What’s the first thing that pops into your head when someone says “censorship”? My first thought is that someone in a position of authority has misused that position to silence someone in a manner that is unfair and unjust. As you may have guessed from the title of the post, people are claiming that the pope has been censored in a most undemocratic and intolerant manner.
He was to give a speech on abolishing the death penalty at La Sapienza during a school ceremony a couple of days ago. Students and faculty members protested his appearance. They hung up signs stating “no pope” and “science is secular”.
Sixty of the schools 4500 faculty members even signed a letter protesting his appearance. As a result the pope canceled the engagement without explanation.
Pope Benedict XVI has canceled his visit to a Rome university following protests by secular professors and students, the Vatican said today.
Such a cancellation of a scheduled papal event is extremely rare, and the few times it has happened in recent decades, the Vatican cited security concerns. No specific reason was given in a brief Vatican announcement and Vatican spokesmen could not be reached for comment.
“It was considered opportune to skip the event,” the Vatican said of Benedict’s planned visit and speech Thursday at La Sapienza, a public university. Instead, the Pope will send his speech to the university.
When news of the cancellation reached the campus, students in a political sciences hall broke into applause.
About 60 of the 4,500 professors at the university had signed a letter to the university rector, opposing the visit. Banners reading “Science is secular” and “No pope” have been strung from university buildings and posters plastered on walls objected to the visit. Students had announced several days of demonstrations this week. The university has 145,000 students.
Censorship, eh? Seems like good ole freedom of speech to me. Of course, religious people (especially majority religious people) have different definitions for various terms such as the ones used to described the protests:
- Censorship: what you call any action that results in you not getting your way such as having a religious authority speak at a secular school during an official ceremony.
- Undemocratic: what you call any otherwise democratic action that results in you not getting way such as public protests in the form of sit-ins, banner placements and signed letters.
- Intolerant: what you call any form of disagreement with your group by a usually smaller group that lacks the social, political and economical resources that is a requirement for the privilege of practicing tolerance.
Nothing new really, but I enjoy pointing out how they brazenly redefine and misuse terms to persuade listeners/readers that they’re the ones in the powerless position despite the actual facts one can easily learn about their respective groups.
For example, how does one go about “censoring” and being “intolerant” of a group that self-reportedly accounts for 90 to 95 percent of the country’s population and 1/6 of the world’s population (somewhere around six billion) as members?
Especially when that group’s seat of power is a independent city-state, ruled by an elected monarch, that has it’s own security force and is recognized throughout the world as a national territory which allows it to operate in the same manner that recognizedly countries (ie, Canada) operate?
It’d be like trying to climb Mt. Everest in a bikini with no supplies at the height of the Himalayan winter.