23 December 2008

Season of Goodwill, unless you're the Pope

I think everyone knew that sooner or later, I was going to say something on this. I'm going to try to be restrained.

Now, the Pope has attacked homosexuality, saying that we are putting the human race at risk. Well, it's estimated that around 6% of the population are LGBT, so that's a worldwide LGBT community membership of just over 400 milion by my reckoning. The old estimates put the LGBT community at one out of every ten humans - around 675 million. More conservative estimates put it at 2% - just under 135 million. So traditioanlists make the gay community more populous than Japan. For everyone else, if the LGBT community decided to form its own country, it would be the third largest in the world, smaller only than China and India. Now you can, in a way, see why the Pope might be spooked if population growth is what he's about.

However. Even if you took the ten percent figure, that still leaves around 6.1 billion heterosexuals (so just over 3 billion potential couples, in theory) to get making babies. And they aren't doing too badly at that: it's estimated that there will be 9 billion humans on the planet by 2042. So the facts show that the Pope is overstating the threat that we pose, and in fact saving the rainforest should be a higher priority as the degradation of the environment is the biggest threat to the quality of life that those nine billion people will face. Aside from the usual threats such as war, famine and poverty. So I think in that context, the Pope needs to re-assess his priorities.

So whether you look at the facts, or the challenges facing the human race in the future, one conclusion emerges, and I can say it as I'm not Catholic: the Pope is wrong.

But even if the Pope had a point, if population growth was the #1 target right now, and homosexuality was in a position to turn growth into decline - and let's face it, 6.7 billion of us are struggling to make the planet's resources work, how are nine billion people going to cope? - two points spring to mind.

First, if we all have to get out there and start making babies, why are priests celibate?

Second, if homosexuality is so sinful, why is the Catholic Church so adept at putting its head in the sand over cases where priests have got round the celibacy rules by buggering the altar boy?

That's my beef with the Catholic Church: the people at the top want us all to live by what they preach (and so complain about me having rights which don't affect their lives one iota but involve doing things that they officially disapprove of, so must be stamped out despite my not being Catholic). But at the top, different rules apply, and blind eyes are turned where necessary. And that's before you factor in the massive gulf between a man or woman engaging in a consensual, mutually-fulfilling relationship that involves someone of the same gender, and a man in a position of authority ruining the life of a vulnerable youngster. Apparently, Catholic doctrine makes the first a sin but brushes the second aside. Make of that what you want.

Frankly, what the Pope says or does matters very little to me - I'm not Catholic, so I'm happy to disagree with him. But time and again, his Church has made it clear that it is not a fan of homosexuals, so I imagine that gay Catholics have some thinking to do, and a very large circle to square.

But for now, I'm fortunate in that I can just sit here and reflect on how what the Pope said was bullshit. Many do not: this or similar sentiments will affect them directly - they do every day. And for the rest of us, remember that people actually listen to this man, and believe him.

And they will let him continue the grim tradition (not unique to the Catholic denomination by any means, but they have played a major part in it) of turning what was a faith of free will, love, peace and tolerance into a monstrosity of hatred and enforced uniformity, where you sub-contract all moral decisions to a doddery old git in Rome. It's not just Christmas that's becoming less Christian - Christianity itself is becoming less Christian, whether it's through the outdated dogma spewing forth from Rome or the evangelical hate-preachers who have been part of the Republican coalition that, thankfully, will have its hands removed from the levers of power in the United States in less than a month.

But, ultimately, they are entitled to their opinion, just as I am. Their opinion is that I am in thrall to the Devil. My opinion is that their institution is a hypocritical relic, trying desperately to cling on to some past glory day. There is room for both of us on this planet. It's just a shame the Pope doesn't see it that way.

By the way, while I'm here, seeing as we're all entitled to our opinion, why hasn't Mr. "I Hate Homophobia" voiced his yet? Oh, I forgot, Herr Ratzinger isn't a member of the SNP, so he can spew forth whatever bigotry he wishes and no one will mind. Give a Mormon student an internship in Holyrood, on the other hand, and we're returning to the dark ages...

Anyway, that should just about cover me now. EuroCountdowns will appear over the festive season to keep me busy and tide you over. Right now, all I have to say it that I wish everyone this a happy, joyous, peaceful festive season, unless you're one of the following:

The Pope
Terry Kelly
Gordon Strachan (nice four-point gap you've got there - shame if anything were to happen to it!)
Joe Kinnear and Gary Megson (I am hoping that Amr Zaki ruins your Christmas!)
Preston North End fans (it's going to take a Cup draw for there to be an A49 Derby ever again)
Simon Cowell (just because)

UPDATE: To Ewan Aitken, all I can say is 'Amen'!


Caron said...

I agree with everything you say on the Pope's comments, but couldn't possibly not wish Gordon Strachan a happy Christmas. He was my hero when he played for Aberdeen back in the day.

What did you think of the Strictly controversies, by the way? I wanted Lisa to win and think that Tom would have been out in the semi under normal circs.

Grogipher said...

Well done on a constrained post - I have to admit as a bit of a green person, I was less than composed earlier about his accusation that I'm 'blurring gender'. I'm most definitely a man!

I think I get his point about roles being reversed and stuff, if we look at tonight's Rab C as an example (no, I'm not going to say that arse is the new vagina ... however right he was lol) with the gender role reversal of Mary Doll out and working while he's a house husband. But firstly, that's nothing new - see the 'kettle bilers' of old Dundee - and secondly, is it a bad thing? Surely the end of subjugation for women and such things is a good thing?

Oh no, wait, I forget.. Women aren't as good as men. They can't have Ratzinger's job can they?

Merry Christmas my dear. x

Grogipher said...

Oh sorry, I forgot a bit!

I know a few gay catholics, and some of them really are having problems. They're meant to believe that Pope Palpatine (/star wars) is infallible, but see that he's just making decisions they can't agree with - either about gays, global warming, or even an end to Limbo. Some of them have abandoned their faith just because of this old Nazi, others have moved church..

I think the Churches are sort of like the far left of Scottish politics, they just keep splitting off into smaller and smaller splinter groups over such silly little arguments, until there will come a point that their voice will be lost.

But then of course, that might not be a bad thing!

Anyways - Nollaig Chridheil :D

Will said...

Caron, let's just say I want his mood to be soured on the 27th. ;) I don't think Tom should have been in the SCD final either, and I don't understand why none of the producers spotted this when the scoreboard came up. I was a Rachel man, though! And worse, the fiasco has happened again in the Christmas special!

Grogipher, don't get me started on the clergy and the role of women - that's a whole other post (and was a floor sppech at a debate at St. Andrews once)...

To be honest, I'm awaiting the reaction of some of the harder line Protestant churches. After all, they're not overly fond of the gays either, but they still hate the Pope. On this one, they have to agree with one of them - but which?

All the best hon! x

James Higham said...

Yes, the main thing is to have a lovely Christmas. Merry one to you.

Grogipher said...

I just noticed today that we got a Christmas card from Cardinal O'Brian. Merry Christmas indeed!

polaris said...

As they say where I grew up f*** the Pope, that's my lasting wish for him.

To you, have great Christmas and thanks.