Archive for September 2011
After some struggle and public controversy, the pope was allowed to speak at the Bundestag in Berlin. It was a small victory for him though, as over one hundred delegates chose not to appear as a gesture of protest.
I feel with them: For anyone with modern values it must be painful to watch Europe’s last absolute monarch speak at the very heart of our democracy – The pope is the head of the only western state that has yet to ratify the international Bill of Human Rights.
Anyhow, the ruling conservative politicians just couldn’t have that. And so they chose to initiate what I view as one of the most pathetic moments in Germnan politics of (at least) the last two decades: They filled the empty seats with extras.
Which, by the way, I think ought to have consequences. The absent delegates in this case perfectly fulfilled their function of representing the German public. Masking this fact to the media (as well as to the pope!) is to lie to the people they are supposed to represent, in order to make a guest feel welcome who is unwelcome to half of the people here.
Anyhow. Meanwhile, more than 20.000 people went to the streets, making their anger at this blatant disregard of our constitution known. Among the many groups reporting the protest were, among others, several Human Rights organizations, the “Black Block” of the left-extremist AntiFa (anti-fascist initiative) and of course numerous feminist and gay groups. Here’s some pictures:
The Pope’s reaction to the protests, of course, was consistently in line with his churches’ policy: He ignored them.
There’s an Australian series called “The Gruen Transfer”. It’s kind of a comedy show with political context. I can’t really claim to have seen it, as it’s an Australian show and I only get to see snippets on YouTube. However, One of these snippets is what I’d like to share with you today: It’s a segment called “The Pitch”, in which they apparently ask different advertisement agencies to produce TV ads advertising completely unsellable ideas, such as “bring back child labour” or “Let’s Invade New Zealand”. In the end they vote for the best of the submitted ads.
In the following segment, the chosen theme is “Ban All Religion”. Two Agencies took up the challenge, and here is what they came up with. Enjoy!
Personally, I’d vote for the first ad because the second one is based on an argument that has been shown to fail repeatedly. That wars are waged and people are killed in the name of religion is nothing new, it has been pointed out millions of times. The only reaction it gets is “well, that’s just the extremists.” It’s the old and tired the-center-vs-the-fringe-debate, and it’s unlikely to be won by posing the same argument yet another time. The subversive argumentation of the first clip is way more likely to actually change minds, plus it’s not as negative as the second one.
“Religion is bad, let’s do away with it!” puts most people instantly on defense, even if they are not themselves religious. “Religion is outdated, we can do way better than that!” is a message much more likely to open people up to reconsider their views.