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
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
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.