I’ve found it strange that so many atheists — even many anti-theists — strive to protect and hail Milo Yiannapoulos, considering the fact that Milo is the leading Catholic evangelist of the modern era. It can be difficult to see this, due to what is, on the surface, an irreverent provocateur image. But a look at what Milo actually criticizes, what he extols, and when shows that he is very strategic about a completely different agenda: reinforcing Catholic guilt.
One of the reasons that people say he can’t be a serious Catholic is his own seemingly proud homosexuality. However, Milo Yiannapoulos takes advantage of spaces in which he is allowed to discuss his homosexuality to talk about how evil homosexuality is, right in line with the Catholic Church.
Someone asked him once: “How do you reconcile being a Roman Catholic and a homosexual? That is something that I never really understood.”
Milo did not defend homosexuality. He said that homosexuality was a sin, and that he was a sinner and thus needed the blood of Christ. No, really. Look:
If you think I’m a bad Catholic, imagine how bad I’d be without God. To ask this question — and I don’t mean to attack you in the least bit, I’m just trying to be completely honest with you — I think to ask that question requires a level of…I won’t say ignorance, I’ll just say a lack of understanding about the Catholic Church and about homosexuality; both of those things. The fact is that, pragmatically speaking, the Catholic Church has protected and harbored more gay people in history than any other institution. It welcomed them into the priesthood when they were being murdered by the state, and this happened for, in some cases, centuries in places like Ireland. The Catholic Church has always been somewhere that protected gays, even if it didn’t always approve of what they were up to at night.
But also, the Catholic Church is different from the Anglican strain of Christianity, not just because the Anglican strain is wrong, but also because Catholicism is — I can’t remember who said this, but people are Anglicans, they’re Baptists, or Methodists, or whatever because they believe they’re good people. Well, Catholics are Catholic because they know they’re not. We have this thing called original sin. We go to church because we know we’re not good. And I think that, for me at least, certainly living the lifestyle I do, that’s a more honest approach to theology than other sorts of Christianity have to offer.
So here’s the thing. Progressives will sometimes demand all manner of complex and weird acknowledgments themselves. They want to be a gender-queer bleh, bleh, bleh. Whatever. But what they can’t understand is other people asking for the same acknowledgement that life is messy and complicated, and that some things aren’t fully recognized or realized or, um, put together in your own mind. Sometimes it takes a lifetime of study, of prayer, [intelligible, video skips] myself, and I don’t see why anybody else should, either.
Now, let’s break this down. Milo Yiannopoulos sees much of the Western world trying to proclaim itself as good and accepted. But for Milo, this isn’t straightforward. We’re flawed, and we can’t put ourselves back together ourselves. He needs Christ to do that. He is a walking embodiment of the need for Christ, and he sis determined to show that the rest of the world is filled with “original sin” and thus has a fundamental need for Christ, as well. There is a sympathetic part to it, yes. But underneath it all is the sentiment that he, and others, have a fundamental Catholic guilt to work with, and he works to heighten it, to get that acknowledged.
His mission is to reinforce Catholic guilt. What he preaches from the front of the university — if you look at the substance behind the deceptively off-color humor — is straight from the morality of the Catholic Church.
I’m going to do more to prove that, but first I’d like to show you a clip showing his belief that the morality he appeals to, the one he sees inherent in culture, basically comes directly from the Bible. The clip below is worth watching in its entirety, but I’m going to pick out a few telling points.
This is from a conversation Joe Rogan had with Milo, but each of the quotes below are from Milo.
Even if you believe that [the Bible stories are a myth] they say something deep and profound about who we are and about what we care about most — about our anxieties, about our beliefs, and about our sympathies.
You [Joe Rogan] are too smart to fall into this habit — and it’s a leftist thing, this militant atheism crap — where you dismiss the central importance of religion to our culture and who we are.
Most of our laws are based on religious prescription, when you get down to it. Most of the ways society is organized is based on what’s ultimately religious prescription.
You [Joe Rogan] are not acknowledging the extent to which religion has made you who you are, from the speech codes that you grow up with, your moral code, the whole basis — the whole basis — *crosstalk* no, be an atheist! Be an atheist! But your sense of right and wrong comes from a Judeo-Christian tradition. It makes you very angry, but your sense of right and wrong comes from a Judeo-Christian tradition. It’s obviously true.
Everywhere that doesn’t have a good Christian heritage is a fucked-up place with bad morals.
Ultimately our sense of right and wrong comes from the Bible. It does. Ultimately our sense of right and wrong comes from the Bible.
The specific set of values that you have is influenced more than you would like to admit by your Judeo-Christian heritage.
Clearly, in light of the above quotes, Milo thinks and relies on Bible-based values to make his points, and he is strongly interested in protecting much of the power within the social tenets of Bible-based morality (homosexuality included, as we saw earlier). As a Catholic, his mission is to halt societal progress that ventures away from Bible-based Judeo-Christian values, and his ally is the shame inherent in our culture due to the influence and prejudices of Christianity (which often remain after deconversion, because humans don’t automatically revise their beliefs). He is on a mission to show people that they are not good, in themselves. They are depraved; they are flawed and need Christ. Milo may seem new and fresh, but he is the strongest tool that the Catholic church and Bible-based values has at its disposal.
Let’s run through a partial list.
Abortion rights? Milo Yiannapoulos not only is in favor of the church’s stance; he thinks the church is not strong enough on it. As he complains in a 2015 Brietbart op-ed:
You rarely see anyone in Britain stating the pro-life position with any ferocity. It’s normally done apologetically in newspaper columns and in Catholic magazines. Even less frequently do you see anyone take to the streets with placards. I wonder why that is. Is the reason we don’t even talk about this subject that there’s no strong religious conservatism in our public life?
Because there really isn’t, is there. The Catholic Church is almost as bad as the Church of England when it comes to speaking plainly about God. Our bishops would much rather bleat on about climate change — driving away thousands of young people, who come to the church seeking spiritual enlightenment, not green propaganda.
Our religious leaders are spineless…. Whether they’re religious or not, plenty of people feel, but are too scared to say, that they consider abortion is never all right, except perhaps in the case of extreme deformity.
And, more recently, on the 21st, he said the following:
Let me give you an excerpt:
Any women in the audience who have had abortions, I apologize for offending you. But if it helps, my roasts are nothing compared to being plunged headfirst into a lake of hellfire, which is what awaits you after your inevitable cat-assisted suicide in lonely middle age. But that is a topic for another day, and another speech; really none of my business.
A joke? Well, he seems afraid it might all be interpreted that way, so he reinforces the point:
It’s wrong, it’s murder, don’t do it.
Couched in humor, the appeal to Catholic guilt is real.
Transgender identity? Milo is following the Pope, who has called transgender people the result of “ideological colonization.” His argument is an appeal to current Judeo-Christian, Bible-based Catholic values when he does not appeal to science but, rather, to cultural norms in his declarations that “nobody believes that transgender women are women.”
Feminism? Pope Francis has said: “We must not fall into the trap of feminism, because this would reduce the importance of a woman.” What he meant by that is that women are to be “wives and mothers, receivers and nurturers.” There is a specific role for them, and that role is best. That correlates perfectly with the Bible’s prescription. There is guilt in culture felt by women who don’t sign up with that prescription, and Milo is trying to help the pope press that guilt.
In an article he wrote entitled “How to Make Women Happy: Uninvent the Washing Machine and the Pill,” Milo stated the following:
The role of the housewife has been thoroughly and ritually humiliated by successive waves of feminism — as if raising well-adjusted children, keeping a beautiful home and marrying a loving husband is worthy of derision and ridicule. In fact, it’s one of the most important things a woman can do with her life and may be one of the only things women can actually do better than men.
This implies that if you are doing something other than this, you may not be reaching your potential as a woman. Milo goes on to nail in the Catholic opposition to the pill (and promiscuity among women!) with arguments that seem humorous on their face but are also strategically designed to instill guilt for taking it — you’ll gain wait, you’ll be attracted to “feminized males” (reinforcement of Catholic-based male gender roles there), you’ll be more likely to cheat, and you’ll get cellulite. No, really, he said all that. Read the article.
On atheism? He sees them as an enemy to his ideology. Like feminists. As he stated in an interview with David Rubin:
The reason I have a go about atheists is because it’s fun. They’re so thin-skinned. They’re like libertarians, or cyclists, or liberal democrats in the UK, or feminists. They’re so easy to wind up.
But he has a different attitude towards Christians. In the same interview:
I’ve been very ashamed of my fellow homosexuals and the way they have behaved towards Christians in some of the media circuses that have gone on recently. Deeply, deeply horrified to watch gay people treat Christians as gay people were treated barely two decades ago. Horrible.
I don’t think gay people deserve any time to be bullies to settle into their position of authority and I think it does gay people a lot of damage to see these bitter, hysterical, nasty queens bullying and lecturing and hectoring ordinary people of faith.
What I want to point out here is that Milo is, clearly, a person with a double standard. He is not interested in merely making fun of people, because he’ll say in one breath that atheists should be mercilessly laughed at and in the next moment spend a substantial amount of time seriously arguing that Christianity needs more reverence or respect. He is interested in protecting Catholic Christianity and protecting the hold its influence on our sense of morality has on our culture. He is not just a comedian; he is a driven evangelist. And if you go down the list regarding his social positions, you will see that the positions he strives to highlight and underline, however comically, are strategically presented to advance Catholic guilt onto his listeners, like the individual discussed in my previous blog post. As an atheist, I have no interest in advancing his strident efforts to protect the guilt inherent in Christian, Catholic rules, and very little respect for atheists who do try to support them. I’m not a Christian anymore; I’m a humanist.
It’s time to move on.
Thank you for reading.
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