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Dawkins & Hitchens plan a legal ambush to have Pope arrested

Yep, you heard right. Dawkins and Hitchens are planning on getting the Pope arrested when he visits England in September:

“Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.

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Benedict will be in Britain between September 16 and 19, visiting London, Glasgow and Coventry, where he will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th-century theologian.

Dawkins and Hitchens believe the Pope would be unable to claim diplomatic immunity from arrest because, although his tour is categorised as a state visit, he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.”

(Side note: Could the Times have possibly found a more evil looking photo of Dawkins? Sheesh)

I find this quite interesting. I’m not well versed in international or British law, so the fact that this is plausible is intriguing. And I have to say, I agree with Dawkins’ and Hitchens’ sentiment. The Pope and the Catholic Church have systematically covered up hundreds of cases of child rape. They shouldn’t receive immunity because they’re a religious organization – thinking you have an imaginary friend isn’t exactly a good reason to commit such horrible crimes.

At the same time, I’m a little worried. There are still many people out there that are sympathetic to the Pope, and to have two figureheads for atheism going after him isn’t going to be too great for our image. I really hope that other religious figures will join in and support Dawkins and Hitchens. We need to show that this isn’t some atheist agenda to bring down the Catholic church – it’s a human agenda to protect our children and deliver justice.

(Hat tip to Miranda)

EDIT: It seems the Times has overblown the story a bit. For more of an explanation, check out this post.