No wonder that disgusting institution, the Roman Catholic Church, is dragging its flowing skirts in the dirt and touting for business like a common pimp: "Give me your homophobes, misogynists and pederasts. Send me your bigots yearning to be free of the shackles of humanity."
There's nothing like calm reasonable debate, is there? And this is nothing like calm, reasonable debate.
Read the rest here, if you like.
A rant like that really would make me interested in quite what he is spitting and spluttering about. I remember somebody (a Protestant) in the 1980s suggesting that Ian Paisley was really an under-cover Jesuit and agent provocateur; he certainly did a lot of good for the cause of Catholicism by the sheer intemperance of his outbursts. It's nice that he, at least, seems to have taken Michael Winner's advice to 'calm down, dear!' But for the meantime, the more loony Dr Dawkins appears, the more reasonable our case appears.
I hesitate to draw the parallel with the riots accompanying Question Time last weekend, but I would not be surprised if the sheer intemperance of the protesters contributed to an increase of sympathy for the BNP speaker.
What I fear more is the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry. I used to like Stephen Fry; he is witty, erudite, fearsomely intelligent, personable and a marvellous professional communicator. But somehow when you press the religion button, he simply loses it, and turns all his considerable talents to the very thing he professes to hate; hatred. The debate that took place in London last week, with Hitchens and Fry, experienced and articulate speakers, against Ann Widdecombe and Archbishop Oneiyekan of Abuja in Nigeria (who he?) is a case in point. The motion was 'The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world'. Fry and Hitchens turned all their rhetoric against the motion and simply reduced the Archbishop and Miss Widdecombe to a quivering mess. The audience, composed, I gather, of the chattering classes, overwhelmingly voted out Catholicism 1876 votes to a mere 268.
There is a lot one might say: all Fry and Hitchens had to say was 'condoms, misogyny, raping little boys', with all that legendary authority and articulacy, and the other side would be quite unable to reply with lists of the good works that the Church does throughout the world; it isn't sexy, it can't be listed in a handful of minutes. And when the audience is quite plainly hostile (the archbishop was even booed), you can hardly expect even articulate and confident controversialists to do well. Ann Widdecombe did her best, but it simply isn't her field. All Hitchens and Fry had to do was to play to the gallery. I think it was unworthy of them.
I hesitate to say this, but I also suspect the thing was something of a set-up.
I don't fear the Dawkins' of this world. But I do fear the Frys; somebody who can be all cuddly one minute, all sweet reason, with fans in the hundreds of thousands, suddenly spitting hate. As he said on one edition of his quiz programme, QI, when the subject of religion came up, 'shit it, shit it, shit it!' And this is the man who says of himself 'I think of myself as filled with love'.
Love for everyone, that is, except us.
Calm down, dear!
Good stuff here on Christopher Hitchens Watch.