We, the undersigned, share the view that Pope Ratzinger [This sort of gratuitous discourtesy merely puts the signers' immaturity on display] should not be given the honour of a state visit to this country. We believe that the pope, as a citizen of Europe and the leader of a religion with many adherents in the UK, is of course free to enter and tour our country. [Mighty white of you.] However, as well as a religious leader, the pope is a head of state, and the state and organisation of which he is head has been responsible for:
Opposing the distribution of condoms and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of AIDS. [Take note that papal opposition hasn’t stopped the distribution of condoms anywhere. The increase of large families and the spread of AIDS has been in countries where condoms have been widely distributed. In areas where the government has actively promoted chastity and fidelity, AIDS has diminished as a threat.]
- Promoting segregated education. [And this is a problem ... how? By not making Catholic schools non-sectarian?]
- Denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women. [Because the Pope is for the most fundamental human right—the right of life.]
- Opposing equal rights for lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people. [The only thing the Pope has openly opposed is same-sex marriage, which is an oxymoron. See the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s letter On the pastoral care of homosexual persons. It was written while Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger was the Prefect of the Congregation.]
- Failing to address the many cases of abuse of children within its own organisation. [Okay, and where have you been the last eight or nine years? The Catholic Church has done a lot more to address the problem than most government-run school systems.]
The state of which the pope is head has also resisted signing many major human rights treaties [Hmm ... these “major human rights treaties” wouldn’t happen to define abortion and contraception as “human rights”, would they?] and has formed its own treaties (“concordats”) with many states which negatively affect the human rights of citizens of those states. [How? By securing the citizens’ right to practice their Catholicism openly?] In any case, we reject the masquerading of the Holy See as a state and the pope as a head of state as merely a convenient fiction to amplify the international influence of the Vatican. [Make up your mind, please! If he's not a head of a valid state, then your protest of the Vatican's policies is irrelevant. If he is, then there's no convenient fiction to reject.]
For notables, we have Steven Fry (the homosexual humanist game-show host with bipolar disorder, who blamed the Poles for Auschwitz because they are Catholic), Richard Dawkins (the kind of atheist who makes atheism look bad), Terry Pratchett (the fantasy/sci-fi author who is suffering rapid-onset Alzheimer’s), Phillip Pullman (the atheist author of the His Dark Materials trilogy), Ken Follett (damn, I liked Pillars of the Earth, too), and … um … well … a whole lot of Brits who are obscure even to other Brits.
Please take note that almost all the forty signatories are members of the BHA—that’s “British Humanist Association”, though after this piece it would be better called “Blithering, Hysterical Asshats”.