(This is the immediate follow-up from the previous post. Read that one first.)
From the Times article, I gather that Prof. Dawkins is, indeed, hoping to have the Pope arrested during his visit to the UK in September. He and Mr. Hitchens have retained lawyers, and they are building a case. If there is evidence that the Pope has participated in and sanctioned a cover-up of child rape cases, then it does seem that he is answerable to the law. My first reaction is tho think "Now that's going a little far, isn't it?" but really, that just my own latent thoughs, built-in-by-years-of-indocrtination, that the Pope and other such religious figures are untouchable. But that should not be so, should it, simply because they have their own supernatural belief system that says they are answerable to an imaginary higher calling? Why, when they commit a crime, should they not be subject to the same laws as the rest of us?
The New York Daily News article has this quote from Prof. Dawkins' blog: "I am optimistic that we shall raise public consciousness to the point where the British government will find it very awkward indeed to go ahead with the Pope's visit, let alone pay for it."
He wants to create uproar and outrage which is, indeed, for publicity. Calling it a "stunt" is also true in some sense, except for the fact that the ethics behind it are sound, and the backing is not disingenuous.
BBC News has a couple of gems, gathered from elsewhere:
From The Guardian and columnist George Monbiot: "Picture the pope awaiting trial in British prison, and you begin to grasp the implications of the radical idea that has never been applied: equality before the law."
Robert Pigott, The BBC's religious affairs correspondent, said "The controversy over alleged Papal involvement in the cover-up of child sex abuse is providing atheists with a stick with which to beat religion."
Rather, I think, if a stick has been provided, it seems to me that religion itself has provided it. A stick that I think we all agree we would rather not have, and a stick that it seems Prof. Dawkins and Mr. Hitchens are trying to break.
Strip away the religion--the myths and trappings that go along with the idea of "The Pope"; remove the titles and monikers on which generations have conferred respect, and how would the case be judged?
If "it has been alleged that Mr. Smith covered up the systematic sexual abuse of children in his neighborhood organization," would that make people feel differently?
Where do all the sanctimonious "Think of the children!" pleaders go when something like this happens?
Arrest the Pope? A little extreme? Yeah, sure it is. But is it more extreme than the systematic child abuse perpetuated by the Roman Catholic church for decades?