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Latest incendiary claim made by atheist professor Richard Dawkins

Raising your children as Roman Catholics is worse than child abuse, according to militant atheist Richard Dawkins.

In typically incendiary style, Professor Dawkins said the mental torment inflicted by the religion’s teachings is worse in the long-term than any sexual abuse carried out by priests.

He said he had been told by a woman that while being abused by a priest was a ‘yucky’ experience, being told as a child that a Protestant friend who died would ‘roast in Hell’ was more distressing.

Last night politicians and charities condemned the former Oxford professor’s views as attention-seeking and unhelpful.

The remarks are due to be broadcast tonight by Qatar-based TV network Al Jazeera.

Interviewer Mehdi Hasan asked Professor Dawkins about previous comments he made, when he said: ‘Horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.’

Mr Hasan asked: ‘You believe that being bought up as a Catholic is worse than being abused by a priest?’. Professor Dawkins replied: ‘There are shades of being abused by a priest, and I quoted an example of a woman in America who wrote to me saying that when she was seven years old she was sexually abused by a priest in his car.
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