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Italian writer files suit against priest for, in effect, being Catholic. Defendant must appear in court later this month.

Paul Belien has a log entry up today in which he cites a few of the latest instances of the post-modern attack on Christianity by Europe’s Ã©lites:

A Swedish jeans manufacturer calls religion “a force of evil” and has designed a jeans brand with an anti-Christian logo: “Bjorn Atldax has designed a jeans brand with an anti-Christian logo: a skull with a cross turned upside down on its forehead. ‘It is an active statement against Christianity,’ Atldax told The Associated Press. ‘I have a great dislike for organized religion.’ He says he wants to make young people question Christianity, which he calls a ‘force of evil.’ ”

An Italian author, Luigi Cascioli (who wrote a book called “The Fable of Christ”), has brought suit against a Catholic priest in such a way as to force the priest, in order to defend himself, to prove Jesus Christ’s historical existence—which of course no one has ever been able to do (any more than they’ve been able to prove Socrates’ or Shakespeare’s historical existence yet we know they lived and had tremendous impact). The specific grounds for the suit were based on some obscure legal phrases dug up somewhere and applied out of context.

A judge of course refused to let the obviously frivolous court case go forward but was reversed on appeal: “the Court of Appeal […] agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusations of ‘abuse of popular credulity,’ and ‘impersonation,’ by Catholic priests, such as Father Righi, who ‘present invented facts as if true.’ â€

Can anyone believe it? (It looks like these Italian appeals courts are as bad as the U.S. ones!) Father Righi will have to appear in court at the preliminary hearing set for the end of this month, to defend himself if he can, by proving the historical existence of Christ. I hope this priest has good lawyers, because no one in two thousand years has been able to prove that.

What could the appeals court have been thinking, to say this obviously frivolous case must go forward? I would assume Father Righi runs no real risk, because if he’s convicted it’ll be reversed on appeal to the Italian Supreme Court—but these days anything’s possible!

Then we learn the following: “In the Belgian Senate the government parties (Liberals and Socialists) have proposed a bill, currently under debate […] which makes it a penal offense, punishable by up to two years imprisonment, to ‘abuse credulity in order to persuade [an individual] of the existence of false enterprises, an imaginary power or the occurrence of non-existing events.’ ” This apparently is meant to give the government future ammunition to use in prosecuting priests.

See the log entry for ways in which the post-Christian élites of post-Christian Europe are trying to take away loopholes through which believing Christians can invoke conscientious objector status rather than take part in abortions, homosexual “marriages,” or mercy killings.

It’s a broad-based attack on Christianity by Europe’s post-modern, post-Christian élites who think they know so much and know nothing.

Are European courts and parliaments now going to expose high-school and college teachers to lawsuits if they teach about Socrates and Shakespeare, on grounds that they “abuse popular credulity,” “present invented facts as if true,” and “abuse credulity in order to persuade [an individual] of the existence of false enterprises, an imaginary power or the occurrence of non-existing events”?


I don’t know the burden of proof in an Italian court, but it would be fairly easy in an American court to prove the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth, as the burden of proof is merely a preponderance of the evidence.

I know of no serious New Testament scholar who doubts the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Belgian legislation is more serious. It could be used by secularists to ban the Catholic and Anglican Mass, and perhaps also Lutheran services. The “occurrence of non-existing events” could be used to not only attack the Mass (and the claim of transsubstantiation), but also any Christian preaching that referred to the Resurrection. Both Easter (the Resurrection) and Christmas (the Virgin Birth) could be effectively banned, at least from the public lips of men.

This is like Henry VIII driving Catholics into the attics and cellars, and Lutherans (during the Reformation) banning the Mass in their towns and districts.

What about physicists who argue for string theory? Are they abusing credulity to persuade others of the existence of non-existing events? And astrologers? I presume witches will be prosecuted as well.

But the legislation is consistent with secularization, which seeks to abolish all forms of transcendence outside approved secular dogmas.

“The ‘occurrence of non-existing events’ could be used to not only attack the Mass (and the claim of transsubstantiation), but also any Christian preaching that referred to the Resurrection. Both Easter (the Resurrection) and Christmas (the Virgin Birth) could be effectively banned, at least from the public lips of men.” (—MD)

I think you’re right. As I was reading the original log entry over at the first thing that popped into my mind was “the occurrence of non-existing events” would be used to intimidate those in the hierarchy of organized Christianity who might ordinarily be expected to protest against governmental proscribing of public acknowledgement of or manifestations of Christianity or its holidays—the final nail in the coffin, so to speak, of the public acknowledgement of, participation in, and/or deference to the Christmas and Easter holidays, permanently cementing in place the change of the name “Christmas” to “Winterval” or “Winter Solstice,” of “Thanksgiving” to “Turkey Day” (and the denial it originally had anything to do with thanking God on the part of a group of Christians as opposed to the PC claim that it was solely intended to thank the Indians and nothing else), and “Easter” as “Spring Break” or whatever it is they’re now calling it, with no possibility of ever attempting to turn the clock back to when these were called Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter, on pain of criminal prosecution. It also immediately occurred to me that this would be used to criminalize the claim, by teachers who might wish to make it, that there are different human races. Finally, it occurred to me to wonder whether or not it was pure coincidence that this Italian plaintiff suing the priest and the new bill being debated in the Belgian parliament dealt in exactly the same flimsy legal language and concepts. I don’t think it was coincidence. The left plans their moves and strategies years, nay decades in advance and plans them very carefully, using very sharp legal talent. Norma McCorvey as plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, Madelyn Murray O’Hare (spelling?) as plaintiff in the School Prayer decision, the cases that led to the forcing of homosexual “civil unions” or “marriage” on Vermont and Massachusetts were none of them mere spontaneous cases that happened to spring up out of the blue and needed to be decided to the best of the judges’ ability, but all, along with many others (almost all the cases that moved the civil rights agenda forward half-a-century ago) were carefully planned out in advance with the specific aim of pushing society in a certain direction. I think it’s likely we’re seeing the trying out in Italy and Belgium of a single strategy hatched behind the scenes by the European left for purposes along the lines of what’s being speculated about in this thread: attacking Christianity, suppressing the claim that there are races, preventing the public acknowledgement and naming of Christian holidays, and so on.

The other side never tires, never stops toiling.

Long live free Flanders!


I see the similarity. And it could definitely be applied to the concept of “race,” as well, as you note. (It could be applied to any concept, actually; who decides “what exists” and what doesn’t?).

The fundamental similarity is the effort to banish “faith” as a legitimate category of public discussion. Public discussion must be limited to positivist categories (“facts”) and their rational relation and application (the old “fact/value” distinction). In this new fantasy world, “values” and “value judgments” are, under this new dispensation, relegated to the purely private. “Faith,” however, is not a category or a concept, it is an experience. Thus, the secular effort is directed either at suppressing a basic human experience, or prohibiting its discussion or acknowledgement in certain arenas, or the forging of a new type of human being who no longer has any experience of the transcendent. (such as the Soviet experiment in “The New Man”). This represents the secular effort to incorporate the transcendent into the secular, to make the secular world divine and the final and only arbiter of meaning.

I encourage this kind of legislation, at least in Europe. It denies the reality of human experience, and therefore will meet with eruptions and agitation from the populace. Those eruptions and agitations will be met with more censorious legislation, and so on, until a definite decision is reached.

One final thought: I wonder if the Belgian legislation will be applied to Islam, and the talk of “prophets” and “Allah” and the “will of Allah.”

“I wonder if the Belgian legislation will be applied to Islam” (—MD, 11:07am)

I can answer that: it won’t be, for the reason Jim Kalb has explained elsewhere—the arbiters of when and where to apply these destructive new rules forbear to apply them in the case of phenomena that harm the traditional status quo even though in theory they should apply there also. This is because the main thing is to harm the traditional status quo which is “inherently bigoted and excludes people,” and bring it down. The main thing isn’t to apply the rules consistently—that’s not the main thing at all. So no, the new rules won’t apply to Islam. They will in theory but won’t in practice. They’ll be ignored for Islam and applied to Christianity. It’s analogous to the claim by the left that only whites can be “racist.” No non-whites can be “racist” no matter what they say or do. They could subject all whites on the planet to genocide but still wouldn’t be “racist,” according to the left.

Long live free Flanders!


I agree with that.

My instincts tell me the legislation is aimed directly at Christianity and its public expression and display, such as Christmas celebrations.

Dear Fred Srooby,
As a good Christian (or believer in general to be fair), you show a very strong sense of ill will. As I never accuse anyone without proofs, here it goes:

1/ You write “to prove Jesus Christ’s historical existence — which of course no one has ever been able to do” And you don’t find it suspicious? Such an important character and all the traces we have are actually false ones! None of the chroniclers at the time, even those who could have been in favour of those believes say a word about a character name Jesus (except those who have been add later one like the example of Flavius Joseph shows). No serous historians consider the Bible as a reliable source anymore.

2/ “(any more than they’ve been able to prove Socrates’ or Shakespeare’s historical existence yet we know they lived and had tremendous impact)” Try to find better examples because using those you give 2 points to you corposants! And a magisterial example of ill will… As your so called explanation about The Shakespeare-who-wrote-the-plays: pathetic!

3/ How can you say it is “frivolous” ! It is one of the biggest lie of our time! Millions of human have did for or because if it. A little respect for them, PLEASE.

4/ You’re right “these Italian appeals courts are as bad as the U.S. ones!” Cascioli has to go to the European Court. The judge didn’t decide in favour of Righi because the suit had no merit but because it had, and therefore it was too dangerous for the church if it trail took place. This is only a way to avoid the trail. If Jesus really existed, by the church is so afraid of ?… Not seeing that is another demonstration of ill will…

5/ “no one in two thousand years has been able to prove that” and the reason for that is obvious and so simple…

6/ The Belgian Bill would be a great thing. Lets finish will all those lies about gods and messiahs…

7/ Believes (of any kind) shouldn’t be brought up to refuse to perform a civil act (abortions, homosexual marriages -why quotation marks on marriage, are you homophobe on top of that?-) If someone doesn’t want to perform those acts, he should have another function.

8/ “post-Christian elites who think they know so much and know nothing”. An other expression of your ill will: It is YOU who claim that they know everything! If YOU accuse them of something that YOU put on them! Come one a little bit of intellectual honesty. They never said the knew everything, But reading you, visibly who know much les than them. It is maybe what annoy you… Read Cascioli’s book and “Taité d’Athéologie” by Michel Onfray and then you’ll know a bit more about what you try to talk about.

9/ “the word of St. Paul” The so-called word of St Paul can’t be trusted! Wake up! It was second hand material and Paul never met Jesus. The word of the 12 Apostles: none of the gospels were written by them. They were written from 70 up to the 3rd century of our age! So there room for a lot but really a lot of invention and interpretation. No wonder that they contradict themselves, by the way! So that’s why they absolutely CAN’T be trusted.

I think it is time for the humanity to face reality and abandon its believes of gods and so forth.
What you take for a attack on Christianity is in deed an attack on ALL religions. And if Casciolo attack Christianity, it is because is the one he knows best. If believers were intellectually honest (I don’t say they do it on purpose, so blinded by they believes), going to court wouldn’t be necessary. The multiple proofs (dated up to the 3rd century before our age, concerning the existence of gods) this debate wouldn’t be needed. Going to court is the only way of discus OBJECTIVELY about that subject. It has nothing to do with intimidation and freedom of speech. Beside freedom of speech don’t imply you can say lies and get away with it… Freedom of speech means that if you say lies, other will tell you right to you that if is lie. The rejection of the Italian court (disgracing it) is only an attempt to shut up Cascioli. Is it that your definition of free speech? Not mine.
The possibility that it could get complicated, should stop anyone in love with truth has anyone (believers or none) should be…
Why do you wish that “it burns them very badly”? Is hurting people that disagree with you more important that knowing the truth? That another reason why a dislike so much religion: people who believe in them are more willing to hurt and kill people who don’t share their believes that admitting they’re wrong!
Do you really think “less powerful girlfriends“ are the privilege of the left ? That would be very naive! Beside the fact that it influence the vote shows really stupidity from the north American people. If I believed in god, I would have say that god punished then for doing so by letting Bush to get in charge. And we unfortunately all know the devastating results. I get the people have the leaders they deserve… LoL

10/ « it would be fairly easy in an American court to prove the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth ». For a French court, I hope, it would be quite easy knowing that the first trace of Nazareth starts in the 2nd century AFTER our age, there fore Jesus CAN’T possibly be from Nazareth. A chance the Bible was written by ignorant people…

11/ I know of no serious New Testament scholar who doubts the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth. » Get informed and you’ll see that the serious know doubts is very much…

12/ “transubstantiation”, the “resurrection” the “virgin “ birth: come on, I hope on one takes that seriously ? Showing the proofs that all that is false is nothing like Henry VIII driving Catholics. That would be education and learn people to use there brain instead of their fears… Look what fear can do: MD intervention is a pure example of it!

13/ The denial of there origins (the so called Christian fest) have all ready be done by the Christians themselves. All the Christian fest were pagan fests before: 25 dec=birth of Mithra, Easter was/is a Jewish fest, ets… Get informed!

14/ What Gay union has to do with it? Another proof of your homophobia, I guess! Sad!

15/ Saying “decides” instead of “acknowledging what exists and what doesn’t” is another example of your ill will. What exists and what doesn’t is NOT a matter of decision (like the religions seems to believe and force it on people) but of knowledge. It is not by chance that the Old Testament forbids to eat at the tree of knowledge. Because if you do, you can’t go on believing in all that crap.

16/ When there is “Faith” there is no possible discussion because who can say anything, even prove it, a believer will never accept it, what so ever! And a serious discussion can only be based on Fact/value. On what else could it be based? Experience? Knowing how our mind can lead us to false direction, certainly not. Science, then I agree. But this means accepting not having all our question answers. Personally I prefer no answer than a false one…

17/Not believing in god or in any religion doesn’t mean not having any kind of spirituality. It is acknowledging that what we experience is only coming from ourselves, not an external force. It is acknowledging that our dream just OUR dream and not the expression of an external power and so forth…

18/ “Apply to Islam?” Come on! You know the future now! The bill has not past yet and YOU know already how it’s going to be enforced! That’s only your fear that you express there. Use your brain! And now you show racism! It that the teaching of Christianity. Seeing that I’m; glad I don’t belong to that sect…

It was a pleasure writing to you. I real hope you get informed about the history of religions because obviously your knowledge is very poor on the subject. You can only benefit from it.


I can’t think why any nation would pass a law making it illegal to “abuse credulity in order to persuade [an individual] of the existence of false enterprises, an imaginary power or the occurrence of non-existing events” except to harass the expression of religion. Every country almost certainly has various laws against outright frauds and con games.

The language is ridiculously vague and subjective. Who decides what “abusing credulity” or “imaginary” means? Ah, but you have the answer: a court.

It’s no good. Courts are not designed to weigh the truth of spiritual or philosophical claims. The best they can do — and they are far from infallible in that — is to decide questions of worldly, concrete fact in the light of specific legislation. Judges, lawyers, and the average jury would have no basis other than their own private belief systems to rule on any cases of inciting acceptance of “non-existing events” (an illogical and meaningless term anyway). Surely you would agree that no end of trouble has been caused throughout history by the law trying to regulate people’s spiritual beliefs.

My own view is that spiritual reality is independent of any particular historical framework, so even if you could prove that Jesus never lived — and how could you prove such a negative assertion? — it wouldn’t matter. Spirit is not about the things of this world, even when it acts in the world.

Dear Mr.Kalb and Fellow Readers,

Mr. Pascal is not functioning on a rational level. So let us hope he will obtain help.


“to prove Jesus Christ’s historical existence — which of course no one has ever been able to do (any more than they’ve been able to prove Socrates’ or Shakespeare’s historical existence” (—from the forum entry)

I got an e-mail saying it’s not true that Shakespeare’s historical existence is unproven. That’s right—there are documents proving a certain William Shakespeare, of Stratford-on-Avon, existed. But it’s never been proven he wrote the plays and poems attributed to “William Shakespeare,” so what I meant was there’s no proof that “the William Shakespeare who wrote Shakespeare’s plays existed—maybe some other guy by that name existed, who is not known with certainty to have written the plays.” Scholars are still debating the authorship of the plays, and there is no consensus it was the William Shakespeare whose life is recorded in the old records of Stratford-on-Avon—though many do accept that it was. Pundit Joe Sobran is one Shakespeare scholar, for example, who does not accept that it was, and of course there are many others.

As regards Socrates, of course, there’s no proof he existed as opposed to being merely a character made up by Plato—but he was mentioned not just by Plato, but by Xenophon and Aristophanes and I believe one or two other writers, all of whom obviously did exist. Well, by the same token, for Jesus’ existence we have the word of St. Paul, who obviously did exist (we have the word of the Twelve Apostles too, but I suppose one can say it’s less certain they themselves existed than it is that St. Paul, Xenophon, Plato, or Aristophanes did)—I mean, if you want to play the “prove the historical existence of so-and-so or go to jail” game which it looks like the left may be experimenting with as its next strategy for intimidation and suppression of speech, it can get extremely complicated. If they persist with this, let’s at least hope it burns them really badly with some table-turning by our side, the way they got badly burned by the Clinton-Monica mess right in the middle of their campaign to ruin the careers and lives of all CEOs, Republican politicians, and high-ranking military officers involved in sexual liaisons with younger less powerful women, on the grounds that all such relationships were necessarily exploitation by the Patriarchy or some such thing. (Of course since Clinton’s impeachment they’ve stopped that, seeing how badly it can backfire on the left—prior thereto, a week didn’t go by but we heard of some Army colonel or general, some admiral, some CEO, or some Senator who was being brought down by harping on the fact he had a younger, less powerful girlfriend which the man-hating lesbians who run the women’s lib movement were insanely jealous of, coveting those young “exploited” bimbos sexually for themselves—a motivation they’d never admit, of course. But they’ve stopped all that since they saw what happened to Clinton and how they were humiliatingly forced to close ranks behind Clinton and support him against Monica, displaying their crass hypocrisy for all to see—so they’ve dropped that strategy … for now, at least …)

Long live free Flanders!


In Perun’s new blog we see linked the outcome of the preliminary hearing in the lawsuit against Father Righi: the judge decided in his favor, finding the suit had no merit and throwing it out. But Father Righi isn’t off the hook yet: the article says that the plaintiff may file suit in the European Court of Human Rights next. Stay tuned … I don’t think the plaintiff’s lawyer’s very novel arguments were just pulled out of a hat. I think the European left have something up their sleeves and are plotting something—are sort of testing the waters and trying out new tactics in their two-centuries-old efforts to stamp out organized Christianity.

Long live free Flanders!