Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, March 30, 2012

Freedom Through Obedience

Pope Benedict: Now repeat after me: You put your left arm in, you pull your left arm out....

Via poor, dim K-Lo, it seems the pope had a great deal to say about religious freedom when he visited Cuba. Some truths, it seems, are more equal than others:


The truth is a desire of the human person, the search for which always supposes the exercise of authentic freedom. Many, without a doubt, would prefer to take the easy way out, trying to avoid this task. Some, like Pontius Pilate, ironically question the possibility of even knowing what truth is (cf. Jn 18:38), claiming is incapable of knowing it or denying that there exists a truth valid for all. This attitude, as in the case of scepticism and relativism, changes hearts, making them cold, wavering, distant from others and closed. There are too many who, like the Roman governor, wash their hands and let the water of history drain away without taking a stand.

Take that, Megan McArdle! Of course we know what the truth is; it is whatever our authority tells us it is. And our enemies, who refuse to acknowledge that our truth is the only truth, are bad people; cold and indecisive.

On the other hand, there are those who wrongly interpret this search for the truth, leading them to irrationality and fanaticism; they close themselves up in “their truth”, and try to impose it on others.

Can you believe all those people who insist that their truth is the only truth, which is just irrational and fanatical. If not terroristic. When your religion is the only religion and you are the only person who is right, it just defies logic and reason to refuse to admit the "truth."

These are like the blind scribes who, upon seeing Jesus beaten and bloody, cry out furiously, “Crucify him!” (cf. Jn 19:6). Anyone who acts irrationally cannot become a disciple of Jesus. Faith and reason are necessary and complementary in the pursuit of truth. God created man with an innate vocation to the truth and he gave him reason for this purpose. Certainly, it is not irrationality but rather the yearning for truth which the Christian faith promotes. Each man and woman has to seek the truth and to choose it when he or she finds it, even at the risk of embracing sacrifices.

Our belief in our truth is not irrational because we are right and they are wrong. God said so. And if you do not want to "embrace the truth," well, you might just have to make a few sacrifices and do what others want. And if you don't, we have people trying to pass legislation to ensure that you will be forced to acknowledge the truth.

Furthermore, the truth which stands above humanity is an unavoidable condition for attaining freedom, since in it we discover the foundation of an ethics on which all can converge and which contains clear and precise indications concerning life and death, duties and rights, marriage, family and society, in short, regarding the inviolable dignity of the human person. This ethical patrimony can bring together different cultures, peoples and religions, authorities and citizens, citizens among themselves, and believers in Christ and non-believers.

If everyone would just do as the Catholic Church demands, then everyone would be united in obedience! And hey, guys--you're on top! Give a little, get a little, wink-wink. After all, there's nothing more ethical than Christianity!


Dear friends, do not hesitate to follow Jesus Christ. In him we find the truth about God and about mankind. He helps us to overcome our selfishness, to rise above our vain struggles and to conquer all that oppresses us. The one who does evil, who sins, becomes its slave and will never attain freedom (cf. Jn 8:34). Only by renouncing hatred and our hard and blind hearts will we be free and a new life will well up in us.

Freedom through obedience!


The right to freedom of religion, both in its private and in its public dimension, manifests the unity of the human person, who is at once a citizen and a believer. It also legitimizes the fact that believers have a contribution to make to the building up of society. Strengthening religious freedom consolidates social bonds, nourishes the hope of a better world, creates favourable conditions for peace and harmonious development, while at the same time establishing solid foundations for securing the rights of future generations.

Since Catholicism is the only true religion, Catholics must be free to practice their religion without restraint. Religious belief is essential for one's humanity. Since peace and harmony are inevitable side effects of Christianity, Catholics must be able to dictate social policy.

When the Church upholds this human right, she is not claiming any special privileges for herself. She wishes only to be faithful to the command of her divine founder, conscious that, where Christ is present, we become more human and our humanity becomes authentic. This is why the Church seeks to give witness by her preaching and teaching, both in catechesis and in the schools and universities. It is greatly to be hoped that the moment will soon arrive when, here too, the Church can bring to the fields of knowledge the benefits of the mission which the Lord entrusted to her and which she can never neglect.

Catholics are not asking for special privileges since the worship of Jesus Christ is the basis for the one true religion. Because only Catholicism is a real religion, Catholics must be permitted to control education.

It makes perfect sense to me.


Anonymous said...

1. Right. Truth is revealed by studying the writings of people too ignorant to understand the mechanics of rainfall.

2. And let's not forget, not so long ago, that the Catholic Church was a totalitarian organization, just like Soviet Russia. But I'll bet the Soviets never tried to regulate what people did in bed......

Downpuppy said...

Does K-Lo realize that the Pope's Freedom from Thought is in direct opposition to the Freedom from taking care of each Other that NRO promotes & Charles Pierce was all over yesterday?

Kathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy said...

I remember a friend asking me what I thought about all the contradictory statements in teh Bible. I said "Well, the bible was written by a lot of Old Men Sheepherders over the course of a thousand years... and lots of it is stolen from the Summarian mythology and other religions... all those people and myths probably can't be sensibly reconciled... (and that's the limit of my knowledge).

She was appalled, and said with a gasp "Its the WORD OF GOD!"

What answer is there for that, other than god is a contradictory asshole?

Batocchio said...

I'm not offended that the Pope would proselytize; that's a huge part of his job. Nor am I surprised he thinks his religion is true and the best one. I'm more struck by his lack of diplomacy (but not truly surprised, given his track record). The paragraph about "the right to freedom of religion" is probably the least obnoxious, the most inclusive, etc. Of course, the rest of the piece is more problematic, as when he says:

Furthermore, the truth which stands above humanity is an unavoidable condition for attaining freedom, since in it we discover the foundation of an ethics on which all can converge and which contains clear and precise indications concerning life and death, duties and rights, marriage, family and society, in short, regarding the inviolable dignity of the human person. This ethical patrimony can bring together different cultures, peoples and religions, authorities and citizens, citizens among themselves, and believers in Christ and non-believers.

He believes you can't be truly free unless you're a Christian – and specifically, a conservative Catholic one. His view of religious tolerance is that everyone, including atheists and people who are religious but not Christian, should submit to the true faith, the Catholic Church. He's not just talking about being moral and leading by example, either. He explicitly endorses proselytizing several times. Again, it's not surprising, but this type of religious zealot always seems terribly astounded that other people don't eagerly capitulate to their views and rule.

Case in point, K-Lo. She ends with a laughable claim of religious persecution, but that's typical for her team. More importantly, she could have just quoted the third paragraph she featured about freedom of religion. Instead, she says that the Pope offered a "self-consciously Christian statement — but one that highlighted why more than religious believers should care to insist on it..." and then K-Lo quotes:

Convinced that it is Christ who is the true measure of man, and knowing that in him we find the strength needed to face every trial, I wish to proclaim openly that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. In him everyone will find complete freedom, the light to understand reality most deeply and to transform it by the renewing power of love.

The Church lives to make others sharers in the one thing she possesses, which is none other than Christ, our hope of glory...

Wow. More than religious believers should care to insist on it. Like her leader, the Pope, but even more blatantly, K-Lo has just argued that atheists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and all other faiths should submit to her specific religion. That, apparently, is "religious tolerance." (As usual, when conservatives say "freedom," they really mean "privilege.")

Now true, K-Lo is a chronically inept writer. But she, like Ross Douthat, really does think everybody would be better off if they were Catholic and submitted to Catholic authority, and that, deep down, everybody else wants to (or should). Of course they think their religion is the true one, the bestest ever, and all that. But despite being reasonably educated adults, presumably with some life experience, they still remain utterly flabbergasted by the prospect that other people might see things differently, and not want to eagerly subjugate themselves to K-Lo's own personal deity.

(Finally, don't forget that the Blog Against Theocracy is coming up soon, and you can tweet this post or others with the hatchtag.)

Lurking Canadian said...

The pope's insistence that everybody who disagrees with him is a "moral relativist" has been pissing me off since before he became pope. No, Benny, I am not a moral relativist. I just think you are WRONG about gay people, WrONG about women, WRONG about sexuality and WRONG about so many things.

Anonymous said...

of course, it all makes perfect sense, that Cuba's problem is that everyone who lives there is not unquestioningly Catholic, why has no one thought of this before

Susan of Texas said...

The funny part is that Jesus said everyone should pray privately; that the hypocrites were those who loudly and publicly prayed.

Jesus also said:

34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Everyone will know if someone is Christian by their acts--treating others as they wished to be treated. Most conservative Christians aren't very Christian-y. Jesus didn't mess around--you either did the right thing or you were not Godly.

Powerful churches (or individual clergy) usually want to retain their power and depend on authoritarian control to do so. Fear is an easy way to control people so authoritarian institutions tell their followers that others outside the group are threatening them. They take advantage of authoritarian followers' fear of others and fear of God's punishment, indocrinated in the children by their (also fearful) parents.

These religious followers are terrified that God will punish them for their own and others' sins. The Bible is filled with examples of God killing off a huge number of people because some of them displeased him or had to be sacrificed for some reason or another. (Again, they ignore what Jesus said--sacrifices were no longer necessary.)

They want to do unto others what was done to them--controlled, punished arbitrarily for just being who they are, marginalized by those with more power, constantly monitored for wrong speech, thought, or deed. Authoritarian parenting is incredibly damaging, so it is no wonder that authoritarian followers want to damage others.

Anonymous said...

"Being [snarky] is like being a lady: if you have to say you are, you're probably not."

- Margaret Thatcher paraphrased

That quote can sum up this mess of a blog.

Anonymous said...

-Anon 3:02
Care to be more specific? Do you have a specific objection that we can help you deal with?

Susan of Texas said...

I second that--what is this in reference to? I don't think the pope hates me. I don't think the pope reads very much badass internet snark. If he did I bet you anything he would read Cracked instead of me. Or maybe Gawker.

Susan of Texas said...

Substance McGravitas, don't forget that we only have religious freedom if we let the Catholic Church do whatever it wants without criticism or restraint.

Therefore if they decide, in their infinite wisdom, to castrate a few little troublemakers, we should just let them. Otherwise we will force Catholics to betray their conscience. Which evidently is not betrayed by any criminal, evil acts committed by its leaders, only by criticism of evil acts committed by its leaders.

Susan of Texas said...

After further thought I would like to protest the use of the adjective "messy" in reference to this blog. It is very organized and tidy. It is uncluttered with graphics or ads and all sorts of useful information is neatly lined up on the left.

I also dust and vacuum the blog regularly.

Substance McGravitas said...

Much appreciated. My apologies for the peanut shells.

Substance McGravitas said...

Oh, and the baby stealing/selling is just wonderful, exactly what a church should do.

Downpuppy said...

And the red beanie squad is neck deep in the pink ribbon meltdown -

Mr.Wonderful said...

When you want to be a badass internet snarker, you shouldn't whine about how successful people with money and jobs hate you.

And while you're at it, Susan, get a haircut.

Shorter The Pope: My religion is true, because it says it is. So stop disagreeing and do what I tell you.

This reminds me of what Peter O'Toole's character in The Ruling Class replies when asked how he knows that he is God: "Because I realized that, whenever I prayed, I was talking to myself."

Mr.Wonderful said...

("red beanie squad" = great band name)

dianedp said...

And people are fools if they think santorum, if elected POTUS, will not turn this country in to a catholic one.

zombie rotten mcdonald said... the blind scribes who, upon seeing Jesus...

Wait, what?