Banned in Mildura by the Catholic Church. Who? Me.

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This article was written to appear in The Age March 10 2010. It was spiked (not published) the day before by the editor of The Age. I was not informed, asked for an edit or a substitute column. I just woke to hundreds of emails from grumpy readers wanting to know where I was. Two days later i received an email using the words ‘religious vilification’.

I made front page of the Sunraysia Daily last week. I know, I’ve arrived. Picture of me with big capital letters BANNED. The most shocking thing was the article referred to me as a ‘celebrity’.

Why was I banned from Mildura, one of the most cosmopolitan and multicultural places in Victoria? Full of warm welcoming people, great chat and incredible diversity? Was there are Ladies Who Take Their Husbands Surname’s Convention? No. Were The Footy Show doing a live broadcast from Irymple with special guest Tony Abbott? No. Was the 4WD, Monster Pram Leafblower Expo on in Wentworth? No.

I was booked to speak at the St. Joseph’s College Stadium for International Women’s Day until the powers at pulled the venue on the grounds that I “held views that were not consistent with the Catholic Church”.

Most priests, parishioners and the Catholic Church itself hold views not consistent with the Catholic Church.

Mildura has been host to two of the most notorious convicted pedophile priests in Australia’s history. Monsignor John Day and Father Gerard Risdale. The chid abuse was covered up by the Catholic Church and the police (more here).

According to several sources the Ballarat diocese is allegedly dangerously low on funds due to the huge amount of sex abuse payouts to victims. Funds the church raise from what the parishioners put into the collection plate more here and here.

The Catholic Church let pedophiles speak from their pulpits but ban a feminist atheist speak in it’s parish hall. Whose right to free speech would Jesus deny?

I wonder if they would come to the same decision had I been a man?

I was thrilled they banned me. And not only because banning is the refuge of those who forfeit the argument. But because by banning me they were proving my point by exposing the church for what is it. Not an institution devoted to love, tolerance, compassion, kindness and justice. But a cult about power, control and discrimination. The only thing that would make me any happier is if they burned me at the stake.

The church said they didn’t want to unnecessarily upset the members of the community who were against my beliefs. Yet it’s fine for the church to oppress gays, women and atheists while preaching ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.

Of course the Catholic Church are not going to celebrate a woman having a voice. They have systematically limited women’s access to power, wealth, education and the control of their own bodies so the fairer sex could be their slaves, handmaidens and baby machines. There is no greater oppressor of women than religion. The Bible is a weapon of mass oppression.

The Catholic Church may have prevented me speaking at their basketball court. But they can’t stop me speaking on their land. The Pope is the third largest individual landowner in the world. And the land purchased in Australia continues to be of free of land tax. So they only way they can stop me is to kill me. Which I’m sure they’d love to.

I did speak in Mildura. I flew up in a plane painted bright pink to raise breast cancer awareness. I felt like I was in the Barbie Jet. (The Mildura locals call it The Dog’s Dick.)

The venue was changed to the beautiful Mildura Club. A men’s club. Women are welcome these days. But only men can be members. I arrived to a typically warm Mildura welcome and met an amazing elderly nun. She told me that when I spoke not to refer to The Church. But rather ‘the leaders of the Church.”

But I couldn’t. And I didn’t. Anyone who enables the church’s behavior cannot distance themselves from their actions. Many spoke to me later about the incredible and well-loved nun who regularly performs weddings, christenings and funerals. Which is allowed by the Catholic Church but only if priests are unavailable. And she could never be a father. “Just “ a sister.

I have been accused of hating the Church and hating men. Neither of which is true and evident to anyone with a sense of reason, justice and elementary clear thinking ability. I hate people who use power to oppress and abuse people. Whatever they believe. And whatever gender they are. And I will not be silent.

The money I am paid for writing this column will be donated to Broken Rites a support group for victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy. (Because the article was spiked I won’t be paid seeing as thought I am a freelancer. So I have decided that 10% of any profit from God Is Bullshit, That’s The Good News will go to Broken Rites.)

P.S.

Yesterday I was mentioned in the BBC

On Friday I speak at the The Global Atheist Convention, the largest Atheist Convention the world has ever seen with Richard Dawkins, Phillip Adams, Peter Singer et al at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Tickets were sold out in January and the waiting list was caped at 500 despite it receiving no funding. Everyone is working for free.

On Monday I appear (for the third time) on ABC’s Q and A.

Clearly people want to hear this message. Why are people so afraid of atheism? We atheists are the ones going to burn in hell. Aren’t we?

 

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