Pharyngula

I must have a lot of Australian readers, or the few of you are really upset about this, because I’m getting a rising volume of email about World Youth Day. This is a bizarre Catholic get-together for young people — bizarre because, well, the idea of a pack of Catholic priests herding a flock of young boys and girls into one central mass sounds like the preliminaries to a feeding frenzy to me — which is going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, a substantial chunk of which is being subsidized by Australian taxpayers. Isn’t it a bit peculiar that a secular government is paying for a massive membership drive for sectarian superstition? Furthermore, the Australian government is expanding police authority to restrict protests at the event, levying prohibitive fines for even trivial expressions of free speech.

All this for a goofy medieval religion that has decided that it needs to get jiggy with the young’uns to maintain its relevance.

Anyway, Australian atheists, agnostics, and secularists, you’ve got reason to be pissed off. The thread is yours.

Comments

  1. #1 Brendon Brewer
    June 30, 2008

    Bloody World Youth Day!

    Is anyone here going to any protests? I’ve only heard about the NoToPope group, which seems OK, but are acting like gay rights is the only issue.

  2. #2 Chris
    June 30, 2008

    It’s not quite as simple as spending taxpayer’s money on a religious event. The pope is the head of state of a recognised nation. Yes, I’m pissed that a lot of the cost of what is effectively a big mass is funded, but the security and whatnot are expected when a head of state arrives.

    I am looking forward to what the Chaser Team have planned…

  3. #3 Coffeeassured
    June 30, 2008

    I can’t believe they have the arrogance to call it world youth day. Let alone the fact that they practically arm twisted the government into paying for something they could have easily afforded themselves.

    They presume to call it world youth day even though it is a religious event that only caters for a single subsection of a single religion.

  4. #4 Silver
    June 30, 2008

    Oh yes, I hate this, and I don’t even live in Sydney where the majority of traffic problems and freedom restrictions are taking place.

    I’d love to protest this properly, but I doubt I can make it to Sydney during the event.

  5. #5 Wowbagger
    June 30, 2008

    Yeah, it’s pretty sickening.

    It kind of illustrates the power the head catholic in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, has over the government. He’s given far more notice in the media than anyone of his insignificance (in real-world terms) should be.

    We may be secular but the current prime minister, Kevin07, is a self-proclaimed catholic.

  6. #6 Karl
    June 30, 2008

    The first I ever heard of this was when I found a calender in the post office called “World youth day” and for every month there was a picture of an elderly man.

  7. #7 CanadianChick
    June 30, 2008

    isn’t this a periodic event that’s held in a different location each time? I’m sure I heard about it a few years ago too.

    it’s not just Aussies – the son of one of my coworkers is going there too – and my coworker got sucked into being a chaparone.

  8. #8 ChemBob
    June 30, 2008

    It’s like an epidemic of superstitious nonsense being spread from brain to brain by a viral hoax gene! What sort of evolutionary pressures have caused this virus to thrive so completely on money, power and blind belief by its hosts in imaginary sky critters? And it seems to find its initial purchase in political leaders who then work to spread the virus by bringing those without immunity together for viral infusion via copious servings of cultured Kool-Aid!

    Seriously, has the majority of humanity completely taken leave of its senses? Are things finally so bad in this world that people are looking for any easy way out even if that means adding oneself to a mass delusion that can’t possibly resolve any of the serious issues that drove them to the abyss of irrationality?

  9. #9 Bren
    June 30, 2008

    >>We may be secular but the current prime minister, Kevin07, is a self-proclaimed catholic. <<

    Actually he’s an anglican.

  10. #10 Coffeeassured
    June 30, 2008

    @ #5 Wowbagger

    To be entirely fair when Cardinal Pell tried to interfere with the vote on stem cell research practically everyone told him to get lost.

  11. #11 MAJeff, OM
    June 30, 2008

    Is World Youth Day is a dating service for priests?

  12. #12 Brian English
    June 30, 2008

    Yes MAJeff. I believe it is. Fucking insanity.

  13. #13 Eric TF Bat
    June 30, 2008

    >>the current prime minister, Kevin07, is a self-proclaimed catholic.
    >Actually he’s an anglican.

    Which is barely a religion at all really. Just an excuse for a king to ditch an inconvenient wife (and an inconvenient extra layer of government, but never mind that).

    Unfortunately, while Chairman Kevin is a dramatic improvement over the former Prime Rodent, he still has his flaws; a willingness to kowtow to the religious nuts is a major one.

    My brother came up with bumper stickers that I quite liked:

    World Youth Day 2008
    One Stadium
    500,000 Christians
    What’s Missing…?
    Sponsor A Lion Today!

  14. #14 Wowbagger
    June 30, 2008

    #9:

    My mistake. Apparently he was raised catholic, which was obviously the bit i remembered.

  15. #15 Trevor Murray
    June 30, 2008

    If there’s an interesting world youth day even’t going down in Caberra I’d be happy to go along.

  16. #16 Patricia
    June 30, 2008

    I read in a news blurb that the fine for wagging your weinie at the pope is $5500!
    If only I could be in Oz for the pope parade I’d deck myself out in stringers of every sort of weinie and sausage I could find & carry a sign saying “Catholics Love Children”.

  17. #17 Trevor Murray
    June 30, 2008

    Oh man I love that bumper sticker.

  18. #18 the great and powerful oz
    June 30, 2008

    Several councils in the Eastern Suburbs are urging people to
    take the week off work, if they have leave available.

    Right, I’ll sacrifice MY damn holidays for some paedophile-protecting nazi lunatic and his minions.

    Then again, the alternative is spending hours longer plowing through the closed roads and milling hordes to fight my way to work, while they flock to the confessional booths and generally choke up the city.
    Bastards.

    @ Brendon:
    Apparently the NoToPope group plan to hand out millions of condoms. Since that’s probably the most DIRECT way the Catholic Church is killing people off, seems fair to me!

  19. #19 Derek H
    June 30, 2008

    Now, if I ever hear any Protestant in America claim we shouldn’t have a separation of church and state, I’ll let them know that this is what it would be like.

  20. #20 Phaedrus
    June 30, 2008

    Our enlightened country is surely and slowly moving into the Dark Ages, which is a bit of a novelty, since it’s the 21st century.

    Our slide backwards started with the Olympic Games of 2000, when The System [cue dramatic music here] gained powers over when and where you could pass wind. Then, with the circus that was APEC last year, our civil liberties really went out the window (and hats of to the Chaser guys who showed up these pompous suits for what they really were). Unfortunately, this has now set what seems to be an acceptable precedent.

    So now, when the Poop comes to town, all the machinery and “justification” is in place to make sure that we are totally inconvenienced to the MAX.

    You know what? I’m tired of this crap. I’m tired of not being able to go from one side of the street to the other without fear of being body-searched because my shirt might be the wrong colour. APEC was bad enough, but “World Youth Day” (what a load of shit – since when is the Catholic Church the whole world, except in their eyes?) promises to be the ultimate lunacy. How is what we’re turning into any different from living in the Eastern Bloc in the fifties? Seriously – no tin foil hats, just an honest question.

    The politicians here that are responsible for this stupidity are, by and large, Old Boys from Catholic schools. Small wonder all of them are in arse-kissing mode. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that most of inner Sydney is going to be under virtual lockdown because they want to stage their Stations Of The Cross pantomime. I have a friend who was raised a staunch Catholic, but when she grew up she got a brain and dumped it post haste. She told me the Stations Of The Cross parade is the most mind-numbingly boring thing she’d ever had to endure. So now, we will ALL have to endure it, because the circus has well and truly come to town.

    You know, I wonder if there would be this much bending over if the Muslims had asked for the same deal and wanted to stage Mohammed playing water polo or something?

    You bet your arse there wouldn’t be.

    The article quotes:
    ‘But the State Government said “World Youth Day is a happy and positive celebration of youth” and “no additional or ‘APEC-like’ police powers have been granted under the World Youth Day regulations”.

    The Catholic Church denied it had called for such powers.’

    Bollocks they didn’t.

    Last year, when there was a NSW parliamentary bill to overturn a ban on stem cell research, George Pell (our local leading Catholic Arse Kisser In Waiting) actually THREATENED Catholic members of parliament with excommunication if they didn’t vote *his* way. So now, you expect us to believe that the church didn’t at least drop a little whisper into the government’s ear about the Ratzenberger Review flying into town?

    This is extraordinary: “more than 40 city locations, including museums, galleries and cinemas, as well as Darling Harbour, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Randwick Racecourse and parklands”, “More than 500 schools across Sydney and 35 train and bus stations have also been listed as “declared areas”. People entering them will be subject to vehicle and baggage searches that require them to remove jackets, gloves, shoes and headwear if requested. “Reasonable force may be used to effect the person’s exclusion” if they do not permit the search, the regulations stipulate.”

    What have we turned into? This is INSANE.

    Am I pissed off? HELL, YES!

  21. #21 Michael
    June 30, 2008

    The Sydney Morning Herald made the point that it’d cost 5,500 dollars in fines to wear an anti-catholic shirt or hand out condoms in protest, but only 1,100 if you were to perform an act of public indecency.
    So it makes me wonder, if you went to a protest naked wearing a condom would that be $6,600? :)

  22. #22 Ichthyic
    June 30, 2008

    hmm, how to protest this…

    encourage NAMBLA to have a conference right across the street?

    then have someone write a journal article comparing/contrasting(?) NAMBLA and the CC.

  23. #23 Goffer
    June 30, 2008

    “Am I pissed off? HELL, YES!”

    Then maybe you should join up and become a youth day participant. Then you can call the cops on anyone and everyone who annoys you…

  24. #24 Mardonius
    July 1, 2008

    First APEC, now this. I’m sick of the state government telling us when and where we can breathe just so a bunch of worshippers of a guy in a funny hat can invade our city.They say they wont put the excessive measures used for APEC in place (which included putting a massive wall right through the centre of the CBD, complete with police checkpoints and rooftop snipers)but in truth, they’ve been steadily granting police powers under our noses.

    I’m not sure I can live in a city that cares more for the revenue from selling bobbleheaded saint dolls than the freedom and rights of it’s citizens(not that we have any formal bill of rights). Norway is beggining to look very nice indeed

  25. #25 Caveat
    July 1, 2008

    We had one of these shindigs in TO in 2002. Major pain in the ass in every way.

    Despite the mumbo-jumbo aspect, it’s really just an excuse for the kids to mingle and hang out the way we all did in the 60s.

    They had a gruesome play that went up University Avenue, a major street, which simulated the last hours of their god’s kid’s life.

    It’s such a morbid, bloodthirsty religion – but the clothes are to die for!

  26. #26 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    Then you can call the cops on anyone and everyone who annoys you…

    I keep thinking about that end-scene from the remake of “Body Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland pointing at the “human” and emitting that piercing “pod scream”.

    I mean, that’s essentially what these organized religions end up producing after all, a bunch of fucking pod-people.

  27. #27 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    … in fact, I just got a jones to watch that flick again; haven’t seen it in about 20 years.

    ah, gotta love torrents.

  28. #28 Bride of Shrek
    July 1, 2008

    The Legislation they are bringing in specifically for the event is so broad its wording possible allows for arrest and search powers for the junta (sorry- police), for as small a “protest” as wearing an anti-religo T-Shirt or handing out aforesaid condoms. It completely sucks that the NSW Gov is basically bending over, spreading both cheeks and telling the Catholics to come and enjoy themselves at the State’s expense. I can’t pretend this also couldn’t happen in Qld but it bloody ahouldn’t happen ANYWHERE. Appalling waste of time, money and commonsense.

  29. #29 the great and powerful oz
    July 1, 2008

    Hmm… maybe this is finally an opportunity for the Dob-In-A-Terrorist(TM) hotline to come into its own!

    “Hello, there are some suspicious looking characters in robes doing some kind of a ritual… they’re carrying something with smoke coming out of it… Oh no! Now they’re getting into a big truck and heading towards the crowd! Better get the Special Operations Group in here quick!”

  30. #30 Kel
    July 1, 2008

    This is absolute bollocks, after the 127 million dollars we’ve spent to put on the event, giving them fucking porcelain toilets instead of portaloos, providing pilgrims with accomodation and now they want the right not to be offended as well? FUCK!

    Maybe the reason that people are going to protest is because despite having everything handed to them on a silver platter they still claim persecution and suffering. For an organisation that has direct control over a billion people, who has the capacity to stop the spread of AIDS in Africa (which is resorting to a barbaric ritual as opposed to condom use), where priests who molest children are shifted to a new area rather than being given the public shaming they deserve, where the residents of the Vatican live in luxury using their power to laud over the genuinely starving and needy, and teaching people in the 3rd world to be happy in poverty while raking in whatever tithing they can to fund the grandeur of the church, keeping giving concessions and consolidating the power-base of an archaic institution should NOT be a priority of our government. And now to stifle speech and expression for those sycophants? Australia is slowly turning into a police state and it’s doing so in the most underhanded way possible; through democracy.

    So yeah, absolute load of bollocks. Fuck the pope, fuck Catholicism, and fuck the government for welcoming this parade of sycophants and subservients with open arms and a huge wad of cash.

  31. #31 Cowcakes
    July 1, 2008

    Its truly horrifying that the term “causing annoyance” is the parameter for being open to such legal sanctions. Talk about priming something for abuse.

    I like many of my compatriots in Oz, apart from the waste of public funds and disruption, couldn’t give a flying fuck what the deluded flock of god botherers did to waste their time and money. However when they bring in special draconian legislation to protect the poor sensitive little dears from being annoyed I look at it as being an all out attack on democracy.

    Not wishing to overburden our already overstretched police, I still hope that this legislation brings out the anti authoritarian spirit for which we are known and floods the streets with protesters against these wankers.

    The old Monty Python gag of “Nobody expects a Spanish Inquisition” has unfortunately found form in my home.

  32. #32 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    It’s such a morbid, bloodthirsty religion – but the clothes are to die for!

    they stole much of the “cool” clothing from previous pagan religions, the bishop’s mitre for example, being exactly comparable to the hats worn by Dagon head priests.

    oh hell, it’s just LOADED with pagan symbolism:

    http://www.remnantofgod.org/images/IGC/pagan-rcc.htm

    and of course…

    http://altreligion.about.com/library/glossary/symbols/bldefsvesica.htm

  33. #33 Tim
    July 1, 2008

    I attended WYD in Denver back in 1994 (that was the beginning of high school for me). I remember it being an interesting place where we met interesting people from all around the world. The faith inspiration didn’t stick over time (and I’ve joined the forces of science), but at the time my only complaints were the long bathroom lines and price gouging by McDonalds. It sucks that the Australian government is getting so involved with this.

  34. #34 Michael
    July 1, 2008

    Theres a typical useless poll up:
    http://www.smh.com.au/polls/national/form.html

  35. #35 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    Most of next week I’ll be in Cairns for my cousin’s wedding, and will be flying back into Sydney on the Sunday before WYD. So I’ll be jostling through crowds of jetlagged Catholics to get home. With a hangover. Oh, and half of Qantas will probably be on strike.

    And it’ll cost me $5500 to complain about it.

    Fucking Iemma.

  36. #36 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    As the commenters before me have pointed out,this is disturbing on so many levels :
    The fact that a state government will sponsor with millions of taxpayer’s dollars a gathering of organized pedophiles under the blanket of a “world youth day” is one thing,but to restrict people’s right to freedom of expression is something completely different,and Im a lil surprised Im not hearing more about this in our media(then again,the Australian media is about as capable of critical journalism as the media in Zimbabwe,and not because they are being oppressed).
    To legally hold a whole city ransom for a month and restrict movements and expression of its residents so not to piss off the Pope(or who else??) is really beyond contempt.I cant give out a condom to a catholic person or wear a T-shirt of my choice without risk of being arrested or paying more that I would have to for flinging my dick in someone’s face? Gotta be kidding me,what are we,a police state?
    And as to Kevin 07,its becoming clearer by the minute that this chap is a real weirdo,his pandering to the religulous right during the campaign should have been a warning to all of us .

  37. #37 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    They presume to call it world youth day even though it is a religious event that only caters for a single subsection of a single religion.

    Speaking of which… why does World Youth Day run for nearly a week?

  38. #38 Phaedrus
    July 1, 2008

    #37: “Speaking of which… why does World Youth Day run for nearly a week?”

    Because if the universe was created in 7 days, and each day can be millions of years (never doubt creation science) then a day can be a week. Geeez, didn’t you learn anything at school?

  39. #39 Jess
    July 1, 2008

    I think the Australian government wet itself in excitement about the prospect of someone considered as “important” as the Pope deigning to visit our fair country. There’s this culture of striving to be taken seriously on an international scale, whatever the context, but usually the efforts result in us ending up with poor man’s versions of various events. So when OMG OMG OMG God’s representative on Earth bothers to visit, the government will bend over backwards to make things go as perfectly as possible because, hey everyone, this is Australia’s time to shine! Except it’s not, because suddenly we’re descending into stupidity in order to accommodate the event, with suppression of free speech and criticism and with the expenditure of taxpayer dollars from people who no doubt have absolutely no interest in those dollars going towards stupid pointless Catholic shenanigans.

    Chris @ #2, I desperately hope the Chaser guys have something of great quality planned, possibly on the level of their APEC stunt. Hopefully they’ll find some sort of legal technicality to exploit.

  40. #40 Kel
    July 1, 2008

    @clinteas #36

    And as to Kevin 07,its becoming clearer by the minute that this chap is a real weirdo,his pandering to the religulous right during the campaign should have been a warning to all of us .

    In defence of KRudd, all this was organised prior to his election, it was mainly John Howard’s doing to bring WYD to Australia, he’s bound by obligation.

    His religious characteristics are still somewhat of an unknown quantity, as yet he is yet to wear it on his sleeve like Abbott used to do. Though he’s still got over 2 years before the next election to completely violate church and state so I guess we need to keep an eye out.

  41. #41 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    Because if the universe was created in 7 days, and each day can be millions of years (never doubt creation science) then a day can be a week. Geeez, didn’t you learn anything at school?

    I went to an Anglican school. So… no.

  42. #42 Phaedrus
    July 1, 2008

    #41: “I went to an Anglican school. So… no.”

    And that’s why we should bring Intelligent Design into our schools, so that we may ed-yoo-kate our kids properly!

  43. #43 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    @39

    I think the Australian government wet itself in excitement about the prospect of someone considered as “important” as the Pope deigning to visit our fair country.

    Hey, maybe we could book out Randwick Racecourse and fly PZ out here for World Rationalists Day! And we’d make it illegal for anyone to do anything to offend nonbelievers (i.e. preach or discuss religion in any positive way) in public anywhere in, say, a 20k radius.

    Yeah, that’d happen.

  44. #44 ThinkDifferent
    July 1, 2008

    This is a government (NSW State) where they seem to make draconian and inane laws at the drop of a hat instead of making our hospitals, roads and public transport work. A government where even those of the same political party are saying they’ve been in a term too long. They want to seem active and populist but really just threaten our civil rights. I wish we’d imported the Bill of Rights from the US.

  45. #45 Jason
    July 1, 2008

    Has no-one posted a link to Sydney Atheists yet?

    We have some actions planned but need headcount. Please, get in touch and assist.

    Btw, after reading today’s story on the expanded police powers, I’m quite resigned to being arrested, and have told my boss as much… “Sorry boss, might not be in after WCYD”…

  46. #46 Stuee
    July 1, 2008

    The Australian Constitution section 116 states that the Commonwealth “shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”

    In light of this, taxpayer funding of this event seems to me to be highly unconstitutional. Then again, I have no legal background. Maybe someone who does could shed some light on the matter?

  47. #47 Paul
    July 1, 2008

    I make shirts, and I’ll be making some specifically for this event (although I can’t take any responsibility for anyone getting fined as a result – I’m just a little bit poor).

    I invite anyone to suggest a slogan or design that is more subtle than I can manage – one that might get the message across without being immediately obvious (and less likely to get you fined, I suppose).

  48. #48 Kel
    July 1, 2008

    I don’t see how funding it breaks the constitution, it’s not like they are forcing religion on us any more than funding the State of Origin is forcing Rugby League on us.

    In terms of funding, it’s a public event and there are many public events funded that don’t cater to everyone’s taste. This is just another case of that. But when it’s one of the richest organisations in the world getting that funding, it seems a bit counter-intuitive. Surely the catholic church could put on the event without the need for over $100,000,000 of our money to pay of it.

  49. #49 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    #47:

    I invite anyone to suggest a slogan or design that is more subtle than I can manage – one that might get the message across without being immediately obvious (and less likely to get you fined, I suppose).

    Two unlinked ring-pulls? I’d buy one.

  50. #50 Charlie Foxtrot
    July 1, 2008

    It’d be nice to think that the annual Gay Mardi Gras gets a bigger turn out, but I s’pose the Godbots will stack the numbers somehow – probably by busing in ambivilent Catholic schoolkids.

    What a disappointment…

  51. #51 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Methinks the whole point of the new law was to stop Chaser type stunts. Couldn’t nail them on existing laws so they’ve passed a stupid fucking law to prevent any stunts for the next month or so. Fuckers.

    Just so we can also engage in a bit of Queensland bashing we can’t forget the cop in Qld with nothing better to do than arrest a kid wearing a t-shirt. I read about originally on the Crikey website but the Richard Dawkins site now has something about it… Jesus is a cunt t-shirt

  52. #52 Patricia
    July 1, 2008

    Just a minute, where the hell is the Child Shaggers Union, Local #667 in Australia? Don’t they have any pride!?
    I suppose someone from the fair fundie state of Oregon is going to have to be dispatched to show you Aussies how to build a proper flowery float depicting genocide, child molesting, and witch burning.
    Oh & just so you Aussies know we Americans have pride – your sheep shagging float will be matched by the teams from Shaniko & Fossil, Oregon. So there, put that in your vegamite & smoke it. ;)

  53. #53 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    I don’t see how funding it breaks the constitution, it’s not like they are forcing religion on us any more than funding the State of Origin is forcing Rugby League on us.

    then you need to open your damn eyes.

    using taxpayer money to subsidize the practices of a specific religion is indeed forcing that specific religion on to the general population, defacto.

    or did you think your government had plans to subsidize all the other religions of the world in the same fashion?

    think they will be subsidizing Falun Gong to have a feng shui teach-in next week, eh?

    hey, it’s not even my government, and I can still see the problems with what they are doing.

  54. #54 Wowbagger
    July 1, 2008

    #47

    How about this, like one of those motivational posters:

    A picture of a priest in full regalia

    Cognitive Dissonance

    Because, deep down,
    we know this shit ain’t gonna fly

  55. #55 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    #53:

    hey, it’s not even my government, and I can still see the problems with what they are doing.

    There’s a difference between “idiotically problematic” and “unconstitutional”. As stupid as the whole thing is, it’s not forcing the practice of a particular religion on anyone. Australia has less legal restrictions on public funding of religion than the US does (at least in theory). A lot of schools are quite openly religious, even public ones. IANAL of course.

    It sucks, but it is (probably) legal.

  56. #56 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Cardinal Pell is considered to be a bit of power broker in the church and was a Joe the Nazi backer. He is an outside chance to be popefied when Joe karks it.

    In 1959 he signed with the Richmond Football Club. He decided not to play and went to the seminary. As an old has been footballer he’d have been harmless now he is a big dangerous prick. Sometimes I see him in up in the stadium behind me when I go watch the Sydney Swans play. He usually sits with Mike Willesee. Another catholic… person, who won a bent spoon award from Australian Skeptics in 1999.

  57. #57 Kel
    July 1, 2008

    then you need to open your damn eyes.

    using taxpayer money to subsidize the practices of a specific religion is indeed forcing that specific religion on to the general population, defacto.

    How so? no-one is forcing anyone to attend, no-one is forcing anyone to even listen, it’s just providing funding for a public event that will have people from all over the world attend.

    I’m an anti-theist as the next guy, I just don’t see how it’s any different to public funding of sporting events.

  58. #58 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    Im with Ichthyic on this one Kel,I think it is without any doubt the preference of one particular religion over many others what were seeing,and its getting taxpayer-funded,it is a disgrace if ive ever seen one.
    Maybe Bride of Shrek can help us out on the constitutionality issue,not sure myself,but if this isnt state-sponsored religion,then I dont know what is.

  59. #59 Paul
    July 1, 2008

    “no-one is forcing anyone to attend”

    Isn’t half of Sydney being turned into catholic territory?

  60. #60 ChrisC
    July 1, 2008

    Does anyone find it odd that “world youth day” has, as it’s climax, a mass led by a very elderly man?

    Oh well… I’m very pleased I’ve moved interstate from Sydney just before the storm broke.

  61. #61 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Unfortunately there is no constitutional protection for freedom of speech in Australia. The High Court has said it is implied though. As long ago as 1942 a constitutional convention recommended an amendment that would prevent the Commonwealth or a State passing laws which curtailed freedom of speech or of the press. Of course nothing happened.

    More on our lack of freedom of speech here.

    Funnily enough freedom of religion is spelled out in the constitution.

  62. #62 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    #58:

    Im with Ichthyic on this one Kel,I think it is without any doubt the preference of one particular religion over many others what were seeing,and its getting taxpayer-funded,it is a disgrace if ive ever seen one.
    Maybe Bride of Shrek can help us out on the constitutionality issue,not sure myself,but if this isnt state-sponsored religion,then I dont know what is.

    Look, we’re all in agreement that it’s a disgrace. The question is whether it’s an unconstitutional disgrace. Look at what section 116 says:

    The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

    Nowhere does that say that the government can’t fund a religious event. It says that they can’t establish a religion (e.g. start the Official Church of Australia), or force anyone to observe a religion, or prevent them from doing so. World Youth Day doesn’t do any of those things.

    Not everything bad is illegal.

  63. #63 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    I’m an anti-theist as the next guy, I just don’t see how it’s any different to public funding of sporting events.

    you don’t see the difference between organized religion and professional sports?

    I’m torn by that response. On the one hand, I’m happy the next generation apparently is wonderfully ignorant of the influences of religion…

    OTOH, I lament the fact they seem to be ignorant enough to compare professional sports with religion.

    that said, if you want to compare (just from a technical standpoint), it would be like your government subsizidizing a specific professional sports team over any other.

    like if the US Federal government all of a sudden decided that the New York Yankees were to be the only taxpayer subsidized professional sports team in the US.

    you don’t see a problem with that?

    seriously?

  64. #64 Charlie Foxtrot
    July 1, 2008

    Meh – I thought I remembered hearing this… and after a very quick bit of Google-Fu I’ve dug this up:

    Let’s get one point clear at the beginning: Australia does not have a legally entrenched principle, or even a vague set of conventions, of the separation of church and state. [...] What Australia does have is a principle of state neutrality, or equal treatment, when dealing with churches. This principle dates back at least to Governor Bourke (if not to Macquarie) in colonial NSW, and extends all the way into contemporary Australia where government monies at all levels go quite happily to the churches so that they can run schools, hospitals, employment agencies, social welfare bureaux and even drug injecting rooms. This principle of neutrality is not entrenched in either the State or Federal Constitutions, and has no legal standing. (Constitutionally, State governments could still conceivably nominate an established church; only the Commonwealth is forbidden to do so by Section 116 of its Constitution!) Ultimately, the strength of the principle comes from the conventions hammered out in colonial Australia that saw English and Scottish established churches deprived of their priority in government funding. It survives into the twenty-first century because no major party could seriously contemplate abandoning it.

    From here… link

    I guess we’re doing pretty well as a secular nation, given we’d have a hard time in court over this, it seems…

    still not happy about it.

  65. #65 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Thought of getting out of town for the weekend of the big bash, you know, head down the coast to the parents place for a bit of R&R… but it appears that my dear old folks are billeting a couple of these fucking catholic freeloaders. In my old bedroom for fucks sake. Fuck.

  66. #66 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    @ No 65,SHane :

    Hey,they might be some hot chicks from Sweden mate !

  67. #67 Wowbagger
    July 1, 2008

    I suspect that, despite the draconian laws that the church has managed to convince the government to bring in for the occasion, there’s going to be a lot of protesting and general carrying-on while it’s happening. We can just hope it turns out to be a complete PR disaster for Ratzi & co.

    I don’t have a link to confirm but I’m sure I’ve heard it’s not looking to be as well-attended as they’d hoped.

  68. #68 shane
    July 1, 2008

    I was in Uganda almost 2 years ago. Way out in the bush looking for gorillas and chimps (highly recommended btw). One afternoon, back at camp, a 4WD rocked up and a couple of Ugandans got out and chatted with us. Nice guys. However, turns out one of these guys was a catholic priest and as soon as he heard we were from Sydney it was an all WYD conversation. He was really angling for some free accommodation for him and some friends who were heading for Sydney for WYD. I gave him a fake email address of course.

  69. #69 Praxiteles
    July 1, 2008

    C’mon Aussies.

    Time to stop whingeing and do something about it.

    Join the Australian Secular Party at http://www.secular.org.au/index.php

    We’re just shy of the numbers needed to be recognised as an official political party by the Australian Electoral Commission. Go to the website and join up while it’s still free, and make a difference at the next Federal Election.

    It’s time to put a stop to this rubbish. Join now!

  70. #70 M
    July 1, 2008

    Pissed off? Yes.
    Staying the hell away from Sydney that week? Totally.
    Wondering what the Chaser boys will do? Can’t wait to find out.

  71. #71 Kel
    July 1, 2008

    you don’t see the difference between organized religion and professional sports?

    I see the difference. I also see the difference in helping host a one-off event and forcing religion down the throats of the population. It’s a one-off event that will drag in hundreds of thousands of tourists, the government has a vested interest in ensuring it’s success. Like I’ve said, I don’t agree with public funding an organisation that is already incredibly well off and could pay for it themselves with the tithing of an impoverished country. I just don’t see how a one-off event is violating the separation of church and state, especially in a country where we fund religious schools and hospitals.

  72. #72 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Clinteas @#66, I reckon most of the supposedly 54000 Eurotrash heading our way for the shindig are probably Italian, Spanish, French or Bavarian. However, the Euro chicks from these countries are vastly underrated in comparison to the Swedes anyway IMHO. Oh, and the better half wouldn’t be too thrilled if I took a more than cursory interest in any giggling freeloaders.

    Praxiteles @#69, voted Secular in the last election and will continue to do so.

  73. #73 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    @ No 70 :

    Whats next,the Australian Sports Party? Australian Knitting Party? Australian Weather Party?
    I have a problem with this fellow atheist/secularist/religionist stuff,theres such a broad spectrum of views and opinions regarding stuff amongst any given group,that it hardly makes sense to pick out one particular field of interest and have a Party to that cause.

  74. #74 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    Sorry,was meant to be No 69,not No 70.

  75. #75 Kel
    July 1, 2008

    Time to stop whingeing and do something about it.

    Join the Australian Secular Party at http://www.secular.org.au/index.php

    We’re just shy of the numbers needed to be recognised as an official political party by the Australian Electoral Commission. Go to the website and join up while it’s still free, and make a difference at the next Federal Election.

    It’s time to put a stop to this rubbish. Join now!

    Was going to vote for the secular party last election, but it wasn’t on the ballot in the ACT.

  76. #76 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    I also see the difference in helping host a one-off event and forcing religion down the throats of the population.

    you don’t understand how ideas compete, do you.

    *shrug* I simply don’t have time to educate you in basic social studies.

    I’m sure there are excellent books on the subject someone could recommend.

  77. #77 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Clinteas have a look at the Secular party’s platform. It is a pretty reasonable attempt at platform many rational people can get behind. Very Australian in many ways.

  78. #78 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    I just don’t see how a one-off event is violating the separation of church and state, especially in a country where we fund religious schools and hospitals.

    as with the comparison to professional sports, you seem to miss the important bit:

    what is the FUNCTION of a hospital?

    to teach religious dogma?

    no?

    beginning to see the difference yet?

    If not, I really can’t help you.

  79. #79 Kel
    July 1, 2008

    No need to get condescending

  80. #80 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    Whats next,the Australian Sports Party? Australian Knitting Party? Australian Weather Party?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outdoor_Recreation_Party
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishing_Party_%28Australia%29
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Excise_Fuel_and_Beer_Party
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HEMP_Party

    Not saying this is a good thing… just, y’know, there’s a precedent.

  81. #81 shane
    July 1, 2008

    The quote below regarding freedom of religion in Australia is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Australia

    Right to freedom of religion – Section 116 creates a limited right to freedom of religion, by prohibiting the Commonwealth (but not the states) from “making any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.” This section is based on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but is weaker in operation. As the states retain all powers they had as colonies before federation, except for those explicitly given to the Commonwealth, this section does not affect the states’ powers to legislate on religion, and, in accordance with High Court interpretations, no Federal legislation on religion, short of establishing an official religion of Australia, would be limited by it either.

  82. #82 Wowbagger
    July 1, 2008

    Er, Clinteas? There are a number of parties just as nonsensical as those – and more – if the last ballot paper I saw is anything to go by.

    There’s a Shooter’s Party for crying out loud. And no, I don’t mean the National Party – they seem to have forgone the gun-toting vote. Which made it hard for some people whose rationale against the gun buy-back is that people on cattle properties (ranches to you US folk) needed them to protect themselves.

    I was never sure what from – it was late 20th century Queensland, not the wild west. There aren’t too many roving gangs of thugs up there. Unless you include rugby league clubs…

  83. #83 Jason
    July 1, 2008

    Kel,

    I just don’t see how a one-off event is violating the separation of church and state, especially in a country where we fund religious schools and hospitals.

    Religious schools should not, in my opinion, recieve state funding. Hospitals are a grey-area case, as I’m not aware of any religious test for entering a hospital, or of any agressive proselytyzing going on once inside (beyond some lukewarm padre asking if you’d like to chat, to which you can say “no”, and some crosses scattered around the place)

    However, several hundred million bucks to the Zombie Worshipping Vampire Cannibals is showing a clear preference to that particular group.

    Now will, say, the Scientologists lobby to hold their next conference here at significant expense to the taxpayer? They’d be eligible. There’s a precedent.

    What about the Raelians? They’re nuts, but they’re pretesting Youth Day with the rest of us because they can see there’s a clear problem here.

    This group should not have received a single cent of taxpayer funds. They should certainly be able to select Sydney as their event location, but the degree of bootlicking the government has done to every one of their loony demands is crazy. The impact is larger than the olympics, and larger than APEC, and all for a particular sect of a particular mad religion.

    And this is NOT a public event. Don’t be fooled. You need passes to get anywhere in the event zones, it’s very much sectarian and non-inclusive in focus, and it’s extraordinarly disruptive.

    It’s also creepy that the Catholics are, and I quote, “celebrating youth”. We all know how they like to do that usually…

  84. #84 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    #73:
    Whats next,the Australian Sports Party? Australian Knitting Party? Australian Weather Party?
    My first response was blocked due to excessive Wikipedia links, so you’ll have to do the lookup yourself, but the point was that the following parties already exist:

    Outdoor Recreation Party
    Fishing Party
    HEMP Party
    Lower Excise Fuel and Beer Party

    Not saying I’m necessarily in favour of a Secular Party… but it’d hardly be the first one-issue minor party to show up to an election.

  85. #85 Kel
    July 1, 2008

    what is the FUNCTION of a hospital?

    to teach religious dogma?

    I’m sure at the schools and the hospitals faith and teaching of beliefs are well and truly part of the practice.

    beginning to see the difference yet?

    Yes, World Youth Day is about teaching dogma. But it’s still a public event in which people have a choice to participate in. I get what you are trying to say, I just don’t agree that it’s wrong because of that and that alone.

  86. #86 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Fuck it, here is Section 116 of the Australian Constitution.

    The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

    And here is the US First Amendment:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  87. #87 Mrs Tilton
    July 1, 2008

    Not that I want to cut into Paul @47′s sales, but kukuxumusu of Spain have a great shirt for any Australians looking to spend AUD 5500 plus the price of a shirt.

  88. #88 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Actually, speaking of the shooters party, they were able to get some watered down gun laws passed this week in the NSW parliament. The bill removes some of the restrictions put in place after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996.

    This government is seriously fucked up watering down gun laws but passing laws to criminalise a t-shirt. Fuckers.

  89. #89 Kel
    July 1, 2008

    Religious schools should not, in my opinion, recieve state funding. Hospitals are a grey-area case, as I’m not aware of any religious test for entering a hospital, or of any agressive proselytyzing going on once inside (beyond some lukewarm padre asking if you’d like to chat, to which you can say “no”, and some crosses scattered around the place)

    States can do what they like, it’s only the federal government that is bound by the constitution on freedom of religion.

    I’m all for removing funding of religious private schools, in fact I’d like to see them removed altogether. They segregate the community, diving us along religious lines.

    This group should not have received a single cent of taxpayer funds. They should certainly be able to select Sydney as their event location, but the degree of bootlicking the government has done to every one of their loony demands is crazy. The impact is larger than the olympics, and larger than APEC, and all for a particular sect of a particular mad religion.

    I agree, this has gone too far.

  90. #90 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    This government is seriously fucked up watering down gun laws but passing laws to criminalise a t-shirt. Fuckers.

    coincidentally, last week our Supreme Court decided every US citizen has the right to carry a gun, having mutilated the standard interpretation of the second amendment in order to do so.

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/368960_rosenfeldonline01.html

    like i said, probably just coincidence that one decision followed the other so closely.

  91. #91 Quinx
    July 1, 2008

    Fuckin pope , lets call it The pope and his pedophiles day, or World pedophile day. thats my sentiment. Having this crap rammed down my throat when i was young of how holy and good religion can be, only to find out how abusive and corrupt it really is. needless to say i distrust the Catholics and all religion with a passion.

    got that out of the way, ok , luckily i will be in Queensland (another state) while this event is happening. my hope is that ‘chasers war’ does something (like apec). something like what southpark done would be hilarious , priests with kiddies on leashes.

    i also remember them recently disallowing some gay youth summit that was going to happen.

    and whats with the “causing annoyance” laws, lol, welcome to the police state. what an abuse of political power. anyone caught not smiling will be thrown in jail.

  92. #92 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    My point was,since I feel I have to clarify,that Shooters,Knitters,Beer drinkers or whatever will have that ONE thing in common,but that doesnt say anything about what they think about how to run the economy,or whether to pull the troops out of Vietnam,sorry,Iraq,or whether to fund windfarms or not etc etc…..

    Mrs Tilton,nice one ! Im sure people have seen the bumper sticker going round :

    http://worldtruthday.org/

    ,but by the sounds of it youd get arrested or fined putting that on your car,unbelieveble !!

  93. #93 trj
    July 1, 2008

    Here’s an idea, which someone with the proper resources might implement if they like it:

    Since it appears to be forbidden to hand out condoms (?), how about handing out something that appears similar to condoms, but is in fact not condoms.

    I’m thinking of a wrapping which contains a rubber ring or something similar, making it look and feel like a standard condom package. You could call it… a nondom… or perhaps you can come up with some wordplay on Catholiscism. If the police interferes, you can tell them positively that you are NOT handing out condoms.

    The wrappings could contain fine print or pictures of appropriate choice, stating your opinions. Or it could just be plain blank, which would probably make the statement more powerful.

  94. #94 LordLeckie
    July 1, 2008

    Hey there im a catholic school student, it gets worse.

    Recently we get told a story, the “inspiring” one of how the pilgrims that will be boarding in our diocese (NSW North Coast)have been raising money through stuff like selling coconuts and how they are desperately poor and are still going, and are asking for winter clothing for them and people to let them board.

    Disgusting, POOR people are spending THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS that took them months if not years to earn for 2 flights and some night with the pope. When they told us that in assembly it took all my strength not to scream in rage at them for what they were doing to those people.

    Not to mention our tax dollars going towards it, the only upside is a day off we get from it, maybe its enough time for me to get to Ratzinger and get my hands around his throat.

    I will definately be protesting in my own way here at school however i can, whenever i pass a place with the banner for it up, i tear it down, whenever i hear someone lecturing another on it and how good it is, i bloody give them it.

    Thanks PZ for giving us what we need, a voice, now we only need to make it scream loud enough into Randwick on that day, no matter what pissy little laws they have. Freedom. Of. Speech. Freedom. Of. Protest. Deal with it.

  95. #95 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    My point was,since I feel I have to clarify,that Shooters,Knitters,Beer drinkers or whatever will have that ONE thing in common,but that doesnt say anything about what they think about how to run the economy,or whether to pull the troops out of Vietnam,sorry,Iraq,or whether to fund windfarms or not etc etc…..

    I agree, which is why I tend not to vote for them. My point was just that the Secular Party wouldn’t be the first one-issue party on the ballot.

    (Just to argue both sides… The goal of one-issue parties is usually not to actually get elected; it’s to get the major parties to support their issue in exchange for preference deals. In a de facto two-party system, it’s actually a pretty effective way to promote an issue.)

  96. #96 Pandora Neurospora
    July 1, 2008

    Exclaimer: Post *may* contain sarcasm

    I think your all being very jugdemental. World Youth Day implies exactly that, a day just for the world’s youth. Just because Rudd was raised a Catholic and Pell bullies politicians into doing his bidding, as senn with the abortion drug debate, does not mean that the whole purpose of this whole event is to sell Catholicism to the masses. Its just as the state Government says: “World Youth Day is a happy and positive celebration of youth”.

  97. #97 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    The wrappings could contain fine print or pictures of appropriate choice,

    um…

    what about just handing out deflated rubber balloons in a plastic package?

    you could even easily have ones made with an appropriate logo.

  98. #98 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Mrs Tilton @#86, perfect! Had to enbiggen the image to figure out what was going on. That will work nicely.

  99. #99 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    Pandora,
    just like schoolies week on the Gold Coast hey…:-)

  100. #100 Pandora Neurospora
    July 1, 2008

    You lost me there for a second clinteas, but I finally got it, lol.

  101. #101 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    Im starting to think I should get a pass and attend,and have some fruitful discussions about life ,the universe and everything with some extremely goodlooking easily impressible european catholic chicks,one could discuss theology on the beach and explore the spiritual world with the help of certain neuroenhancers…..hmmmmmmmmm

  102. #102 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Clinteas, not to mention hot African, Asian, North & South American chicks as well as the Eurotrash. Wear a “Who Would Jesus Do” t-shirt.

    Bit cold for the beach but.

  103. #103 Bride of Shrek
    July 1, 2008

    Shane @ #65- you’ll never get the scent off the sheets. I’d buy new ones.

    LordLeckie @ #93- Jebus , there’s a schoolkid here. Now I’ll have to tone down the language. Fuck.

  104. #104 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    “Who Would Jesus Do” hey,hehehe I like it,mighnt even get arrested for that one…

    Im off to give all my money to Kerry Packer folks,but the nite is young,praise PZ to give us our own thread to vent all nite,hurray !

    @ No 93,LordLeckie :

    //Disgusting, POOR people are spending THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS that took them months if not years to earn for 2 flights and some night with the pope.//

    Yes,its always like that isnt it,probably worse in the US(remember Carlin : god loves you,and he needs money !!) with all the televangelical kooks around,but the people that really believe this shit,often the less intelligent and educated,will spend their last cent to travel somewhere to see their cult leader,or give it to their congregation,because they dont know better,and their ignorance is happily exploited by the people that run the cult,it is indeed disgusting !

  105. #105 Dale
    July 1, 2008

    The solution to the offensive T-shirt message is to break down your message across 2 (or more) shirts, and walk with your friends.

    Not offensive to wear a Tshirt with “CON” on it?
    Not offensive to wear a Tshirt with “DOM” on it?

    Or perhaps some one could wear a “THE POPE” tshirt, and 4 others could individually wear the letters C, F, K, U, to be organised as they see fit?

  106. #106 Gerry
    July 1, 2008

    Don’t underestimate the wonderful ability of young people to undermine the most carefully planned event!

    The Pope (JPII) came to Ireland in 1979 and a huge youth mass was held on the racecourse in Galway. Schools closed and priests and nuns organised bus and camping trips to Galway.

    I’ve more than a few friends who proudly proclaim that the first time they made love was in a tent on that occasion!

    The main ringmasters for that event was Bishop Eamon Casey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eamon_Casey and Father Michael Cleary http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Michael_Cleary
    I’d suggest to our Australian friends that they take careful note of the bit players in this event.

  107. #107 Dale
    July 1, 2008

    …I wonder if a tshirt with a big scarlet A on it would be deemed offensive?

  108. #108 Logicel
    July 1, 2008

    To bump up Jason #45, remember don’t put all protest eggs in the Chaser basket–http://www.sydneyatheists.org/

    They are focusing on protests that are police safe.

    You real Ozzie fathers–meaning men with kids, unlike the that fatherless joke of a holy father–should do something en masse to protest that joker.

    Clinteas, I can see your point about being less than thrilled about a secular party, how about a secular lobby?

    Kel, I agree with the commenters who are pointing out very clearly why the free speech crushing/religious aspects of this shit event is not the same as another public event, and the OZ govt would never sponsor it for each and every religion. The catholics are getting special treatment at your financial and civil liberties expense.

    I am now going to send an email to the Australian embassy that though my family was going to do the tourista thing in OZ, we will no longer, as we do not want support such a dipshit government.

  109. #109 Logicel
    July 1, 2008

    Here’s the email I just sent to the Australian Embassy in Paris:

    My family will not be visiting Australia because of the shameful crushing of free speech/protest and the using of taxpayer’s money to subsidize a religious event, that is, the up and coming Catholic World Youth Day. We don’t do the tourist thing in theocracies. Nor will we until that money is given back to the taxpayers and an apology is made for your government’s atrocious behavior.

  110. #110 Phaedrus
    July 1, 2008

    Here’s the perfect image for a T-shirt:
    http://www.mattbors.com/archives/321.html

  111. #111 StealthDonkey
    July 1, 2008

    “The solution to the offensive T-shirt message is to break down your message across 2 (or more) shirts, and walk with your friends.”

    Wow, I was thinking the exact same thing. If the police try to do you for it insist that you don’t know your friend and it is just a massive coincidence.

    “What officer? No, the C on my shirt stands for the Cowboys, my favorite sports team. I have never met F, U, K, T, H, E, P, O, P or E before. I don’t know what they stand for.”

  112. #112 grinch
    July 1, 2008

    Heh – go Victoria – our “creation supercamp” beats your “world youth day” any day!

    Anyway maybe we can put Poe’s law to good use. Setup a merchandise stand and sell parody material and those left footed suckers would buy them by the truckload. “Pope on a Rope” soap and all that stuff.

  113. #113 grinch
    July 1, 2008

    #69 – dude you didn’t mention the time and place of the party.

  114. #114 Nick Gotts
    July 1, 2008

    This government is seriously fucked up watering down gun laws but passing laws to criminalise a t-shirt. – shane

    Come on now, guns don’t kill people, being offended kills people!

  115. #115 Hez
    July 1, 2008

    Religious event + tax payer money = make me angry

  116. #116 Dutch Delight
    July 1, 2008

    If it says that they state can’t make you observe religious practices, how are they going to stop you from handing out condoms to catholics?

    They can threaten with fines all they want, in court you should be fine. But then, i’m not a legal expert of any kind.

  117. #117 The Pink Unicorn
    July 1, 2008

    So I guess black masses are out of the question?

    Oh wait – what the Catholics would be holding would be the *real* black mass. We couldn’t be that vile no matter how much we tried… :(

  118. #118 Paul
    July 1, 2008

    Okay, so subtlety isn’t my forte.

    Believe me, there will be more.

  119. #119 Balmain Tiger
    July 1, 2008

    (PZ, thanks for the thread – keep up the great blog)
    $129 million of NSW government payments; I now have a right to be entertained by WYD… so I say, “lets have some fun with the kooks while they are here!” Actually, I think this could be a windfall for atheist/secular/skeptic organisations.

  120. #120 scooter
    July 1, 2008

    # 47 Paul

    T-shirt proposal

    A giant hand of God lowering a youth, head first, into a large blender emblazoned with a crucifix.

    Whirled Youth Day

    It’s a common pun in the states but maybe it’s fresh downunder.

    don’t forget, jebus must be nailed on for a proper Catholic crucifix

  121. #121 kez
    July 1, 2008

    I’m not really bothered by the WYD being in Sydney, there seems to be a reasonable case about it having an economic benefit and if that’s true then it’s great (I have no problem with profiting off the delusional).

    I think I’d be pretty angry about the road closers and security if I lived there though and the law changes about annoyance or inconveniencing “pilgrims” is really really disgraceful. Actually I’m going to write to parliament and ask that they pass laws where if people annoy or inconvenience me they can be fined too. That would be awesome!

  122. #122 Michael
    July 1, 2008

    I’ve been pretty ticked off — I live in the area that will have public transport mangled (but not in the hotspot zone where things will be totally massacred — many of my friends live right near the uni of nsw which is right in the centre of it all)

    we were talking with friends about ways to protest months ago:
    1. if you have an apartment near the event post a “faith=ignorance” flag out your window
    2. hack into an electronic traffic sign to post some anti-event message (if you want to be risque – ‘hitler youth day’?)
    3. buy a few thousand copies of the god delusion, print off the covers to a fake pope encyclical and put it around the books, then sell it to the pilgrims.

    who’s with me?

  123. #123 Kirsty Bruce
    July 1, 2008

    Perhaps we could get PZ out here for a mass gathering at a quiet inner city pub. Surely the government wouldn’t say no to kicking in a few dollars for that. According to the 2001 census of Australia the Catholic population makes up approximately 26.6% of the total population and the ‘no religion’ sector of society makes up 15.5% – if the Pope needs $150 million for his visit then we should be entitled to around $87,406,600.50. Do you think you would be able to get a nice hotel room for that PZ?

    And another thing, how is it that this ex-nazi can claim to have a direct line to the almighty but is going to require $20 million to ensure his security? Is his omniscient God not quite guarantee enough?

  124. #125 Bride of Shrek
    July 1, 2008

    I will formally offer myself as pro bono legal rep for any Pharyngulite fucked over by these laws during the World Yoof Day dickmassing. I will travel the 8 hour drive to Sydney to represent you in court and I will do it with cheer( as long as there is the the promise of a free bed to sleep in and a cold chardonnay at the end of the day) However I do offer the coda, because I’m doing this in all seriousness, that I’m not admitted as a Barrister in NSW and it would probably take until Nov/Dec to do this.

    Keep in mind of course, any crap minor charge they put you on can probably be held over until at least then if you go to court and say you’re not ready etc etc. You would need some local legal advice on how to stall you over until then as I’m not sure of the subtleties of NSW law in that regard.

    Seriously, I that pissed about this shit I’d just fucking love to test it in court.

  125. #126 Wozzar
    July 1, 2008

    A couple of beaut reasonably lo key Tshirts. I bought the evidence one and the professional cat herder one.

    http://147683.spreadshirt.com/us/US/Shop/Article/Index/article/Professional-Cat-Herder-2507374

  126. #127 Wozzar
    July 1, 2008

    The constitutional problem with the supporting of religion on the federal level is over ridden by the State’s power to do whatever the hell it likes. So the Fed government couldn’t do it but the State can.

    A couple of beaut reasonably lo key Tshirts. I bought the evidence one and the professional cat herder one.

    http://147683.spreadshirt.com/us/US/Shop/Article/Index/article/Professional-Cat-Herder-2507374

  127. #128 Vok*
    July 1, 2008

    What the Chaser team think of the new laws..

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2008/07/01/2291138.htm

  128. The Christian Boy-Love forum (yes, there is such a thing) must be celebrating this. No. Not checking if they do. Don’t want to vomit today.

  129. #130 mandrellian
    July 1, 2008

    Thanks for the opportunity for a good whinge PZ, it’s what we Aussies do best :)

    I strenuously object to my government (the fucking taxes taken off my wages, thank you very much) to prop up a rockstar tour by this elderly virgin emperor. There are lots of things to bitch about when it comes to the Vatican, but as an employee of a respected (& secular!) international aid organisation I’m familiar with the results of the Nu Roman Empire’s reprehensible anti-contraception policy in various areas of the Catholic-occupied third world.

  130. #131 ymr049c
    July 1, 2008

    My first thought was, “Do Australians have so many gripes about world youths that they need a day for it?”

    Hurrah for Vent About World Youth Day!

  131. #132 Wozzar
    July 1, 2008

    Kev’s Christian position as outlined by Kev himself. Quite the historian …

    http://www.themonthly.com.au/tm/?q=node/300

  132. #133 Freak
    July 1, 2008

    @105, 111:

    I wonder if it’s possible to get shirts that individually look like they belong like:
    http://www.greystoneinn.net/d/20030818.html
    http://www.greystoneinn.net/d/20040813.html

  133. #134 Phaedrus
    July 1, 2008

    #125: Well Bride of Shrek if you do need to come up here and do a test case, I can offer you accommodation for the duration. I’m only a 15-minute drive from the court district of the Sydney CBD, and I’d love to see the stupidity of this all come out in court, with the media in full attendance.

  134. #135 John Morales
    July 1, 2008

    Late to the thread again…

    Well, I’m Australian, and philosophically I’m aghast and all that, but really, functionally it’s a non-event for me.

    Just saying.

  135. #136 Paul
    July 1, 2008

    Church is gay!

    This one could be for any occasion really. I’m tired now. I need to go to bed.

  136. #137 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Vok* @#128, it does sound like the Chaser guys are planning something. Good. Choosing an appropriate t-shirt for myself now. Already ordered the one mentioned by Mrs Tilton @#87 because it is a cool t-shirt anyway.

    Hopefully enough of us get out that they can’t fine everybody. Looks like the fuckers (NSW govt) have just put the Bill of Rights back on the agenda.

  137. #138 clinteas
    July 1, 2008

    @ No 125 Bride of Shrek :

    Ill get myself arrested just so you can bail me out woman…:-) And we can sip Chardonnay on the single bed in that room were staying in…

    OkOk,I better go to bed lol….

    Thanks for the nomination btw,never has there been a more undeserving Molly nominee lol…:-)

  138. #139 Epikt
    July 1, 2008

    Cavea:

    Despite the mumbo-jumbo aspect, it’s really just an excuse for the kids to mingle and hang out the way we all did in the 60s.

    I suppose it’s crass to wonder how many miraculous teen pregnancies will be initiated during this holy event.

  139. #140 Peter Ashby
    July 1, 2008

    Dammit, they stipulate music so you can’t just stand around and spontaneously break into a rendition of ‘Every Sperm is Sacred’. Bloody philistines, though that usage is defamatory on a fine society of people. Bloody xian culture polluting the language, grump, grumble.

    If I had any money I’d ask if there was somewhere we can donate to people’s defence/fine costs but I don’t so I won’t.

  140. #141 Matt
    July 1, 2008

    I actually went to World Youth Day 2002 when it was held in Toronto and it is the reason I am an atheist today. I had never heard of it before and thought it would be cool to see the pope; five days with bat-shit crazy Catholics made me realize the inanity of the entire thing. So I guess something good happened (strained sarcasm).

  141. #142 Pierce R. Butler
    July 1, 2008

    Orwell didn’t know how right he was: World Youth Day was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

    They held one of these bashes (800K strong) in Toronto in 2002, and so many condoms were flushed down toilets that the sewers overflowed into a shopping center, causing millions in damages. “Downsview Park is so littered it is expected to take 500 volunteers a week to clean, World Youth Day organizers say.” (sorry, the link has expired on my National Post source article).

    For once, I’m glad not to be in Australia.

  142. #143 Phaedrus
    July 1, 2008

    Oh and by the way, lest anyone have the *slightest* doubt as to just how upside-down they’re going to turn Sydney, have a look at this government web site:

    http://www.wydca.nsw.gov.au/

    I especially love the section titled “How do I get to hospitals during World Youth Day?”

    If you’re a Religious Retard, no worries. Nothing can happen to you: even if you get hit by a bus, I’m sure all you’ll need is to pray to a couple of saints and you’ll be cured/healed/resurrected/restored/other (cross out whichever is inapplicable) in no time flat.

    On the other hand, if you’re not a Catholic, you’re fucked.

  143. #144 Bruce
    July 1, 2008

    Furthermore, the Australian government is expanding police authority to restrict protests at the event, levying prohibitive fines for even trivial expressions of free speech.

    Actually, it’s the New South Wales State Government that is introducing the measures. I think that S116 of the Australian Constitution (that binds our Federal Government) would prohibit the Australian Government from such action. The various state constitutions don’t enforce a separation of church and state.

    On the other hand, if you’re not a Catholic, you’re fucked.

    There is room for Catholics to get screwed as well. Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, is quite contentious on many matters, even within his own flock.

    There is ample scope for Catholics to annoy Catholics at World Youth Day if any one of Pell’s contentious points of discussion flares up. Then who do they fine? One, the other or all parties involved in annoying each other?

  144. #145 Nick Gotts
    July 1, 2008

    There is ample scope for Catholics to annoy Catholics at World Youth Day if any one of Pell’s contentious points of discussion flares up. Then who do they fine? One, the other or all parties involved in annoying each other? – Bruce

    Let’s hope it’s the last of these. Then with a few well-placed and well-primed agent provocateurs…

  145. #146 Anti-Pope
    July 1, 2008

    Fuck the Pope…

  146. #147 AlisonS
    July 1, 2008

    Is there a roof on the stadium? If not, why not fly over and drop thousands of condoms into the crowd. Or are they planning to have the airforce police the skies?

    I like the idea of the camouflaged “The God Delusion”.

    I also think the idea of the huge fines for exercising free speech is totally obscene and possibly a way to pay for the wretched event.

  147. #148 AlisonS
    July 1, 2008

    Is there a roof on the stadium? If not, why not fly over and drop thousands of condoms into the crowd. Or are they planning to have the airforce police the skies?

    I like the idea of the camouflaged “The God Delusion”.

    I also think the idea of the huge fines for exercising free speech is totally obscene and possibly a way to pay for the wretched event.

  148. #149 mandrellian
    July 1, 2008

    I saw on our news last night that people can now be arrested, charged and fined up to $5000.00 for doing, saying or wearing anything (t-shirt) that might be considered ‘offensive’ to the Emperor or his minions. Five grand! Hey, I find an elderly robed virgin handing out shithouse advice on contraception and protection from AIDs, condemning millions to death, disease and unwanted children pretty bloody offensive, is anyone taking fines on my behalf?

    Wish those cockwits were coming to Melbourne. I got a t-shirt for ya.

    FUCK OBERGRUPPENFUHRER RATZINGER AND ALL HIS MOTHERFUCKING JESUS NAZIS

    Offensive enough?

  149. #150 efrique
    July 1, 2008

    Bloody hell, you have a lot of Australian readers, PZed!

    Yeah, I am pissed off… but all the good rants have been done on this thread already. But you can add me to the list of very pissed off Sydneysiders (that my city is being turned upside down for a bunch of loonies), New South Welshmen (that so much of my state government money is being spent on this ridiculous event), Australians (for most of the reasons that are left) and citizens of the world (for the fact that this sort of stupid still has so much ability to push everything else around).

  150. #151 IO
    July 1, 2008

    We recently had the German Catholics Day in my town and I was totally unaware of it until I found myself in a crowded bus surrounded by people in powderblue sweaters and polo shirts with matching key chains, so I did the only sensible thing: Plug my ears with headphones listening to This Week In Science and pretend to read The God Delusion (can’t really read while listening to a good science program) with the title very visible just to keep those crazy people away from me (it even worked! I had two seats just for me!). And, of course, I had to avoid the city center for a couple of days and scowl at the tents on the sportsfield where many of them were camping just around the corner from my apartment.

  151. #152 Crusty
    July 1, 2008

    Baldrick:”Funny thing is… my father was a nun.”
    Edmund Blackadder:”No he wasn’t.”
    Baldrick:”He was so sir. I know, cuz whenver he was up in court, and the judge used to say occupation, he’d say none.”

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  152. #153 ndt
    July 1, 2008

    coincidentally, last week our Supreme Court decided every US citizen has the right to carry a gun, having mutilated the standard interpretation of the second amendment in order to do so.

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/368960_rosenfeldonline01.html

    like i said, probably just coincidence that one decision followed the other so closely.

    Posted by: Ichthyic | July 1, 2008 2:50 AM

    No, they said every citizen has the right to keep a gun in his or her home, a ruling I completely agree with.

  153. #154 ndt
    July 1, 2008

    As for t-shirt ideas, how about this:

    Fuck the pope, fuck Catholicism, and fuck the government for welcoming this parade of sycophants and subservients with open arms and a huge wad of cash.

    Posted by: Kel | July 1, 2008 12:14 AM

    Or this:

    http://www.truthspeaker.org/img/ratz02.jpg

  154. #155 mandrellian
    July 1, 2008
  155. #156 gpa7
    July 1, 2008

    One extra piece of inanity – right after we have terrible problems (millions of dollars lost) with equine influenza due to lax quarantine checks, they are importing a magic corpse for this stupid day! (One of the ‘not very decomposed due to the humid conditions in certain parts of Italy which forms a film of fat on the surface of the skin stopping decomposition’ things – but no, it’s due to his belief. God couldn’t stop him dying of some quite simple disease, but he’ll stop you decomposing, thanks a lot for the effort God. It helps reinforce your faith, although the whole point of faith is that you don’t need proof. I’d better stop now, I’m just getting so angry at the stupidity of it all.)

  156. #157 PZ Myers
    July 1, 2008

    Wait, what? I hadn’t heard that they were ferrying in some dead saint’s half-rotten corpse.

    Does anybody still wonder why many of us militant atheists call Christianity a death cult?

  157. #158 gpa7
    July 1, 2008
  158. Bah, in way too late to say anything original. I was going to post the brilliant sticker at http://www.worldtruthday.org/ but I see that’s been done. Anyway, thanks, PZ!

  159. #160 gpa7
    July 1, 2008

    And read all about the magic corpse from the official WYD site:
    http://www.wyd2008.org/index.php/en/content/search?SearchText=PIER+GIORGIO+FRASSATI&search=%BB
    (I love that further down the same page has “World Youth Day week jam packed with fun for families”)

  160. #161 infoaddict
    July 1, 2008

    Here’s an article on said deadbibones boy … http://news.smh.com.au/national/frassati-body-arrives-in-sydney-for-wyd-20080627-2y6h.html

    My partner and I remain continuously thankful we no longer live in Randwick (or, indeed, in any city). Although, being a rabble-rouser of long standing, I sort of mourn the potential for small protests we could have indulged in for the week.

    I’m just hoping my sibs, still in Sydney, can think of something suitable.

    As someone earlier said, I’ve no objection to a large conference being held in Sydney. I don’t even significantly onject to _some_ Governmental support of a conference to ensure the people can move around freely (cf the Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras Parade – also held in Sydney and that must really_gall_ His Ratziness).

    But putting in protections against “offence” – in reality, the “Don’t Let Chaser Embarrass Us In Front Of Everyone AGAIN” laws – well, it’s almost enough to have me vote Liberal at the next election (aka “conservatives” in our neck of the world)(we are still in NSW, just not the cities).

    Still, bringing the city to a standstill will at least mask the fact the public transport is bodgy at the best of times :}

    And I really do wonder what Hillsong is doing to mark the occasion …

  161. #162 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Thanks PZ for giving us the opportunity to vent.

    Can’t believe they’re dragging out a rotting corpse. Don’t get me wrong it is amusing to check out the corpses in Italy but to drag one over here… Zombie death cult indeed

  162. #163 shane
    July 1, 2008

    infoaddict @ #161, Hillsong are probably jealous. I’m pretty sure they think the Catholics aren’t real christians anyway. They also seem to have more than a few politicians in their pockets. Or they have more influence than their numbers justify. They’re also trying to expand the church facilities in Redfern but need planning permission. The locals aren’t too thrilled by this and like all planning permission public submissions are asked for. The Hillsong people have been getting their people to write in supporting the expansion regardless or where they actually live in Australia. So the council planning dept is getting hundreds of letters from people who don’t actually live near the place. Most of the church attendees are bussed in from elsewhere in Sydney. Bastards.

  163. #164 Benzion Chinn
    July 1, 2008

    I fail to see the difference between a Catholic youth festival such as the World Youth Day being held in Australia and the International Gay Pride parade held in Jerusalem a few years ago. As long as the government is honestly willing to allow all groups, no matter what their beliefs, to hold events I see no problem. So next year let the government of Australia host an atheist youth rally.

  164. #165 Cowcakes
    July 1, 2008

    To work around the “causing annoyance” legislation and use it to our own advantage maybe we should:

    1: Get a large group to convert to the non-rotting corpse death cult.

    2: Go to the festivities partaking of holy wine (I wonder if you can BYO), the Cannibalism of sky daddy’s son etc. (eating someones son is just WRONG on so many levels.

    3: Approach the nearest member of the local constabulary and inform him that the Pope and his henchmen are proving to be extremely annoying and demand his removal under the special Thou must not annoy Roman Catholics laws.

  165. #166 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    Random T-shirt idea:

    Picture of Ratzinger looking like Emperor Palpatine or vice versa. (Shouldn’t be too hard.) Written below it: “I find your faith disturbing.”

  166. #167 Paul Murray
    July 1, 2008

    If only I were young enough to qualify as “youth”! Everyone knows catholic girls take it up the wrong-un, so they still count as “virgins” when the marry.

  167. #168 Paul Murray
    July 1, 2008

    “Most of the church attendees are bussed in from elsewhere in Sydney. Bastards.”

    Like all mega-churches, in Australia and elsewhere, Hillsong will be brung down by the price of petrol. I see good times ahead for the Anglicans, who actually have neighbourhood churches.

  168. #169 Shishberg
    July 1, 2008

    #168:

    Like all mega-churches, in Australia and elsewhere, Hillsong will be brung down by the price of petrol. I see good times ahead for the Anglicans, who actually have neighbourhood churches.

    Or, maybe diehard Hillsong families will move closer to church, and the suburbs around a megachurch will turn into an inbred evangelical clique.

    I hope you’re right… but the worst has a nasty habit of happening.

  169. #170 Date Fingers
    July 1, 2008

    Thanks to PZ for the thread.

    #123
    “Perhaps we could get PZ out here for a mass gathering at a quiet inner city pub.”

    Now there’s an idea, but it would have to be at the Doncaster (just outside Randwick racecourse).

    Think about it PZ, our beer is very good.

  170. #171 Paul
    July 1, 2008

    Hey all. I’ve been working hard designing shirts for you. Five done so far. One of them might be legally a bit questionable – but I’m hoping ‘fair use’ might apply. I’d suggest anyone in Sydney that wishes to buy one, do it quickly before I receive my ‘cease and desist’ letter. Regular shipping usually takes about 2 weeks, so it’s best to take that into account.

    You can find them all at:

    http://www.redbubble.com/people/pauk/clothing

    Along with my other less topical shirts. :D

  171. #174 Ichthyic
    July 1, 2008

    about the zombie saint…

    He was only 24 when he died, after being ill with polio for a week, but he has become a role model for young Catholics because of his fervent faith, not to mention his good looks, robust physique and sunny nature.

    zombie as role model? Ok, but wait, since when do zombies have a “sunny nature”?

    I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that the CC hasn’t got any LIVE representatives that would appeal to youth, so they have to dig up zombies.

    Teens love zombie flicks.

  172. #176 Phaedrus
    July 1, 2008

    Hold the phone I have an idea!

    We all know that you have show bags at things like the Easter Show, right? Well, how about we have…. a Papal Show Bag? We can stand along the routes that the Fundagelically-Frenzied (registered trade mark) are going to travel, and hand out show bags, which would have all sorts of goodies inside. They wouldn’t be free, of course – hell if the church can profit of the gullible, why shouldn’t we?

    (Hey is it any coincidence that “Papal” and “PayPal” sound similar? Hmmm…)

    So let’s hear what you’d put into the show bag. I know what I’d nominate for inclusion, and there’s nothing more appropriate I can think of than these:

    http://www.divine-interventions.com/

  173. #177 shane
    July 1, 2008

    Or, maybe diehard Hillsong families will move closer to church, and the suburbs around a megachurch will turn into an inbred evangelical clique.

    I hope not but I doubt it. Often wonder why the church is there anyway. We’re talking inner city Redfern/Surry Hills – yuppies, gays, aboriginals, students, drugs, alcohol, brothels etc. All the good stuff that makes the area so cosmopolitan. Some of those things may be a little confrontational for your average god bothering happy clapper from the burbs though.

  174. #178 Meg Thornton
    July 1, 2008

    The thing which surprises me is that the NSW state government has apparently codified the “right to avoid being offended while staging a major tourist-bringing event” into a legal precept. I wonder whether they’ve considered the wider implications?

    Certainly I’d suspect the organisers of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (which is an annual event, and brings in much tourist dinero) would be within their rights to shriek blue bloody murder about things like “discrimination” if they aren’t allowed to get offensive folks (like, for example, the Reverend Fred Nile) banned from *their* event. Y’know, with the right judge on side, things could get extremely interesting… and I can see a whole lot of fringe groups getting interested in organising things in NSW.

    Just a thought.

  175. #179 Shishberg
    July 2, 2008

    I hope not but I doubt it. Often wonder why the church is there anyway. We’re talking inner city Redfern/Surry Hills -

    I was thinking more of the Baulkham Hills one. Outer suburbia, lots of housing development.

    I live not too far south of there… When we first moved out there, we were looking for local restaurants, and found one that was close enough to the Hills church that we went through their car park at one point. Happened to be on a church night, and all their kids were milling around outside. I swear, it was like driving through cattle. They stood in inches from the front of the car with a dull, brainwashed (okay that might be my bias) look on their faces and did not move.

    Come to think of it… that’s probably what Randwick will be like.

    Ahhhh fuck.

  176. #181 SimonC
    July 2, 2008

    This gathering of idiots is happening across the road from my place of work (and Pharyngula lurking). The uni has asked us to try to take as much of the week off as possible. They’re even offering us Friday as paid leave if we take Monday to Thursday off. Another hidden cost to the taxpayer. Sigh.
    Although… I do have a legitimate staff ID card so I’d have better access than most for moron baiting or… mounting fuckoff huge banners on buildings. ;-)

  177. #182 coz
    July 2, 2008

    I’m a Aussie now living in Arizona, and I read this on SMH.com yesterday and blogged it.
    Damn, I wish I still lived in Sydney so I could piss off some Catholics. We were bitching about it tonight and how sad and annoyed we are about it. Can’t I fine someone?..I’m bloody annoyed.

  178. #183 DingoDave
    July 2, 2008

    I want an ‘Evil Santa’ T-shirt like this,
    http://julianstirling.co.uk/2007/12/that-scary-evil-dude-pope.html

  179. #184 Peter Kemp (Aussie Lawyer)
    July 2, 2008

    Australia does have an implied right of political communication with a constitutional basis. It is based in case law from the High Court of Australia and the best article I’ve found at short notice and in the absence of my law books (I’m a solicitor practising in NSW, but not Sydney, usually) is here:

    http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rn/1997-98/98rn02.htm
    and the summary is good:

    The implied constitutional freedom of political communication is not absolute. [and it doesn't confer personal rights, it only acts to restrict the effect of legislation, such as state defamation law, where it has created exceptions-PK] Laws that may restrict such communication may be valid if they are appropriate and adapted to achieving some legitimate end. What is appropriate will need to be tested in individual cases. The recommendation made in the Joint Standing Committee report, A Right to Protest, noted above, would seem to be on safe ground. But would, for example, a law banning environmentalists from entering certain areas of forest for safety reasons be valid? Further, comments made by Chief Justice Brennan as to the content of the freedom will most likely be revisited in later cases.

    So the question is, does that state legislation serve a legitimate end?

    Now, I have “affirmed” (not sworn BTW) a duty to the Court,and ultimately to the law, but in my opinion that legislation is highly problematic, constitutionally, with respect to “legitimate end”. If for example political expression had people with T-shirts depicting a condom with Premier Iemma’s face on the condom–that legitimate political communication would come into conflict with the “legitimate purpose” of the NSW government’s legislation.

    I cannot predict the outcome of such a case, and I do not encourage anyone to break the law, even what I believe to be a stupid law, BUT I will say that anyone with such a T shirt prosecuted under NSW law has an arguable case on constitutional grounds.

  180. #185 Nobody
    July 2, 2008

    Good God. 184 “WAAAAAAAAAAAAH’s” combined with the usual farcical nonsense about separation of church and state and the usual brain-dead, snarky asshattery of PZ and MAJeff claiming all priests are pedophile.

    People, get a life.

  181. #186 Phaedrus
    July 2, 2008

    These new laws are starting to backfire inasmuch as people are going to go and protest simply because we don’t like being told that we can’t:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/catholics-split-on-freedom-to-annoy/2008/07/02/1214950851278.html

  182. #188 Katherine
    July 2, 2008

    Ah… although I’m an American, I’m really crossing my fingers for good Chaser stunt. I’m sure that’d probably be one of the few things coming out of this event.

  183. #189 Sili
    July 2, 2008

    Is there anywhere we can donate to help finance the purchase of condoms for the protesters? Not that I even know what they cost …

  184. #190 Luke
    July 2, 2008

    Can you imagine if Keysar Trad or el-Hilaly wanted to stage a World (Islamic) Youth Day?

    I wonder how long that idea would last for?

    I wonder what Iemma would think about giving them 160 million dollars in handouts?

    Even if you look at the Catholic:Muslim ratio in the population and scale back that 160 million appropriately, what’s that? Roughly 10 million dollars or so? Would the Islamic community, for example, have any chance of getting that money handed to them by the state government?

  185. #191 Bride of Shrek
    July 2, 2008

    Its a bit late to the thread, and really by the looks of it, it doesn’t need any help being crashed but a new poll on the stoopid laws being enacted is up

    http://www.smh.com.au/polls/national/form.html

  186. #192 Phaedrus
    July 2, 2008

    Well in honour of the occasion, I’ve changed the ring tone on my mobile phone to be an edited version of “Every Sperm Is Sacred” from Monty Python – it kicks in immediately at the line “Every Sperm Is Sacred” at 55 seconds in. You could also choose to start off with “I’m a Roman Catholic” at 0:23, or the main chorus at 1:14.

    I intend to take as many calls in public places as I can. Not MY fault if I’m on the road a lot. And if my taking a phone call is annoying, then there surely would be a class action suit against Nokia for my being arrested, since Nokia is obviously responsible for selling me an illegal product!

  187. #193 ayeung213
    July 3, 2008

    If anyone is in Melbourne on the 13th, there’s a protest on the steps of Parliament at 1:30 pm
    http://youthagainstwyd.org/

  188. #194 Nick Gotts
    July 3, 2008

    People, get a life. – Nobody

    Nobody, why not address that remark to the many people whose lives have been ruined by child-abusing priests, or the millions orphaned, widowed or dying as a result of the Catholic hierarchy’s lies opposition to and lies about, condoms?

  189. #195 Phaedrus
    July 3, 2008

    Nick Gotts’ comments indicate precisely why religion is a BAD THING.

  190. #197 Effervescence
    July 4, 2008

    I’m sorry, I’m new to blogs but I had to get this off my chest and I thought this was a good place for it.

    Watching SBS news this evening I saw a report on protestors planning to hand out condoms during WYD week. Footage was shown of bedraggled, incohherent, 20-something bohemian types blowing up condoms as if they were baloons and wearing singlets with the hastily scribble phrase “The pope is wrong wear a condom.”

    Now while I completley agree with the sentiment and lament the archaic superstitions of the pope and most religious institutions, I hope it will suffice to say, this is the wrong way of getting our message heard.

    We need a professional, structured approach. I don’t think kids waving banners on the streets is going to work the way it did for Civil Rights in the 60′s.

    It’s not a matter of simply being heard it’s a matter of being listened to. Any publicity is good publicity doesn’t apply.

  191. #198 clinteas
    July 7, 2008

    This just in :

    Pope megamart opens in Sydney !

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=593227

  192. #199 omnot
    July 7, 2008

    Here we go again. Laws cannot be contingent on subjective perception by mentally unstable* individuals, but the “annoyance” law is.

    The “annoyance” law hands over the definition of “crime” to whoever is the most uptight and “sensitive”. If some snivelling, uptight religious loony takes offence at some random bystander’s actions, then the bystander is defined as having committed a crime. (This can and should be challenged after the fact, but the damage will have been done)

    The actions that are being suggested as criminal behaviour are well within the normal range of individual rights in this country. Freedom of expression by the means of t-shirt slogans, signs, stickers and active protest do not warrant arrest or fines, and yet… here goes the government, normalising extremes of over-sensitivity. The kind of hand-flappy, running-to-tell-mother kind of over-sensitivity is being defended as though it were an indication of nobler sensibilities rather than sympathetically minimised for being the emotional and intellectual burden and defect that it is.
    ~~~~~
    I wonder… if I wore a Chaser t-shirt, would that be deemed offensive? ;-)

    * A person who believes things for which there is no tangible evidence, and which contradict themselves, they are not exactly sane, are they?

  193. #200 Phaedrus
    July 7, 2008

    I have one of those Darwin-fish-mounting-a-Christian-fish emblems on the rear of my vehicle. Have had it on there for a very long time. So now, am I going to be arrested, or have my vehicle impounded by the police?

  194. #201 M
    July 8, 2008

    #125 – so if I get some friends together, and we decide that we, as students, can’t afford more than one T-shirt for six of us, so the other 5 will have to go nude, will you come represent us after???

  195. #202 M
    July 8, 2008

    also, perhaps such an offer can be forwarded to the Chaser – looks as though they might need it again!

  196. #203 Matt
    July 10, 2008

    I always thought Australia was somewhat secular, even through every leader goes to church.
    Australia should be modelled after France (disregarding the possible changes in future by religion loving President Sarkozy).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La%C3%AFcit%C3%A9#France

  197. #204 youtube izle
    August 10, 2008

    Yat turizmindeki canl?l?k ve ki?isel yat al?mlar?ndaki art??, sektörde personel s?k?nt?s?n? da beraberinde getirdi. Yat turizmindeki canl?l?k ve ki?isel yat al?mlar?ndaki art?? personel s?k?nt?s?n? da beraberinde getirdi. 900 kaptan aç???n?n bulundu?u denizcilik sektöründe, yatlarda çal??abilecek servis personeli alan?nda da ciddi bir bo?luk var.

    Referans Gazetesi’nin haberine göre 2000 y?l?nda ?stanbul Line firmas?n? kurarak Türkleri cruise seyahatleri ile tan??t?ran Mustafa Balc?, ?imdi de Cruiseacademy’i kurarak yatlar?n ve cruisse gemilerinin personel ihtiyac?n? kar??lamak için kollar? s?vad?.

  198. #205 Janja
    August 11, 2008

    Hello!

    God bless you all!

    There you have something more about another Christian meeting – it was just too beaufiful! Come and see;)
    Scedule:
    Prayer
    Holy mass
    Confession
    Adoration

    40 000 people, 440 priests

    http://www.mladifest.com/medjugorje/photo/youthfestival2008/youthfestival2008.htm

    Greetings from Slovenia,

    Janja