This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Speech stirs up hatred of secularists
As president of Leicester Secular Society, I was surprised by the reports about the address by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor that appeared to suggest we are achieving world domination (May 17).
The former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, speaking at Leicester's Anglican Cathedral, is reported to have said that "Secular values" were behind the violence carried out in totalitarian states and some of the 20th century conflicts that have killed millions.
"Our danger in Britain today is that so-called Western Reason has recognised what is right and thus claims reality – reality that is inimical to freedom," he said.
"No one is forced to be a Christian. But no one should be forced to live according to the new secular religion as if it alone were definitive and obligatory for all humankind."
We need to remind him, gently, when he states "no one is forced to be a Christian", that until the death of dictator General Franco, of Spain, the Catholic church worked hand in glove with the fascist dictator's government; burying its dead in church, while Republicans were usually shot and flung into unmarked ditches.
His Church was essentially compulsory and to dissent was to risk death.Perhaps he should remember how the Catholic Church connived with the Nazis in the slaughter of Jewish people.
Further, our own Queen "Bloody" Mary Tudor had non-Catholics executed in large numbers.
He confuses what he calls "secular religion" with consumer capitalism. This, as he may know, had its origins in the late Middle Ages – in Catholic Florence and Venice.
I suppose he cares to ignore his Church's intransigent attitudes to abortion and birth control, which are helping to imperil the world by forcing yet more hungry mouths into existence, leading to resource degradation.
I consider that stirring up religious hatred against secularists is equally as bad as stirring it up against other denominations.
Michael Gerard, president, Leicester Secular Society