...a blog by Richard Flowers

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Day 2637: Mr God's Busy-Bods and Monsters

Good Friday

The GOOD thing about bank holidays is that you get a LIE IN; the BAD thing is when you wake up in time to hear the Cardinal Arch-bigot of Westminster blowing off his Fart for Today.

So we woke up to hear Cardinal Carpark Mary-O'Conman opining that whenever he met people who thought religion was a bit RUBBISH these days he was always struck by how FIXED in their opinion they were, compared to the people of FAITH he met who were willing to confess their DOUBTS to him. Not that he admitted to having any doubts himself!

He then went on to say that Mr Jesus had had doubts too ("Mr God, Mr God why've you forsaken me!"), so that was ok, but that before he died he committed himself fully to faith ("Daddy, into your hands I deliver my spirit!")

Sooooo, total faith is BAD when it is for non-believers but GOOD when it is for believers?

Mr God is supposed to come in three persons, but it seems that the Cardinal will have to make do with just the TWO FACES.

Anyway, this all reminds me of the fact that Mr O'Conman's church is currently running another campaign to tell MPs what to think.

It started with Cardinal O'Conman's Scottish counterpart, Cardinal Keith O'Binman, saying that this Easter his sermon would be about peace, love, forgiveness and the need to take up pitchforks and blazing torches against the Freaky Frankensteins of the current Embryology Bill in Parliament.

He'll be saying: "With so many people worried about banks failing, the cost of food or petrol, or about climate change and global warming, I think that the REAL threat is doctors trying to cure diseases!"

"Don't they know Mr God put those diseases there to punish evil-doers!" he'll probably not be adding. It's an explanation that's a little out of VOGUE these days, now that we know that disease is caused by GERMS and not SINS, though obviously that's what's at the back of all this: how dare SCIENCE try and put right some of Mr God's greatest mistakes?

In particular, the Cardinal's beef is with allowing research scientists to experiment with mixing human DNA with DNA from other animals in order to find new treatments for illness.

"Monstrous" is what he'll call it, and the monster he is thinking of is the CHIMERA. A mix of snake, goat and cat-monster is a Greek recipe for EITHER a really scary fire-breathing monster… or a really dodgy stew.

This is a bit of a tricky issue, and you can see why MPs would want to think HARD about which way they should vote. Taking nice, fluffy animal DNA and mixing it up with horrible humans… well, it could easily give you the creeps. So you would need to understand the process involved, and how carefully it will be done and what sort of supervision will be in place. All the sorts of careful consideration that an MP SHOULD be doing… but not the sort of thing that people are going to think about in such depth and detail when an Arch-bigot stands up and says: "ooooh, they be makin' MONSTERS!!!!"

IF he's thought about this carefully and in detail (which is possible) and IF he's talking privately to the MPs in question, as a concerned citizen (which he could do) THEN that's fine, and they can add his opinion to the other opinions that they hear in order to weigh their decision. But this is just RABBLE-ROUSING, and whipping up the public with scare stories suggests that he doesn’t think he CAN win the argument properly.

On the OTHER side of the debate, Mr Frown wants his MPs whipped… which isn't unusual, er, but aside from that he thinks that they ought to be told to vote for the government's bill. But a number of the Labour MPs are thinking of rebelling on the issue if they are not given a free vote.

Ms Geraldine Smith is one of them and fully backs the Cardinal Arch-Bigot. We listened to the end of the World at One (No, not the End of the World… at One) and she was on, saying that she wouldn't abstain: she never liked to abstain because it was as sign of weakness, she said. It is GOOD to know she is making up her mind on the basis of careful moral consideration and not just to get good PR, do you not think? But wait! A quick check of reveals that Ms Smith may not LIKE to abstain but nevertheless has done so in 48% of votes, rather more than average among MPs – Hmmm, I think that means it's her ARGUMENT that's rather weak.

Now the Arch-bigot of Cardiff has joined in, coming on the radio to – in a very public way – tell everyone that he's only talking to MPs in private. Not that he would think of telling them which way they should vote – that would be WRONG – but that he would be telling them that they most certainly would burn in hell for all eternity if they voted for the bill. But it was their choice.

MPs should ALWAYS vote with their conscience: they should properly understand what they are voting for of course, and have given consideration to both sides of the debate, but if they think something is WRONG then it is WRONG for them to vote for it. In fact, people would have more respect for their politicians if they voted like that more often.

But the Cardinal ISN'T asking MPs to vote with their consciences; he's TELLING them to vote with HIS. And then he's threatening them – with fire and brimstone in the hereafter or (if that doesn't work) with an angry mob in the present – to do what he wants.

News flash: Great Britain NOT a theocracy. Butt out bish!


Alasdair W said...

But surely we all have the right to tell our government what to do. It's just putting our different opinions across. That's what democracy is about. They can make their own decisions. I don't really fully understand all the issues behind it

Millennium Dome said...

"But surely we all have the right to tell our government what to do."

Oh we DO, Mr Alasdair, but just as free speech does not extend to shouting "Fire!" in a crowded cinema, so expressing your concerns to your MP does not extend to whipping up a mob with dire warnings of "monsters", nor threatening them with the fires of eternal perdition.

If you don't understand the issues, shouldn't the Cardinal have EXPLAINED rather than tried to FRIGHTEN?

Joe Otten said...

What I find extraordinary about this debate is that the arbitrary and pointless promotion of death and disease gets described as a "moral" position.

I dread to think what immorality would look like in that case.