Mar 26, 2010

Jesus Would Be Turning Over in His Grave... As Children Being Raped by Clergy

It's time we keep asking the hard questions even if it makes the majority of people uncomfortable. The longer we keep quiet, the longer we'll have to wait to change a bad situation. It is a systemic problem with organized religion not just a failure in leadership by the current Pope or other church  officials. Covering up crimes was the policy. Has this policy changed? Or, the admission of the crimes and repentance takes place after the crimes become public despite the church's effort to keep them secret?

The cover-up [Memo to Pope Described Transfer of Pedophile Priest] and [Scandal Tests Catholics' Trust] is immense and new cases (those that haven't made headline news already) are being uncovered everywhere the church has a presence. No one knows the exact number, but there are thousands of children who have been molested, raped, and abused by priests--just counting the cases where the Church has admitted responsibility along; probably there are many more. [Here's the article on the sexual abuse of 200 deaf children in Wisconsin, US]

What's unconscionable is that most those priests were known to the church for their pedophilia! But, they were transferred from parish to parish instead of being criminally punished. They weren't event expelled! Now, any other common organization would have gone out of business if it repeatedly failed its "customers" or broke the law in similar fashion.

This raises another interesting point. If the church was serious about punishing the perpetrators, it would excommunicate them; and this would be a good start in addition to calling in the authorities and have them arrested. But, the church doesn't operate like this, and that's why we can't remain silent. I would like to know how many priests have been excommunicated because of their failure to uphold the reputation of the church by committing crimes. Read yesterday's NY Times front page, Warned About Abuse, Vatican Failed to Defrock Priest.

Remember last year when a 9 year old girl was raped by her step father in Brazil? She became pregnant, but her small body wouldn't be able to carry a baby. She would have died if the pregnancy continued, so an abortion was performed. The Brazilian Archbishop, with the Vatican concurring, excommunicated the ..mother and the doctor. No, the rapist wasn't!

The Pope can instruct his followers that the foundation of their faith is obedience to the church, not what Jesus said. Obedience and fear are the staples and the means of control. Oh, and the devil. Yes, the devil plays a very important role--obey or he'll destroy you! OK, he can be under the Fear category too.

Further, Catholic church doctrine holds that the Pope is infallible in matters of faith. Somehow, a man who was complicit in covering up the rape of children got divinity when he became the Pope.  He received more wisdom by donning new robes and becoming in charge of a palace--the Vatican--that also doubles as a sovereign state. Martin Luther was on to something when he said the church and priests were unnecessary.

The former Cardinal Ratzinger, currently the Pope, is the same person who told Africans that AIDS is indeed bad but condoms are worse! He condemns abortions but also condemns birth control--those family planning methods that are effective unlike the rhythm method. 

He and many other religious leaders are fit for the Dark Ages, and it's unfortunate that they are the spiritual leaders of 21st century humans. It's no wonder why we have so many people who not only don't understand science but don't want to either. The same people who opposed the current health care legislation because it could provide funds for abortion--never mind if there was a case where abortion was deemed by a doctor as a medically necessary procedure.  Care to guess which people are against sex education, birth control, and evolution theory?

In a few days, Christians will mark Easter--the most important Christian holiday. I know many who are decent human beings, really nice people who care about their neighbors. I'm not talking about them. I'm focusing on the ones who have taken Jesus in name only and have used dogma to turn this world into a worse place... all in the name of Jesus.

Like the tele-evangelists who have to buy a new Lear jet with your money in the name of Jesus, of course. Like those clergy who claim to be experts in knowing the word and will of the creator of the universe!  This creator presumably gave us a brain with which to reason! But, it seems the religious authorities don't want us to think. Faith--accepting dogmas with no evidence or reason--is the currency upon which the flock of sheep is organized and preyed upon. It's no wonder why the rewards for the faithful will come in the afterlife and not in the real world today!

We must ask the tough questions and try to infuse more reason into our social discourse. We are capable of governing ourselves through reason as mature, responsible adults without fear being the motivating factor. Of course we are not perfect but we are not (nor should we be) governed by original sin. We have evolved.

Fear is is the foundation of religion. It worked for primitive peoples but we deserve better nowadays. The shackles of the body are being broken everywhere, although the shackles of the mind still remain intact. Where's religion has more power, the stronger those bonds are. 

Shouldn't, at least, an Almighty protect the innocent children in his own house? Why did he allow children to be raped by clergy that supposedly serve Him? Or, is child rape punishment for the sins of parents?  If either is true, then I know, I can't worship any deity that makes these allowances or tests faith in such a manner. Of course, the religious authorities peddle fear to paralyze us into obedience and prevent us from asking reasonable questions. Once we start questioning their "wisdom" we may come out of the self-imposed delusions and stop paying money & respect to them. 

Who knows, we may eventually become less afraid of an angry, jealous, vindictive, genocidal, racist, homophobic, ethnic cleanser, and misogynistic God. Or, that we may discard the god we made in our own image back in the Iron Age and finally move into world of reality and humanism without primitive superstitions.

I understand this post will make many people uncomfortable and angry. I wonder what Jesus would say if he was around...

Update: Various links on the child abuse and the church.


anderson said...

wow, powerful statements you've got here. didn't expect you'd open up the comments for this.

of course, as you know, there are lots of good people who are faithful and have done many great deeds to improve humanity. it's those fanatics who can't rest without converting everybody else to their faith.

why is that the catholic church has a greater problem with pedophilia? maybe there is something there, or maybe other churches have been more successful in keeping the problem out of the spotlight.

George said...

As the Bible instructs, motives are important in judging behavior. If fear prevents someone from being bad, then this has to be taken into account when evaluating morality.

Those faithful who mean well are plentiful, but we have to see what they do first. For example, they may mean well (in their minds) that ..saving people is their moral obligation. I don't mind a good reasoned argument, but using the state to convert others is offensive.

Also, I think it's time we stop the ignorance and superstition. It's unbecoming of us today.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't understand how an educated person who reads the Bible can seriously think it's written by with divine inspiration...

Anonymous said...

but then I realized that fear paralyzes the brain..

Anonymous said...

I think this Pope (after he became Pope) has set zero-tolerance policy about clergy who abuse children.

This doesn't excuse his prior conduct but he has been an improvement over the last Pope (and those before).

He has apologized for the sexual abuse that took place in many countries.

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