FFRF Prez Barker Debates Cardinal Pell, Sydney, Australia

Foundation Co-President Dan Barker debated Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, at Macquarie University, Sydney, on Thursday, March 11. The debate was arranged by the Macquarie University Atheist League and the Macquarie Catholic Chaplaincy.

The topic of the hour-long debate, chosen by Pell, was: "Without God, we are nothing." Questions from the audience followed.

The debate was broadcast nationally in Australia on ABC Radio. There is also a video with rather poor sound. Listen (right-click and click on "Save As…" to download) to the debate or watch the video.

As a cardinal, Pell is in line to become the next pope. Pell is known for his conservative public columns, such as the one condemning condom use because he claims it "increases AIDS."

When he was Archbishop of Melbourne, at least two grown men came forward to claim years ago that Pell, as a seminarian, had molested them. The church-appointed inquiry concluded there was not enough information to decide either way.

Allusions to church pedophilia came up during the audience questions, but no references to the allegations involving Pell.

After the debate, during which some sparks flew, Pell refused to pose for the agreed-upon group photo with Barker, which was to have included both atheist and Catholic student sponsors, organizers and the moderator. In the photo above, Dan (center) is pictured with Raidar Lystad, a student with the Atheist League (at left), and with the leader of the Catholic Chaplaincy.

During his week stumping for atheism in Australia, Dan gave two presentations at the Rise of Atheism national conference in Melbourne, did three other debates, one in Canberra and two other debates in Sydney, and spoke publicly in Bundeena and in Woollongong.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Send this to a friend