Tagged: Catholicism

Sanal Edamaruku still facing arrest over debunking Catholic miracle

We recently reported on how Sanal Edamaruku, President of The Indian Rationalist Association, is facing arrest for offending Catholics by proving that the source of “holy water” from a crucifix was, in fact, a leaky pipe. They had been drinking the filthy stuff.

New Humanist magazine reports that, yesterday, Delhi police officers went to Sanal’s house to arrest him, but he wasn’t there. When he returns, he’s likely to be arrested. If you haven’t already signed the petition calling on the Catholics to drop the complaints, please click on the above link to sign it.

Call on the Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay to withdraw their complaint against Indian Rationalist Sanal Edamaruku

Sanal EdamarukuSanal Edamaruku, President of the Indian Rationalist Association, is a tireless campaigner for science and against superstition. He is widely known for his exposure of the tricks used by self-professed ‘God-Men’ and gurus and has often been on Indian television explaining the everyday science behind supposed miracles. After one such exposure – he pointed out that the “blood” oozing from a statue of Christ at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Velan Kanni in Vile Parle, Mumbai was in fact water from a leaky pipe – the Catholic Church of Mumbai made a formal complaint about him to the Mumbai police. He stands accused of “deliberately hurting religious feelings and attempting malicious acts intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class or community”, an offence under Section 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code. No arrest warrant has been issued but the case is “cognisable” meaning the police can arrest without warrant at any time. He has been denied ‘anticipatory’ bail which means if arrested he faces a long term in prison merely for explaining the science behind an apparent mystery.

The Rationalist Association of the UK has begun a petition addressed to the Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay to withdraw their complaint against Sanal Edamaruku. Please click here to sign it.

“Religion should be abolished”?

This week’s National Secular Society e-newsletter quotes Irish writer Jennifer Johnston saying, “Personally I think that religion should be abolished and I think when you look around we’re doing not too bad a job of it in this country at the moment. It’s all just moving and about time, too.” This was in an interview with the Irish Independent. Johnston’s attitude is understandable, when you read about her own and her family’s experience of Catholicism, but abolishing religion isn’t the answer. I remember being shocked when, some time ago, I heard one of the British Humanist Association‘s leading activists say more or less the same thing – and he was serious. It’s an attitude that persists in online atheist forums. Calling for the abolishment or banning of religion isn’t a rational response to the problems that it causes. It was tried by the Soviets and by the Chinese during the Cultural Revolution, but they only succeeded in driving it underground. There have always been extremists, religious and atheist, and they’ve always caused destruction.

The answer is secularism, or an end to religion in civil affairs and no religious instruction in schools. Children might learn about religion but not to be religious. Teach children to think, not to believe. Most organised monotheistic religion is about power. Remove that power, and you remove most of the damage it causes.

A good teacher makes you think, even when you don’t want to.” (Tom, aged 10)

Teach people to think, and maybe they won’t make foolish statements like, “Ban religion!”

“… the creeping influence of liberal, secular society” weakens resolve against sexual abuse, apparently

As the Catholic church has to find £millions to pay compensation to victims of clergy abuse, the excuses being trotted out by the hierarchy are staggeringly creative. Archbishop of Westminster the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholics in England and Wales, told the BBC’s Newsnight programme, “The level of abuse in the Church is actually quite small in terms of the overall levels of abuse in any country.” Now Pope Benedict, in his pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, blames the abuse on “the creeping influence of liberal, secular society for weakening resolve against it.”

Make the Vatican pay for the Pope’s visit

NopeThe NSS has started a petition calling on the Prime Minister to ask the Catholic Church to pay the estimated £20 million cost of the Pope’s visit. If his followers want him to come and see them, fine, but there are better things to spend taxpayers’ money on.

To sign, click here.

For celebration, amusement, or just to pass the time

A few of the stories that have caught my eye on the Interweb this week:

* As an antidote to the depressing news that a significant proportion of British people think that creationism ought to be included in school science lessons, we can celebrate a development in education. Evolution will be in the national curriculum for primary schools when the new version is published soon. Andrew Copson from the BHA wrote in the Guardian:

The new primary curriculum, together with the 2007 government guidance that prohibits the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in science lessons, should put English schools in the forefront of education about evolution. Coming in the month which marks the 150th anniversary of On the Origin of Species, and at a point when good science education is a matter of urgency, it could not be more timely.

* We will have to remain vigilant, however, when loonies of all sorts seek access to our classrooms. The Times Educational Supplement reported a couple of days ago that …

A school initiative that trains children in “energy therapy” has been criticised as unscientific by two senior academics.