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January 23, 2006
Italian Atheist Sues Catholic Priest For Fraud

Some people never get over being told the Easter Bunny doesn't exist.

An Italian atheist has filed a lawsuit against a Catholic priest for claiming that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed, asking the court to impose damages on the priest for fraud and dishonesty:

LAWYERS for a parish priest in a small Italian town have been ordered to appear in court after he was accused of unlawfully asserting what many people take for granted: that Jesus Christ existed.

Father Enrico Righi was named in a complaint filed by life-long atheist Luigi Cascioli, after the priest wrote in a parish bulletin that Jesus existed and that he was born of a couple named Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth.

Mr Cascioli claims this violated two Italian laws: so-called "abuse of popular belief", in which someone fraudulently deceives people, and "impersonation", in which someone gains by attributing a false name to someone.

He says that for 2,000 years the Roman Catholic Church has been deceiving people by furthering the fable that Christ existed, and says the church has been gaining financially by "impersonating" as Christ someone by the name of John of Gamala, the son of Judas from Gamala.

He also asserts that the Gospels - the most frequently cited testimony of Jesus' existence - are inconsistent, full of errors and biased, and that other written evidence from the time is scant and does not hold up to scholarly analysis.

Had this been an American court, I don't doubt that Cascioli would have had about ten minutes in front of a judge before being reminded that (a) no one forces him to believe in Jesus, either as a historical figure or as the Son of God, and (b) unless Cascioli could prove that he was personally damaged by the supposed fraud, he had no standing to bring legal action. Unfortunately, the Italian court did not choose to exercise a little common sense; for that matter, the Italian legislature should have understood the "abuse of popular belief" law would generate this kind of mischief from the beginning.

What is it about atheists that drive them to sue to eliminate all mention of God and faith in public? It demonstrates that everyone has a need to revere and worship something. In the case of atheist activists (a small but annoying percentage of atheists), apparently they have simply decided that courtrooms have replaced churches and judges have replaced priests. The worship of penal codes and case law instead of a higher power inevitably leads them to drag religious churches onto their own altars for a strange kind of sacrifice to their little demigods.

Mr. Cascioli and the rest of these secular Pharisees should take a cold shower and learn to live with diversity. It's not possible to kill God on the altar of the municipal courtroom.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 23, 2006 5:27 AM

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