Thursday, October 13, 2005

Slinger of Mud

On October 11th the Toronto Star published a remarkably anti-Catholic screed by a columnist named Slinger. It seems that the "progressive" Star is a crusader against all forms of discrimination and bigotry unless the writer is slamming Christians. Then it seems to be encouraged.

I first became aware of this tendency many years ago when Star columnist Michelle Landsberg was permitted to ridicule the shrine to the Virgin Mary that Joe Borowski, the anti-abortion activist, had erected in his back yard. Later, in 2002, according to Lifesite News, the Ontario Press Council upheld a complaint against the Toronto Star for printing a column she wrote in June 2001.

Here is some of what she wrote.
Seems these evangelicals feel all shook up unless the state enforces their form of belief. Their idea of social stability, however, is just what threatens us all. It creates the kind of parents who teach their children to hate and taunt their schoolmates who are children of lesbians or gay men. It gives licence to the kind of thugs who would beat a Matthew Shepard to death because he was gay. It breeds the toxic intolerance that drives gay youths to a 30 per cent higher suicide rate than other teens.
The Press Council concluded:
The Ontario Press Council is on record as declaring it believes columnists deserve wide latitude in expressing their opinions, no matter how controversial or unpopular. But, despite the newspaper's contention that the column was using the word "evangelicals" to mean "zealots" and was not intended as criticism of "any formal religious body," the Council regards the term in the column's context as an unnecessarily hurtful reference to an identifiable group and upholds the complaint.
The "progressive" Star dismissed the Press Council concerns, no doubt because most Star staff agree with Landsberg. Ever since that Press Council decision was rendered gangs of youthful Evangelical Christians have felt free to roam the streets, bibles clutched in their fists, taunting the children of gay men and lesbians and beating gay men with crosses. You've no doubt seen this happen many times. It is a frequent phenomenon, they say.

In his latest article Slinger is quite exorcized about the fact that the Vatican is contemplating disciplining heterodox Catholic politicians who ignore obligatory teachings of the Church and vote for things like same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, polygamy and polyandry.

The Vatican, you see, has this strange notion that to be eligible to receive the sacraments of the Church, a Catholic must not give grave public scandal to the faithful by publicly acting contrary to Catholic teachings on matters of faith and morals. It is, accordingly, considering denying communion to Catholic politicians who flout Church teachings on such matters. It's a long way from the thumb screw and the rack, but close enough to cause Slinger's fabled sense of humour to take a decidedly sleasy turn.

He waxes enthusiastically about a Canada in which Toronto's St. Michael's Cathedral is turned into luxurious condos and all Church property is seized.

So if the Pope wants to play hardball, fine. We can play hardball too. How about he can excommunicate our Prime Minister and we can get rid of the tax exemption on Catholic church property?
What a windfall that would be. Millions. Millions upon millions. Mega-millions if we make it retroactive back to, say, 1848 when St. Michael's opened its doors. They'd have to start selling their real estate. Failing that, we'd have to seize it and auction it off. It's happened before. It was a fairly popular medieval screw-you gesture.
Actually Slinger, it wasn't. Your knowledge of history is apparently as weak as your grasp of the constitution. Protestants didn't begin to sack monasteries, seize Church property and roam about killing monks, priests and nuns until after the medieval period. Look it up.

As for the Rome's possible refusal of the Eucharist to false Catholics like Paul Martin, that is an internal matter between Mr. Martin and the church in which he professes to believe. Something the proponents of the "separation of church and state" might well consider.

Slinger ends his diatribe with a disingenuous comment.

I hope this won't be mistaken for some kind of threat. It's just that if the Pope feels inclined to give us something to think about, we might as well give him something to think about.

Perish the thought. The notion that you were threatening the Church never crossed my mind. I just thought you were indulging in some plain old anti-Catholic bigotry, thinly disguised as lame humour. Rather typical fare for the Toronto Star.

(Hat tip to Kathy Shaidle of Relapsed Catholic.)


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