Atheist Daniel Dennett looks forward to day when clergy will be arrested and convicted for spreading misinformation

If Daniel Dennett has his way then Archbishop-elect Tartaglia is right to expect imprisonment for speaking out on a whole range of social and ethical issues.

Archbishop-elect Tartaglia said in response to the news that Scotland is going to legalise homosexual ‘marriage’,  ’I could see myself going to jail possibly at some point over the next 15 years, if God spares me, if I speak out.’

Catholics, like Archbishop-elect Tartaglia, are routinely ridiculed when they express  concern that the hostility and intolerance of secularists combined with their growing political power may result in the persecution of the Church. Secularists ridicule them for being hysterical alarmists who have lost all sense of proportion. The sub-text of their scorn is the secularists are so reasonable and moderate and Catholics unreasonable and extremist.

Protect the Pope came across the following comment posted in 2010 by US atheist Daniel Dennett that suggests that our concerns about the virulent intolerance of the secularists is justified. Daniel Dennett is a close collaborator of Richard Dawkins.

‘If quacks and bunko artists can be convicted of fraud for selling worthless cures, why not clergy for making their living off unsupported claims of miracle cures and the efficacy of prayer? I also look forward to the day when pastors who abuse the authority of their pulpits by misinforming their congregations about science, about public health, about global warming, about evolution must answer to the charge of dishonesty.’

Fr. Andrew Pinsent responds:

‘Dennett thus looks forward to the day in which members of the clergy can be brought to court for teaching, for example, that prayer is efficacious, or for ‘misinforming’ their congregations about global warming. Since religions that uphold belief in a personal God generally teach that prayer is efficacious, and since many people, including some prominent scientists, express a diversity of views regarding global warming, it seems that a great many people would potentially be at risk of prosecution in the kind of state that Dennett looks forward to, simply for expressing these views in a public forum.’


18 comments to Atheist Daniel Dennett looks forward to day when clergy will be arrested and convicted for spreading misinformation

  • Karla

    ‘New atheists’ have many of the same views as the atheists did in the 20th century. Views like Dennet’s led to 100 million + being killed in the 20th century, people were persecuted for practising religion. Nazis also round up clergy and persecuted them if they did not agree with what they said.

  • Michael Petek

    If that’s the way he wants it, I look forward to the day when Daniel Dennett will be arrested and convicted for blasphemy and for the public propagation and advocacy of atheism. He can’t claim freedom of conscience, as he – being an atheist – doesn’t have one. If Karla is right – that atheism is a cause of the loss of human life on a vast scale – the sooner Monty Python convenes that ecclesiastical tribunal which no one expects, the better.

    • Eric

      “He can’t claim freedom of conscience, as he – being an atheist – doesn’t have one.”

      Well done Michael. A very un-Christian attempt to dehumanise your opponents.

      You seem to be saying that Dennett and others lack the conscience which is part of being a normal human being and are therefore not fully deserving of all the freedoms that others are.

      Atheists may have caused loss of human life on a vast scale, but they only suceeded because they used precisely the dehumanising tacticts you are using yourself now. Once you start viewing people as less than fully human, and claiming that a group of people lack a conscience is certainly doing that, then you have taken the first step down a very slippery slope.

  • Josemaria

    Whoa…I Would be Happy to be Part of them to Die for Christ and His Bride:The Church!!!(I am a discerning Young Man)


  • Gurn

    The new atheists do not understand that this is ultimately down to a worldview, and they cannot understand or comprehend any other worldview other than materialism and their unjustified philosophy of logical positivism. It is disgusting that when a group of people just happen to have a different worldview and philosophy to their horrendously flawed one they for some reason see the need to start throwing their weight around by advocating arrests, making claims that teaching children any other worldview but theirs is child abuse and they make every effort to create legal difficulties for these groups. I smell totalitarianism.

    Remember the calling for the arrest of the Pope. Some teachers are guilty of pedophilia should we arrest the education secretary, some Judo instructors are also guilty of this so should we arrest the Chief Executive Officer of the British Judo Association. I don’t see the secularists queuing up to arrest these people, where is the BHA and the Richard Dawkins Foundation on these crimes, secularists have a particular potent hate of religion despite all the meaningless talk of their ‘tolerance’.

    • Michael Petek

      What we should be doing is queuing up to arrest anyone who would divert the institutions of the State from their obligation to serve God according to Christian moral principles and not otherwise. Religious liberty is for people, not governments.

  • John American

    You don’t have to be an Athiest to ridicule the Catholic Church. I have 9 kids, and was raised in a Catholic family. I graduated from Catholic University of America. I’m over 50 years old. I was an alter boy, Right to Life Organizer as a teen. I have a deep respect for the missionary work of all churches and and non-religious organizations. We don’t judge motive, when we look at charity. Only the means and outcome.

    But, to think that the strange behavior of the Catholic Church, and it’s all male, celibate and mostly gay clergy can make pronouncements on morality is preposteruous. The evidence is fairly clear, that when ‘belief’ is placed above ‘service’ the entire proposition of an organized church fails. For the most part, clergy spend their entire lives arguing about belief, and aspects of it no normal person even cares to ponder. Without the Enlightenment and American Law setting the precedent, the Christian Churches would still be executing people for not conforming to their absurd beliefs.

    It is clear that biblical history is not factual. It is clear that the belief structure of Christianity is as much mysticism and mythology as any other. It is up to the Catholic Church, as a charitable missionary organization to reconcile that, rather than defending the actions of the past.

    The ridicule is from rational and good people. To ignore it is intolerance. To continue to promote a mythology to justify your existence is a path to and end. It is no secret the Church looks to South America and Africa for new members, as the educated people of the western world walk away. Preying on the ignorant won’t save the Catholic churches missionary purpose. Moving away from superstition will.

    • Gurn

      You have according to your own post eliminated the possibility of objective moral laws, congratulations.

      How can the Church possibly be relevant when its laws, customs and traditions change according to human whim and popular trends, if such a thing is the case then there is really no need for the Church at all other than just a charity organisation. Of course even then you have the ‘is ought gap’ and you have more or less eliminated the ‘ought’ putting people under no obligation at all to be charitable by eliminating belief as an important part of Catholicism.

      You are just a liberal trendy who has no respect for tradition and is clearly pig ignorant and clueless about philosophy, I’m sick of hearing this stupid party line, nothing but a popular cultural slave.

      • harry

        ‘I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men [and women] who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity – I wish…to enlarge [their] knowledge, to cultivate [their] reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism…’

      • Eric

        “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

        ― Marcus Aurelius

    • Damian

      @johnamerican then you have done a great disservice to all the Catholic traditions you have been fortunate to have benefitted from. Sad that you exalt ridicule and you have lost all sense of what is right and wrong because some things are just wrong and some right in any age, society or culture. You make wild and baseless claims against the Holy Catholic Church and the veracity of the Bible, don’t forget there is the Old & New Testament, Christianity is documented historically in the latter. I take it that you are not bringing your children up in the Catholic church or even as Christians?

    • spesalvi23

      @johnamerican: I would regard myself as fairly educated, extremely pragmatic and highly rational -> comes with being German. ;-)
      I’m an ex Lutheran who grew up a very proud Lutheran (Martin Luther was a local boy), looking down on those irrational, emotional idol worshipping Catholics.
      One day I realized that I was a member of a social club, devoid of any sacredness and actually, devoid of relevance.
      It’s sad how so many cradle Catholics don’t udnerstand the nature of their Church.

    • Virum Iratum

      Das ist der schlimmst Verrat von allen!!! Um sich zu autorisieren, behauptet er, ich wäre krank?! Ja, vielleicht schon TOT!!!

  • Independent

    Secularists have merely taken up the mistaken doctrine that “error has no rights” and applied it to those with whom they disagree. We should all unite to promote a pluralist society.

    • Eric

      Secularists have merely taken up the mistaken doctrine that “error has no rights”

      Dennett (not all secularists) does appear to have done this. So does Michael Patek above.

      “We should all unite to promote a pluralist society.” absolutely. We all need to leave in peace with each other at the end of the day.

      I have no problem with acknowledging that the Church has enemies, but there are grave dangers in labelling everyone who happens to disagree with you as an enemy. It is much easier to persecute or even kill an “enemy” because that is simply self-defence isn’t it?

  • Teresa

    Can’t think of a better use for taxpayer’s money (not)!

    Would he wish to tackle muslim clerics too, I wonder?

    • Eric

      He has actually been pretty critical of Islam, its treatment of women etc and was especially critical over the Danish Cartoon nonsense. I haven’t been keeping score, but it is rather clear from his writing that Christianity is not being singled out.

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