Monthly Archives: September 2011

Turkey: cartoonist to be put on trial for renouncing God

The cartoon that caused the lawsuit. The hidden message is circled in red. Radikal photo. Drawn by Bahad?r Baruter, published by Penguen.

A Turkish cartoonist will be put on trial for a caricature he drew in which he renounced god, daily Habertürk reported on its website Wednesday.

The Istanbul chief public prosecutor’s office charged cartoonist Bahad?r Baruter with “insulting the religious values adopted by a part of the population” and requested his imprisonment for up to one year.

Baruter’s caricature depicted an imam and believers praying in a mosque. One of the characters is talking to God on his cellphone and asking to be pardoned from the last part of the prayer because he has errands to run.

Within the wall decorations of the mosque, Baruter hid the words, “There is no Allah, religion is a lie.” The cartoon was published in the weekly “Penguen” humor magazine.

Turkish Religous Affairs and Foundation Members’ Union and some citizens filed complaints against Baruter.

The public prosecutor’s office accepted the complaints and filed a lawsuit against the cartoonist.

Hurriyet Daily News|  Habertürk, ISTANBUL | 28 September 2011

UK: Faith schools are a bad idea – time to call a halt

IT WAS good news to read that Cheshire West and Chester Council will not continue to subsidise school transport for children to attend faith schools and, as a consequence, save large sums of unnecessary expenditure.

The development of the ConDem educational policy of the expansion of academies and faith schools, who are free to teach creationism, is appalling.

The proliferation of unregulated academies in the UK will entrench religious discrimination in our school system for some time to come.

That, in turn will help to increase the unfair influence of religious groups throughout the whole of our society, even though the overwhelming majority of people in the UK are not religious.

I want a Britain where non-religious people can have confidence in their beliefs and build a foundation from which to live their lives with integrity, in a fair, ethical and equal society.

A world without religious privilege or discrimination, where people are free to live good lives on the basis of reason, experience and shared human values.

How can dividing children by faith and segregating them ever be a good idea if we have the ambition of a better understanding of each other?

Middlewich Guardian | BARRIE HODGSON, Winsford |28 September 2011

Vatican celebrates the power it wields in Italy

Cardinal Bagnasco

An influential Vatican official spoke of the “harmonious and supportive collaboration” between the Holy See and the Italian government, at a September 28 ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the sostituto, or deputy Secretary of State, spoke at an event sponsored by the Italian embassy to the Holy See, attended by a number of leading political figures. The archbishop said that the relations between Church and state in Italy furnish a model that “could profitably be shared with other countries.”

The speech by Archbishop Becciu comes at a time when relations between Italian Church leaders and the Italian government have been tested. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco–the president of the Italian bishops’ conference–recently issued a sharp condemnation of corruption in politics, in a speech that was widely understood as a rebuke to Prime Minister Silvio Berluconi.

Catholic Culture | 28 September 2011

Ireland: Amnesty says church abuse of children amounted to torture

"Much of the abuse described in the Ryan Report meets the legal definition of torture under international human rights law." Colm O'Gorman, Amnesty Ireland

A new report has claimed the institutional abuse of thousands of children across Ireland amounted to torture,

Human rights watchdog Amnesty said young people in church and state-run homes suffered decades of cruel and degrading treatment by being brutalised, beaten and starved.

Four recent reports – Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne – have detailed a litany of neglect, physical abuse and rape allegations.

Colm O’Gorman from Amnesty Ireland – himself a victim – said the scandal has been “perhaps the greatest human rights failure in the history of the state”.

Commenting on the organisation’s research, entitled In Plain Sight, he added: “Children were tortured. They were brutalised, beaten, starved and abused.

“There has been little justice for these victims. Those who failed as guardians, civil servants, clergy, gardaí and members of religious orders have avoided accountability.”

Mr O’Gorman said the state-ordered reports told what happened to children, but not why.

Amnesty’s 100,000-word study, which was officially launched by Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald in Dublin on Monday, aims to explore why it happened to ensure it never happens again.

Mr O’Gorman continued: “This abuse happened, not because we didn’t know about it, but because many people across society turned a blind eye to it.

“It is not true that everyone knew, but deep veins of knowledge existed across Irish society and people in positions of power ignored their responsibility to act.

“Attitudes to poverty at both the public and political level, were also significant factors.

“Society judged and criminalised children for being poor rather than address the underlying factors that condemned their families to poverty.”

The Cloyne Report, published in July, revealed Newry-born former Bishop and Vatican aide John Magee failed to follow church rules on reporting clerical abuse as recently as three years ago.

In November 2009 the Murphy Report found four successive archbishops in Dublin had covered up abuse allegations, and did not report claims to gardaí for decades.

Six months earlier the Ryan Report sent shockwaves through Ireland with revelations that tens of thousands of children were subjected to decades of physical and sexual abuse in orphanages, industrial schools and residential institutions run by religious orders.

Before that, the Ferns Report revealed in October 2005 that over 100 allegations had been made against 21 priests over 40 years – with hierarchy putting the interests of priests before children.

According to Mr O’Gorman, Amnesty’s research reveals the true scandal was not that the system failed children, but that there was no functioning system.

“Instead children were abandoned to a chaotic, unregulated arrangement where no one was accountable for failures to protect and care for them,” he explained.

“The legacy of this for today’s children is obvious, with our current child protection system itself being described as dysfunctional and not fit for purpose.

“People realise that this is not just about the crimes of the clergy or the failures of the state, but is a much bigger problem: the institutionalised lack of accountability in the Irish state.

“Attempts to achieve real reform in how this State functions will be meaningless unless we learn from what must be our greatest collective failure, one which resulted in the abuse and torture of tens of thousands of children.”

 UTV News | Monday, 26 September 2011

UK: Doing good is not the preserve of the religious

The link between religion and social participation is a fiction – but we must concentrate on shared civic principles, not the divide

Whether it’s from Red Tories or Blue Labour, London Citizens or the Big Society, the persistent connection assumed between religion and social participation is one of the fictions that has most irritated humanists in the past decade. It rests on a story of Britain as being once a Christian place, where communities were strong and charity widespread. Britain became less religious, but still with movements of social solidarity that, although secular (trade unions, for example, or friendly societies), tried their best to perpetuate the good effects religion had. They couldn’t do it, of course, and now these secular movements have collapsed. To save ourselves from going down with them, we must turn back to our good old-fashioned religions – they alone are able to provide the solidarity, community and motivation we need to fix our horribly broken society.

It’s not just a few disillusioned old ex-Marxists who have adopted this idea – the theoretical analogue of their own individual life stories – but a worrying number of otherwise rational people.

Even some non-religious people join in. Of course they don’t believe in all that religion stuff themselves, but religious people certainly do more good in society than non-religious people, don’t they? They volunteer more and things like that. Naturally, many religious leaders welcome this reinforcement of the case for their own importance with open arms and make statements, like those of the Bishop of Leicester and the chief rabbi giving evidence to parliament on the “big society” recently, warmly affirming the proposition that religious people disproportionately contribute to voluntary, charitable and civic life.

Unfortunately for them, the argument they advance is supported more by faith than by evidence.

This point was demonstrated yet again last week by the latest figures from the government’s citizenship survey. In terms of civic engagement and formal volunteering, the figures show no significant difference between those with a religion and those with no religion (57% and 56% respectively). There is scarcely any difference in participation between those with no religion and self-described Christians (56% and 58%). At 44%, the proportion of Hindus and Muslims participating in civic engagement and formal volunteering is actually lower than the proportion of non-religious people doing so, and the lowest of all groups. This is no flash in the pan – it is a continuing feature of the figures over a number of years.

The figures supplement other data that makes the same point, not only from previous years’ citizenship surveys. In 2007, Faith and Voluntary Action, from the National Council of Voluntary Organisations found that “religious affiliation makes little difference in terms of volunteering”, and as a matter of simple numbers, the overwhelming majority of the voluntary, community and charity sector in the UK are secular.

Why, in the face of such data, do so many persist in advancing the false argument that religious people engage more and the doomed policy of placing our hopes for a better future in the success of churches, temples and mosques? Some are clearly self-interested, trying to boost their own religious agendas, but many may simply be unaware of the facts. Non-religious people are volunteering all the time, but don’t feel the need to do it in the name of being non-religious. They may even do it for charities that have a nominally religious origin. Being therefore less visible than specifically religious contributions to society, this can support the myth that non-religious people do less community work. This anecdotal misconception can only be corrected by data, which is not something to which most people have access.

But I for one wouldn’t necessarily want it any other way. I am not overly concerned whether a person doing good is doing it because she thinks God wants her to or out of a humanist sense of obligation to fellow human beings. We would do much better to concentrate on other factors – economic and social – that will improve the conditions in which volunteering and engagement can flourish. I don’t think it is too much, in our shared society, to ask religious leaders to adopt the same view and give up the one-upmanship. To focus on what divides us rather than on the shared humanitarian and civic principles that might unite us is counterproductive.

The Guardian | Andrew Copson | 26th September 2011

UK: Open letter to David Cameron

Dear Mr. Cameron,

YOU SLAPPED MY FACE !

Why on earth would you do that to me? You injured and insulted me! What on earth drove you to do that? We have never even met!

I am a hard working, tax paying grandmother, proud to be British, having worked hard all my life, brought up six children, all now highly qualified professionals who are now also contributing massively to the good of the country, one of them even serving his country in the armed forces. It seems that counts for very little when you saw me as a target!

And why did you think that I was a fair game? Am I a criminal? Did I give you a good reason to stab me in the back?

NO !-you deemed it necessary to insult me because I am the survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a catholic priest! Because I was raped as a child by a man in a collar, you kicked me! You insulted many thousands more in our country and beyond who, like me, have suffered intolerable abuses by these “men of god”.

My deaf and speech brothers and sisters in Verona, all sexually abused by priests in their childhood, one man by 16 priests! You slapped THEIR faces too!

You slapped the face of my wonderful friend from Rome, who escaped the clutches of the medieval “Opus Dei”, complete with marks from the celice he had to wear around his leg, and the scars of his abuse and maltreatment.

You slapped the faces of my Irish, Dutch, Italian, German, Spanish, Colombian, African brothers and sisters, who were also appallingly abused by these tyrants.

You saw fit to slap the faces of all gay and lesbian citizens of our land, decently contributing to our society and rarely showing any signs of aggression! It seems their dignity has offended you in some obscure way too!

Perhaps the wonderful Stephen Fry, who dares to be such a tremendous ambassador for us all has offended you ? Because you certainly slapped HIS face!

You slapped the faces of every woman in the land ! —so much for the comments you made to the UN-

“Let’s be clear, you can’t build strong economies, open societies and inclusive political systems if you lock out women”
Well, you just blew it! You stabbed us in the back and insulted every woman in our country!
You slapped every one of our children and the future generation of children!

How did you do that? How COULD you do that? EASY!

You made a stupid, crass, ill conceived, snivelling, obsequious statement regarding the anniversary of the pope’s visit to England!

And I quote :

“One year ago, the landmark visit of Pope Benedict, gave millions of British Catholics an opportunity to celebrate their faith, while sharing a powerful message with everyone in our country about the importance of compassion, tolerance and justice.
“The Pope’s message is just as relevant today. The shocking riots in the UK underline that we need more than ever to build a new culture of social responsibility and develop strong and powerful communities as we deal with tough economic challenges.
“We should be proud that Britain’s generosity is saving the lives of millions in East Africa and countless others affected by disasters across the globe. “I am deeply proud of the enormous contribution people of faith have made to our society and look forward to our ever closer co-operation between the UK and the Holy See as we work for the common good.”

What planet are you actually on? What on earth are you talking about? Which bit of twenty thousand people marching through the centre of London in protest against this ludicrous visit did you fail to grasp? Let us look at this “shining example of virtue” that you feel we should be looking forward to “closer co-operation” with!

TOLERANCE ?

Tell that to all our wonderful dignified gay and lesbian citizens! As this man flew into OUR country last year he said “Homosexuality is as damaging to the World as the destruction of the rainforest” ! Great example of tolerance there !

COMPASSION !!!! WHAT ?

Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of abused people who were treated like fodder for these greedy criminals!

Tell it to the people who are still, some of them at the end of their lives, fighting this narcissistic tyrannical regime for justice, when they are faced with a church who sees them as simply “collateral damage” spends a fortune on spin and legal rangling, to make absolutely sure these victims of their violations go to their graves without ever having their abuse acknowledged or amends made! Who’s first line of defense is to call them liars! A regime that flatly refuses to acknowledge its responsibility towards these people, and shields and protects the priest perpetrators!

JUDGEMENT!!! I despair!!

Tell that to every single person who has the audacity to ask for justice from this 14th century autocracy! A regime which tells us it has its OWN laws! and refuses to adhere to the laws of every country, that its tentacles have infiltrated. Even the criminal laws! They have made sure that they only acknowledge “canon law”, where the pope is the only person allowed to control any punishment, all of which will be derisory and insulting!

Look on our website, see the videos of the wonderful people from Verona, Alaska, Ireland ,America, England, see how they feel about vatican “JUSTICE!”

And as for Africa!?!

Where the pope, in his ignorance and arrogance, LIES to uneducated people by telling them that not only the use of condoms is a sin, resulting in them burning to hell , but they will and will actually further the spread of HIV AIDS, condemning many of them to death!

Is this REALLY the justice we want to look forward to emulating!

As the Italian people face huge economic crises, is it JUSTICE that they have to pay every single expense for the vatican? Last year they had to fork out 6 million euros for the vatican’s water bill alone!! To pay for one of the richest religious organisations in the world. Ask them how they feel about the vatican’s justice!

Now I have two questions about the slap on my face:
Do you really BELIEVE this rubbish that you churned out?
Or was it a throw away comment for the benefit of whoever you were trying to impress?

Either way I have a real problem! If you really believe this, then I am profoundly worried about the future of our country!

What on earth possesses you to say that we could gain anything at all from any co-operation with this regime?

Do you not remember when this tyrant came into our country last year he said he “was flying into a moral wasteland” ?

Who’s side ARE you actually on? Do you honestly believe that decent British people are not already capable of the highest standards in Justice, Tolerance and Compassion?

Are you REALLY looking towards this appalling organisation which sets itself up to be the moral benchmark of the World, while refusing to clean up its own back yard?

If it was a throw away remark, then you have shown nothing but a profound disregard and disrespect for many thousands of people and have caused much pain, an extremely worrying quality for a head of state!

I never in my wildest imaginings would have thought that I would have my face SLAPPED by my Prime Minister.

After we all recently marvelled at the courage of Prime Minister Enda Kenny who showed real balls and told the truth to his people about the vatican’s sinister and narcissistic nature, you chose to make such an ignorant insulting statement which makes me feel that my beautiful country, land of hope and glory, is going to hell on a handcart–and you Mr. Cameron are in the driving seat.

SHAME ON YOU !

Sue Cox
Survivors Voice Europe

23 September 2011

 

Wales: organ donation law reform must be based on evidence

The Archbishop of Wales has criticised the Welsh Government’s proposals for a system of presumed consent for organ donation, claiming the policy would ‘compromise individual rights and freedoms’ and questioned whether the state can make such decisions. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has responded by restating its support for a system of presumed consent, and calling for the legislation to be informed by ‘evidence and objective information’.

At present, across the UK there is an ‘opt-in’ system where individuals have to register themselves on the organ donor register if they wish to donate their organs for transplantationafter they have died. The Welsh Government is due to publish a White Paper outlining its proposals to introduce an opt-out system, whereby adults in Wales are presumed to consent to donating their organs on their death, unless they have actively opted-out should they not wish their organs to be used for donation.

Responding to the Archbishop’s comments, BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips said: ‘Organ donation is a complex issue, and it is essential that in creating a system endeavouring to benefit society and save lives, the rights of the individual are respected.’

‘While discussion and debate over the practical implementation of a system are necessary, we believe it is important to emphasise that there are no specific religious-based objections to an ‘opt-out’ system. The opinions of the Archbishop should not be accorded greater importance on the basis of his title; a wide range of voices need to be heard, but ultimately policy must be based on evidence and rational, objective information.

Ms Phillips continued ’The BHA continues to support a system of presumed soft consent, as advocated by the British Medical Association. Such a system accommodates the wishes of individuals and their family members who do not wish to donate organs, yet would profoundly benefit society as whole by greatly increasing the availability of organs. In turn, many lives would be saved, and the practice of organ trafficking would be greatly reduced.

Notes:

Read the Archbishop’s address

Read the British Medical Association’s organ donation briefing

Read more about the BHA’s position on organ donation

In 2008, the BHA gave evidence to the Welsh Government Committee Inquiry into Presumed Consent for Organ Donation

British Humanist Association | 22nd September 2011

UK: David Cameron promises “ever closer co-operation between the UK and the Holy See”

Prime Minster David Cameron has issued a statement on the first anniversary of the Pope’s visit to the UK promising “ever closer co-operation” between the UK and the Holy See. The message, on Downing Street notepaper, reads:

“One year ago, the landmark visit of Pope Benedict, gave millions of British Catholics an opportunity to celebrate their faith, while sharing a powerful message with everyone in our country about the importance of compassion, tolerance and justice.

“The Pope’s message is just as relevant today. The shocking riots in the UK underline that we need more than ever to build a new culture of social responsibility and develop strong and powerful communities as we deal with tough economic challenges.

“We should be proud that Britain’s generosity is saving the lives of millions in East Africa and countless others affected by disasters across the globe.

“I am deeply proud of the enormous contribution people of faith have made to our society and look forward to our ever closer co-operation between the UK and the Holy See as we work for the common good.”

One wonders what definition Mr Cameron gives to “compassion, tolerance and justice” when these words are used by the Vatican.

Compassion? What compassion has the Pope, the Holy See, the Vatican and all the other faces the Catholic Church hides behind, shown to the hundreds of thousands of children who have been violated by its priests? We have recorded often enough the endless parade of clerics who have sexually abused children and the institutions — especially the Vatican — that have shielded (and shamelessly continues to shield) those criminals from justice.

Tolerance? I wonder what gay people who wish to live dignified lives that include them fully in society would think about that?

Justice? What kind of justice is it that puts church law above the secular — even criminal — law, in order to ensure that only the pope can control the punishment of miscreants? The administration of “Justice” under RC Canon law is a Gilbert and Sullivan parody. However heinous the offence, under canon law an apology and promise not to reoffend can render a trial unnecessary. Being friends with the pope can help delay “justice” pretty well indefinitely. And the penalties are derisory.

When he talks of “cooperation”, we assume that Mr Cameron means in the sense of helping poorer countries to develop. But we think that maybe the Vatican has bigger ideas.

Mr Cameron keeps assuring us of his commitment to evidenced based policy yet this pollsuggests that his bald assertion that “The Pope’s message is just as relevant today” is not only not evidence based, but that the evidence is the exact opposite. So, Mr Cameron joins his Prime Ministerial predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in playing up some aspect of religion in a way that is the opposite of reality. What is it about religion that makes politicians so fawning?

When receiving the new British Ambassador to the “Holy See” earlier this month, the Pope said that he supported “the spread of authentic human rights, especially through the rule of law and fair participative government, with a special care for the needy and those whose natural rights are denied.”

He did not elaborate what he considered to be “authentic” human rights or whether those who he considers are being denied “natural rights” include the unborn.

The statement goes on: “The active fostering of the essential values of a healthy society, through the defence of life and of the family, the sound moral education of the young, and a fraternal regard for the poor and the weak, will surely help to rebuild a positive sense of one’s duty, in charity, towards friends and strangers alike in the local community. Be assured that the Catholic Church in your country is eager to continue offering her substantial contribution to the common good through her offices and agencies, in accordance with her own principles and in the light of the Christian vision of the rights and dignity of the human person.”

The inflated Vatican-speak hides a myriad sinister ambitions. So let’s translate and see what it really means.

“Defence of life and the family” = no abortion and no gay rights.

“Sound moral education of the young” = unfettered indoctrination of children in religious schools

“Offering her substantial contribution to the common good through her offices and agencies, in accordance with her own principles and in the light of the Christian vision of the rights and dignity of the human person.” = no abortion, no gay rights, no contraception, no stem cell research, more public money for the church and special powers for bishops to interfere in politics and control the lives of their flock (and everyone else, if possible).

Mr Cameron should be very careful when he talks of “ever closer co-operation” with such a poisonous institution. He may find that he is unleashing something that he won’t like – and his electors certainly won’t. And, taking into account the results of the poll reported here, he does not have public support for involving the “Holy See” in anything.

National Secular Society | 23 September 2011

Netherlands: doctors urge end to male circumcision

Dutch doctors want politicians and human rights groups to speak out and discourage the practice of male circumcision in the Netherlands because they say it is a “painful and harmful ritual,” and a violation of children’s rights.

Between 10,000 and 15,000 boys are circumcised in the Netherlands each year, mostly for religious reasons and not always with an anesthetic, according to the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) which represents surgeons, pediatricians, general practitioners and urologists.

“We want to discourage male circumcision, because it is an unnecessary procedure with complications, which violates the integrity of the child,” Lode Wigersma, a spokesman for the association, told Reuters on Friday.

“This is not an innocent procedure, we see complications in about 5 percent of the cases, as well as some long-term and psychological implications,” he said.

Male circumcision involves the removal of all or part of the foreskin of the penis. It is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys, and is also a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide.

The Dutch medical association has urged religious leaders to find alternative rites of passage that are not irreversible and which are not painful for the child.

The practice of female genital mutation has been prohibited by law in the Netherlands since 1993 for all ages.

Last year the Dutch medical association released a report against the practice of circumcision of male children for non-medical reasons, hoping to initiate a public discussion.

Now it is appealing to Dutch politicians to speak out against the practice to help “gradually change the mentality” in society and among religious groups that circumcise their boys.

The doctors group said that contrary to popular belief, circumcision can cause some minor as well as serious complications including bleeding, infection, urethral stricture as well as panic attacks, which it says are particularly common.

It said there was no medical reason to surgically remove a part of the genitals of healthy babies and young children, who are too young to give their consent to the procedure.

The Dutch doctors are not calling for a circumcision ban, for fear the practice will be driven underground.

“We also understand that it (circumcision) is a deeply embedded religious habit so we don’t expect it to be over in a few years, so our appeal is if you want to do it then have it done by a doctor with anesthesia,” said Wigersma.

The majority of male circumcisions in the Netherlands are done in special circumcision clinics by doctors using anesthetic on Muslim boys between 5 and 7 years, according to Wigersma.

Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, President of the Dutch Association of Rabbis, said only about 50 male Jewish babies are circumcised in the Netherlands each year.

He disputed the 5 percent complication rate, and said there have not been any problems in the Jewish community due to strict rules about how and when circumcision takes place.

“According to Jewish law, you have to do it (circumcision) the Jewish way,” Jacobs said.

The doctors’ recommendation to end the practice of circumcision is likely to be controversial given that it involves both Jewish and Muslim traditions.

In a rare show of unity in June, the Dutch Muslim and Jewish communities — numbering about 1 million and 40,000 respectively in a total population of 16 million — condemned the government’s proposed ban on the religious slaughter of animals as a violation of their religious freedom.

Reuters | Roberta B. Cowan | 23rd September 2011

UK: The questions that the Catholic Church wishes it had never asked

On the anniversary of the Pope’s visit to Britain, the Catholic Church has been trying to spin it as having been a grand success that brought Catholics flocking back to church and had a profound effect on the religious attitudes of the population at large. In short, we’re a better and more moral country because of the pope’s little outing.

As many as 20,000 secularists marched through the streets of London to protest against the state visit of Pope Benedict in 2010.

Except that, according to an opinion poll commissioned by the Catholic Church itself, hardly anyone remembers that it actually happened. And 91% said it made no difference to their moral outlook at all. Strangely, the Church doesn’t seem anxious to draw attention to the results of this poll, which was carried out by Opinion Research Business among 2,049 adults.

In fact, 29% of those who were questioned said they couldn’t remember hearing or seeing anything about the visit. 6% of those who say they did recall that the visit happened say they can’t remember a thing about it.

Of the individual events — meeting the Queen, speaking in Parliament, meeting the Prime Minister — typically only 1% — or less — of those who had any memory of the visit recalled them. (A few were up to 5%.)

The biggest proportion of those who recalled anything about the visit (albeit only 11%) remembered the NSS’s campaign about the enormous cost of the jamboree to the taxpayer.

And as for the impact it had – 91% of respondents said the pope’s visit made no difference whatsoever to their personal or spiritual values.

Asked for their opinion of the pope, 41% said that it was “unfavourable” or “very unfavourable”; only 25% said it was “favourable” or “very favourable”.

Other questions asked:

“How favourable is your opinion of the Catholic Church?”

Favourable/very favourable 21%

Unfavourable/very unfavourable 59%

I am satisfied with the Pope’s apology for the child abuse scandal

Strongly Agree/Agree: 24%

Strongly Disagree/Disagree: 58%

The right steps are being taken to avoid a repeat of the child abuse scandal

Strongly Agree/Agree: 21%

Strongly Disagree/Disagree: 45%

Catholic Church is out of touch with today’s society

Strongly Agree/Agree: 70%

Strongly Disagree/Disagree: 15%

The Catholic Church is, on balance, a force for good

Strongly Agree/Agree: 32%

Strongly Disagree/Disagree: 43%

The pope’s visit was good for Britain

Strongly Agree/Agree: 32%

Strongly Disagree/Disagree: 37%

Religion is on balance a force for good

Strongly Agree/Agree: 51%

Strongly Disagree/Disagree: 30%

To which religious group do you belong?

Christian 53%; None 36%; Muslim 2%; Hindu 1%; Jew 1%; Sikh 1%; Buddhist 1%

The UK should guard against aggressive forms of secularism

Strongly Agree/Agree: 62%

Strongly Disagree/Disagree: 16%

[NSS comment: no definition of ‘aggressive secularism’ was given]

“There is a place for God, religion and virtue in public life”

Strongly Agree/Agree 58%

Strongly Disagree/Disagree 25%

[NSS comment: by throwing “virtue” into the mix, they got the answer they wanted. Who would say that there was no room for virtue in public life?]

Religious people should not have to keep their religious views to themselves because of political correctness

Strongly Agree/Agree: 67%

Strongly Disagree/Disagree: 18%

[NSS comment: throwing the ill-defined bogeyman of ‘political correctness’ into the question renders the answer meaningless]

National Secular Society | 23rd September 2011

See the full results here

See also: Germany: Thousands protest against Pope’s visit to Berlin

 

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