Sunday, February 12, 2012

Atheist Manifesto

After a bitter sour atheist stopped prayers before council meetings in Bideford, we are reminded just how frail a grip Christianity has on its ancient place in the public forum in Britain.
Paulinus speculates on what form an atheist manifesto might take:

[1] No public prayers or religious services as part of public life. This includes the end of the Remembrance Service each year – 'remembrance' is a private act and everyone should be allowed to do it in their own way. The State has no role conducting or organising ‘spiritual’ acts in any way.
[2] All schools to pass to secular control. No religion to be taught in schools, but also all mention of religion, including any anti-religious texts to be removed. No spiritual or moral guidance about behaviour to be given at all. These are private matters and not a matter for the State
[3] As a matter of justice, of course, the communities that paid the capital costs for schools should be recompensed for the nationalisation of schools.
[4] The removal of all art, painting, sculpture, books or films with any mention of religion- either pro- or anti- to be removed from public libraries and galleries (this will include Bibles, Korans, Works of Philosophy with religious , anti-religious or metaphysical themes, religious works of art and anti-religious works of art). No public funding for any art , theatre or film with a religious, or for that matter anti-religious subject. This is not the business of the State.
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Physiocrat said...

In the context of things like Council meetings, there is much to be said for replacing formal prayers by a period of silence. Quakers always begin their business meetings that way. It is better than wordy stuff and nobody could possibly be offended.

Come to think of it, we could do with more silence in church, especially before, during and after Mass!

Richard said...

I suspect they will allow religious books to stay in the library, otherwise it will look like they are trying to supress information.

But they will be confident that the librarians will quietly get rid of religious books because "no-body reads them".

Otherwise frighteningly good, Father.

Given the recent auction, I wonder how many bishops would acquiesce in the transfer of Catholic schools to the State in return for compensation?

gemoftheocean said...

So, where do people have to go to get their Komsomol membership? [Are we ready yet to place Lenin in the corner where the icon used to be? Or since the Lenin and Stalin busts tend to be gone, we can most likely get 0bama to pose for a suitable replacement. Just Call Me David isn't grand enough for the task.]

Mike said...

The religion section in my local library is a joke. It is full of books which are about things like the Da Vinci Code (and how it is correct) and other similar weird and wonderful stuff. The only books (not many) on Catholicism are written by people like Hans Küng. There is not a single book written by an orthodox Catholic and not many by any orthodox Christian of any kind. There are, however, several books on atheism.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Mike, I'm always telling people to get the library to order Catholic books, it gets librarians seeing them around.

Amfortas said...

The linking of Obama and Lenin is hysteria. Or is it? Is it just that I have liberal secular friends who are decent people? As a former Marxist now Catholic I find it a little ridiculous that Obama/Lenin parallels are made. I understand the dangers of secularism as much as anyone but my faith is a reasonable one. I need to be able to engage with non-believers to get through life and hold down a career. Maybe I'm blind because I don't live my whole life as though I am in a culture war. Yes, I am trying to be provocative here; in a reasonable way!

Fr Ray Blake said...

With the picture of the destruction of St Saviour, Moscow, I was linking the Bideford Atheist to Lenin.
Not as a mass murderer of course but just as a aggressive atheist.

Supertradmum said...

Amfortas, You obviously have not read my blog now or in 2007-09 when I traced the Marxist background of Obama and crew. The Alinsky, Chomsky, Black Liberation Movement have all formed his ideas. I lived in Illinois when he first ran for Senator and I was familar with the Chicago activism from 1968. Here are some links, if you want to gain some reality therapy.

There is more but this is long enough.

Amfortas said...

Father, I was reacting to gemofthe ocean rather than you.

Physiocrat said...

St Saviour's Cathedral, Moscow has been rebuilt and was re-consecrated in 2000. Aggressive atheism has had its day in Russia and its former states. The Orthodox cathedral in Riga was also very quickly brought back into use from being a planetarium in Soviet times and is well visited all day long.

This particular brand of coarse and ignorant atheism seems to be a peculiarly British phenomenon, as there does not seem to be much of that kind of thing in "secular" Sweden.

nickbris said...

Going by how the Anti Obama brigade articulate their hatred it makes my bet on Obama getting a second term more likely to be a winner.

As I said before the American electorate are not that stupid as to vote for a bunch of clowns,the whole world has had more than enough of the likes of Bush and another bunch of money grabbing Warmongers.

Amfortas said...

Thank you Supertradmum. Forgive me if I don't follow all the links. Life is too short. We can make connections between all sorts of things if we try hard enough. But people will not listen. My point was probably too subtle for its own good. We will not be credible as Catholics in the 'public square' (I do hate that expression) if we make wild statements. I've just listened to Archbishop Dolan on EWTN. He argues in a robust and refreshing way. But he's credible. He's reasoned and reasonable. Sending me six links to blogs claiming Obama is a crypto-communist is not.

Amfortas said...

Being reasonable does not mean abdicating in the face of the enemy. As well as Archbishop Dolan - would that we had bishops like that in this country - I would point to Edward Leigh's article in this week's Catholic Herald. He doesn't pull his punches. Never has. But he argues in a way that ensures people will listen.

Supertradmum said...

Amfortas and nickbris,

If you are Catholic, read these two. One cannot be a socialist and a Catholic.

If life is too short to read about the salvation of your own soul, then it is indeed not long enough. This has nothing to do with hatred of Obama, but about Catholicism and Truth.

Supertradmum said...

If you were a Marxist, you would understand the evolution of thought here. Black Liberation Theology is Marxist, Alinksy Chicago activism is Marxist, radical denial of natural law philosophy is Marxist. This is all part of POTUS's background and if you do not trust me, read Pope St. Pius X and make the connections yourself. I was a Marxist for two years in college, until God had mercy on my stupidity and dead soul and called me back to the Catholic Church. I was personally involved in this stuff. I know from what ideologies OB and his group speak. I do not want to go into gory details, but I personally knew the lawyers for the Chicago 8 and one wanted me to work with him in Chicago. I was saved from hell, and now, I can see those who did not want to escape have taken over, as they wanted to since Saul Alinksy. I also knew personally the atheist, Marxist ex-Jesuit who is the Gramsci expert in this world. I suggest you read a bit more on the Modernist Heresies so that you can spot them in action. You, sadly, are blind to the Truth as taught by saints, Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius X.

Peter said...

Paulinus is wrong on his manifesto item 3. They would not wish to pay compensation. They would argue that the Church bodies have benefitted from tax breaks for too long.
To comply with any external legal challenge they would have the premises put up for sale with no change of use (from place of education) permitted and only one bidder, the Department for Education.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think one would have to define "socialist".
Perhaps you might do so?

Of course both Pope Benedict and his predecessor would suggest a severe difficulty with being a Capitalist and a Christian, at least in its more extreme guise.

Fr Ray Blake said...

If you are American and wish to comment on Obama, drop the insults and the adjectives and present facts, and remain charitable.
Perhaps only a few commenters here are under an illusion that he is a good thing and maybe even less that Catholics can possibly support him.

Hysterics however do help any discussion and are not welcome here.

George said...

Father, I see your point. Capitalism is dangerous and we are certainly seeing that (for those with eyes to see these days)

I see a big difference however. Capitalism marginalizes faith and morality, while Socialism directly attacks and attempts to destroy them.

A friend of mine from the former Soviet Union (he's Lithuanian by birth) said to me recently that American are living today as the Marxists in the former Soviet Union had always dreamed. Slaves to efficiency. De-emphasized nuclear family. Unquestioned loyalty to the central state.

We need to reclaim our Catholic identity; reclaim our faith; and form a Catholic party.

Amfortas said...

STM, I'm not denying these things. Just as I don't deny that some people who sat around the Cabinet table in the last UK government had backgrounds on the hard left. And, by the way, I'm not a socialist. Having said this, the European Christian Democratic tradition would be seen as socialist by many American political conservatives and libertarians.

Fr Ray Blake said...

A Catholic Party?
Fully implementing the teaching of Rerum Novarum, Gaudium et Spes, Populorum Progressio etc.? That is what many Christian Democrats did start but our cousins would see it as bright red!

Supertradmum said...

"Lured, in fine, by the greed of present goods, which is "the root of all evils which some coveting have erred from the faith," they assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law; and by a scheme of horrible wickedness, while they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title of lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by thrift in one's mode of life.".."while the socialists would destroy the "right" of property, alleging it to be a human invention altogether opposed to the inborn equality of man, and, claiming a community of goods, argue that poverty should not be peaceably endured, and that the property and privileges of the rich may be rightly invaded, the Church, with much greater wisdom and good sense, recognizes the inequality among men, who are born with different powers of body and mind, inequality in actual possession, also, and holds that the right of property and of ownership, which springs from nature itself, must not be touched and stands inviolate."

The two great errors of socialism are that it is based on a materialistic, as in Modernist heresy definition, of humankind and history, rather than a supernatural, Catholic philosophy, thereby delineating all things in terms of the dialectic of classes warfare, money and labor; and secondly, denying the Catholic definition of the person, the individual, merely defining the individual in terms of the State, as opposed to the rights and dignity and independence of each person to fulfill a role in society ordained by God, as seen in eternity and not merely in history, and not by the State. Real socialism denies the soul and the purpose of history. It substitutes the State for the authority of the family, usually taking away the parental role of raising the children, such as seen right now in the effort to pass a children's law in the EU and in Ireland, which will weaken the authority of the parents. Leo XII in the same document, refers to this weakening of family authority. In addition, all Popes, from 1846, until the present day, have condemned socialism as the system which is here described by Benedict XVI--The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person − every person − needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need.… In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) − a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human. (Deus Caritas Est, n. 28)

Hopes this helps the discussion.

Pope Leo XIII

Supertradmum said...

Sorry, the Leo XIII reference did not get published at the end--QUOD APOSTOLICI MUNERIS (On Socialism)

George said...

That's why we need to end the unholy alliance of convenience with the Whigs.

They truly hate Catholicism now, as it is. Read some of the things said by the likes of Ann Coulter or George Will regarding the Catholic Church.

Catholics have always bent a knee to the Republican establishment because we want some scraps from the WASP table.

While in reality we have what they need, they just don't know it. We have the Church, without which the country cannot endure.

So I say yes form a Catholic party in America. Not out of sectarian reasons -- like some special interest group looking to get our share of the pie. Rather, as the party who can truly save the whole country from itself. The party who can answer the deepest questions and address the most pressing social ills. Until we start speaking plainly and debating the truth, abandoning the lexicon of "rights", we cannot begin this process.

Supertradmum said...

One more nuance which might be helpful. America is based on federalism, which means that the individual 50 states have certain areas of sovereignty not to be taken away by the central government. This was the philosophy behind the conflict of the Civil War and it may cause another one, as many Christians in America are concerned about keeping government in local hands. Many Americans do not want a bloated central government.

This is not the current European phenomenon, and does not compare with the type of oversight in the European Union. In fact, Americans frequently identify with their State first, such as saying,"I am a Texan" or "I am an Minnesotoan" rather than "I am an American". The eroding of State's rights since Lincoln has escalated under the present government and most of the executive branch decisions in the past fifty years. For example, the individual states have lost rights under the Homeland Security Act, which many believe is unconstitutional.

george said...

I bring up George Will and Ann Coulter because they provide the most recent examples of the Republican anti-Catholic establishment not bothering to even hide their hate. Will is the current godfather of American "Conservatism," while Coulter is its current crazy aunt.

This morning on ABC's "This Week", George F. Will said of the Catholic Bishops being forced by the Obama contraception dictate, "It serves them right!" Since many of the bishops supported the notion of universal healthcare access, it serves them right, according to Will, to be hoisted by their own petards with the contraception mandate.

Coulter, a Calvinist, recently said of current Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, "He's more Catholic than Conservative."

Both have regularly made similar anti-Catholic comments.

Notwithstanding they are held in high regard by American Conservative Catholics.

The gates of Hell would work overtime to keep a Catholic party from forming in America.

Amfortas said...

'American (sic) today are living as Marxists are living as Marixts in the former Soviet Union had always dreamed.'
This quote rather makes my point about reasoned and reasonable debate. It's rather like the Occupy protestors making parallels with Tahrir Square. It's absurd. Yes we should be ever alive to the dangers of securalism. And we have our own prophetic voices in this country like Lord Carey and Michael Nazir-Ali. But overblown hyperbole will only marginalise Catholics further in this country.

Physiocrat said...

There was something like a Catholic political party in Britain, based on the notion of Distributism and drawing on the teachings of Rerum Novarum, having developed their ideas before the later encyclicals. The founding members were Chesterton and Belloc, both of whom would probably have shown their faces at St Mary Magdelens.

The principle stated in RN was that since private property was a good thing and a human right, everyone should have some, which was not possible if some people had much more than their fair share.

This was at the time when most of the most valuable areas of central London was owned by the same half dozen families as owned it in 1700, a situation which has still not changed since. It was also at a time when much of the rest of the country was in hock to the usurious banks - again, what has changed? If this is the "capitalist" system, then it is every bit as contrary to Catholic teaching as Marxism.

As citizens of the world's leading terror state, this would leave any Catholic voter at a US presidential election with a choice of two evils.

George said...


"But overblown hyperbole will only marginalise Catholics further in this country."

Did you miss the fact that the person stating those words about the USA having Marxist qualities was a man who grew up in the former Soviet Union?

Have you ever read Alexander Solzhenitsyn 1978 Harvard Commencement speech?

Would you tell him that he was being overblown and hyperbolic?

Its about time that Catholics stop worrying about human respect in the political world and start speaking plainly with truth and love.

Supertradmum said...

To complain about families owning businesses is like complaining that we have people who work hard. Unbridled capitalism has been condemned by the Church, but not capitalism. Capitalism does not place the power of individual freedom into the hands of a centralized government. One must be careful of the "politics of envy". To be rich is not a sin unless one has manipulated, cheated, or used people badly to get rich. But, some good people get rich. The Church wants rich people to be generous to the poor. That is the teaching of the Church-not to have government take over personal charity. Again, one can read all about this in 160 years of anti-socialist teaching in the Church.

Amfortas said...

George, it's precisely because others are not worrying about 'human respect' that we need to do so ourselves. This is entirely compatible with speaking the truth. As to whether I would be prepared to say to the person whose words you quote that they are hyperbolic....the answer is yes. To compare the United States to the Soviet Union is hyperbole. There may be aspects of the political culture which bring to mind the practices of the Soviet Union. And some people pushing a secular agenda may well be influenced by Marxism. But there is a danger of losing any sense of proportion if we push these line of argument to breaking point. There are no gulags in the United States as far as I am aware.

Physiocrat said...

Capitalism is a term so vague as to be meaningless and is therefore indefensible.

What passes for a free market is no such thing if land is not freely available at the margin. That state of affairs had come to an end in the US with the parcelling out of Oklahoma in 1889.

Yet land is as essential for human existance as air. Scripture has a lot to say on the subject - see Leviticus 25. And the value of land arises, not as a result of any action on the part of the owner, but by the presence and activities of the community. So the private appropriation of the value of land, ie its rental value, is theft. And the principal way to get seriously rich is to get ones hands on the rent of land, which is what the banks do and the aristocratic families of England have done for centuries. This robbery of what belongs to all is institutionalised sin. It can no more be justified than this proposal for bottling all the oxygen on the planet.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I am, not posting anything in which people are accused of lying.

Supertradmum said...

The quiet revolution in the States has already happened and what the good Bishops are doing is trying to stem the tide of what I call the momentum of political change. Here is Europe, Eurocommunism is so entrenched in Italy, Greece, Spain and even France to a certain extent, that Europeans cannot see the present dangers. To think that Eurocommunism fell with the old Soviet Union is to forget that it is a cultural movement as well as an economic movement. It does not need the old Soviet Union to carry on. The cultural aspects have won the day and it is just a matter of time that the old economic theories of Marx, whose language of propaganda dots all the media, even in the coverage of the very recent Greek riots, to perpetuate the idea of class struggle and history based on economics, rather than religion and the spirit, is seen more blatantly. The socialism of the above countries cannot be sustained without more tyranny of an economic elite, if not an intellectual elite.

George said...

This is the kind of talk that I'd like to see more of within the public sphere:

nickbris said...

A lot of people,especially Americans seem to have forgotten that it was Communism that defeated the Nazis.

Without the Communists in France during World War II there would never have been a D Day.So few Jews would have survived that there would never have been an Israel

george said...


The UK and US saved Communism. Had we not allied with Stalin, Hitler would have defeated him. We did not need Stalin. Stalin needed us.

Stalin killed many times more people than Hitler ever did.

FDR and Churchill saved Communism and then sold out eastern and central Europe to the Communists.

Then after the UK, ANZAC, and US had done all the work in the Pacific, we allow the Soviets to come in to the pacific war, on literally the last day, to claim Manchuria and parts of Japan.

nickbris said...

Well done George,that particular slant on History has nothing whatever to do with the price of fish.

After World War II the whole world was cock-a-hoop and eternally grateful to "Uncle Joe" for saving our bacon,at the same time a deeply depressed Mr Churchill had just been unceremoniously landslided out of office.The only people who would listen to more of his ramblings were in America so he went to Missouri and made that ridiculous speech about the "Iron Curtain"

Joseph McCarthy,God rest his Soul,must have been deeply impressed by this speech and set in train events that destroyed thousands of lives and the Republican Party in USA has been going along with it ever since

Physiocrat said...

The UK and US saved Communism. Had we not allied with Stalin, Hitler would have defeated him. We did not need Stalin. Stalin needed us.

Stalin killed many times more people than Hitler ever did.

Stalin killed many more people than Hitler, probably because he had more opportunity. Apart from this, it is a strange view of history and not consistent with the chronology. The German army had already lost the war against Russia by the beginning of 1942. Russia was the main fighting force against Germany until June 1944.

There was a strong pro-Nazi camp in Britain and France during the period of Hitler's rise, which took the view that Hitler would deal with Russian communism and therefore took a relaxed view about the Nazis. The British upper classes were pervaded by anti-semitic attitudes - the Moseleys were not unusual - and a few dead Jews were nothing to be worried about. As late as June 1940 there was strong support amongst the British ruling class for an accommodation with Hitler. The British communists then found themselves in the awkward position of being in support of Stalin when he was an ally of Hitler.

Once Hitler had attacked Russia, the pressure was off the British communists as everyone was together in the fight against the Nazis. It should not be forgotten that the Soviets had, by and large, succeeded in concealing the nature of their own tyranny. This made it possible to keep people from the realisation that the Yalta agreement was indeed a sell-out of all the countries of Eastern Europe, plus the Baltic republics.

Similar considerations underlay the Catholic support for fascist regimes in Spain and elsewhere, again there is a little bit of an excuse since they were faced with the brutality of the Republicans, still little appreciated.

Underneath all this is the failure of we Catholics to come up with an alternative politics of economic justice at the end of the nineteenth century. This allowed the left to call all the tunes and mislead generations with the promise of a brave new future on false premises.

Left wing politics is happily a spent force but we still have nothing to put in its place, despite the fact that successive popes have issued a whole series of encyclicals which the faithful consistently ignore.

george said...


I understand and agree with most of you wrote. I do think though that to suggest that the Soviets had hid their atrocities from the western powers is absolutely untrue. Both the UK and US governments knew well in the 1930s the nature of the Stalin regime.

Nickbris, you and I obviously differ at a very fundamental level of philosophy. Communism was, and is, the greater of the threats. Our Lady of Fatima didn't both to come down from Heaven and single out the Errors of Russia for no reason.

The Nazis did not want a war with Britain. Rudolf Hess made a desperate plea (on a daring solo plane flight) to Churchill for peace. Unfortunately, Joseph McCarthy was right and the communists were deeply networked into the US and UK governments by the point. War with Germany for the salvation of Soviet Communism was hoisted upon us.

Hitler was an evil man, so was Stalin.

What happened to the Jews was unconscionable.

Perhaps if the British elite (including Baron Rothschild) had made peace with Rudolf Hess and offered to receive the 6 million Jews from the continent, rather than make (and finance both sides of) war, we could have avoided millions and millions of deaths.

Nothing more really to be said.

George said...

Father might not permit anything further but just in case...

How will our own nations stack up against Nazi Germany on Judgment Day? Did those high priests of death Bomber Harris and Curtis LeMay kill fewer innocent women and children than the Nazi war machine? At least the Germany nation has the excuse that they were at the mercy of a dictator and perhaps have less individual moral responsibility. We democracies on the other hand "elected" over and again our dear leaders. How about the 100 million chemical and surgical abortions which have occurred within our own borders since we've "saved the world" from tyranny?

We sit back in the warm glow of victory and material comfort and think we are better than we are.

God will show us all the brutal truth eventually.

Lynda said...

Supertradmum: your lucid and terse analysis shows your great learning on the subject. Many people are not interested in learning the facts, however, if it interferes with their preconceived, acquired notions. And many people do not want to hear the truth, if it is upsetting, or places a moral onus on them to act or simply desist from silence. Thank you.

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