The head of Belgium’s Catholic Church is in hot water for saying gay men deserve AIDS for the “travesty” that is homosexuality and that pedophile priests should go unpunished.
A gay rights lawyer is threatening legal action against Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard — a close friend of the pope — for saying AIDS is “justice” for gay men.
Leonard’s press spokesman, Juergen Mettepenningen, has quit over the remarks, saying, “Monsignor Leonard at times acts like a motorist driving on the wrong side of a motorway who thinks all the other motorists are wrong.”
The Archbishop is quoted by the Pink Paper as saying:
“When you mistreat the environment it ends up mistreating us in turn. And when you mistreat human love, perhaps it winds up taking vengeance.
“All I’m saying is that sometimes there are consequences linked to our actions,” the archbishop said, saying of AIDS, “this epidemic is a sort of intrinsic justice.”
It’s almost like he’s trying to divert our attention from something. I wonder what it could be?
Fortunately he’s had somewhat of a comeuppance (albeit a very small one):
Professor Ian Walden suggests reasons why the government has succeeded in growing its surveillance society:
“Once happy to leave cyberspace ‘unregulated’, Governments, including that of the UK, seem increasingly willing to encroach on what we do, say and see over the Internet,” said Professor Walden, head of the Institute of Computer and Communications Law at Queen Mary, University of London.
He warned that increasing use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will give the authorities access to information about individuals’ private lives.
”As we spend more of our lives online, concerns about the impact of surveillance on rights of expression and privacy are likely to increase,” he said.
Professor Walden, a former trustee on the Internet Watch Foundation, the industry self regulatory body, said that problems such as child pornography, illegal file sharing and terrorism are used to justify ‘Big Brother-like’ scrutiny of all internet activity, even though the vast majority of web users are law abiding.
“The police clearly took advantage of the terrorist bombing in London to get an agenda, which has been around for years, pushed to the forefront” he said.
“They would never have got Government support for data retention, which became a European issue, without the Madrid and London bombings.” The 2004 Madrid bombers used one shared web based email account to make plans, rather than exchanging messages that could be intercepted. Their actions killed 191 people and wounded over 1,000.
I think it’s a pretty accurate analysis of what’s going on right now, without necessarily explaining why. It’s clear paedophilia is ‘in vogue’ with the government – why else persist with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) when there is demonstrably no need for it? Ian Huntley killed Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, but it wasn’t because of an absence of government regulation of people working in the public sector or with children. Notice too how propaganda against digital piracy is being posed as an economic and creative threat to us all, when each has plenty of evidence not to be the case. And just look at how photographers are being harassed, under the ridiculous pretext of having to clamp down on terrorist reconnaissance.
But I don’t think any of them will remain successful factors which push indefinitely towards ever greater surveillance. The resistance against the ISA is considerable, from teachers to writers and parents. The resistance against the presumption that all photographers are terrorists led to an unbelievable turnout at the Mass Gathering in Trafalgar Square last Saturday, and there are complicated groupings beginning to ally against Peter Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill. There’s a tipping point in this process, and I think we’re fast approaching it. I’ll be interested to see what else Prof Walden has to say at his lecture at Queen Mary, University of London next week.
From the British Journal of Photography:
One day after Malcolm Dike took pictures of a sunset from his window, two Community Support Officers questioned him over claims that he could be a paedophile.
A member of the public reported Dike’s actions to the police, as his flat overlooks a youth centre, and it was feared that Dike was taking pictures of kids. ‘It was absolutely outrageous – I have been taking photos for years and never had any problems before,’ Dike told the Daily Mail. ‘My home overlooks the Oasis Youth Centre and apparently whoever complained was afraid I might have been taking photos of the children. That was completely untrue, of course, but the police have no right to come round here asking questions anyway.’
I’m floored. This paranoid, busybody behaviour is setting us against one another in ways we’ve never previously conceived. In the last 10 years many of us have come to the opinion that photographers are either terrorists or paedophiles, and that photography should be tightly controlled (or prohibited) – all without a shred of evidence to back such attitudes up. We prohibit photography on public land, we assume that anyone photographing a building wants to blow it up (and terrorist photography scouts are an as-yet undiscovered phenomenon), and anyone with a camera near children wants to take sexually objectifying pictures of them. I’m fed up with said ‘member of the public’ and sickened by the tin-pot police substitutes who actually gave this more than a second’s thought.