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Feb 20 2012

Up for a prize

Good morning girls and boys, it’s time for Monday’s entries in the “What Week-old Dead Fish Can We Throw at Richard Dawkins Today?” contest.

A big round of applause for Mary Ann Sieghart at The Independent, who wastes no time but gets to the vulgar abuse right out of the gate.

The Church of England couldn’t hope for a better enemy than Richard Dawkins. Puffed-up, self-regarding, vain, prickly and militant, he displays exactly the character traits that could do with some Christian mellowing. In fact, he’s almost an advertisement against atheism. You can’t help thinking that a few Sundays in the pews and the odd day volunteering in a Church-run soup kitchen might do him the power of good.

That’s some professional journalism, wouldn’t you say? Informative, accurate, well-documented, carefully verified, reasoned, impartial – everything you expect of a quality newspaper. It’s great to have journalists telling us exactly how much they hate hate hate this one public figure instead of frittering away their talents on actually saying something of substance. I look forward to the day when journalists start telling us about this kid who pissed them off in the third grade.

And by the way I can very easily help thinking that a few Sundays in the pews and the odd day volunteering in a Church-run soup kitchen might do him the power of good. What I really can’t help thinking is that Mary Ann Sieghart is a shameless slanderous hack who ought to be demoted to covering dog shows.

And that’s not a lazy cliché

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha – that’s a good one.

And that’s not a lazy cliché; for the power of good is what the Church in this country exemplifies. It’s by no means true of all religions at all times – far from it – but here and now we are extraordinarily lucky to have the established Church we have. The Church of England is broadly charitable, open, welcoming, tolerant, compassionate and undogmatic.

Only up to a point – and only because it is so comparatively powerless. It’s that, to the extent that it is, only because it has been forced to be – by secularism and by secular influences, mostly.

But it still has its bishops in the House of Lords. That’s still a little sliver of theocracy; it’s still a bad arrangement.

The great thing about the Church of England is that it couldn’t be less militant. If anything, people criticise it for being too meek and mild. Personally I prefer a Church that is forgiving and undogmatic…

Really? Then why the row of personally insulting labels at the beginning of the piece?

“Gently and assuredly”, said the Queen, the Church has created such an environment in this country. I like those adverbs.

See above.

13 comments

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  1. 1
    Bernard Hurley

    …Mary Ann Sieghart is a shameless slanderous hack who ought to be demoted to covering dog shows.

    Here, Rover, bite, bite!

  2. 2
    Cam

    “some Christian mellowing”

    Some what, now?

  3. 3
    Bernard Hurley

    Christian mellowing is for people who are into bondage.

  4. 4
    Slow Learner

    I used to rather like Mary Ann Sieghart – she did a good line in mellow thought pieces for the Times, some years ago.

    This is an appalling piece of work though. Is there a single UK newspaper that *hasn’t* had a hit piece on Dawkins in the last week? What’s going on?

  5. 5
    Ian MacDougall

    What now?

    Clearly there is only one course open now for Richard Dawkins: confess the error of his ways and join the C of E, otherwise known as the Tory Party at Prayer.

    If he runs into Mary Ann Sieghart down at some village dog show, he should express his gratitude.

  6. 6
    jerthebarbarian

    What’s going on is that the courts in the UK ruled that opening an official meeting with prayer was against the law, and the RDF released the results of a poll saying that Christians in the UK aren’t really very observant and are more cultural Christians than they are believers.

    These twin events have stirred up the pot. And Dawkins is a convenient target for angry religious people who don’t want to face up to the fact that their religious beliefs aren’t REALLY shared by the bulk of the population.

    Moderate religious folks can have a live and let live attitude with atheism as long as they can continue to believe that the moderate religious folks are the “normal” ones and that the atheists are the “abnormal” ones. But as soon as there’s a small bit of evidence that maybe, just maybe, they’re the ones with the “weird” beliefs and the atheists have beliefs that are actually closer to “normal” for the population, they start to get skittish.

  7. 7
    peterh

    Deflect much?

  8. 8
    NathanDST

    Really? Then why the row of personally insulting labels at the beginning of the piece?

    Because the C of E is so forgiving, of course. It will forgive her for making such insults. If it wasn’t so forgiving, it might not forgive her. And then she couldn’t be insulting.

  9. 9
    Steve Bowen

    I have been the first to point out that RD can sometimes be less than ideal as a spokesperson for atheism, but really? No one this week has actually presented one single cogent reasoned argument against the results of the Mori poll his foundation commissioned. If anything says he has won this particular round, this ad hominem drivel definitely does.

  10. 10
    Mick H

    Back when she worked for the Times, Sieghart was renowned for her self-regarding pieces about the wonderfully fulfilled life she led, and her extraordinarily gifted children – to the extent that she regularly featured in Private Eye as “Mary Anne Bighead”, with her ghastly daughters Brainella and Intelligencia. Very cruel it was – I almost felt sorry for her.

    Almost, but not quite.

  11. 11
    dirigible

    The great thing about the Church of England is that it couldn’t be less militant.

    Except in its defence of its own privilege. And in its attacks on the liberty of others.

    “Gently and assuredly”, … I like those adverbs.

    But not enough to apply them to her own public statements.

    At all.

  12. 12
    skepticlawyer

    Demoted to covering dog shows? Never! The people at Crufts wouldn’t stand for it. That’s seriously competitive, that; like Ascot only more intense…

  13. 13
    skepticlawyer

    Crufts requires a proper journalist, ’tis all.

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