Irreality is dangerous

When you believe teh gay can be cured by "rehabilitation camp", Ted Haggard doesn't have a frightening case of hypocritical megalomania- he just had a bad day. When you believe humans rode dinosaurs, people dying from inadequate medical care is either God's design or teh Satan's attempts to steer you away from your faith. When you believe the Omnipotent, Omniscient Beard in the sky is taking care of everything, the rates of poverty sky rocket. When you believe someone, anyone, is the specifically designated representative of God here on earth, and you don't question their authority, THIS IS THE KIND OF SICK SHIT THAT CONTINUES TO HAPPEN, WHILE PEOPLE IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY COVER IT UP. 

This is the kind of thing that makes me so ambivalent about the death penalty. Fuck you and your faith if you don't stand up for a child who is being abused because the abuser is a "spiritual" or "holy man".

It occurs to me that this is now, without doubt, a world wide problem. There have been revelations of priestly pedophilia in a dozen countries or more. Here in the U.S., we have people taking to the streets after being fed bogus conspiracy theories about terrorist babies, the Presidential Muslimhood, birth certificates and more. All this, without anything resembling what could reasonably be considered proof. It's all just insinuation and allegation. Someone from my camp says it, so it must be true. We also have actual, verifiable evidence that a near global conspiracy to hide and protect pedophiles (that results in them continuing to abuse children) has been under way for decades, and ain't nobody knocking down the door of Saint Patrick's Cathedral. If this were a particular sect of the Muslim faith, people would be burning mosques to the ground. Hell, if it were some sect of Judaism or even Mormonism, people would be losing their shit, and the radical hatred that would be unleashed would be frightening, and very, very real.

I'm not some lunatic who just hates Catholics either. I credit the fact that my great grandmother had a very firm Catholic faith for helping to shape me into the person I am today. I recognize and appreciate that few institutions or organizations have put so long a continued effort into addressing and dealing with poverty as people of the Catholic faith.

To me, this is less about the particular religion, than it is about unchecked power and group think dependency. In the U.S. we have a long, strong history of tradition fighting for limited government power, and even though I don't agree with the way that history is being misreported and manipulated, it's something that is necessary, and something I'm proud of (when that history is represented truthfully and factually). But, as time continues to march forward, we're becoming less and less interested in seeing the same kind limits to the power placed on religious institutions. I don't even necessarily mean placed there by law, because I do believe in our Constitution, and you're freedom to practice your religion without invasion of government power is analogous to my choice not to practice a religion, without government requiring me to do so. Now, though, the push from extremist individuals to marry government and religion is getting harder, louder and more angry.

The problem with the marriage of religion and government is that it leaves the people without the kind of protections and checks on power that each can provide. The government should be allowed to provide a system of justice and compensation for people who have been abused and exploited by religious institutions. Priests who break the law, should be going to jail. Pastors, ministers, whatever the name of the office, if you have broken the law, you should be going to jail.

At the same time, we find that religious movements have often provided the method of redress for a population of people who have been exploited or repressed for their government. The American Civil Rights movement was organized in churches and church basements, beginning with members of those parishes, and spreading to a wider community. Religion was very much a center of India's fight for independence from the United Kingdom's colonial exploitation.

The marriage of the two, removes at least one protection that the populace have from the exploitation and repression of people in power. It creates a center of power rivaled only by the kind of despotic dictatorships average Americans have an instinctual distrust and hatred of. That is never, ever good.

Right now, we're in a heated debate about the nature of religious freedom. We're infringing on the rights of Muslims in many different ways because extremist voices among the leaders in our political and religious discourse have stirred up hatred and fear. What we are reacting to is, very specifically, the actions of some very few nihilistic, hate filled extremists. The toll the took was terrible. The deaths of 3,000 Americans (including American Muslims) was a terrible day in our history. But, it was one attack, carried out by one small, fringe group that took advantage of our arrogance. What we see in the continued discovery of further conspiracy to hide and protect pedophiles is something very, very different. This is no longer something that can just be considered "a few bad apples". A few bad apples may have committed the actual crimes, but the cover ups, continuing for decades, resulting in those same disgusting wretches being able to abuse more children, demonstrates more of a threat to the actual health of American children and their families than anything that has been done by any Muslim, especially the seven million American Muslims who have been living with us peacefully as our brothers and sisters for decades.

Where is your outrage now?

I think this has something to do with the fact that being Catholic falls under the larger banner of "Christian". Pat Robertson might have a few less than favorable things to say about a scandal like this, but there's no way he's going to wage an all out war on Catholicism, because many of those donations to the 700 Club are coming from Catholics who appreciate his "leadership" on issues like abortion and gay rights. The same goes for the rest of the mainstream Christian movement.

And speaking of gay rights.......... It's been the Catholic church who has been among the leaders of the movement to prevent gays from achieving full citizenship and full rights here in America and abroad. One of their favorite tropes has been to run around either outright claiming or insinuating, "teh gays want to touch your kids pee pee". It's been scientifically proven that there is no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. In fact, at this point, I'd be willing to bet a statistical analysis would suggest a priest is more likely to be a pedophile than a homosexual is. I wonder if there's anyone out there running those numbers. Probably not, because like people not riding dinosaurs, climate change being very real, poverty being the result of exploitation by the powerful of the powerless, and that no man is the infallible representative of an unseen deity (Christian, Jewish, Muslim or otherwise), people don't want to actually know whether or not that is true.


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