vendredi 5 juillet 2013



10 juillet 2010


(JPPS on NSS platform, Speakers'corner)

(The Abbeville Reds) (Built by the "Proletariat")

(JPPS chairing meeting at Carpenter's arms + Bill McIlroy 


 I read, last month, on the NSS blog, that the French "Libres Penseurs" (freethinkers) were organising a meeting at Abbeville, in France, to commemorate the martyrdom of François-Jean Lefebvre, Chevalier de La Barre, who was convicted of Blasphemy, by the "Parlement de Paris" (the chief judicial body, under the ancien régime), tortured and beheaded on 1st July 1766, in Abbeville. He was 19.

This was the last execution for blaphemy in France (In Britain, Thomas Aikenhead, was, in 1697, the last person to be executed for that offence; he was 21).

Although a Roman Catholic, I have always considered myself a secularist.

Indeed, I used to speak, every Sunday afternoon, on the NSS platform, at Speakers' Corner, in the late 50's and early 60's.
I would occasionally chair the Sunday evening meetings, at the "Carpenter's arms", Marble Arch, -at the request of my old friend William McIlroy (the then General Secretary), and David H.Tribe, would often attend, at my place (10, Churton St.,Victoria), the evening meetings of the YOUNG SECULARISTS (which I founded in 1960).

David and I were often the guests (for Sunday lunch) of Len and Eva Ebury.
Len belonged to our team of Speakers (together with David and Jim Barker) -at Marble Arch, Tower Hill -and occasionaly in Brighton.

Finally, I published, at the time, several articles in THE FREETHINKER.

I therefore had no hesitation, in contacting the NSS and making a reservation for the "banquet" organised at Abbeville after the ceremony.

But lo and behold : having hardly stepped out of the train (after a tedious two hour journey), I suddenly realised I had been trapped !

The welcome committee (about 30 men, whose get-up was designed to avoid any mistake, concerning their social origins), started waving red flags but also red-and-black flags (anarcho-syndicalists), and escorted us to the "monument", erected near the station in 1907, ad majorem proletarii gloriam (see inscription on photograph).

We then had to put up with half a dozen very boring speeches, made by representatives of marxist "freethinkers" -like free-mason Marc Blondel, ex-general secretary of Force Ouvrière, who started his speech with the old bolshevik stock phrase "Comrades, I bring you greetings from so-and-so ("je vous apporte le salut de..."); It was like being back in the days of Maurice Thorez...(who, incidentally, spent the four years of the German Moscow), and the no less boring speech of Keith Porteus Wood, Managing Director of the NSS, whose french not being quite up to the mark, had requested a french version of Macbeth's weird sisters (by the name of Christine Le Fur), to read it for him.
NSS President Terry Sanderson, kept quiet (probably saving his voice for the expected chanting).

Finally, it was over, and the 600 people present, started marching towards the Town Hall, where, 344 years ago, that poor youth had his tongue cut off, and was subsequently beheaded.

I joined the march, when suddenly, they all streched out their right arm and clenched their fist, in the old Stalinian style... and began to sing the "Internationale" !

That was a little too much for me, and I immediately stepped out of this unholy pageant and trotted off, by myself, to a niece little inn, near the Somme canal, where some traditional french food, helped me recover from
this altogether unexpected and particularly unpleasant experience.

What had happened to the National Secular Society I once knew ?

David Tribe was a personal friend of mine, and if he had been a communist (or a revolutionary syndicalist), I would have known.
As to Bill McIlroy (who worked at the GPO), if he was a Red, he certainly was very discreet about it !
Ditto for Len Ebury or Jim Barker.

Obviously, a process of politicization had been at work, within the NSS, since I left London, in August 1968... and I was totally unaware of it (the French weird sister should have warned me, as she is a specialist of the history of this organization -but of course, she is herself, as red as a poppy !).

However, I wasn't only shocked by the political radicalization of the Secular Society, but also by the new rhetoric of its leaders, which I had spotted on, and that was made plain by Mr Porteus Wood's speech (which, incidentally, had little to do with poor old de La Barre...) :

In the late old days, one of our favourite themes, in our weekly denunciation of the Roman Catholic Church, was the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

Week after week, not only did I inform my audience about the exquisite methods used by their personnel, during interrogations, but also, the minute I got off the platform (to make way for the next speaker), I would go and join the hecklers of the Catholic Evidence Guild, and ask Fr Michael Proudman, O.P., whether he had had any hesitation in joining a congregation founded by a certain Domenico Guzmàn, responsable for the death of more than a 100.000 Cathars (crusade against the Albigensis), as well as the 50.000 people burnt at the stake by the Inquisition.

To-day, the NSS seems to be concentrating its attacks on the old enemy, on just one theme : the prosecution of Catholic priest for pedophilia.

British critics of the new leadership of the NSS, have often stressed their very inadequate level of education.

In this particular matter, I wish to remind them that pedophilia concerns "children" (Greek paidos : child), and that 90% of the "victims" of Catholic priests, are adolescents.
One should in fact, talk of adophilia or ephebophilia.

Our twenty-first century witch hunters, consider adolescents to be mature enough, to partake in guerilla activities (...and maim or kill), but not sufficiently to consent -or not, to be "touched up" by an adult (whether he be priest or layman); as, indeed, there are very few actual cases of rape.

It has obviously not occurred to our present-day secularists that by making the Catholic Church (and the Anglican Church), their main targets, they are indirectly helping ISLAM to "take over", so to speak, the land of free speech.

It has not occurred to them, that the already established 85 Sharia Courts of Britain will, much sooner than they expect, be sentencing "pedophiles"-and "ordinary" homosexuals, to whipping...or to death (as they do now, in Iran).

In their obsessional hatred of Christianity -and more particularly, of the Catholic Church, our leftist secularists, will have helped establishing in Britain,
the worst form of totalitarianism the world has ever know.

They will probably start realizing this when the jurisdiction of Sharia Courts is extended to non-Muslims.

But by this time it will be too late.

Jean-Pierre Pagès-Schweitzer

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