It's quite clever and misleading for Newsweek and The Washington Post to name their religion site "On Faith." It's a little like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals starting a website simply called "On Meat."
Author Donna Freitas, called "The Stubborn Catholic," is absolutely thrilled with the idea that two very publicly vicious atheists want to arrest the Pope when he visits the United Kingdom. She declared "warm and fuzzy" feelings for them.
Have you heard? Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins want to arrest the Pope when he visits England! I know it's more or less a publicity stunt and that theoretically I should be shaking my head in disapproval because it sounds so off the charts outrageous to do such a thing.
But to be honest: I'm kinda excited about it. I kinda want to be shouting, "You go, boys!" A part of me is chuckling about this. In a Mwa mwa mwa sort of tongue-in-cheek way.
In fact, Freitas strangely argued that Hitchens and Dawkins are taking on the Pope on behalf of the Catholic faithful:
There is something, too, about the way they are taking on the Vatican that feels as if it is not only on behalf of all victims, but all of us ordinary, everyday Catholics, too. Catholicism has been dragged through the mud by the way its authority figures have been shown to harbor criminals for decades upon decades. Hitchens and Dawkins are using their bully pulpits to take on these bullies of another sort.
It's quite challenging to believe that Dawkins is fighting for the Catholic Church when he wrote on the very same website:
Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice -- the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution -- while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.
But then -- should we be surprised? -- Freitas read that, and loved it:
Don't get me wrong: while I think Christopher Hitchens can be brilliant as a writer, his offerings on religion generally make my eyes roll. Dawkins, though, I tend to enjoy reading on the topic. But regardless of this caveat and regardless of their own personal reasons and interests. I'm curious to see what happens. I can't help it!
(And while I am confessing such things: I also kind of love reading Maureen Dowd's recent opinion columns in The New York Times lately about the scandal, too--from her "A Nope for Pope" piece to her most recent, "Worlds Without Women." I never used to read her before now. And Richard Dawkins viciously sarcastic "On Faith" post from a while back, "Ratzinger is the perfect pope"--I kind of loved, that too.)
Freitas is wrong that Dawkins is being "sarcastic" -- Dawkins is quite sincerely in line with his usual ranting hatred of religious faith.
In an earlier post, Freitas explicitly called for "no less than a revolution" that would sack the Pope and the entire stuffy hierarchical "apostolic succession" model in favor of hard-left feminist and "liberation theology." That may be stubborn, but it certainly is not Catholic. It is the dictionary definition of anti-Catholic.
Freitas urged people to read Mary E. Hunt, who wants to "replace the pyramid model with a pinwheel," a Kumbaya circle that makes space for feminist and Marxist ideology. Hunt also ranted her hate for the ancient church model:
The clerical culture that arises from and permeates the Roman Catholic Church is a key part of the noxious mix in which hundreds of thousands of people around the world were victimized by their religious leaders. Jim Jones and his followers look like kids at camp by comparison.
This is the dominant opinion of the "On Faith" blog. This shows no respect for the Catholic faith, but maligns its leaders as murderous thugs and cult leaders.