Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The right to be annoying even to Catholics

New South Wales brought in regulations to ensure Catholics were not annoyed during World Youth Day Catholic pilgrim celebrations being held in Sydney (which last a week not a day, still facts never do go hand in hand with religion do they).Those found annoying Catholics faced :

a fine of up to $5500 for anyone causing “annoyance” to the estimated 225,000 pilgrims who have flocked to Sydney to celebrate with Pope Benedict XVI.

Hmmm. Lots of people annoy me. Catholics who want to make all abortion illegal annoy me. Catholics who argue against the use of condoms in the fight against HIV annoy me as does their view that gay sex is sin rather than fun.

My response is to argue against their views when they try to impose it through laws on the rest of us. I don't ask for them to be banned from annoying me however tempting that may be. So on pro choice demos when I am called a murderous whore I argue back. When handed a leaflet I rip it up.

So why are religious views so sensitive and fragile that they must not be annoyed ?
Surely good religious types can handle 'annoying ' people , can argue their case . Will the sight of a condom traumatise them ?
Can't they just say no thank you, walk away or even argue back ?

Anyway sense has prevailed :

Australian anti-pope activists have won the right to “annoy” Catholic pilgrims at the week-long World Youth Day celebrations in Sydney after a court struck down a new law and backed their right to hand out condoms and coat-hangers.

The decision by three judges in the Federal Court embarrassed the New South Wales Government, which introduced the new regulations this month...

Immediately after the victory, Rachel Evans, one of two ‘No To Pope’ protesters who took the case to court, started handing out condoms to pilgrims. One threw them on the ground and some were affronted, but Ms Evans said several took them.

“We’re not seeking to annoy or inconvenience anyone,” she said, wearing a T-shirt declaring ‘The Pope is wrong, put a condom on’. “We welcome the Catholic youth. We’re going to talk to them about how we oppose the conservative contraception policy of the Pope.

“The statement from the judges was very clear: we have the right to peaceful assembly and these annoyance laws contravene that right. The judges specifically said condoms, T-shirts, coat-hangers [symbols of backyard abortions] and so on.”

The court decision coincided with the opening of World Youth Day, with a mass by Sydney Harbour attended by more than 150,000 people. Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, delivered the homily.

Interestingly :

Cardinal Pell was earlier keen to ensure that his well-known doubts about climate change did not clash with the Pope’s announcement on his flight to Sydney that it would be a key part of his message at the celebrations.

“I'm a bit of a sceptic about the claim that human activity is likely to produce a man-made catastrophe,” the Cardinal confessed.

Hmmm, so if its not man made then does that mean God is being a bit arsey and messing with the environment ?

Oh and for those who are a bit hypocritical I notice that Sydney brothels are offering a 10% discount to the pilgrims . Wonder if they will do 'special' themes such as priest and choir boy or naughty nuns ?

Couple of Father Ted clips :