Catholic Bishops: They Knew, They Were Warned, They Didn't Give a Shit

Comments

1
Let's put that tattoo on the bishops.
2
Catholicism, WOW!
3
I want to be unbaptized!
4
Sorry, they'll only do that to you if you assist a child abort a rape-fetus.
5
Of course they knew. We've only been talking about this for twenty years now; and now we see that they've been talking about it for fifty. Of course they knew. They thought they'd "handle it". What they did instead was engage in a criminal conspiracy.
6
Homosexuals have ruined the Catholic Priesthood.
7
They should all be charged, including the current bishops,under the RICO statutes. This was a pedophiple mafia.

And #6 just drop dead.
8
Catholic church is fucked, yo.

I know this will piss off my Catholic friends, but if you self-identify as "Catholic", all you're really doing is giving continued legitimacy to one of the most corrupt organizations on the face of the earth.
9
Hi all,

After reading the un-funny and self-serving attack on Dan in the current Seattle Weekly, I felt moved to blog a big thank you to Dan for posts like these. Criminality is criminality, no matter where you find it.

Dan Savage stands for a very inflexible and uncorruptable kind of new-old-fashioned morality which to me has a left-conservative feel to it.

New Left Conservative # 1
10
@6--RICO, exactly.
11
If pedophiles cannot be cured, then shouldn't child rapists be given life without parole? We wouldn't need the "special commitment center" if rapists were properly sentenced.
12

Wonderful to see how Seattle's "enlightened" community is so quick to disparage an entire community for the criminal behavior of a small minority of its representatives. But let's be clear: The abuse is reprehensible, and its cover-up is a travesty of justice.

However, to portray an entire community on the basis of some of its bureaucracy, is asinine.

We can all have an intelligent debate about differing values (abortion, etc.), but let's at least give credit where it is due for "Catholics" who prominently led a number of "progressive" movements. (Democracy in Central America, world hunger & relief, the peace movement, anti-nuclear arms, civil rights, suffrage).

We're not all perfect. Nor are we all the same.

To the haters above: If you opened your eyes, heart and mind, you might find that parroting failures doesn't add much to any conversation.

Dan, most of us dreaded "Catholics" actually support the cause of social justice, and the rights of gay people to live with integrity, with equal protections and rights. Continuously framing all us "Catholics" as being of one mind, only erodes the constituencies the gay community needs to build.

Don't cheapen yourself by wallowing in the shallow arguments against communities of faith.
13
I don't get it. They can "cure" homosexuality, but not pedophiles? Doesn't the church consider both the same disease?
14
KidCatholic, you forgot to mention that the ones who identified and called for action on this problem way back when were also members of the Catholic clergy. Yes, the Catholic Church needs to seriously re-build its hierarchy, but that doesn't mean the Catholic Church is an inherently evil institution. I have faith that they will get this shit taken care of for realz, though perhaps not until the next pope.
15
@12 Are you some new breed of Catholic I don't know about? One that doesn't follow the leadership of the Pope? Because he isn't supporting social justice, he's a backwards Nazi nightmare.
16
But the President is in favor of Stem Cell Research! Doesn't that count for anything??? It doesn't? Oh. I guess we'll just go back to excommunicating raped children.

Sincerely,

Cardinal George
17
One of my dearest friends is a Catholic priest...and a sexually active gay man. (Not a pedophile) He lives in a house with 4 other Catholic priests...who are gay and sexually active. (Also not pedophiles.) I've tried to discuss the contradiction, but he shuts that conversation down quickly. I don't care really. After all, Catholicism, like all religions, is just a man made mythology, but that is his burden to bear. He's still a great guy.

As for the pedophilia, the Catholic church needs to be held accountable, and severely punished.
18
Savage,

For every clergy, in every faith, that is a total fuck-up -- there are hundreds who quietly do good, meaningful work around the world. Keep that in perspective.

(Should we discredit the entire gay community because Elton John is a fucking mess?)

You continue to ignorantly bleat about Catholics, implying that the entire organization was in on it from the beginning. By obsessing on the failings of some people, as a means to diminish everyone associated with them, you miss the opportunity to see the many good examples. For example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Óscar_Romero

It might be a good idea for you to reflect on the way you address Catholics. You appear increasingly hostile, ignorant and bigoted to a large community of individuals that does a TON of good in Greater Seattle. That certainly doesn't serve you well, nor the interests of the community you've chosen to represent.
19
Hm, maybe organized religion IS a conspiracy after all.
20
@ #12 This article is about bishops and other Catholic leaders not all Catholics. Also since when do we have to let members of an organization off the hook for the actions and policies of their leaders? Religion no longer occupies some special place that requires us to walk on egg shellls when we speak of them. Calling it a "community of faith" gives it no special status. Quit trying to wrap it up in some mantle of "holy" As a non believer I do not recognize the concept of holy or sacred. We can talk about religious groups in the same manner as we talk of any other organizations. Thank God religion is losing it's power to enforce itself as something special.
21
@18, Pico. You willfully misread Savage's posting. He isn't denigrating ALL Catholics, he is calling out the Catholic clergy who are in control of the priesthood. The ones who lied, saying "oh, we didn't know pedophilia was incurable! Goodness golly!" Those motherfuckers are the Catholics who need to be hung from the nearest lamppost by their own robes.
Oscar Romero sounds like a dandy guy, and therefore is spared the wrath of any one who hates pedophiliacs.

As for Catholics in general, it is only the rather liberal Catholics of Europe and the U.S. that have such a nice happy face. The rabid, self-flagilating, fundamentalist Catholics of Central & South America, and Africa are rather worrisome in the whole.

Go check up on yer recent religious history Pico.
22
Oh, and Pico? You might want to consider not taking things so personally. It suggests an ego-boundary judgement error.
23
@15

No - In fact I am one of the original types of Catholics, where the Pope was the primary representative of the Church, administrator of the Holy See, and facilitator of the Faith.

We don't swear blind allegiance to anyone. And won't be an apologist for the Pope. From determinism to free will, from the concepts of providence to grace, the Catholic faith is too complex to chalk-up to "The Pope is a Nazi."

You might be surprised (in fact, shocked) to find that perhaps the most liberal institution in Seattle is our own Jesuit-founded Seattle University. That never gets reported by Savage and The Stranger, because it robs them of a cheap opportunity to portray an enemy inhibiting gay progress.

There are several Catholic schools in this community whose finance, pastoral and school councils are chaired by openly gay adoptive parents. And by being lazy, narrow and one-sided in his reporting on "Catholics," Savage does a major disservice.
24
@18 Elton John does not speak for all homosexuals. There's no explicit hierarchy that's part and parcel of being a homosexual. No established homosexual bureaucracy which willfully ignored accusations of sexual abuse. When you find an organization outside of the Catholic church which is responsible for some transgressions equally as horrible as what the Catholic church currently is admitting to, feel free to hate the entire organization and call for its destruction (regardless of its past good works). I mean, imagine how much more shit a secular organization would get if it got busted for these same crimes. People, lots of them, would be put in jail, and that secular organization would probably cease to exist.
25
"You might be surprised (in fact, shocked) to find that perhaps the most liberal institution in Seattle is our own Jesuit-founded Seattle University"

Whose dean is being sued by native alaskans for being complicit in hiding pedophiles in remote Alaskan native villages so that they would be able to prey on native children. And whose northwest "company" just filed banruptcy so that they dont have to pay and continue to hide pedophiles from justice.

Amen
26
@23 As others have pointed out, Savage's article post was directed at, and discussing the specific bishops who helped obscure the fact certain priests were molesting kids. So if you're such a free thinker, isn't OK to be critical of these bishops, in public even, or did I miss the part about these guys role in this not being particularly evil? Secondly, the Pope was a Nazi, correct? That's not the entire faith but if the leader of the United States, a pretty complex and diverse group of people, had been a Nazi and still became president, then went on a speaking tour decrying condoms as the reason for spread of std's in Africa and corruption of the natural family unit (read feminism and gay families) as akin to the downfall of the civilized world. You better believe that other countries would take notice and distill the U.S. to a bunch of backwards, Nazi sympathizing assholes who really shouldn't be taken seriously.
27
@20 Heather

You say "since when do we have to let members of an organization off the hook for the actions and policies of their leaders?"

So, by extension, you're personally responsible for Guantanamo Bay? He was your elected leader after all! The same way I elected the Pope! (Give us a fucking break!)

If you don't think religion is anything special, that's fine. In fact, they should be talked about like any other non-profit organizations. The only thing that makes them different is their size, which gives them influence, which is what democracy is all about. (Which isn't a problem, unless you oppose that too.)

And "Treacle" -- Just in case you haven't noticed, the rabid, self-flagilating, fundamentalism of Central & South America, and Africa isn't restricted to one religion, no religion alone. (Though nice try pinning it on one group! You sure are trying hard!)
28
@12, @18: we're not tarring all Catholics with the "pedophile" brush. We're tarring you with the "knew, and did nothing" brush.

Because you DID know. Maybe not in 1952, but surely you've noticed SOMETHING over the past twenty years of scandal after scandal after scandal? I sure as hell noticed. I was having pretty much this same conversation in the 80s. And I'm not even (still) Catholic.

But all the Catholic lay community has ever said is "let them work it out, they're good people, they're not covering it up, they're working with the problem priests". That's BULLSHIT. The proper authority to deal with a case of child rape is ALWAYS THE LAW, NEVER THE ORGANIZATION.

But Catholics don't much care for that line of thinking. Their authority is the Pope. But your Pope knew about it to, and is STILL, TODAY, 2009, actively covering it up. And so did the Pope before him, and the Pope before him, and the Pope before him. We have EVIDENCE. Do you see that?

No one's accusing Catholics of being pedophiles. We're accusing you of deliberately covering up pedophilia. You're doing it now, right here in this forum, for Christ's sake!
29
@ 18, given the sheer scope of the scandal it takes a great leap of faith, and ignorance of how powerful institutions behave, to think that the whole institution was NOT in on it. No, not every single priest, but we know that America's most powerful Cardinal was in on it. A leap of logic that the Pope had some inkling too? Not at all.
30
Just to sum up:

- The Catholic hierarchy pulls a bunch of douchebag shit (whether it be turning a blind eye to pedophelia, excommunicating doctors who gave a 9-year-old an abortion, telling people in Africa that condoms make AIDS worse, or denying the Holocaust).

- Everybody's mad, including the majority of Catholics (all the ones I know, anyway).

- So all Catholics, whether they be complicit douches or those of us who are pissed off and doing our best to change things as laymen, are to blame.

Um, fuck that. I write regular letters to my idiot Archbishop about the idiot shit the Church pulls, and I get idiot responses telling me to "pray about it." Then I tell them that prayer is not an excuse for inaction, and the cycle continues. I am not part of the problem, nor are any of the Catholics I know.

By the way, nobody in my extremely Catholic family calls Pope Nazipants "Benedict." Nor, actually, do we refer to him as "Pope." Just sayin'.
31
@24

Really?

You're looking for a SECULAR organization with a history of sexual abuse of minors, moving offenders between locations, and covering it up?

You should probably be more afraid of the Washington Education Association than your local parish.

http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/arti…
32
@23:

Are you questioning the infallibility of the Papal See? Does that mean you also question the doctrine, codified by Vatican I, that the Pope is infused with and guided in all words and actions by the Holy Spirit? That his words and deeds are the result of divine revelation? Do you also question the entire notion of snsus fidei?

If so, I would imagine your parish Priest, the Bishop of your Diocese, and even the Pope himself would question YOUR true devotion to the Church, since it appears you are a Catholic in name only.
33
Anyone who gives money to the Catholic Church is equally guilty. It has a long history of vile inhumanity and it does not deserve the right to practice in this country or any country. And before you give me a load of shit about it's "good works" please note that many people do good works without being affiliated with such a disgusting, backward and criminal organisation. And the Pope's recent statements regarding condoms in Africa prove once again that he and his church are PRO-DEATH!
34
@ #27 You make a voluntary decision to join a group like the Catholic Church. I do feel responsible that my tax money was used for the war and for Gitmo. As a citizen I have the power to at least try to change the policy of my government. The last I heard there is not even a pretense that Catholics can vote on Church policy or leadership. How do you feel about Church funds being used to cover up the crimes of priests or paying for their lawyers?

Yes the Church is big and has some influnce, but happily that influnce is getting weaker. Despite their best efforts and money they have not over turned a women's right to choose, they lost Inititave 1000 in Washington and just today another victory was scored for same sex marriage.
The Catholic Church has a bloody history of crusades, Inquisitions and witch hunts to account for. It took them 400 years to apologize for what they did to Galileo. I suspect it will be a few hundred more years before they apologize for mass murder.
Democracy gives you the right to practice the Catholic faith. Democracy also gives me the right to be an atheist. You no longer are in a position of control or have any power over me just becaue you believe in an imaginary friend in the sky. America belongs equally to both of us.
35
@33 - You're right. And while we're at it, you know who else has a long history of vile inhumanity? The American government. With their former support of slavery, former refusal to allow female suffrage, support of the death penalty, their genocidal attacks on natives, and their continued involvement in several horrible and unjust wars, they should be immediately disbanded. They have no right to be here.

Oh, and while we're at it, you know who else has a long history of vile inhumanity? Humanity.
36
@24 The teachers in the study were all caught or accused and the complaint was that the judicial system was not reacting in a consistent way (or anyway in some cases) and that the media wasn't covering these cases closely enough. This is very different then saying the principals and district heads responsible for these teachers were willfully covering up there actions and moving them to different schools rather then referring the issue to the authorities.
37
@30 See, that's the thing I don't get, Jocelyn. If the church is mired in these things that you vehemently disagree with, why stay associated with it? Why not make like Martin Luther, stage your own personal Reformation, say "I'm fed up with this shit and I won't take it anymore", and switch denominations or start your own?

The actions of the Catholic church obviously don't represent your beliefs anymore, and maybe the church never really did, you know what I'm saying? Maybe it's time to part ways and move on instead of holding on to some forlorn hope that this monolithic, unchanging organization is never going to reform itself the way you think it should?
38
*ever
39
@34 - I'm also happy that the Catholic Church has waning power in the global political scene. Anything remotely resembling a theocracy is, in my opinion, inherently oppressive and amoral. But I do think blaming the Catholic Church for their past wrongs is kind of taking things a bit far. The Church does evolve towards justice, it just does it more slowly than most of us would like. I'm quite certain that with all the damage the current papal administration has caused, the next pope to be elected by the College of Cardinals will be comparatively very liberal, and will work to repair this damage and bring the Church closer to joining the 21st century.

That said, if the next pope is just as bad, I'm super done being a Catholic, and super super done defending the Church.
40
@37 - That's a valid question, and I wonder about it a lot. I do actually find myself attending Anglican churches more often than Catholic ones, because I'm just so tired of the bullshit. But the thing about Catholicism is that for a lot of people it's more than a religion. It's a very cultural thing as well. Even Dan Savage describes himself as "culturally Catholic." In that way, I think, it's more like being Jewish than any of the other denominations of Christianity. You know, it's a family thing.

Also, I think the Catholic Church does (usually) provide a pretty good forum for liberals (the current Vatican administration excluded, of course). There are plenty of religious orders within the Church that are uncharacteristically liberal. These orders usually end up being the vehicle for change, and the reason we occasionally get really great popes (like Pope John XXIII. If you don't know about him, I highly suggest you look him up). There's no benefit to the Church if all the liberals leave. Regardless of what the Pope may say, it's our Church as much as theirs, and we can (slowly) change it if we keep trying.
41
@ Myself (clearly I can't stop typing), when I say I'm "super done being a Catholic", I do, of course, mean "I'm going to be really pissed but probably still Catholic."
42
@31,

Care to prove that the WEA has covered up those kinds of crimes at even remotely the same scale as the Catholic Church? Yeah, didn't think so.

Of course many students are sexually harassed or abused by their teachers. That happens anytime adults have unsupervised contact with children, and, incidentally, by that measure, the greatest threat to a child's safety is his or her own relatives.

The question is what happens when that abuse is exposed. Normally, the teacher is investigated and prosecuted. No public school system or teachers' union in this country can remotely compare to the evil and corruption of the pedophile-protecting Catholic Church.
43
Sad.
44
We need a Vendee.
45
@35 Dear dear Jocelyn. What you fail to understand is the fact that the Catholic Church claims to represent God! God, God, God. Not the U.S. government, not humanity. The fucking Catholic Church never stops telling everyone what God wants. What is a "sin", what is acceptable to GOD! You cannot claim to represent God and then do such evil! Such repeatedley evil things over and over again. Don't be a fool. They have brainwashed you as a youth and you can't free your mind. If and when you do there will be a flood of understanding of how evil people manipulate and rape and steal from stupid and brainwashed people. Then see the world and the universe in a new and glorious light. Believe me, I have been where you are and I am grateful for every day I don't suck at that corrupt and vile teet of ignorance that is The Catholic Church.
46
Um, Vince. My mind is perfectly free, thanks. They DID brainwash me as a youth, which is why as a teenager I did everything in my power to piss off every Catholic at my stupid Catholic school. Unfortunately, that plan went awry when I had a particular religion teacher who thought it was really great that I was "questioning my faith" every time I told her exactly why the Catholic Church was complete bullshit.

I also had some serious sexual repression to get over, but that's another story.

Anywayz, you certainly CAN claim to represent God and do such evil. People do it all the time. Look at Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. Look at the Mormons with their anti-prop 8 bullshit. Look at extremist Muslims who think God wants them to blow themselves up every 20 minutes. People CAN do fucked-up shit in the name of God, Vince. They do it all the time. Of course, whether or not they SHOULD is another matter all together.

I don't know about a "flood of understanding", but I think I have a pretty good handle on "how evil people manipulate and rape and steal from stupid and brainwashed people." I also understand that these things will always happen. That said, they can always happen less than they do. And in order to fight them, you can either go around decrying every institution that is at all corrupt (which, last time I checked, was every institution), or you can work with people to help them see that change is possible and necessary. The Catholic Church may claim to represent God, Vince, but they're really just a bunch of dudes. And most of them aren't bad dudes, either. They're just not very good at seeing the big picture.

So, in conclusion, I don't "suck at that corrupt and vile teet of ignorance that is The Catholic Church." I do what I can to change things, because I know the Catholic Church isn't going anywhere. Also, unlike you, I'm not totally insane.

Oh, and you spelled "teat" incorrectly.
47
You think they figured this shit out in 1952? Hah! Christ on a cracker, the Catholic Church has known about incurable sexual predators in their ranks for centuries! Jesus Fuckin' Christ! Giovanni Boccaccio wrote dirty jokes about it in the The Decameron in 1350! Sheesh!
48
Hint: Don't trust people whose lives revolve around 2000-year old fairy tales.
49
James Joyce made reference to pedophile priests in Europe in his writings back in the 20s and 30s. Catholic entities started having major problems getting liability insurance at least in the 80s and maybe even before then, due to the quietly-settled abuse cases. This stuff didn't just start happening in the 90s.
50


Heather, you must be a pretty weak person to feel like someone else's religion has to be diminished in order for your manifest atheism to find its breath.

Pathetic Heather.

Pathetic.
51
@32: I think you mean Roman Catholic in name only - you can be a perfectly good Old Catholic* and hold those positions - in fact, the Old Catholic Church was founded by a bunch of bishops who looked at Vatican I and said "What the hell? That's not Church doctrine!"

*Note: Old Catholic is not the same thing as Traditional Catholic. Old Catholics oppose Vatican I. Traditional Catholics support Vatican I but oppose Vatican II. The former are generally more liberal than the Roman Catholic Church, of which they are not a part. The latter are overwhelmingly more conservative, and generally still belong to RCC, as dissidents.
52
Windupbird & Keshmeshi,

Your intellectual laziness is palpable.

You really think that the school system hasn't frequently covered-up sex abuse?

http://www.bvbl.net/index.php/2008/05/16…

or how about...

http://www.oregonlive.com/special/index.…

And you don't think its widespread in schools? Then you would be surprised to know that a seven-month investigation by Associated Press reporters found that, from 2001 to 2005, the teaching licenses of more than 2,500 educators nationwide were revoked for sex abuse of students.

Are some clergy guilty? Hell yes. Should they be prosecuted? Hell yes.

Are you so misguided in your hate for people that profess a faith that you will undermine your own personal integrity and intellectual honesty to make a cheap, lazy point on Slog?

Apparently so.
53

@51,

Sorry to correct you, but the Catholic Church was founded by individuals who chose to get together and practice their faith in small groups.

We didn't need a big fancy prelate then, and we probably don't need one now. Let's not confuse the essence of the faith with the man-made structures of the church. (Unless you want to cram them together, for some other agenda...)
54
@ #50 I don't diminish their religion I dismiss it entirely.
55
@54 Well in that case, I dismiss Atheism.

Oh, and I dismiss individuality in general.

In fact, I think we should all wear white so as not to distract ourselves with sinful colours. Except for heathens, who have to wear mauve.
56
oh no! you dismiss atheism. I must go and re-think my life.

"Religion has caused more suffering through all of human history than any other single idea"
57
Fuck this regimental conformity, I'm wearing black. And Red. Probably at the same time.

And white socks.
58
@53: Where did I say anything about the founding of the Catholic Church (whatever that may be) - I defined the difference between two specific and distinct groups that all consider themselves to be Catholic - Roman Catholics and Old Catholics (a.k.a. Union of Utrecht), with a side note about the far more amorphous grouping known as Traditional Catholics.
59
@56 - I think you're confusing religion with humanity.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: it is not religion that causes suffering. It is, and always has been, self-righteousness. What that means, Heather, is that by insisting that your belief system is inherently superior to others, you are just as bad as the likes of, say, Fred Phelps. Or the fucking asshole nazi pope. As much as being an atheist is about not believing in God, I was also under the impression that it was about rejecting the status quo. I was under the impression that it was meant to be humanistic. What, then, is the point of trying to make your beliefs become the status quo? Where's the humanity in insisting that everyone else is wrong?

I have no tolerance for evangelism, Heather. Nor for anyone's assumption that their beliefs are inherently superior to anyone else's. You might want to consider the idea that people can believe whatever the fuck they want (so long as they don't harm each other in the process), lest you become yet another warrior against humanity. And God knows we've got enough of those.

Oh, and @ 57 - white socks? Not with black shoes, I hope. That's just a sin against fashion.
60
@52 Intellectual laziness? I'm lost buddy, I simply pointed out that the article you sighted initially said nothing about the obscuring of offenses and it didn't. Regardless, I stand corrected, there are secular organizations as disturbed as the Catholic Church. Mind you, this doesn't absolve the Catholic Church, it just means it's in bad company. Keep ranting and slinging insults though tough guy. It won't change the fact that the church leaders were in this case, and are often backwards and wrong. Your Nazi pontiff is spreading bullshit and keeping other's sexual activity the focal point of his international message, while the Catholic Church can barely keep it's hardliners inline. How about those Legionaries of Christ huh? No condoms for the Africans while out spoken priests are fathering children with their mistresses, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopi… . I'd stop pointing this shit out if only the Catholic clergy would keep there doctrine out of international politics and as that's not likely to happen, here's hoping Dan Savage will keep calling the Catholic leaders out for the hypocrites they are. Oh but lets not forget the overly defensive Catholics (read KidCatholic), keep enabling these guys with apologist delusion and while you're at it, keep squealing bitcha, your shrill posts only make your desperation and blindness that much more apparent.
61
@59 I appreciate your posts. I'd point out that any belief that hinges on the fact that non-believers are damned to an afterlife of eternal torture does come from a perspective of superiority and that can't help but bleed through into the actions and opinions of it's adherents. Additionally, I've had hard time understanding where tolerance begins and ends. I read consistent posts about how belief systems are off limits from scrutiny or public debate and yet belief is consistently the root of the social policy which seeks to rob high school students of a proper sex education program and science text books of chapters regarding evolution. It's where belief turns into policy or fights with reality to survive where I become skeptical of it's sacred status. If you promise to keep your belief out of government, I'll promise not to confront it.
62
Jocelyn- Thanks for the spelling lesson and mental health evaluation. Cunt.
63
@ Jocelyn #59---I never implied that I wanted to force my atheism on anybody or try to make it the status quo. I won't give an inch to those who insist I must treat religious views with any deference. I will not give religion that power.

Nothing I say will change the mind of a religious person, but the fact is there are fewer religious people in the U.S. according to a recent study. I do not fear a world where religion becomes less relevant I welcome it.

If people want to believe that their religion is sacred that is their right, bit it is equally my right not to view it as sacred. For instance the U.S. used to have laws against blasphemy. There was a time that people could be jailed for offending a religion. That ended in 1952 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that laws against blasphemy violated the Constitution. This reenforced the secular nature of America. I wouuld be just as opposed to any law that restricted the right of religious people to express their own ideas. Democracy and the Constitution protect the rights of the devout as well as the rights of non believers.

"Faith is believing in what you know ain't so"
Mark Twain
64
@63: While I'm a fan of Mark Twain, I'm going to disagree on that point: Delusion is believing in what you know isn't true; faith is believing in what you don't know is true - thus faith can be delusional, but doesn't have to be. For example, creationism is delusional, because it goes against a huge body of scientific evidence. But believing in an afterlife is not delusional, because there is no (and bar some truly unexpected developments, will always be no) scientific evidence one way or the other.
65
@ 61 - It's pretty simple, I think, to draw a line where tolerance begins and ends. I sort of tend to lump any kind of forcing one's beliefs on others (whether through personal contact or public policy) as evangelism, which is bad. Of course, being human is inherently hypocritical and it can, I think, be difficult to figure out what, exactly, the right thing to do is when one's personal morality doesn't necessarily fit with the morality of the people at large.

For example, I would suggest to the pro-lifers that it's perfectly fine to believe that abortion is wrong, but you can't expect everyone to believe that, nor can you deny people freedoms based on it. That said, I would suggest to those who want gay people to be able to marry that just because the majority appears to be against them at this time does not mean that they are wrong nor that they should stop fighting.

And, really, those ideas are based on my personal beliefs. Should I keep them out of politics? Technically, if I'm following my own mantra. But, of course, my beliefs are based on a love of humanity and freedom (the real kind, not the kind the Republicans talk about), not the blind worship of a God who hates human nature. That's what I think the message of Christianity is, actually. Not "God hates fags."

So, I think the lines for tolerance should be a little on the liberal side, if only because having a discussion with someone not about the validity of their beliefs, but about their place in public policy, is going to be more productive than pulling a Heather and saying that everything but atheism is the cause of all the world's problems ever.

@ 62 - You're welcome. And really, it was my pleasure.

@ 63 - Heather, you don't have to give religion any power. I don't think religion should have power. We're agreed there. But people's beliefs are inherently powerful things, and if you insist on telling them they're wrong, all you do is make YOURSELF powerless to have any kind of meaningful discourse on the subject. And you make yourself look like the bag guy, which I'm sure won't help to further whatever aim it is you're trying to achieve. I'm all for the waning political power for religion, and for blasphemy. I'm all for rocking the boat. But I am never, ever in favour of telling someone who is NOT trying to force their beliefs on you in any way that their beliefs are wrong. Because then you're an evangelist. I hate evangelism, Heather. And really, don't you?

There is an important distinction between organized religion and personal belief. And I suggest that in all likelihood, you feel differently about those two things. I think that you probably have an issue with organized religion, which makes sense. So do I. So, I think, do most rational people. That said, personal beliefs are a very different entity. They may have been inspired by a religious upbringing, but they are, ultimately, personal. And therefore more sacred, I think. I just don't think it's a good idea to attack those, Heather, if they're not causing you any harm. I mean after all, a personal belief never covered up years of pedophilia within its ranks. Organized religion did. Do you see the difference?

I should note, that one can have personal beliefs that are often quite different to the religion to which they belong and still feel fine belonging to said religion. Sort of like how a person can be super skeptical of the U.S. government but still vote and not become a total anarchist. It's easier to make change from the inside, you know? And I, for one, am glad people are trying.

Longest post ever.
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Thanks everyone. As always, the oyster that is slog has provided many pearls to think upon.
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Kind of like how the Stranger knew about shoplifting "journalists" and did nothing.
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Right. Shoplifting a bottle of wine is exactly like molesting a child.
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Satan is happy living in the Vatican.

All you apologists for the Church of the Devil need to get a clue or two.

Signed: Martin "Reformation" Luther

(and Catholic families stashed the gay sons in the priesthood for cover, totally repressed, totally mind fucked, what did they expect?)
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@69 - I'm going to assume you're kidding for the sake of my sanity.
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Talk about forcing your religion on others I dont believe anybody has aproached the evolutionist . It is nothing but beliefs . I think the global warmest believers will force their beliefs with guns if necessary . And there will be no facts they would accept to dissprove their new religion . Eric
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Oh, Eric. There is a big difference between beliefs based on mythology and beliefs based on scientific evidence. The two things concern different kinds of truth. The only reason for science and religion to conflict with each other is if you believe things like creation myths to be literally true, which they literally aren't. That doesn't mean there is no God. It just means that the dudes who wrote the Bible were spiritual leaders, not scientists.

So, yeah, evolution is not a religion. It is a widely-accepted scientific theory that many religions, including most of Christianity (and pretty much all of Catholicism) have no argument with. Just sayin'.
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@ #71---If you do just a little reasearch you will find thousands of pieces of evidence for evolution. There is zero evidence of the existence of a man named Jesus.

Evolution is a just a theory much like gravity is a theory.....

http://onion.com/content/node/39512

"If we give equal time to creationism then we should also give equal time to the idea that babies come from storks."
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74 - Dammit, Heather, of course there is evidence for the existence of Jesus. Perhaps there is no evidence of his divinity, but there is certainly evidence of his existence. Last I heard nobody could say definitively whether or not he existed, but there is some evidence to support the idea that he might have. I also find it unlikely that so much would be attributed to him within all these old texts (most of which are not in the Bible) if there wasn't SOMEBODY who started all that. Perhaps the person it actually was bears little resemblance to the person it is projected as now, but there had to be somebody.

You know, I was watching a hilariously entertaining debate with Kirk Cameron and some little douchebag friend of his arguing with some hard-core atheists about whether or not the existence of God could be empirically proven (which, of course, it can't). Kirk and co. had just the most ridiculous arguments (we have a conscience! There's creation so there must be a creator! If evolution is real, where are the transitional fossils?), but I just don't think the atheists did as good a job arguing this shit as they could have, for two reasons. First of all, they weren't as smart as I had hoped. I mean, obviously they were 1,000,000 times smarter than Kirk Cameron and this retarded friend, but they weren't smart enough to lay out their arguments really effectively, which was disappointing.

The other problem with the atheists, is that much though I was inclined to agree with them more than Kirk and his butt-boy (despite the fact that I identify as Christian), I was super turned off by the fact that they were agenda-pushing just as much as the fundies were. See, Heather, that kind of idealism is kind of bullshit. And it's useless in any kind of debate. Nobody, at the end of watching this discussion, could possibly come away from it with a different opinion than they had at the beginning. But, I believe, if someone more in the center had been arguing with either of these people, there could have been some valuable discourse.

See, because believing evolution isn't real is crazy. But believing that all religion is inherently bullshit is also crazy. Both of these opinions are useless in any kind of discussion, and are pretty offensive to boot.

Save your hate for people who are attacking you, Heather. There are plenty of liberals who believe in Jesus Christ. There's no reason to attack these people's faith.
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Jocelyn, stating my opinion that there is no god is not an attack on anyone. Some fundies may view it as that, but I am just stating my opinion. Also I agree that Christians do not speak with one voice. Atheists do not speak with one voice either. For instance as much as I admire the scientific work of Richard Dawkins I disagree with his confrontational approach toward religion. I contrast Dawkins approach to that of the late Carl Sagan. Sagan was able to express his belief that this universe requires no creator without insulting those who believe in a creator.

As I said in an earlier post on this thread I see no reason to tread lightly or defer to religious ideas. If I am arguing with a god believer I see that as no different than arguing with a rebublican about the war. To do otherwise would require me to conceed that religion occupies some special place in the realm of ideas. I do not belive religion occupies such a place.
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But the thing is, Heather, that it does. Whether or not you recognize the weird and special value people place on their faith has no effect on said value. All you're going to do by not respecting that is piss people off.
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But the thing is, Jocelyn I don't care if some religious people are pissed off at me or other atheists. What is new about that? What is relatively new is that them being pissed off has no legal consequences for me and other non believers at least not in western democracies. That is because secular society has had a civilizing influnce on religion.
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I know. I get that, believe me. We all have the right to believe whatever the fuck we want now, which is important and really great. But when you are disrespectful of people's beliefs, regardless how how much bullshit you think they are, you look the the bad guy. I know you don't care, personally, about looking like the bad guy in that kind of situation. But it really bugs me when atheists do that, because it gives fodder to the "GOD IS UNDER ATTACK" nutcases who think they're the ones being persecuted. If you have a little bit of respect for those people's beliefs, or at least present the image of respecting them, then you've got a pretty decent chance of moving them further toward the center.

It's kind of like how having gay couple move in next door and be really great neighbors to a socially conservative Christian family is probably going to do more to get them not to see gay people as a threat than, say, throwing them their own personal gay pride parade.
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Someone's been breathing too much of their own exhaust.

Heather, your embrace of Atheism, dismissal of institutions, intolerance of local traditions, and zeal to marginalize people who possess a faith, comes curiously close to sounding like being on a personal mission.

Heather, you sound NO DIFFERENT than Adventists in Somoa, the Lutherans in Mozambique, Pentecostals in Scandanavia.... or Mormons cycling the neighborhood.

You're just a propagator of Atheism, seemingly "saved" by the grace of your own certainty, whose congregation (lemme' guess, Queen Anne?) believes in the superiority of its stance.

Silly girl. Just like all us religious nuts.

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Heather, the next time you cite "western democracies" as the basis from which you enjoy such liberties, you should get down on your knees and thank something that our Founders, many people of deep religious faith, developed a system based on Christian values that preserved your fundamental human right to be a complete dumb ass in the public square. (You're certainly doing your part!)

Every religion is flawed, (largely due to the extent by which it is carried and articulated by innately imperfect humans). But to say religion has no validity is asinine. The basis for your position is -- at best -- something from the late-night navel gazing sessions in the sophomore dorm. At worst it is a self-indulgent expression of your super-rational self, with no sense of history, respect or context for religions around the world.

You cannot rationally explain love either. But yet it exists. (So they're not calling you back for some other reason!)
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Bark- "Christian values"? Please tell me, what makes them Christian in nature. Other than the fact that the Founding Fathers were Christian. Does that mean that people of all other religions, or for that matter, no religion at all, don't have values? I mean, come on. Most of the values that you're talking about are pretty much universal.
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Marj - Perhaps the values aren't unique to Christianity, but in the case of the founding fathers, they were Christian values. That doesn't invalidate the importance of the separation between church and state, nor does it invalidate other belief systems (or lack thereof) that carry similar values. It's just that the founding fathers were (mostly) Christian.

Except, you know, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom seemed to feel that the way Christianity stressed the importance of Jesus Christ's divinity detracted from his moral message, and therefore had doubts as to his divinity. I have that problem a lot too. I can't get behind anyone who says a total dick who believes Jesus is his personal lord and savior is somehow better than a person with an antithetical belief system to Christianity who isn't a douche.