European faith leaders debate: Is secularism the new terrorism?

56

“It sounds to me as though secularism could be the new terrorism.” 

That remark by Father Aethelwine Richards of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Europe pretty much sums up the sentiments faith leaders and human rights defenders shared at a conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

Richards moderated two panels, which brought together Christians, Sikhs, Scientologists, Mormons, Muslims and more to discuss discrimination against religious minorities in Europe.

The event was originally scheduled to take place at the European Parliament but was recently moved to a hotel across the street. Godfrey Bloom, a member of Britain’s right-wing UK Independence Party and a member of European Parliament, said that several of his colleagues at the European Union encouraged the move because they disapproved of the conference’s organizers and attendees.

“We have intolerance on our own doorstep. The hypocrisy of that place!” Godfrey said of the E.U. in his welcome remarks.

Opening speaker and event organizer Eric Roux arrived several hours late for reasons closely tied to the conference’s focus. On Wednesday, France’s highest court upheld a conviction of “organized fraud” against the Church of Scientology, of which Roux is a minister and spokesperson.

The government of France classified Scientology as a cult in 2000 and has kept a close watch on its activities since the 1970s. Roux heavily criticized France’s anti-sect policies and warned the audience that such policies are being “exported” to the E.U. level.

Most panelists had harsh words for France, which has long followed the principle of laïcité, or church-state separation.

 

Written By: Brian Pellot
continue to source article at brianpellot.religionnews.com

56 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by Quine:

      As they are seen to become more and more irrelevant, they will cry louder and louder.

      … and seemingly wear louder and louder clothing. What’s with the silvery-black disco suit and yellow turban? Geesh, call the fashion god quick! Seriously, though, do these guys really expect anyone to listen to what they have to say? It’s kinda sad they don’t know how irrelevant they are.

  1. ” “It sounds to me as though secularism could be the new terrorism.” “

    Old terror to faith leaders as European countries have been generally secular for a long time.

    Ah, the good old days of the 13th century?

      • In reply to #32 by Agrajag:

        In reply to #3 by alaskansee:

        I would like to encourage more comments by the barking mad Father Aethelwine Richards, as he sits in such nice company too.

        Amen! And… “Aethelwine”?? WTF??

        Steve

        It’s Bashy Quraishy I worry about.

      • In reply to #32 by Agrajag:

        Amen! And… “Aethelwine”?? WTF??

        A fine Old English name, Æðelwine, in particular the name of the last Anglo-Saxon bishop of Durham. I find it hard to believe that twentieth-century parents would saddle a son with such a name, so my guess is that Revd Richards chose it as his name in religion (perhaps that is customary at ordination in the Antiochene Orthodox rite to which he belongs).

        • In reply to #50 by Cairsley:

          Amen! And… “Aethelwine”?? WTF??

          A fine Old English name, Æðelwine, in particular the name of the last Anglo-Saxon bishop of Durham. I find it hard to believe that twentieth-century parents would saddle a son with such a name, so my guess is that Revd Richards chose it…

          I suppose it’s better to be named after Æðelwine who was consecrated bishop in 1056.[2] and was installed as bishop by Tostig, the Earl of Northumbria, than to be named after that lovable twice King of Northumbria (c. 947–948 and 952–954), who died about 100years earlier! – Eric Bloodaxe – Perhaps a more appropriate mental choice of name for a “Little kingdom” UKIPper!

  2. The Revd Aethelwine Richards might have a point in suggesting that secularism were the new terrorism, if people were doing terroristical things like blowing up hotels and busses in the name of secularism. As it is, he is talking twaddle. Likewise, Godfrey Bloom would make more sense if, instead of complaining of “intolerance” because the European Parliament did not wish to be associated with a faith-leaders’ conference, he recognized that the integrity of the strictly secular European Parliament precluded its hosting a conference of religious leaders. Clearly these religionists are not accustomed to being put in their place.

  3. Terrorism : killing civilians with the intent of changing their political affiliation.
    ~ Caleb Carr 1955-08-02

    I am not aware of any murders by secularists of prominent believers triggered by their espousing crazy religious ideas. On the other paw, Christians daily beat up and kill gay people. Christians and Muslims murder each other by the tens of thousands.

    The four believers must using the word “terrorism” in some idiosyncratic way.

    Perhaps they mean they find secularism terrifying. Their fiefdoms are crumbling. More and more people are rejecting their dogma.

    • In reply to #7 by Roedy:

      Christians daily beat up and kill gay people. Christians and Muslims murder each other by the tens of thousands.

      You undermine any credibility your argument may have by making such exaggerated, unsubstantiated and inflamatory statements.

    • Love it!!! Get ‘em Roedy. No need to say more. In reply to #7 by Roedy:

      Terrorism : killing civilians with the intent of changing their political affiliation.
      ~ Caleb Carr 1955-08-02

      I am not aware of any murders by secularists of prominent believers triggered by their espousing crazy religious ideas. On the other paw, Christians daily beat up and kill gay people. Ch…

  4. The New Terrorism would be the result of any of these Faith Heads getting in total control of a Theocracy.

    It’s good to see how sensible and rational the Comments are on this secular religion news site – which is obviously a Secular Terrorist Training Facility…. Mac.

  5. Paul Herzog Von Oldenburg, a conservative Christian from Germany and coordinator of Pro Europea Christiana, didn’t parse ??? his words:

    “We are supposed to be living in a tolerant human rights era. Instead, we live in a dictatorship of relativism, the worst form of religious persecution. Secular intolerance forces us to abandon our values, to be part of this festival of diversity. It is tantamount to apostasy.”

    What is the alternative to joining the festival of diversity?

    1. dominating the other religions and forcing them to the one true way?
    2. going into isolution?

    Religions still don’t get it. They are just one of many, with no special handle on truth.

    Secularism is the referee between all the madmen who think they have a handle on absolute truth even though they can’t show a stick of evidence.

  6. I have noticed I am surprised any time I encounter a good looking believer such as the author of this article. I expect them to be genetically deformed, to drool, or to have an IQ borderline for survival, like the banjo player in Deliverance.

    In science fiction people are often taken over my some alien being. They then talk in a wooden way, repeating some nonsensical cant. This is how young Christians come across to me, especially Mormons. They are like dead teeth.

    • In reply to #12 by Roedy:

      I have noticed I am surprised any time I encounter a good looking believer such as the author of this article. I expect them to be genetically deformed, to drool, or to have an IQ borderline for survival, like the banjo player in Deliverance.

      In science fiction people are often taken over my some…

      I thought he looked particularly clean cut and fresh faced as well. Not in keeping with my mental image!

    • In reply to #12 by Roedy:

      I have noticed I am surprised any time I encounter a good looking believer such as the author of this article. I expect them to be genetically deformed, to drool, or to have an IQ borderline for survival, like the banjo player in Deliverance.

      Hi Roedy. Don’t make assumptions about the author from the name of this website, as I initially did before I looked at their mission statement, which says: “RNS does not endorse or promote any particular religion, creed or set of beliefs or non-beliefs. We are a secular organization committed to an ongoing conversation about the role of religion in public life.”

      I think that’s why the Comments are much more rational that I expected, causing me to investigate further…. Mac.

      • In reply to #18 by CdnMacAtheist:

        In reply to #12 by Roedy:

        I have noticed I am surprised any time I encounter a good looking believer such as the author of this article. I expect them to be genetically deformed, to drool, or to have an IQ borderline for survival, like the banjo player in Deliverance.

        Hi Roedy. Don’t make assump…

        Well, that was a pleasant surprise. It was worth closer inspection.

    • In reply to #12 by Roedy:

      In science fiction people are often taken over my some alien being. They then talk in a wooden way, repeating some nonsensical cant. This is how young Christians come across to me, especially Mormons. They are like dead teeth.

      As an endodontist, I have to complain that this is an offense to dead teeth!

      Steve

  7. The sheer terror of a raised eyebrow or a contrary point of view! Oh the horror of it how will we ever get over such inhumanity? This shower of whining fekwits are very lucky that secularism has taken us out of the days when terrible torture and death were the penalties for disagreement and luckier still that secularists aren’t crippled by the same mental aberrations as them. New terrorism? FFS!

  8. I think the religious need to be very careful about the words they use. Like anti-Semitism, if you can’t back up your label of terrorism with actual acts of terrorism you shouldn’t use it.

    • In reply to #15 by Quine:

      The funny thing is that each of these guys thinks all the others are pushing bogus theology, but yet, they are going to complain about us.

      My enemy’s enemy is my friend. Perfectly logical!

    • In reply to #15 by Quine:

      The funny thing is that each of these guys thinks all the others are pushing bogus theology, but yet, they are going to complain about us.

      And for probably the first time in their lives, they’re all correct, all them do push bogus theology, which is a tautology anyway

  9. You don’t say! So we are terrorists now.Why,pray tell? Please name some of the atrocities committed by atheists in the name of atheism.Please don’t bring up Hitler, Stalin and Mao.That’s really tiresome and you know perfectly well that the religious mindset (let’s not forget that Hitler was Catholic and Stalin was seminary trained) and suchlike ideology was really responsible.

    So what have we done that calls forth such strong words?
    Burnt anyone at the stake?

    Drowned a witch?

    Killed an innocent because he/she was gay?

    Let some helpless woman suffer and die because we felt that she should not abort a fetus that was not viable anyway.

    Stormed into a church killing people?

    Buried a woman in sand and stoned her to death?

    Flew planes into buildings?You get my drift.If you don’t,I really don’t care,I’m a terrorist,after all,or so you say.

    What was that…muttering into your beard ,I see.Go on, speak up.We atheists are all for people saying what they want.If we laugh at some absurdities,well now,you can’t accuse us of terrorism…oops sorry,you just did.

    Oh, I get It,we are terrorists because we want you to pay taxes like we do.Oh,I see,also because you want to get your grubby fingers into all sorts of pies eg, the government and tell people the right way to behave.Hmmmm.Also because we want you to keep your foul ideas out of the ears of our little ones in school.Oh and we have the temerity to discount the holy words of goD in favour of what scientists say.What was that again, you with the outsized cross? We’re too strident,you say?

    So where does that leave you.Don’t you just wish you guys were all powerful, like in the good old days,hey ?You’ll have to excuse me now, gotta go get more word-bombs to throw at you.

  10. Opening speaker and event organizer Eric Roux arrived several hours late for reasons closely tied to the conference’s focus. On Wednesday, France’s highest court upheld a conviction of “organized fraud” against the Church of Scientology, of which Roux is a minister and spokesperson.

    So this looks like Scientology wrapping themselves in the mantle of the other more established religions. They got conned.

    Michael

  11. Yawn. Same old, same old. “Wah! Wah! You’re telling us we can’t intolerantly force our beliefs onto you and bully, persecute and ostracise those who don’t follow them. That means you’re being intolerant and bullying, persecuting and ostracising us! Wah!” Move on folks, nothing to see here…

  12. I just had a flashback to a scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian: “He’s oppressing me, he’s oppressing me!” NOT being put on a pedestal is not oppression, you ninnies! Out of curiosity, how many attendees of this conference were women?

  13. The event was originally scheduled to take place at the European Parliament but was recently moved to a hotel across the street. Godfrey Bloom, a member of Britain’s right-wing UK Independence Party and a member of European Parliament, said that several of his colleagues at the European Union encouraged the move because they disapproved of the conference’s organizers and attendees.

    For those outside Europe, this is a comedy act!

    UKIP is dedicated to the UK leaving the EU, so their representatives are basically sitting in the European Parliament telling everyone else, “WE don’t want to know you and oppose co-operating with you!”

    They are a right wing reactionary party, noted for lacking coherent policies, and for intolerant squabbling amongst themselves.

    They naively believe that the UK opting out of partnership with other European countries, will miraculously make life wonderful in a little isolationist state doing its own thing. -

    (If only the right wing nutters could be free of these agreed European regulatory laws and procedures, they could implement their ideologies and be in a fools paradise – at least for a few days or weeks before reality kicked in!)

    This looks like a federation of know-it-all religi-nuts and politi-nuts, ranting against social cooperation and the forces of reality!

    “We have intolerance on our own doorstep. The hypocrisy of that place!” Godfrey said of the E.U. in his welcome remarks.

    Irony!!! The very projection of his own and his party’s image!

    (Those damned secularist majorities are intolerant of the demands of the bigoted intolerant!!)

  14. Funny to have Scientologists and Mormons together, two religions that believe their deities come from different planets. They should pitch them together in an intergalactic battle. Perhaps John Travolta could star in the leading role as Xenu….

  15. Just to dish the dirt on Godfrey Bloom for our non-UK friends:-

    He first made himself notorious by referring to people from “bongo-bongo land”, which has him labelled as a racist/xenophobe, and then at UKIP 2013 conference, called women who didn’t clean behind the fridge “sluts”, excusing himself by saying he was using the old meaning of the word. He also hit a journalist on the head with a rolled up newspaper in an altercation about a UKIP poster being racist. He was thrown out of the party.

    He is about 60 and comes across as an upper class twit from the 1940s.

    Looks like this was a conference of assholes.

    • In reply to #31 by God fearing Atheist:

      Godfrey Bloom :-

      He first made himself notorious by referring to people from “bongo-bongo land”, which has him labelled as a racist/xenophobe, and then at UKIP 2013 conference, called women who didn’t clean behind the fridge “sluts”, excusing himself by saying he was using the old meaning of the word. He also hit a journalist on the head with a rolled up newspaper in an altercation about a UKIP poster being racist.

      He was thrown out of the party.

      Too extreme and loony for UKIP !!!!! – That’s like being too racist for the Klu Klux Klan!

      @OP – European faith leaders debate: Is secularism the new terrorism?

      It is understandable that such people feel terrorised by objective judgement and factual reporting! -
      It shakes the faith the gullible might place in their rantings and punctures their over-inflated egos!

  16. What a pathetic attempt to equate secular tolerance with religious terrorism! Meanwhile a glance at the BBC News’ home page tells me that a bomb has exploded on a bus in Volgograd in Russia killing five people, Islamic mlitants suspected; a bomb has exploded on a train in Balochistan killing seven passengers, Islamists suspected; gunmen open fire on a Coptic Christian wedding in Egypt killing three people including an eight year old girl; Saudi Arabia is accused of not implementing human rights improvements, as they promised to do, but instead of ‘ratcheting up repression’. Reports of atrocities by the new terrorist secularists, however, remain unreported.

  17. We are supposed to be living in a tolerant human rights era. Instead, we live in a dictatorship of relativism, the worst form of religious persecution. Secular intolerance forces us to abandon our values, to be part of this festival of diversity. It is tantamount to apostasy.

    I think that pretty much sums up the whole mindset behind this whole thing. Most rational people would point out that there are many worse forms of “religious persecution” (burning at the stake, anyone?), but to these people the worst thing that can ever happen to somebody is losing their faith. After all, actually being tortured to death for your beliefs will surely lead to eternal blessings in heaven, whereas losing your faith will cause you to burn forever.

    It’s strange, though… If somebody is tortured and refuses to recant their faith, it is supposedly a sign of how great their faith is and how true their religious beliefs are (since only God’s truth could possibly give them the strength). And yet, if somebody loses their faith because somebody suggests they actually read and think about what they are supposed to believe, then it is entirely the fault of the secular terrorist who made them think and says nothing whatsoever about the underlying truth of the beliefs.

    What does it say about a faith that can withstand physical torture but is completely powerless to resist logical argument?

  18. Religious crackpots and hypocritical Scientology con artists saying crazy things and lying. Wow, what a surprise! I would just love it if somebody recorded what these guys say about each other in private and posted it on YouTube. What a balloon-deflating, hilarious riot that would be.

    In my honest opinion, the cure to religion is NOT silencing religious people. That would be stooping down to the level of the religious tyrants of the Inquisition who burned people alive for wanting to translate the Bible in English or the Muslim fundamentalists who stone their wives for talking to a doctor. That is NOT what democracy, humanism and secularism is all about. No matter how much I dislike what these people say, they are free to say it and that freedom needs to be defended (as Voltaire said).

    In fact, I say: let them talk. The more they talk, the worse they look. And they are coming off as exactly what they are: wretched control addicts desperate to regain what is inexorably slipping from their grasp. Eloquent, mordant critique and parody is the cure to religion and all other forms of superstitious belief.

    So let’s ridicule those people to death. But most of all, let’s not get all worked up over them saying the things we expect them to say: that’s who they are and we CANNOT expect them to change. Getting angry and forgetting to be civilized makes US look bad. That’s like giving up your biggest advantage to your opponent and that’s NOT smart. The people we are trying to rally to our side is the people who are the victims of those fundamentalist abusers and NOT the abusers themselves.

  19. In May 2007 Martin Amis wrote in The Times:

    One can afford to be crude about this. When Islamists crash passenger planes into buildings, or hack off the heads of hostages, they shout “God is great!” When secularists do that kind of thing, what do they shout?”

    I think that rather sums up this childish nonsense.

  20. They are all running scared – they know we are on to them and that their little game is up.

    More to the point, they know they’ll struggle to get jobs in the real world, so they need to keep up the lie as long as possible.

    The weapons used by secularism and atheism are reason, common sense and equality.

    The weapons used by the religious are prejudice, misogyny, abuse, coercion, lies and murder.

  21. And the Lunatic Fringe declare war on rational thought…
    Actually the UKIP nutter came into the public eye before the Bogo-Bongo Land incident. During a debate in the European Parliament on rape and prostitution he told the female speakers that they were too ugly to be threatened by the first or make a living from the second.

  22. If atheism is the new terrorism then naturally religion is the OLDEST terrorism known to man to have wield such great control on the minds of many. Speaking against them have invited so much pain throughout history. Its time to free yourself.

  23. European faith leaders debate: Is secularism the new terrorism?

    Man, they must really be thin-skinned if they think telling schoolchildren not to wear turbans is terrorism. I’m not even saying I necessarily agree with French policies on secularism (I mean, was it a school uniform issue, or something?), but this response is either boorish rhetoric or delusional idiocy.

Leave a Reply