

Manipulating people has never been easier.

Never mind that the Pope and the institution he represents neither have changed, nor have any intention to change any of the Catholic Church’s harmful doctrines – from homophobia to misogyny –  let’s give the man a pass and call him a great Pope and person for at least not having said gay people will go to hell. Is this the standard now?

When Pope Francis says that “even the atheists have capacity for good” and thus aren’t evil monsters condemned to hell,  he’s heralded as some sort of beacon of tolerance, even though it’s the bare minimum of decency to say that atheists have the capacity for goodness and doing good (although I would say that the Pope and I have very different ideas of what constitutes “doing good”).

Remember that despite all attempts at image control,  the Pope is still the figurehead and leader of a wealthy international organization that is profoundly and institutionally misogynistic, anti-choice and homophobic and the Pope himself  oversees the most powerfully influential lobby to deny women access to reproductive healthcare and  bodily autonomy.

This is an organization that, between 2005 and 2012, has spent $6.5 million on campaigns against same-sex marriage and thus hate. Also note that neither the Pope’s nor the Catholic church’s positions have changed with regard to any of these issues.

It is just that now the Catholic Church, under the direction of Pope Francis, has decided to merely change the rhetoric, basically, with respect to how the church outwardly handles and talks about these issues without having any intention to actually change the harmful policies the church subscribes to and advocates. In the corporate world that is called white-washing.

And what about all those child abuse cases by the church and the cardinals that cover them up? He hasn’t done anything in that regard either. But hey, at least he doesn’t abuse children himself, so let’s celebrate him as an amazing man taking the catholic church in a new direction.

Feeding hungry people does not make Francis a great or exceptional pope. Frankly, it is his job. It is what Jesus taught. Francis doesn’t get a pat in the back for doing something that he’s known he needs to do since he signed up for this whole Pope thing. The pope is still against same sex marriage, he is still against contraception, he is still against abortion. Outwardly he is preaching about doing good but actually he stands for evil things – no matter how politely he talks about them.

Remember that many religious people help feed the hungry but still think gays are evil and abortion murder etc. Feeding the poor is not the litmus test of goodness or change.

As to the quote itself, all I can say is, what a load of unfounded, patronizing garbage.

The catholic church has been spending millions of their (tax exempt) dollars on hate and denying women access to reproductive care; money they could have used to feed and care for the needy, they have instead chosen to use to deny other people their rights and quash their autonomy.  And now this charlatan Pope Francis actually has the nerve to question the morality of atheists – trying to teach us about love, caring and Christian values? What a colossal asshole.

(By the way, what and where are all those libraries filled with evidence of a god? I thought the only “proof “this schmuck and his feeble-minded followers had for the existence of god was the pesky Bible and wishful thinking, also known as faith.  – Boy, when religious people pile it on, they sure pile it on high).

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The Pope and The Catholic Church Are Still Full of Shit, Despite Protestations to the Contrary

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Yesterday Pope Francis of holier-than-thou and west-catholic-shit-church street saidWho am I to judge a gay person?” Well, I don’t know, the fucking Pope and self proclaimed spiritual leader of a corrupt faith that everyone sees as holy and an authority? But, er, I’m digressing. Anyway, his exact words were “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? […] You can’t marginalize these people.”

I don’t know. Call me a cynic or a skeptic who isn’t easily fooled by someone’s empty words but the Pope paying lip service and saying he now accepts gays means nothing to me, nor does it change how I feel about religion, him and about how detrimental and dangerous and harmful religion is.

Facts speak louder than words: The Knights of Columbus poured over $2 million during the last election cycle alone on funding anti same sex marriage legislation and they are continuing to do so as we speak. Does anyone really believe that these haters and bigots will now suddenly support same sex marriage because the Pope says in some sort of an afterthought that he does not think gays are dirt beneath our feet? Who the fuck cares that he said gay people are good people? If he really believes that, then why treat them like second class human beings and deny them equal rights? Is he for same  sex marriage now? Is he for gay adoption? No. Case closed.

Finally, I find it sad that our expectations of religious leaders are so low that we are actually grateful and elated that some religious figure doesn’t insult gay people to the maximum and wishes death and misery upon them. I mean, really? Are these the low standards we have subscribed to these days? Be thankful that he at least didn’t they say he hates them – never mind he still is not willing to grant them equal rights?

The Pope’s pandering to the gay community is just that, pandering. How magnanimous to say gay people are not automatically deserving of eternal damnation, but of course with the addendum that while homosexuals deserve a chance to find grace, they can only do so if they are celibate. So being gay is okay, so long as you never act on your homosexuality. It’s the old “love the sinner, hate the sin” tripe that is simply an insult.

The Pope and his sheep followers with their insincere protestations of acceptance of homosexuals can kiss my ass.

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