Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hugh Dallas quits over 'anti-Pope' email

This is the picture which Hugh Dallas, Scottish Football Association's head of referee development, forwarded to his friends on the eve of Pope Benedict's visit to Scotland in September, and over which he has been forced to resign.

The Roman Catholic Church called it a 'tasteless message' and demanded that the SFA sack Mr Dallas. The Director of the Catholic Media Office, Peter Kearney, urged very swift retribution. He said the email was 'totally unprofessional, gratuitously insulting to the Pope, deeply offensive to the Catholic community of Scotland and an incitement to anti-Catholic sectarianism'.

An incitement to anti-Catholic sectarianism?


A joke?

But this is Scotland, where certain Rangers-Celtic tensions are but a breath away from the IRA-UDF civil war.

It is where even the 'Hokey Cokey’ is an expression of 'faith hate'.

It is where politicians have urged the police to arrest anyone using the song to taunt Roman Catholics under legislation designed to prevent incitement to religious hatred.

The SFA have been assiduously trying to stamp out sectarianism, and so they had no choice but to bow to the demands of the Roman Catholic Church: Hugh Dallas had to go.

When does humour become unacceptobly sectarian?

Is this Peter Brookes cartoon, which appeared in The Times last year, sectarian?

Is it an 'incitement to hatred'?

Or is it artistic genius communicating what a thousand words does not?

There is no doubt that the Pope caused dismay among HIV/AIDS campaigners last March when he declared on a trip to Africa that condoms were not the solution to the epidemic ravaging the continent. He said that the disease 'cannot be overcome by distributing condoms – it only increases the problem'. He unequivocally condemned the use of condoms even as a means of preventing the spread of HIV.

By portraying Pope Benedict with a condom on his head, Peter Brookes was ridiculing this assertion.

And yet many Roman Catholics saw it as an attack on the Pope personally.

But after last week's 'clarifications' on condom usage (however they finally translate), perhaps Mr Brookes might feel vindicated.

The Hugh Dallas email is crude in comparison: there is no artistry to speak of at all. And yet it communicates a sense of righteous indignation that there has been a cover-up of priestly paedophilia even at the highest level.

Are we now at the point where religion - all religion - is protected from criticism and immune to ridicule and satire?

Are all to be 'standardised'; rendered void of levity and humour?

Are we seeing the prohibition and systematic redefining of a great British characteristic?

What about the Guardian's anti-Semitism?

The BBC's anti-Anglicanism?

Would Hugh Dallas have been sacked for sending out an email which offended Protestants?


Anonymous gladiolys said...

The picture circulated is very funny - and very satirical. The only way Hugh Dallas might be open to criticism is if he were the one who posted the sign on the roadworks notice. Circulating a photograph of it is the same as repeating a joke. What a humourless bunch of scaredy cats we are becoming.

27 November 2010 at 11:30  
OpenID yokel said...

As a Protestant, I take a little bit of comfort from the fact that the Roman Catholics are adopting the same stance as the Muslims in "my religion has been offended and I must defend it".

I wonder if it is the only thing they have in common?

27 November 2010 at 11:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dallas had long been a hate figure for the Celtic (RC) minded. His windows were broken after he presided over the 1999 title decider, which saw him attacked on the pitch.

27 November 2010 at 11:35  
Anonymous LDS said...

I agree with the thrust of your comments YG but there is a background to this and that is a sustained attack by various Scottish clubs on the independence and integrity of the Referees, see enclosed What I don't know and will endeavor to find out is if there is a religious element to the Club versus referee dispute.

27 November 2010 at 12:19  
Anonymous LDS said...

I agree with the thrust of your comments YG but this is taking place in the context of what appears to be a sustained attempt by the clubs to undermine the independence of the referees. Please see enclosed. I will endeavour to find out if there is any religious aspect to the dispute.

27 November 2010 at 12:23  
Blogger anchorhold said...

I don't think it's a sackable offence either, but I think there is a difference between the photo and the cartoon. The cartoon was directly aimed at things Benedict really did say and is personally responsible. The photo-manip suggests that Benedict is a paedophile, and while the Catholic hierarchy has handled child-abuse exceptionally badly, it doesn't to my mind justify insinuating that Benedict himself is a child-abuser.

As far as asking whether Dallas would have been sacked for insulting Protestant feeling: I think it's relevant that while, in the Scottish context, neither side is innocent of perpetuating Billy-and-Tam nonsense, the Protestant (Rangers-supporting) side has generally been nastier. There's no real Catholic equivalent to the Orange Order, and when I had abuse shouted at me at an ecumenical pilgrimage as a kid, it was Protestants, not Catholics who were doing the yelling.

Mind you, as a Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian, I'm torn between a tendency to sympathise with the RCs and an even stronger tendency to mutter "a plague on both your houses."

27 November 2010 at 12:36  
Anonymous JayBee said...

I fear that humour has been mortally wounded by an ingrained community relations and equality mindset. Even pathetic attempts at witticism are being severely punished by the PC brigade.

Hugh Dallas is not the only one to have come unstuck by ill considered comment during the papal visit:-

Emailing and Social Networking are dangerous occupations for the impetuous and naive.

27 November 2010 at 13:19  
Blogger Jakian Thomist said...

Herein lies the rub:

A storm erupted when it emerged a message supposedly forwarded from Dallas's SFA email address showed a fake road sign indicating a danger to children and the words, 'The Pope is coming'.

He associated his employer with his personal views and jokes and now the employer wishes to (rightly) disassociate themselves from it.

Your grace's key question is tangential:
Are we now at the point where religion - all religion - is protected from criticism and immune to ridicule and satire?

Indeed, I hope the answer is no, but perhaps those other than journalists and police investigators will now learn to do this on their own time and not drag cross-community institutions with them.

Read more:

27 November 2010 at 13:42  
Anonymous ukFred said...

As someone brought up in Scotland, with Catholic atheist, Protestant Atheist and presbyterian believing relatives, I think that anchorhold is wrong. I have been called a "Proddie dog" because I did not go to the local Catholic school. The people who said this were always more assiduous in their attendance at Celtic Park than at the chapel, as the Roman Catholic place of worship is known in the Glasgow area. Does Anchorhold really think that the Knights of St John is a simple RC men's social club? The problem was encapsulated by Hamish Imlach, the Glaswegian folk singer in the late 1960s when he sang

"When asked whit they think o' religion
Baith say, 'Ach religion's a' right'
But these guys are only religious
When they waant an excuse fur a fight"

27 November 2010 at 14:41  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

The email will be seen as tasteless and insensitive by many, the more so because it is misdirected, but who made public an email that was 'forwarded to his friends' and what was his/her motive in greatly increasing the numbers to be 'offended'?

Such 'do-gooders' trafficking their political correctness would be better occupied doing something useful rather than stirring-up trouble. Had it been members of another faith feeling offended there could have been riots on the streets but freedom of speech is not something to be surrendered lightly.

27 November 2010 at 14:51  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

Perhaps this is the establishments way of justifying the current status quo on criticism of Islam.

We certainly are living in frightening times when slice by slice our freedoms are being eroded.

27 November 2010 at 15:01  
Anonymous The Justice of the Peace said...

As anticipated by many current legislation is pulling the word offensive just like the kids`s game of changing letters into offending and this is a clear example.

27 November 2010 at 15:49  
Blogger jackie said...

yes I am catholic, and find the caption very disturbing as , It is making a mockery of children who have been abused in the past by preists to even joke about something distasteful by someone in his authority is ludicrious. I think this is the main topic everyone should be talking about.

27 November 2010 at 16:15  
Anonymous len said...

The authorities are fearful of the reaction of some who practice various religions and whose response to offence will be violence, quite the reverse of Jesus`s teaching.

27 November 2010 at 16:22  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Mr. Dallas was not an immovable object; an irresistible force simply felt the need to prove it.

That's how it goes, as many here have previously suggested. Our masters brook no disagreement, and habitually destroy those who could strengthen resistance.

In addition, 'making the example' serves to dampen dialogue. Our masters and their puppets fear Dialogue, because Dialogue empowers the people.

Additionally, in this case, one branch of the agenda in Britain seems to be re-establishment of a mask of Catholicism. Before we know where we are they'll be seizing back all the lands HVIII retrieved for us. Hence el papa's visit in the first place. We are to infer that resistance is er... "unacceptable," and that serfs may not speak. After all, that would require thought ...

27 November 2010 at 17:26  
Anonymous non mouse said...

... and, by definition, we are already 'dumbed down.'

Which is probably why some teachers encourage circular reasoning as an outlet for rebellion!

27 November 2010 at 17:41  
Blogger LeucipottomySpoon82 said...

And from the looks of things the EU is about to make the situation a whole lot more precarious:

27 November 2010 at 17:53  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Well Your Grace.
I'm amazed but not surprised how 'precious' some different Church people can be. When compared to the opposition the Lord had, this joke albeit in bad taste is not even funny. Perhaps whoever invented it deserves the boot for such a poor sense of humour but to throw ones hands up in feigned horror?.

If the Church today is going to reach the lost of this generation, we will have to be more thick skinned & able to recognise & laugh at our own failures or we risk being labelled as self righteous hypocrites, humorless, unsmiling miseries, & who in their right mind would want to spend eternity living next door to a people who would puncture your football if it went over their fence?.

27 November 2010 at 20:06  
Anonymous Rev Dominic said...

Sacked for sending that round! Shocking.

The man is allowed to share the concern of many people about the Church of Rome and its appalling record on 'child care issues'(to put it politely. It is not even a religious comment, merely a practical point.

As a referee I am unimpressed by his removal, as a Protestant I am shocked at the way the SFA has kowtowed to the RC church in this matter.

27 November 2010 at 20:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's the head of an organisation which has to set an example and lead the way in tackling religious and secterian prejudices in the workplace. He had to go, or the SFA would have undermined all campaigns that they are currently involved in, within scottish society. There was no way he could have survived without the integrity of the organisation being called into question

27 November 2010 at 20:54  
Blogger Kate Powell said...

Nothing to do with Catholicism. Nothing to do with Dallas. All to do with the world-wide epidemic of hyper-sensitivity about each and every little itsy-bitsy thing that could be construed as a suggestion that maybe I am not perfect. The most wide-spread and fastest- growing religion on earth is the Cult of Global Narcissism. There have always been these sorts of narcissists, of course, but haven't they come to the fore in recent years? As someone who was (long ago) brought up in the Catholic Church, I recognize the type. And when I forget myself and stray into a Catholic church these days, I see the type on the altar. This Cult is bigger than any religion or any group. St Teresa of Avila's nuns begged her to write an entire chapter in her Book of Foundations about just these sorts of trouble-makers. St Teresa understood that if she allowed herself to take one moaner seriously, she would end up with a whole convent full of moaners. She put a moaner into the punishment cell until the moaner got a grip, even if the moaner was genuinely insane. It's the old story of one bad apple spoiling the whole bunch. We have allowed bad apples to be spoiled. We have allowed them to remain among us, instead of expelling them from our midst. Now we have a planet full of rotten apples.

27 November 2010 at 20:59  
Anonymous bluedog said...

'But this is Scotland, where certain Rangers-Celtic tensions are but a breath away from the IRA-UDF civil war.'

Your Grace has never said a truer word.

27 November 2010 at 21:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we are losing sight of the 'offence' here - whether or not Catholics lack humour or whether Protestants now see this as a step closer to a 'them and us' situation - and in itself an incitement to 'differences'. I am an employer - and I would have disciplined any of my staff who used my computer system for non business use - it is part of their conditions of employment - and I would imagine that most credible organisations (yes even football organisations) operate professionally with a similar policy.

27 November 2010 at 22:01  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Though the short term intended consequences are minor and perhaps quite humorous (not in this case though), events like these have unintended malicious consequences.

Any lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. Some say that the big lies are believed the most but it is only the fringe people who believe these lies. No, lying small is always more effective as you are less likely to be caught.

Let's say that, working at a paper, you receive information regarding child abuse cases in care organisations throughout the country. It turns out that, with the state complicit (in some cases), some organisations dealt with these situations quietly or covered them up. It also turns out that some of these organisations were Catholic. What is the most shocking headline; what will sell the most papers?

"Child abuse in care organisations"? Perhaps, but this seems obvious to those who think about it.
"Child abuse covered up by state"? Better, but no one trusts the state anyway...
"Child abuse covered up by church"? Much more shocking, much less expected. Whilst all three are doable, and true to a degree, the third headline is run. What is the result? Well a year down the line we get people believing a lie that they have come to produce by themselves; that child abuse was more prevalent in the Catholic care organisations than others, and that pederasty is more common in priests than in the general population. The truth is actually completely the opposite, but it is easy to see where the logical error is made.

28 November 2010 at 00:39  
Anonymous non mouse said...

One hardly dares mention any subtext or discussion that may have accompanied this picture to "frenemies."

As the image stands though, it appears to have been produced in the public domain - on the actual street - and presumably not by Mr. Dallas. If so, should he not advise his colleagues? Joke or no joke, surely it is their business to know about it, and not to play ostrich?

As to the sign itself, I agree that it falls into the category of 'witticism' rather than 'joke.' And, I say again, Britons should be free to mount such protest publicly (in this case, non-violently) against their enemies. And that includes the pc police.

28 November 2010 at 01:19  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

So where am I going with this?

This misreporting has led to many different conclusions about why the Catholic Church was so specifically prone.
In a recent lecture I was told the true story of a statistician presenting a piece of data. He deliberately misrepresented it and claimed it gave the opposite result. Several professors stood up and explained the mechanism that gave the result. He then stood up again and claimed he had made an error and that the results were actually completely different. Another lot of professors stood up and explained why. The moral of the story is that just because someone can find a reason why something should happen, does not mean that it does happen.

Common knowledge is when we can know something is true, not through evidence or logic, but because it's what everyone says (very much like Stephen Colbert's 'Wikiality'). This knowledge comes about, not necessarily deliberately, but because it's what everyone hears. The media weren't deliberately biased against the Church, but by reporting only half the story, the whole truth was lost, and if there's one thing that lies love more than falsity it's half-truths.

Once the moral authority of the Church falls, whether by her own hand or not, then no messages she gives will be listened to; even those unrelated to her perceived faults. It is irresponsible to deny people the knowledge of Christ because of their ignorance and it is our duty to enlighten them. If that means the Church standing up to those who misrepresent her then that must be the case. Let them be blinded with the truth.

Cases like these are the trickle of small lies that lead to the big ones. Look what happened to Jews in 1930s Germany, land owners in 1920s Russia, black people in 1960s America and Catholics in 16th century England. None guilty of anything but being misrepresented. If Christianity is to survive in the UK, then we must ALL protect it when it is just to do so. The Atheists are a sly bunch; they lump us all as one group to denounce us, and then divide us in order to destroy us.

Freedom of speech is an arbitrary man-made construct, distorted in modern times to give justification for any obscenity. Under whose authority is freedom of speech granted and to what purpose? Demonisation, defamity and insult should not be enshrined in law as permissible as they provide only destructive purpose. Already we have laws in place to prevent people saying everything that comes to their heads, and it has been this way since the notion of law was introduced. It is very backward to believe that such restrictions are oppressive. Don't get me wrong, of course, I do believe in many forms of freedom of speech; just not the central dogma.

What do I think in this case? I think that the response should have been simple. "Why is this image implying that the Pope is a child abuser when that is clearly not true? Is this not libel?" No calls for resignations needed; just the truth. If there is one thing the great deceiver fears most, it is the truth.

28 November 2010 at 01:38  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Was that an official road sign that had been defaced ? Did it have import to women and children ?

Would attaching things to traffic lights, halt signs, and other traffic information be acceptable ?

If free expression now includes defacing public buildings, traffic installations, posters, could it not include dropping fire extinguishers off buildings in symbolic gestures ?

28 November 2010 at 06:35  
Anonymous len said...

Judging by the Catholic responses I would say that this 'anti pope email' has pointed the attention to a festering wound that the Catholic fraternity would rather conceal and pretend never happened.
The Catholic church would do well to steer well clear of the truth if it intends to survive.

28 November 2010 at 08:09  
Anonymous Campion said...

Oh dear, are the Protestants getting upset that someone has slapped one of them down for expressing unchristian attitudes?


The one thing that we have to thank the Moslem's for is that they have conspired to have faith hatred laws enacted that Catholics can now turn upon spiteful little Protestant bigots.

Given that Protestants had to use Jihadist methods (forced conversions, special taxes, second class citizenship, banning from high office, torture, murder, brainwashing and confiscations) in order to impose their cult upon the British people there is a certain irony that Moslems should hand Catholics legal redress against Protestant persecution.

That, together with the fact that the CofE "house built on sand" is sinking fast, should make Protestants look closely at themselves, their prejudices and their cult.

I won't hold my breath through. I have seen too many of them to imagine they have the wit to soften their hearts towards their fellow human beings.

28 November 2010 at 08:31  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Of course I agree that you're not wholly wrong, Voyager. Graffiti has a long history, though, and it's purposes and perpetrators have varied. So I believe our responses to it should vary accordingly.

For example, obscenity has been traditionally suppressed, usually with majority consensus, for moral reasons - though nowadays those guidelines are ignored. This offends me, so I try to avoid the 'venues.' If more people objected, perhaps we could clean things up.

Objection to political oppression, exploitation, or invasion is another matter. Oppressors, exploiters and invaders deny every kind of expression to their victims - and I, for one, would encourage re-assertion of their rights. The case of this 'desecrated' sign conceivably represents the thin edge of that wedge.

However, the dropping of fire extinguishers renders anger active, so it is rather more than symbolic. That violence presently seems pointless and out of proportion. How long will that be true of our overall situation, though? Our 'masters' have set themselve up by stealth and deception. If they continue to deny us dialogue or negotiation - --------

28 November 2010 at 08:42  
Anonymous len said...

Two things that Islam and Catholicism have in common.
Now that`s an interesting one.
Perhaps they share a common ancestry?

28 November 2010 at 08:47  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Mr. Campion - having received my early education at the hands of Catholics, I have no innate objection to them or their faith. As a student of Christian literature and history in these islands, I have even less objection.

As to the Reformation, no one can logically argue that our forebears on either side were perfect; clearly they shared the fallen nature of our pathetic species. At least as clearly, your own side has learned no more from history than you imagine we have.

As a modern Briton, however, I have strong objections to paying taxes to foreigners and subjecting myself to their political machinations. During my lifetime, and for many generations before, we have managed to stay free of them; and I haven't witnessed too many inter-Christian battles in our island.

Under foreign rule however, that is changing - and this incident is part of that change. Your own attitude pays just as nicely into their policy of 'divide and conquer.'

28 November 2010 at 09:23  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Bravo and well said, non mouse @ 09.23. Both my grand-mothers had French surnames, one with a family tree in which the English version pointedly began in 1685. Most of us are Anglicans now but we have a Jesuit priest in the family who officiates on the hatch, match and dispatch days where possible. Silly sectarians.

28 November 2010 at 10:41  
Anonymous Sandy Jamieson said...

As you said this is Scotland where football is just as important.
We have just had a weekend where referees were on strike because of the criticsm they are receiving. The main culprits on this are Celtic FC (Chairman ex Labour Minister John Reid). This is a club which flies the Irish Republic Flag at its ground. This is a club whose fans jeered at the 2 Minute Silence at Rememberance Sunday in Falkirk last year.

This is a Club which has an unhealthy relationship with the ruling Labour Group on Glasgow Corporation: a Council which seems at times to operate as a job creation scheme for the City's (Irish) Catholics so much so that some three years ago when the Club got to the EUFA Cup Final in Seville, The council was flooded with leave applications. One unsuccessful applicant is reported to have said, "why don't the Rangers Fans employed by the Council cover for us" was told that they couldn't expect two people to run the Council for four days.

I gather the email was in wide circulation at the timje of the visit and all Dallas may have done is to forward something that anmused them along to selected friends in their address book-somehting a lot of us do

To follow on ukFred's point that in commenting on Hamish Imlach's song, another verse continued, ".... are Roman Catholic,, Tae Chapel they've been once or twice. But Parkheid is their new Jerusalem.and Jock Stein the latter Day Christ"

28 November 2010 at 15:18  
Blogger Theresa said...

Jock Stein was a Protestant, Sandy.

6 December 2010 at 01:12  
Anonymous dallas laser eye surgery said...

I agree with Most of us are Anglicans now but we have a Jesuit priest in the family who officiates on the hatch, match and dispatch days where possible. Silly sectarians. and Under foreign rule however, that is changing - and this incident is part of that change. Your own attitude pays just as nicely into their policy of 'divide and conquer.'

25 February 2011 at 09:37  
Blogger Jose J. Soto said...

The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus (aka Northwest Jesuits) has agreed to a settlement that would pay $166 million to approx. 524 victims of sexual abuse, many of them Native Americans either in boarding schools or remote Alaska Native villages, as reported by Reuters on March 25.

The Jesuits, or Society of Jesus, is the Catholic Church’s largest religious order, with more than 19,000 members worldwide. The Oregon Province includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

Occurring in five states from the 1940s and 1990s, the abuses were sexual and psychological in nature, and the perpetrators were priests as well as Jesuit novices, scholastics, lay volunteers, deacons, Jesuit brothers and nuns.

Not one of the perpetrators named in the settlement was charged, however, as most of the abuses were reported when the victims became adults, after the statute of limitations had expired or the perpetrators had died, according to the Reuters’ article.

The settlement, the largest ever for Catholic Church-related abuses, is part of an agreement to resolve the Oregon Province’s two-year-old bankruptcy case.

Jose J. Soto
509 S. 28th Street
Lincoln NE 68510

29 March 2011 at 22:45  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older