Yet another group of absurd debaters
(Remark: Apart from Creationism, religion has hardly ever been a topic on this blog, so I take the opportunity to stress that my opinion of religion and typical religious organisations is mostly negative. I am, however, also a believer in fair debate based on arguments, facts, and reasoning—not, even be it against things of religion, cheap rhetoric, misrepresentations, and insults.)
Following up on the tags of my latest post, I encountered a blog entry calling the Pope a “card carrying Nazi”e. Having repeatedly seen this faulty (and, probaly, libelous) claim made based on his membership in Hitler Jugend, I left a correction:
The Pope is by no means a card-carrying Nazi. To quote from Wikipedia:
> Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth — as membership was required by law for all 14-year old German boys after December 1939 — but was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings. His father was an enemy of Nazism, believing it conflicted with the Catholic faith.
The reply was a confounding:
I think his anti-gay and anti-woman edicts state exactly what he is!
(I note, with an eye on later comments, that no reservation was added that “nazi” had been intended in a metaphorical sense. In addition, “card-carrying” does speak against a metaphorical use, and points to a formal membership or, in an extended sense, very strong support on an ideological level.)
I will leave the question whether the Pope is anti-gay and anti-woman aside (but I do make the reservation that it is not uncommon for PC groups to have extremely broad and unfair definitions of terms like these). However, as I continued,
[e]ven if someone makes anti-X edicts, that does not automatically make him a Nazi. Raising taxes does not make a US president a communist, for that matter.
I’m sorry that you completely missed the entire point of the original post. Your defense of the Pope and segue of comparing raising taxes and communism and the US president are rather confusing.
How a switch is made to ad hominem.
How the sub-issue actually under discussion is dropped, with neither a concessation nor any arguments as to why the issue is not conceded.
How an incorrect claim (in context: accusation) that I would be defending the Pope is made, although I have so far merely pointed to a factually incorrect statement (respectively, an extraordinary statement that would require extraordinary proof).
How an analogy showing why the attribution of Nazism over anti-X claims is absurd is dismissed and (likely) deliberately misinterpreted as an attempt to “segue” to an irrelevant topic.
I stand by my answer:
It seems rather that you miss the point of my commment: There is no indication that Pope is now or has ever been a Nazi. If you dislike and want to criticize him or his action, use factual arguments—not unwarranted and irrelevant accusations. (In particular, accusations that many victims of WWII or the Holocaust could see as offensive for trivializing their experiences. Your complaint about a possible gay–nazi comparison [the topic of the original post] becomes very hypocritical in this light.)
The following reply from another commenter (webwordwarrior), I found both rude and highly misleading—and, as with several similar comments, far-going claims about the Pope were made without any kind of support:
Mr. Eriksson – the other commenters have been very patient with you. Why do you insist on playing these silly word games? The man may or may not have been a literal Nazi. (Given how many new revelations and records keep emerging from that regime, I think it’s safe to say we’ll never know.) Whatever the case, his actions since becoming a well-known Cardinal are so anti-human (child, woman, gay, Muslim, take your pick) that he’s at least Nazi-like. The metaphor may be strong, perhaps even incendiary, but his abuse of power to oppress deserves no better.
Again, I stand by my answer—except in as far as it is overly polite.
With all due respect, your claims that I would be playing word games when I rectify a repeated and unfounded accusation (I note that the “Hitler Jugend” connection has often been used to imply a very literal “the Pope is a Nazi”) and that the other commenters have been patient (after three brief and factual comments from me, all entirely justified) borders on the ridiculous.
As for what the Pope has or has not done since, I cannot speak with authority—I tend to leave religious issues to those who actually are religious. However, none of it is on par with starting a global war or the Holocaust; nor is there any justification in making an ideological association. (Further, AFAIK, most or all of it has been basically re-affirming the previous position of the Catholic Church.)
In the (at the time of writing) last comment, the highly offensive and tiresome white-hetero-men-are-privileged–everyone-else-is-a-victim claim rears its ugly head again:
Those of us being targeted by the Pope don’t have the luxury of not paying attention to him, as you seem to have. With all due respect, you speak as though you come from the privilege of being white, male, and heterosexual. If this is indeed correct, you are the power structure of the world.
There are so many things wrong with such statements that it boggles my mind that anyone can take them seriously—even apart from their common use (as above) as an unethical and misleading ad hominem. Consider e.g. the extreme over-generalisation and factual error that is contained in grouping all white (etc.) men into one homogeneous group and further painting this group as privileged—where most are not. (Indeed, a very strong case can be made that women form a more privileged group in many countries, including, definitely, Sweden and, likely, the US.) Alternatively, take the fact that the resulting minority is a fairly small one: After each special-interest group has had its say, we speak of non-Hispanic White, straight, Christian, Anglo-Saxon, middle-class, non-immigrant, whatnot, men. In the end, we have a small fraction of the population allegedly dominating the world.
By and large, this offensive claim is not one iota better than various racist, anti-gay, whatnot, sentiments—and, in this, it is one of the most widespread hypocrisies of our day.
Looking specifically at the quote above, an additional concern is what need “us” actually has to pay attention to the Pope: His influence on non-Catholic countries is limited, even other varieties of Christianity (let alone secular institutions) have very different ideas on many issues, and particular notice is only relevant when and where he changes the Church’s take on various issues. His opinions will have a very limited impact on the lifes of even a black homosexual woman in the US, Canada, and most of the rest of the world. The situation is possibly different in e.g. Mexico, but now we mostly talk countries where being a non-Hispanic White is no advantage. Even here in Cologne, one of Catolicism’s historically most important cities, it is common to see same-sex couples holding hands or even kissing in public—and hardly anyone even takes notice anymore.