Rival religion tries to block Pope's visit

Two scientists are hatching out a cunning plan to get the Pope arrested when he shows up in Blighty in September.

According to AP, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are paying lawyers to investigate whether Pope Benedict XVI should be charged with “crimes against humanity”.

Dawkins and Hitchens believe the Pope should face charges for the alleged cover-up of sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Dawkins, author of The God Delusion is quoted as saying “This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.”

Mr Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said that the Pope was not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded pay-offs, but justice and punishment.

The Vatican says that he is safe from prosecution because he is a head of state, but the Vatican is not recognised as a state in international law. It is not a member of the UN.

The same law that could snare Pope Benedict was used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, on a Spanish warrant when he visited Britain in 1998.

While it is fair enough that Popes should answer for their crimes, one has to question why boffins like Dawkins are trying to drag religious leaders into court.

Dawkins has always argued that religion is silly when compared to science, which is fair enough. However once he starts trying to lock up religious leaders, you have to start questioning his motives on both campaigns.

Arguing the merits of science over religion is not the same as campaigning against religious leaders.