I’m getting a tiny bit browned off with some “religious viewpoints”. We’ve had rather a lot of them lately, telling us when we may live or die, and who we may not marry. Our Archbishop of Canterbury has been begging MPs to reject Rob Marris’s right-to-die bill, the pope still thinks abortion is a sin, and Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, has refused to marry gay couples, because it would “violate her Apostolic Christian beliefs”.
Here we are, unable to cope with the numbers we’ve got, but being bossed about at both ends of life: to hang on when we’re desperate to peg out, or be forced to arrive when we’re not wanted.
To be fair, Justin Welby promises he’s not trying to “advance … religious viewpoints”, but he sounds a bit religious-viewpointy to me, signing his joint letter with only “faith leaders”. He’s worried about us being made to feel burdensome, but we don’t need egging on. We can feel burdensome all by ourselves if we so wish and decide we’ve had quite enough of life, thank you very much. Why hang about, kept going unnaturally, when one is demented, doubly-incontinent, locked-in, paralysed or in constant unbearable pain? Why make our children watch that and cope with it?
And I admit this pope is pretty good, as popes go. He’s urging Catholic parishes to take in refugees, he’s called unfettered capitalism “the dung of the devil”, which is lovely, but wouldn’t it be marvellous if he could manage not to link abortion with sin and crime? We don’t need to be forgiven by anyone, never mind fellows who are not familiar with sex, birth or women’s body parts.
But what of Kim Davis, who “loves her lord and her sins [have been] forgiven”? “She’s pretty mainstream over there,” says Fielding glumly. “Many people share her opinions.” A terrifying observation, but as it’s nearly the Catholic church’s “jubilee year of mercy”, I’ll forgive her. I have no choice. You can’t argue with religious people. If they think they’re right, they’re right. If non-believers think they’re right, they’re arrogant, which is the most enraging religious viewpoint of all.