2:08:52 PM

Tatchell’s rant

On Monday evening, shortly before Pope Benedict XVI’s state visit to Britain, gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell scrutinised his beliefs and policies on the UK’s Channel 4. Here we present two reactions to the widely publicised program.
Peter Tatchell makes one honest statement in his programme on Channel 4 on Monday evening, "The Trouble With The Pope". At the start he declares "I have an issue with the Pope".  What a pity he does not go on to state openly what his problem really is. The rest of the hour long programme is basically a Tatchell monologue full of his own opinions, distorted facts and personal attacks on Pope Benedict XVI. There are brief interviews with various people carefully chosen to attack Church teaching and a couple of minutes with one lady who supports the Church but Tatchell keeps interrupting her to express his own views.  There is no attempt to look at the facts objectively or put counter arguments.
Here is not the place to dismantle all the accusations which Tatchell launches. One example is enough.
At one point he speaks to a man who has a genetic, fatal, wasting disease and announces that human embryo stem cell research could find a cure but the Pope opposes such experimentation. The man's daughter weeps at the thought a life saving treatment could be found for her father but it is being blocked by a man in Rome. How manipulative and cruel can you get!  Let's leave aside the deep medical, ethical and moral questions about whether an embryo has the same rights and dignity as any other human being and whether it can be justifiable to use and destroy one life for the good of another.
Tatchell must know that embryo research has so far produced no successful cures in humans. By contract adult stem cell research is being used to address over 80 different conditions. It is unlikely that stem cell research will produce a cure in time to save the man in question but medical research clearly shows the most positive results come from adult stem cell treatment. And it is the Vatican and Catholic institutes and hospitals that have put more money than any other entities into this research. How strange Tatchell fails to point this out.  How deep must be his hatred of Pope Benedict to cynically use the suffering of a family in this way for his propaganda programme!
One final thought: in a modern, tolerant, pluralistic society, is it right for television to air such one sided and irrational views?
Chris Morgan is a UK tax advisor specialising in international and European law.
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