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Roman Pope Benedict an “enemy of the state”?

23 September 2010

Roman Pope Benedict XVI has been visiting Britain, and was met by an assorted group of protesters against his visit, among whom was one who dubbed him “an enemy of the state”. Having been an enemy of the state myself, I’d say that that’s a description to be carried with pride, rather than an insult, but we live an a topsy-turvy world, in which illiberal liberals want to destroy freedom for the sake of preserving it, and radical conservatives want to do exactly the same thing, and they hate each other’s guts for it too. I’m reminded of the old Soviet joke: “Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man;  in communism, it’s the other way round.”

Really, you couldn’t make this stuff up, but here it is ‘Pope Benedict is an enemy of the state’ | spiked:

Yet just because this campaign springs from neediness rather than political clarity, that doesn’t make it endearing or entertaining. On the contrary, there is a sharp authoritarian edge. Things turned ugly outside Downing Street when Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society branded the pope an ‘enemy of the state’, giving rise to the cacophonous chant: ‘GO HOME POPE, GO HOME POPE.’ It was like a scene from 1984. I have been on many a radical demo that has challenged the branding of some group or individual as ‘enemies of the state’; but this is the first radical demo I’ve been on where the protesters themselves demanded the silencing and even expulsion from Britain of someone they decreed to be an ‘enemy of the state’. Even one-time ‘enemies of the state’ – the so-called queers and the old left – were using that criminalising phrase, that piece of political demonology, to chastise the pope. It was the world turned utterly upside down.

Hat-tip to Fr David MacGregor Contact Online Weblog: ‘Pope Benedict is an enemy of the state’.

I wonder how many of those who vociferously spewed hate at the demo would, if asked, say that they strongly opposed hate speech?

On the other hand, it was just such a motley crew of people who ganged up against Jesus and went to arrest him at Gethsemane, and executed him as an enemy of the state.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Emma permalink
    23 September 2010 4:26 pm

    I think you have to remember the wider context here in the UK surrounding the Pope’s visit.

    Great Britain and Ireland are reeling from horrific revelations about child abuse and there seems to be a good deal of evidence (signed memo’s, letters and internal publications) to suggest that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church chose protecting the priesthood over protecting children.

    Given that the Pope has been slow to apologise or get to grips with this burning issue and that he alluded to a link between atheism with Nazism in one of speeches last week it is not surprising that some people feel very strongly that this visit should not have happened at all, or that at least it should not have been a state visit but rather a pastoral visit.

    Although if course I appreciate the irony of those previously prejudiced against campaigning against a certain type of freedom of speech…

    It was interesting to read that the BBC received almost equal numbers of people complained that the coverage of the Pope’s visit was too favourable and that it was too critical.

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