|Happy Family snapshot|
The impudent French satirical mag has been a bad boy yet again by placing a truculent cartoon on the front page of its latest issue. It depicts 'The Father' with 'The Son' euhhh, 'behind' it, and "The Holy Ghost"
But why has Charlie Hebdo published the cartoon? Because leading French Catholics such as bishops and cardinals have been waging a viciously homophobic campaign against the government's plans to legalise same-sex marriage, that's why.
Cardinal Vingt-Trois ('vingt-trois means 23 in English) has been at the helm of the campaign, which has seen various church leaders assimilate homosexuality and same-sex marriage to incest, pedophilia, polygamy and other crimes. Not only are they infamous and deliberately inflammatory comparisons to make, they are dangerously wrong.
Cardinal 23 has said that same-sex marriage would represent "the marriage of a few imposed upon all." He is wrong. Nobody is imposing anything on anyone, the idea is to give people the freedom to live how they wish.
Cardinal 23 says that the church respects "the sexual reality of human existence." He, and the church, are wrong. The reality of human sexuality is that homosexuality has always existed and is thus a part of human reality.
Cardinal 23 says that "to impose within marriage and the family a vision of man without recognising sexual difference would be a deceptive sham which would shake the foundations of our society and impose discrimination between children." He is wrong. Again, society does recognise the existence of sexual difference and that's precisely why same-sex marriage is being envisaged. But - and ironically - he is right about children because given his views he evidently has no difficulty in discriminating between children and adults who are not what he thinks they should be. For him and others of his ilk some are good/saved and others are bad/lost.
Cardinal 23 bemoans the absence of a national debate on the matter. Wrong again. This issue has been debated by governments, the press and the people for at least 40 years and the result is that the majority of French citizens now support same-sex marriage, which has been a long-standing demand articulated by large sections of the public.
Cardinal 23 is not only anti-homosexual and same-sex marriage, he is anti-abortion, artificial insemination, stem cell research and more and calls them pagan, sectarian and atheist practices.
His list of accusations and condemnation is long and many other church leaders support him.
There is nothing wrong with the Cardinal expressing his point of view of course, that's his right. On the other hand he and his henchmen have sparked off an ugly public debate and the Catholic Church is de facto trying to influence a secular government. There's nothing wrong with that either. After all, all is fair in love and war.
What is wrong however is to expect the rest of society to refrain from riposting. The church has deliberately picked a fight with society and it is beginning to realise that society is fighting back, hence Charlie Hebdo's cartoon. There's nothing blasphemous about it, at least not in a free country. It insults religion? So what? He and his crew have spent centuries insulting the preferences of real human beings, not just a belief.
Besides, given the well-documented history of widespread pedophelia within the Catholic Church it should not be throwing stones from it's glass house and it has no lessons to give anyone.
The fact is that the Catholic Church is getting a well-deserved dose of its own medecine. Besides, Charlie Hebdo's cartoon is a very mild, almost placebo, criticism of the church compared to the church's own putrid and degenerate slander and slurs which, may I repeat, assimilate homosexuality and same-sex marriage to incest, pedophilia and polygamy.
The Catholic Church should be grateful that Charlie Hebdo has not printed a cartoon of a priest being fellated by a choirboy. That has happened before, and the church may now consider itself warned that if its despicable stigmatisation of people's sexual preferences continues it may well find itself being reminded yet again of its age-old rank hypocrisy and double standards in the matter.