Archbishop says atheists don’t respect “goodness of the human person”

(That's pretty broad, don't you think? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a recent radio interview, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila compared Colorado's "godlessness" to Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia and said it portends a government that will "eventually fall."

Citing the growing number of atheists and agnostics here, Aquila also said godlessness in Colorado engenders a "lack of respect for the goodness of the human person."

Soon after making this bigoted comment against atheists like me, Aquila became the face of opposition to a bill, killed last week, that would have barred state and local governments from interfering with reproductive healthcare decisions.

An April 15 rally, led by Aquila, galvanized opposition to the bill and got saturation local media coverage.

Reporters cited a letter, signed by Aquila, which called on Catholics to "pray for the conversion of the heart and mind of those who support such irrational, unscientific, and a denial of conscience legislation."

Fair enough. His opinion. But if Aquila is going to jump up and down about science, journalists should cover Aquila's unscientific views, including his anger at the media for failing to cover Satan, who is "real."

KNUS' Dan Caplis asked Aquila on April 3 what's surprised him here in Denver, since he took over as Denver Archbishop in 2012.

Aquila responded that the "godlessness that is present here [in Colorado]" has been a "very real challenge."

AQUILA: [Godlessness] opens up all sorts of opportunities for evangelization, for helping people and reaching out to them, but it’s also a real challenge in terms of seeing the lack of respect for the dignity of human life, the lack of respect for the goodness of the human person.

CAPLIS: What forms do you see this godlessness – this secular godlessness taking?

AQUILA: I think in terms of, first of all, the numbers that claim to be atheist today, or agnostic, certainly are up in percentage of people. Also is the almost just total pushing of God from the public square. And we know that was not true 50 years ago. That God was, and certainly in the founding in this — of our democracy and all, God was very much a part of that. And very much — it was religious beliefs that this country was founded upon. And when you look at history, when you read the founding fathers’ statements, even when you read the Declaration of Independence, there is the recognition of a creator. And when you look at the buildings that were built a hundred years ago – a hundred and fifty years ago, whether it be the Supreme Court or other buildings in Washington D.C., they have the Ten Commandments on them.

CAPLIS: Right.

AQUILA: And people did not blink an eye at that. And when one studies history, whether it be salvation history or whether it be history – even in the last hundred years, we can see when a country or a people remove God from the equation, they eventually fall.

CAPLIS: Right.

AQUILA: And whether it was Nazi Germany, whether it was Stalin, whether it was other governments.

Caplis concluded his Aquila interview with a great suggestion for a future show that might help fill in the media gap left open after last week's one-dimensional coverage of Aquila:

AQUILA: Well, you are known as a man of action, and very much appreciate your time. I’m hoping we can get together on a regular basis. I’d love to – for example, I’d love to do one show just on the devil – heaven, hell, the devil. And get your take on that. As you say, it’s something we don’t talk about a lot. Probably, people like me don’t want to think about it a lot. But it would be one of those things that would really be great to dig into as we head into the political season. You know, just talk about – and I’ve heard you speak so eloquently and bravely on this before, — you know, the obligation of people to carry their faith in all aspects of their life, including the political process. [I] would love to do a show just on that.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    My Christian church supports gay rights as well as reproductive rights as fundamental tenets of our faith But I guess that to Aqula, that makes my pastors, my congregation and our religious beliefs no different or perhaps even worse than atheists, agnostics, and others whom Aquila characterizes as "godless."

    (I'm not going to give Aquila the respect of his title as long as he fails to respect the sincerely held religious beliefs of others who don't share his positions.) 

  2. horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

    So you have to believe in some form of deity in order to respect the goodness of people ?  What the fuck happens if an athiest volunteers at a soup kitchen, or shovels snow in a neighbors walkway ?  Do they burst into flames, or turn into a serpent ?

    Aquila is a moron

  3. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    This archbishop is full of crap. The atheists and agnostics I know are no less moral, ethical, kind, caring or loving than the nicest religious people I know andapparently, a lot more so than this idiot. This, I believe, is the trouble with a celibate clergy cut off from the closest human relationships. They don't know WTF they're talking about most of the time. The new Pope is one of the few celibate men in skirts who appears to have some insight into real life.

  4. ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

    My haredi-rabbi brothers haven't had a conversation with me for over six years because I married my non-Jewish wife.  So I think "not respecting goodness of the human person" isn't a deficiency limited to atheists and agnostics. 

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      Prejudice definitely cuts both ways.

      I have Jewish relatives in Austria whom I will probably never meet, because in WWII, my mom's family made a strategic decision to change names and cut off all Jewish roots. Some of those relatives died in the camps.

      There were five rabbis in that lineage, too, pre WWII, going back to Czech and Ukrainian family branches. It pisses me off that anti-Semitism forced my ancestors to cut off their own heritagea. My American uncles and mother kept this "dirty secret" for thirty years after they immigrated to the USA, WWII, because of fears of American anti-Semitism. Five rabbis – a dirty secret.

      Your brothers may understand the loss they inflicted on themselves, eventually.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      That's why I thank the Force every day that I was blessed by being be born into a mainly secular Jewish family. We marry in and out of the tribe and everybody loves and accepts everybody. Nobody thinks anyone else is going to hell because they believe the wrong thing. That's because when we marry gentiles we marry those who are, like us, grown ups who are fond of the traditions they come from but don't actually believe that a loving merciful God is going to torture anyone for all eternity because there is one (or any) religion that is the true one and they guessed wrong.  

      Free thinker though I am, I'm enough of a Jew that no child of mine is going to be baptized (it's an ethnic thing) and that was fine with my organized religion averse gentile husband, whom my Jewish mom adores. On the other hand, I have half sisters who were raised Catholic (now pretty lapsed) since Dad just wanted to have peace with #2 (while it lasted) and through one of them I've got two nephews who are German Catholic and Ukrainian Jewish by heritage on one side and Persian (Iranian) Bahai on the other. Also more observant (no ultra orthodox) Jewish cousins and cousins who got there gentile spouses to convert for them, but they all treat the rest of the polyglot family just fine.

      If we were all strictly religious and convinced we had the corner on "the truth" we would have fewer loving relationships with one another, not more. Their would be rifts with grandparents not seeing there own grandchildren and siblings and cousins and parents and children not speaking to each other.  My generation of the family is also mainly still married to spouse #1 for anywhere between 15 and 35 years (33 for me and my northern European Methodist heritage guy) so I think even the Archbishop would have to rate our family values as at least better than average, including the atheists, agnostics and those inclined toward some spiritual something (but without a standard issue rule book) among us.

      • ElliotFladenElliotFladen says:

        Thanks.  I brought this up not for a "woe is me" session but to point out that religion can be pretty disrespectful of human dignity

        • BlueCatBlueCat says:

          But I do think it's terrible that you've had to suffer this sorrow in the name of what I'm sure your misguided brothers consider righteousness. As someone who has lost a brother I'm horrified that anyone would actually think that their God would want them to shun a brother for having different beliefs.  I don't think any such God would be worth a bucket of warm piss much less sacrificing ties with a brother.

  5. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    What I hate about atheists and agnostics is that for centuries they held inquistions to pesecute Jews and protestants and if they thought you deviated from their thoughts at all, they would burn you at the stake.  Ooops, this just in.   It turns out that the Inuisition was operated by Aquila's goons, the Roman Catholic Church

  6. dwyer says:

    This is all just my opinion, gleaned from the public statements and recent history of the church. I certainly could be wrong, because I am not infallible. Here goes:

     the catholic hierarchy formed a political alliance with the republican party when the public became aware of the depth and scope of the sexual exploitation of children by catholic chergy and the subsequent coverup by the hierarchy.  the church can handle the devil; it is the Trial Lawyers that really scare them.  If democrats and their legal allies were to be successful in rolling back the statute of limitations on sexual assault crimes, all the churchs in the US would be bankrupt.   the US bishops feel that as long as the repubs have some control in Congress and the individual states, their property and wealth have a chance. They literally attempt to move "heaven and earth" to stay on the side of the repubs.  Most US bishops are concerned that Pope Francis does not begin to understand the political situation in the US and this his statements about not judging and reaching out and prioritizing the poor are giving aid and comfort to the enemy, ie the dems. Hence, I anticipate that we shall see a step up in an "informal" campaign by the catholic bishops to demonize those who are not in agreement with them on the life issue, in particiular….throwing in the athetists, etc.,  is a desperate measure, IMHO…..

    This is, of course, all political and nothing to do with theology.  One of the real secrets in the catholic church is the primacy of conscience and the fact that no one can really know what is between a person and his god or lack of god……of course, this did not prevent the burnings….to help some people along… but aquilla is not on firm theological ground, at all…..and his statements are political….IMHO.

  7. I'm glad to know that Chaput's successor is carrying on in his tradition of complete cluelessness.

    I just attended a wedding between two atheists. Know what the main themes were? Love, commitment, and being good to one another – same as at a Christian wedding, minus mention of The Guy In The Sky who often resembles Zeus when he's portrayed.

  8. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    Fuck the archbishop.
    His "god" is a sadistic mass murderer.

  9. CaninesCanines says:

    Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!

    ROME (USA TODAY) — The Italian media is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI resigned after receiving the results of an internal investigation, delivered in a 300-page, two-volume dossier, that laid bare a sordid tale of blackmail, corruption and gay sex at the Vatican.

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