Archive for March, 2010
Oh, but of course. Bill Donohue took this ad out in The New York Times:
His unwillingness to lay responsibility at the feet of the Vatican is unsurprising, and grows ever more tiring. His argument that, because hey, other entities didn’t report the child rape either, is childish. His argument that because many of the victims were going through puberty is specious and disgusting, as it simultaneously says “Hey, this isn’t so bad because some of their voices had dropped and everything,” yet also allows him to scapegoat an entire community of people, most of whom aren’t even Catholic, for the egregious sins of the Roman Catholic Church leadership. His blame-the-victim mindset in the last paragraph is appalling, yet typical for the rape culture mindset of some conservative Catholic men.
This is what happens when a person’s entire worldview is based around the dictates of what some consider to be a criminal organization which claims infallibility and a direct line to the divine. It’s all meaningless, of course, but unfortunately, religious entities such as this are allowed to go relatively unchallenged in today’s world, and when they are challenged, they feign stigmata and cry “victim!” as loudly as they possibly can.
And sadly, this behavior is so common that millions merely roll their eyes and move on.
(h/t Pam Spaulding)
- TWO Appalled By Catholic League’s Misleading Ad Smearing Gays (1)
- Raped by Father Flanagan? New ‘Priest-Off’ Repels Ordained Clergy (1)
- Ross Douthat Sees False Equivalency in Child Rape Scandal, Blames “Permissive Sexual Culture” of 70’s (16)
- Matt Taibbi on the Mounting Catholic Child Rape Scandals (0)
- Christopher Hitchens on the Mounting Catholic Child Rape Scandals (1)
A class-action suit filed from Kentucky in 2004 is attracting new attention:
The Holy See is trying to fend off the first U.S. case to reach the
stage of determining whether victims actually have a claim against the
Vatican itself for negligence for allegedly failing to alert police or
the public about Roman Catholic priests who molested children. … "They will not be able to depose the pope," said Joseph Dellapenna,
a professor at Villanova University Law School an author of "Suing
Foreign Governments and their Corporations." "But lower level officials could very well be deposed and there could be subpoenas for documents as part of discovery," he said.
If the Vatican's response continues in the same vein of the last week, they have no idea what's about to hit them. Hitch wants
the Pope to face charges:
This grisly little man is not
above or outside the law. He is the titular head of a small state. We
know more and more of the names of the children who were victims and of
the pederasts who were his pets. This is a crime under any law (as well
as a sin), and crime demands not sickly private ceremonies of
"repentance," or faux compensation by means of church-financed payoffs,
but justice and punishment. The secular authorities have been feeble for
too long but now some lawyers and prosecutors are starting to bestir
themselves. I know some serious men of law who are discussing what to do
if Benedict tries to make his proposed visit to Britain in the fall.
It's enough. There has to be a reckoning, and it should start now.
Jimmy Akin of the National Catholic Register surmises:
This creates a situation where we don’t really know what Ratzinger’s
involvement was. In the documentation presented by the New York Times
Ratzinger never replies. It’s always Bertone who does so. Bertone (not
Ratzinger) even chairs a meeting at the Vatican on the matter.
Did Cardinal Ratzinger even see the initial letter regarding
Murphy? Maybe. Or maybe it was given to Bertone as part of his role as
show-runner. Maybe the mail room at the CDF automatically gives
correspondence addressed to the Cardinal Prefect to the Secretary, who
serves as his filter. I don’t know. (Maybe someone who knows such things
can clarify in the combox. Please cite sources.)
One can fault any number of things about process or policy in this
case, but we don’t have evidence that Ratzinger did anything in bad
(Hat tip: Aggie Catholics). I think this is the best defense available in the Murphy case where Weakland clearly bears most of the responsibility, but again it relies on the Vatican being so removed from the issue that it took nine months for the CDF to respond in 1996, and it relies on subordinates taking moral responsibility for everything the current Pope once did or said. I think that kind of shifting of responsibility makes sense in a large corporation, or even in a corrupt government (see: Abu Ghraib), but I also believe – mirabile dictu – that the church has a moral duty to behave better than a large, self-interested corporation or corrupt, secretive government. I actually believe it should lead by example in cases like, er, the rape of children by its own employees covered up by its own officials.
I guess this is now a minority view among those most attached to eternal, unchanging moral values. It's very odd – and deeply revealing – to see theocons dancing with moral relativism and cultural context on the issue of child abuse. But my question is less about the Murphy case than the Hullerman case. In the latter, it's clear that Benedict was the equivalent of Weakland in the Murphy case. He had a priest under his direct authority known to have raped children under his care; and Ratzinger knew this, did not contact the cops, personally authorized the transfer of the child-rapist to therapy and thereafter to parish work where he was subsequently convicted of child-abuse and rape.
I don't want to sound self-righteous, but if I knew I had done that, for whatever motive, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.
The knowledge that I had enabled someone – by negligence or institutional loyalty – to rape a child when I could have stopped it would be something that would cripple my conscience. I would not subsequently dismiss these issues as "petty gossip." I don't think I could ever recover from it – until I had somehow found a way to repair what I could of the wound I had helped inflict. Until I had found every victim and seen what i could do. And I'm just a weird gay sinful wayward Catholic – a black sinful marginal sheep in a large flock who refuses to leave entirely.
Shouldn't the Pope be holier then me, for Pete's sake? Or if he isn't, could he not acknowledge – as Peter did in Jesus' darkest hour – that he let Our Lord down, that he is as much a sinner as all of us – maybe even a greater sinner? That he allowed something quite terrible to happen to innocent children? That he doesn't merely regret it, but repents it?
Until that happens, this basic truth remains: the moral authority of Catholic church's central authority is over. The only two options are denial and defensive p.r. (the current knee-jerk response) or open repentance and total transparency, led from the top.
As average Catholics, this seems to me something that we have to try and insist upon. Because once all moral authority falters, it is very hard to regain. It may be lost for generations. And this is our church too.
This is so inappropriate I don’t even know what to say. I doubt, however, that this really is a child’s birthday cake, or even a real cake at all.
In a self-righteous, moralizing speech in Michigan last week, right wing radio personality Linda Harvey blithely offered this gem when questioned about discrimination against LGBT partners who want to marry.
“They can still marry someone of the opposite gender,” Harvey said.
This flippant response was not surprising. Self-styled “family values” activists have long turned a blind eye to the destruction caused by such “arranged” marriages. There are support groups, such as The Straight Spouse Network and Gay Husbands/Straight Wives, to pick up the pieces after these unions implode.
In her propaganda-laced presentation, Harvey (pictured) portrayed gay men as living an unhealthy existence. She cherry-picked medical data while blithely ignoring the positive affect marriage would have on the health of LGBT people. In the New York Times, conservative columnist David Brooks wrote about what social science has to say about the affects of marriage:
“According to another [study] being married produces a psychic gain equivalent to more than $100,000 a year,” writes Brooks. “If you have a successful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many professional setbacks you endure, you will be reasonably happy.”
If Harvey and others of her ilk were genuinely concerned about the health of LGBT couples, they would be in favor of allowing them to marry. Instead, such hypocrites smugly mask their contempt with transparently saccharine professions of concern. They even offer “help” for LGBT people who are unhappy – while simultaneously working to undermine relationships that might bring joy. Is this not a conflict of interest?
Today’s New York Times science section has an article, “No Matter What, We Pay For Others’ Bad Habits”, that highlights a plethora of factors that determine health:
“Unhealthy habits are one factor in disease, but so are social status, income, family dynamics, education and genetics.”
Homosexuality is not a habit, of course, while homophobia is. Indeed, this preoccupation with prejudice by religious extremists directly affects several of these key measures of health. Every time an LGBT person is rejected from his or her house of worship, this has a tangible impact on their social status. When gay and lesbian couples are taxed at discriminatory rates it affects income.
Gay youth who drop out of school because they are bullied or kicked out of their homes have both their education and family dynamics torn apart. San Francisco State researcher Caitlin Ryan found that, LGBT “Teens who experienced negative feedback [when they came out] were more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide, nearly six times as vulnerable to severe depression and more than three times at risk of drug use.”
One would think that priggish proselytizers such as Harvey would read these alarming statistics and oppose bullying in schools. Instead, her organization, Mission America, is dedicated to attacking the “Day of Silence,” an annual event where students remain quiet for a day to show their support for LGBT peers.
Instead of insightful views from a faith perspective on Mission America’s website, Harvey’s organization offers manipulative questions designed to incite students against their LGBT classmates. These include:
- Is there any room for finding homosexuality—dare we say it—repulsive? Or is that response now going to be viewed as “hate”?
- Is a student allowed to say a firm “no” to a homosexual advance?
- Is the Day of Silence really a back-door way to silence valid criticism and gain approval for questionable lifestyles?
So, the unctuous Harvey is concerned for our health, but portrays LGBT teenagers as repulsive predators with a furtive political agenda. I’d hate to see what Harvey is capable of saying if she did not love us so much.
Harvey also prattled on in her presentation, and website, about the supposed dangers of homosexuality – particularly contracting HIV. Not surprisingly, Harvey actively promotes abstinence-only “education” in schools, which is proven to be ineffective. She recklessly presents HIV as a gay disease – when it can be contracted by anyone who fails to take adequate precautions.
It is important to note that even if a gay man contracted HIV today, he still might outlive judgmental religious extremists who are so quick to condemn. Bible-Belt states are generally the fattest, have the highest concentration of smokers, have the most divorces and are even more likely to have traffic accidents due to aggressive driving.
While these busybodies worry about our hearts and happiness, their own children may one-day die prematurely of heart attacks by inhaling Happy Meals. In conservative areas, the fast food drive-thru might as well be a drive-by-shooting.
Isn’t it time our foes stopped obsessing about narrow-minded “morality” and spent more time addressing their own mortality caused by gluttonous and destructive lifestyles? Averting their obsessive gaze from the gays to focus on their own families is quintessentially a “pro-life” position.
- Linda Harvey: Betty Bowers Without the Fashion Sense? (1)
- TWO Appalled By Catholic League’s Misleading Ad Smearing Gays (0)
- Exodus ‘Day of [Orwellian] Truth’ Shuts Off Conversation about Violence (6)
- Focus on the Family Regards Youth Nonviolence and True Conversation as ‘Homosexual Agenda’ (0)
- “Pro-Family” vs. Actually Pro-Family (6)
In a new post, Peter LaBarbera has posed a “challenge” to yours truly, among others:
The folly of the SPLC’s expanding “hate” dragnet is that it threatens to engulf all religious/moral opposition to homosexuality. Indeed, it would be revealing to query the top 25 “GLBT” activist across the nation and ask them if they would also label, as Matt Barber pokes fun HERE, the following as “hate groups”: Family Research Council, AFA, the Roman Catholic Church, Focus on the Family, the Southern Baptist Convention and ADF. (I posed the question to one young “gay” activist, Alex Blaze, HERE, and received no response.)
[Homosexual activists] Wayne Besen/Evan Hurst/Joe Jervis/Jeremy Hooper/Rea Carey/[insert GLBT activist here]: take up the challenge!
The odd thing: I, Jeremy, have already answered his call. In a few different posts, I have pointed out…
-that while the Southern Poverty Law has an unspecified set of criteria for classifying groups in the “hate” category, they clearly do have one. One that has a high threshold. This is why there are only a handful of anti-gay organizations who make their “hate groups” or “hate sites” lists.
-that while there are connections between many of the groups that Matt and Pete keep trying to drag into bed with LaBarbera’s Americans For Truth (Focus on the Family recently quoted Matt and Pete, for instance), there are also clear differences. That doesn’t even mean that certain groups are more anti-gay, or that certain people have motivations that are less heated than Matt or Pete’s. It just means that they display them differently. This is what SPLC is going on. Peter and Americans For Truth have met a uniquely hostile high bar.
-that Peter has been responsible for two different groups earning the SPLC’s attention on two separate occasions. He was the reason that the Illinois Family Institute used to be included on the list, based on his insistency on using the work of the disgraced Paul Cameron. Those other groups Pete mentions do no publicly embrace Paul Cameron. If they do, we call them on it. Loudly. And if they continued to use Cameron, SPLC would surely take notice.
-that while I personally don’t place “hate” labels on anyone, I see that there is a spectrum. Look, I chat with many of the “culture war” players both publicly and privately. I’ve heard what they say. I’ve shared off-record information. I’ve learned about varying motivations and goals. There is a gamut. Pete and Matt are on the far ends of it!
-that this is a man who personally attacked my wedding just a few days before the ceremony. At link is the unsolicited email he sent me for the sole reason of hurting me on one of the most deliriously happy weeks of my life: “it’s not a real marriage, Jeremy.” That is not normal “culture war” behavior: It is a beyond the pale personal attack. One that I would never wage in return.
-that this is a man who has tried to get a couple of his political opponents fired from their jobs. Most recently among them is Christian professor Warren Throckmorton, who has done nothing more than take a more liberal stance on homosexuality than Pete himself does. That’s it — he has disagreed with Peter. And because of this “sin,” Pete has instructed his readers (in 12 separate posts) to contact Grove City College’s president and demand action against Throckmorton. Again: That is not an action that some of the other groups that Pete and Matt are trying to drag in their bed would ever support.
-that in response to the Iowa marriage equality ruling, Peter called on his readers to “respond in righteous anger coupled with effective action,” saying that our nation’s downfall at the hand of an angry God is otherwise assured.
-that Pete and Matt recently joined up to say the following: “It boils down to this: there is nothing “conservative” about — as Barber inimitably puts it — “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’” Or two women awkwardly mimicking natural procreative relations or raising a child together in an intentionally fatherless home.” This was so over-the-top that Matt’s employer, Liberty Counsel had to apologize for it! But not Matt. Not Pete. Their reaction was to continue the affront, with Matt calling his words “an unapologetically direct and accurate depiction of the sin of sodomy (a sin that God directly and accurately calls both an ‘abomination’ and ‘detestable’”
-that there are other groups who very well might earn SPLC recognition if they keep it up. For instance, the Family Research Council is playing with reputation-burning fire, so long as they keep Peter “export/ criminalize/ blame gays for AIDS” Sprigg on the payroll. The same goes with the American Family Association and Bryan Fischer. But as of now, these groups have not hit certain marks. Not in the same way and tone as Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barber, and the entire Americans For Truth About Homosexuality operation.
-that Pete has supported Scott Lively’s work in Uganda, and in doing so said “that if states and localities here in America (and governments abroad) wish to ban sodomy, they have every right to do so — notwithstanding polemical U.S. Supreme Court decisions inventing newfangled “constitutional rights” and influenced by inaccurate homosexual activist amicus briefs.”
-that Pete publicly mocked, by name and photo, a six-year-old girl. Let me say that again: HE PUBLICLY MOCKED A SIX-YEAR-OLD GIRL! Her family. Her life. Her everything. See here.
And there is so, so, so, so much more. So yea, Pete: Challenge away, buddy. Game on.
**For the truly motivated: Here are the 166 posts we have written about Peter and Americans For Truth since August of 2006. That high number alone speaks to how eyebrow-raising Pete and AFTAH are: Americans For Truth Archive [G-A-Y]
Peter caught me making a comment on here about Linda Harvey, and he wrote a big mad “Evan is so mean” post about it. But I’ll do you the courtesy of getting everybody up to speed on where the comment came from, and then I’ll explain it further. This press release is from a talk Linda gave wherein, among other things, she defended her friend and SPLC-certified hate group leader Scott Lively, he who went to Uganda to spread the pernicious lie that gays were responsible for the Rwandan genocide:
Harvey said the Southern Poverty Law Center was wrong when it recently classified several anti-gay groups, including Scott Lively’s Abiding Truth Ministries, as “hate groups.”
“I can’t stand the Southern Poverty Law Center. They are such a hypocritical organization. They don’t cover any of the violence that happens to any of the conservatives.I love what they do with the Klu Klux Klan and racial issues, . They need to go back stay out of this other stuff. They need to get out of classifying hate groups, family groups. I mean I am a normal ordinary person I just happen to have conservative values. I don’t hate anybody. I don’t go on anybody’s websites. I don’t picket funerals. I can’t stand Fred Phelps. I think he is funded by the gays,” Harvey said. “I think he is.”
She said she and Lively have both worked on the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda, and that she “loves” Lively.
Ms. Harvey then showed up in the comments section of that press release, and she was shocked, shocked (shocked!), that anyone could have a problem with her dear friend Mr. Lively (there is video at the above link of Lively speaking, by the way):
And how is Scott Lively a “Holocaust revisionist”? Don’t get that one. Are you trying to imply anti-semitism that does not exist? Listen to my daily radio show and hear my support for the state of Israel, much more than you’ll get from most of the left these days, including the Obama administration.
How is Scott Lively a “Holocaust revisionist,” asketh The Linda.
Let us explain this: Scott Lively wrote a book called The Pink Swastika, which argued that the Third Reich was, at its core, a homosexual movement. Indeed, the SPLC (Peter’s personal boogeyman now, apparently) handily disposed of the book’s malevolently asinine thesis in 2005:
In 1995, a book calledThe Pink Swastika made similar claims about the Nazis’ treatment of homosexuals during the Holocaust.
Written by fundamentalist activists Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika says that rather than being victimized by the Nazis, gay men in Hitler’s inner circle actually helped mastermind the Holocaust.
“While we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism,” write Lively and Abrams. “To the myth of the ‘pink triangle’ — the notion that all homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted — we must respond with the reality of the ‘pink swastika.’”
Historians agree that this “reality” is utterly false. But many anti-gay crusaders have used the “gay Nazi” myth as proof that gay people are immoral and destructive.
In fact, while the number of homosexuals who died in the Holocaust does not approach the number of Jewish or Gypsy victims, the historical record shows that between 50,000 and 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality (or suspicion of it) under the Nazi regime. They were routinely sent to concentration camps and marked with a pink triangle on their prison garb.
They were not systematically exterminated. But huge numbers are believed to have died in the work camps, along with an untold number of homosexual Jews, Gypsies and other “defectives” who were sent to extermination camps.
The myth that Nazis condoned or promoted homosexuality sprang up as a slander against Nazi leaders by their socialist opponents in the 1930s. Only one of the half-dozen leaders in Hitler’s inner circle, Ernest Rohm, is believed by credible historians to have been gay.
The “gay Nazi” slander stuck, though, partly because German laws against homosexuals remained in place for a quarter of a century after World War II ended. That effectively silenced many homosexual victims of the Holocaust from telling their stories. A landmark survivor’s memoir, The Men With the Pink Triangle, began to break that silence in 1972.
Read that whole piece, please. I’ll wait. And then you tell me whether or not Scott Lively is a Holocaust revisionist, Ms. Linda.
Now. Holocaust revisionism is anti-Semitism. Here’s the comment I made:
Oh, and Linda, “Holocaust revisionism” does not only apply to direct anti-semitism. Of course, it could be argued that Scott Lively is anti-semitic since he co-opts the Holocaust in order to lie about gay people, to satisfy whatever mental illness he suffers from. In fact, yes, now that I think of it, his work IS anti-semitism, because it belittles the reality of the Holocaust in order to score points. And by supporting him, you are supporting that strain of anti-semitism.
(Then again, all fundamentalist Christians are anti-semitic at their core, considering the fact that they actually believe their apocalyptical horseshit.)
And you just parrot right along with it, because you’re too virulent to see that if your Jesus was here, he’d probably lay you out like the Pharisee you are.
Let’s get this out of the way: There is one word in that comment I would change. I would remove the word “all.” Because, quite frankly, it was late, and I popped off. Because the truth of the matter is that many fundamentalist Christians do not realize that some the beliefs they are taught, and some of the beliefs which they espouse about the state of Israel are profoundly anti-Semitic. So it’s a mistake to say that they “all” are, because I’m quite sure that many who hold the beliefs I’m about to explain have never taken the time to reflect on the inherent anti-Semitism contained therein.
But that’s one word in a larger train of thought, which I will now flesh out, for the record: A particular and prominent belief system in Fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity is known as “Christian Zionism,” which is inspired by “pre-millenial dispensationalist” eschatology. (Think: Left Behind; Rapture Ready, etc.) In its simplest form, this means that these Christians believe that for Christ to return, the Jewish people must set up a state in Israel. (Done.) At which point:
Uri Avnery, is the leader of Gush Shalom, an Israeli peace group. He was discussing the theology of many Fundamentalist and other Evangelical Christians in a 2002-JUN essay, and wrote: “According to its theological beliefs, the Jews must congregate in Palestine and establish a Jewish state on all its territory so as to make the Second Coming of Jesus Christ possible…the evangelists don’t like to dwell openly on what comes next: before the coming [of the Messiah], the Jews must convert to Christianity. Those who don’t will perish in a gigantic holocaust in the battle of Armageddon. This is basically an anti-Semitic teaching…” 1 This teaching implies that Jews who remain true to God’s covenants in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) will be all exterminated in a massive genocide that may be more numerous than the Nazi Holocaust.
This theology is most popular (and growing) in extremely conservative, fundamentalist churches, from Pentecostal to Southern Baptist to non-denominational, etc.
It is an anti-Semitic belief system. Period! It takes all of the humanity away from the Jewish people and instead makes them pawns in the biggest “screw you” ever doled out by a (supposed) deity in human history! It ends the story that Fundamentalists believe started in the Garden of Eden by exterminating the race God called his “chosen.”
It is helpful to understand this, because often you will see fundamentalist Christians (John Hagee, etc.) expound on their deep, deep “support” for Israel. Indeed, in Peter’s “big mad Evan Hurst is so mean” post, he says this:
Surely Hurst is not unaware of the fact that the “fundamentalist” Christians he so obviously despises are historically a bastion of support for the State of Israel.
No, Pete. Evan Hurst is all too aware, and is just as cynical as many Jewish Americans about the supposed “support” Christian fundamentalists have for Israel. Because this belief system is not inspiring them to “support Israel” out of love for the Jewish people. It’s, rather, about propping up Israel so that Jesus will come back and take his final revenge on everybody they don’t like. Jews, gays, Muslims, you-name-it. Read Revelation 20. This is the moment of triumph in the premillenial dispensationalist Christian Fundamentalist worldview, which, again, is extremely popular in those circles. This is the moment where Jesus comes back and just cold kicks everybody’s ass. They project all of their perceived victimization onto this imaginary moment in the future where their white warrior will come back and avenge everything they claim to have suffered at the hands of, you know, whoever is upsetting them that day.
Could I have fleshed out that comment more at the time? Sure. Maybe I should’ve. Well, now I did!
But, Peter LaBarbera, for perhaps the first and last time, you’re right about one solitary thing: I shouldn’t have said “all.”
The rest of it stands.
At least Truth Wins Out has a comments section where people can air their views on things, as opposed to AFTAH, where freedom of thought, expression, and even occasionally poorly worded popping off is deemed far too threatening.
(Oh, and Peter does announce, finally, that he suddenly remembered to award the Gay Grinch award to Wayne! He forgot to do it for three months, because, well, you see, what had happened was…)
RELATED: Peter earlier issued a quote-unquote challenge to me, to Wayne, and to Jeremy Hooper, Joe Jervis and Rea Carey to answer a question that this site and Good-As-You have already answered at length: Should other groups like the Catholic Church and the Family Research Council also be classified in the same SPLC-certified hate-boat upon which Peter now sets sail? There is a simple answer: that the SPLC has very specific guidelines for what crosses over into “hate” territory, which they use to decide who is indeed a force for genuine hatred in this country. That’s the simple answer. For a more fleshed out answer, may I recommend that you visit Good-As-You because Jeremy took the ball and ran with that question.
Tags: Americans for Truth, anti-semitism, Christian Zionists, Evan Hurst, gay grinch, Holocaust revisionism, Israel, Linda Harvey, Peter LaBarbera, premillenial dispensationalism, Rwanda, Scott Lively, Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, Uganda, Wayne Besen
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