The University of Mississippi on its website bills itself as "A Great Public University".
I don’t know if they receive public funds or not.
The administration seems to tolerate anti-Catholic bigotry in a paper associated with the University.
The Daily Mississippian is a student run paper described to be both "of the University" and also "independent". Also, the web presense of the same seems to be separate to an extent from the print edition. Nevertheless, this entity is associated formally with Ole Miss. I don’t know where it gets its funding. Is any of it from tax payers?
And so we come to it. It is an old story: a young know-it-all makes a foolish spectacle of himself with his shallow considerations of the relationship of reason and faith.
The problem rests less in his lack of understanding of what he is writing about, as it does in his bigotry.
I am sure tens of people pay attention to this puppy, Caviness. Are we giving him more attention than he is due? Perhaps. Still, this is an exemplary piece.
You could use it in a classroom to underscore all manner of object lessons.
The Catholic Church has their hands full
3 March 2009
By Jason Caviness
The Catholic Church is in a royal hubbub again. You have probably read about Bishop William Richardson, [Yes.... "William Richardson" and not "Richard Williamson". He is off to a splendid start, this budding young columnist.] the Catholic priest who recently had his excommunication lifted by Joseph Ratzinger, now commonly referred to as Pope Benedict XVI. Richardson made headlines in late January when he went on Swedish television and had this to say – with a straight face – about the Holocaust, “I believe there were no gas chambers … I think that two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps … but none of them by gas chambers.”
Richardson was excommunicated back in 1988 for reasons unrelated to his Holocaust denial by Pope John Paul II, who Richardson criticized for being too progressive and not nearly medieval enough in his condemnations. After John Paul II shuffled off his mortal coil and was replaced with a good old fashioned woman – and homosexual-hating pontiff – Richardson was welcomed back into the holy clubhouse. That is, until footage of him making idiotic statements about the Holocaust aired all over the world. Now all of a sudden the Vatican is feigning outrage and are trying to distance themselves from this public relations snafu.
People all over the world are expressing their surprise with Richardson’s faulty grasp on reality, but why are they shocked? This is not the first time that the church has done something shockingly ridiculous, nor will it be the last. The thing is, doing and saying outrageous things is their stock-in-trade. Without their callous disregard for evidence and reason, there wouldn’t even be a church. After all, what is Christianity without the immaculate conception? Without the resurrection? Without the worship of a trinity that is somehow not polytheism? [Also well-schooled in metaphysics, I see.]
[Up to this point, the puppy has merely shown some coarse bigotry. Now he reveals his lack of understanding of understanding about the relationship of fides and ratio, auctoritas and intellectus.]
Richardson and the Vatican are only a part of the problem. The real villain here is irrationality itself. Without irrationality, religion would never have gained the foothold it currently has on the human condition. Irrationality leads to things [the depth!] like the Holocaust and 9/11 (Richardson also denies that planes struck the towers). Irrational thought makes a virtue of faith, which is belief without evidence to support it. [sigh... ]
Once you believe virgins can get pregnant, anything goes. [back to the bigotry] Many irrational beliefs are innocuous enough; virgin birth, walking on water, healing the sick with only a touch. But once logic has been devalued to the point of irrelevancy, the mind is open to infection by the worst ideas that man can devise, and there are always evil men eager to pollute the minds of others.
The bishop clearly has no regard for evidence (indeed, what “holy” man does?). [Prepare yourselves for the irony of the following... savor the irony...] We know the Holocaust occurred because of a convergence of evidence, not just because somebody told us so. Richardson’s mind is apparently so conditioned to accepting things on “authority” that he feels no pressure to provide evidence to support his stupid claims. Richardson and the Vatican will tell you irrevocably false nonsense like Communion wafers and wine are literally the body and blood of Christ, and that’s harmless enough. [back to bigotry] But they will also tell you horribly destructive things. They will tell you AIDS is not as bad as condom use. They will tell you you are a wretched creature who is guilty of a sin committed – inexplicably – prior to your birth, and that you should lead a guilt-ridden life because of it. [young fool]
I will acknowledge religion has done some good and that it continues to do so. But this latest fiasco betrays the true tenets of all religion; [as if he knew any of them that well... but let that pass] deceit and hostility towards reason. Try as they may to separate themselves from Richardson and his cohorts in the uber-conservative Society of St. Pius X, [Consider the writer's ability to get Williamson's name right, ... ] the church will forever have PR issues like this one. By embracing superstition over logic, they have guaranteed as much.
This is a boyish attempt at being clever. He is writing beyond his depth.
What I have a harder time squaring is how this comes to be printed in a publication of Ole Miss.
Ironically the motto of Old Miss is Pro Scientia et Sapientia.