Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Secular Defence League

The English Defence League describes itself thus:

"We, the English Defence League, are a grass roots social movement who represent every walk of life, every race, every creed and every colour; from the working class to middle England. Our unity and diversity is our strength.

We have members that represent our culturally rich, “patriotic” and nation-loving populace. People who can see the threat of “Islamism” for what it is: a vile and virulent ideology based on 7th century barbarity, intolerance, hatred, subjugation and war."About page

Protest The Pope says this on it's front page:

"If you believe, as we do, that the Pope should not come to the UK without hearing from the millions of people who reject his harsh, intolerant views and the practices and policies of the Vatican State please get involved."

So the question must be: what's the difference? The English Defence League dislikes Islam. Protest the Pope dislikes the Pope and the Catholicism he represents. Yet, and I speak very generally here, whilst the EDL are (probably quite rightly) seen as a nationalistic, racist, prejudiced right wing grouping, the Protest the Pope movement is seen, by many liberals and lefties, as a valid movement of legitimate protest against a backward ideology.

You might think that displays my own prejudices. But it doesn't. Unlike many lefties and liberals, I'm not very keen on either Islam or Catholicism (or most any sort of organised religion). I like to be consistent. I'm even consistent on the fact that I see all three sides in the EDL argument (the Muslims, the EDL and the anti-fascists) as pretty much in the wrong and wish they'd all shut up. I'm an individualist. If someone wants to build a mosque and it's approved by the planning department let it be, or argue against it. But don't intimidate people just because of their religion. On the other hand those who wish to defend against such protests should do so without violence and in a legal manner.

So was my post on the Pope's visit really consistent? How can I oppose the protests of the EDL against Islamic institutions, yet support protests against the central institution of Catholicism (the Pope himself!)?

Perhaps I was wrong. Either I was wrong on the grounds that such a protest movement would be more ethical than the EDL's. Or, more likely, I was wrong that the cost wasn't a factor. Perhaps it is one. A mosque might not get public money. It's a private venture. Really private ventures should be private matters. The Pope's visit, however, is not a private matter, but he will be conducting private Catholic business whilst we pay for him to do so. That is, probably what irks me.

And that's consistent with my dislike of the Government banning those with "controversial" views. There's no problem to me with them visiting this country. We're not paying for their visit. But for the Pope we are.

So I take back my last post. It is about the money. The money is the most important factor. And thus I bring balance back to my beliefs. *phew*

What do you think? Is there a discernible difference between protesting the Pope because of his beliefs and the EDL marches protesting against Islam? Are the EDL actually on to something? Am I completely wrong? Feel free to discuss.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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