Questionable Motives

September 15, 2010

Religious discrimination or fraud? You be Da Judge!

Filed under: discrimination,Law,Religion,Witchcraft — tildeb @ 7:10 pm

For an atheist, this has got to be one the funniest and most ironic stories around these days (from the Brampton Guardian):

A Brampton man has been charged with fraud and “pretending to practice witchcraft” in his home. Yogendra Pathak, 44, was arrested Monday and will make his first appearance in court Oct. 7.
“He was offering to solve people’s problems, whether they were romantic or financial, through witchcraft, and we’re alleging that he wasn’t able to do that,” said Peel Sgt. Zahir Shah.

Don’t faith healers do the same schtick with the same results? And yet the police don’t arrest them. We’re talking blatant religious discrimination here, folks!

Shah said practicing witchcraft is not illegal, but police allege Pathak took advantage of people’s beliefs and trust for financial gain.

Sounds suspiciously like the catholic church… but without the child raping. Still, no charges for the roman catholic church. Good thing they didn’t charge money for raping kids or they’d be in REAL trouble with the Law!

Peel Regional Police investigators with 21 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau said they don’t know how many people went to Pathak’s home and paid for “witchcraft-related services”, but it is believed he has been offering the services for well over a year.

It’s new to the parish, I’ll grant you.

“We know there are more people out there,” Shah said. Police said he was advertising his services on the radio, and focusing on the South Asian community.

This what happens when you forget that you need to go big or go home. Or not… if the police are waiting there. He should of gone with cable TV.

It’s a rare charge to lay, Shah agreed. “It’s the first time I’ve come across it,” he said.

It’s religious discrimination against wiccanism, is what I think it may be. Down with The Man! Fight the system! Threaten to turn them into frogs and bats (but don’t charge them $$$) and eternal damnation in some Irish bog!

Now consider the following legal advice as it pertains to visiting your favourite church, synagogue, mosque, or stone circle:

Meanwhile, police are also warning residents to verify the accuracy and reliability of any type of service being offered:
• verify that you are being told the truth before you do anything. There is no need to make  an immediate decision when purchasing a service;
• get as much information from the service provider as possible;
• ask for references, and check them;
• try to get a written contract;
• if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Too funny!

August 16, 2010

Catholic evidence of an alternative universe?

Yup. Michael Voris of The Vortex shows us clear evidence how his faith allows him to live in alternative universe while using the rights and freedoms found in this universe within his country’s secular society to advocate that all of us should join him there.

(Tip to Pharyngula)

August 5, 2010

What is a good day in legal judgements? When we drop the ‘gay’ from defining a marriage.

Filed under: Argument,civil rights,Gay Marriage,Law — tildeb @ 11:34 am

A good day is when a bad law is overturned and equal rights prevail. August 4, 2010 was just such a day.

I have long argued that marriage is a legal issue that involves civil rights and as such is a status available to all citizens at the age of majority. Any laws or prohibitions that exclude or deny access to gaining this legal status for some adults are therefore discriminatory. The denial of marriage for gays and lesbians has been a clear legal case in my mind of such discrimination. Equal rights, I have argued, are not to be determined or denied by majority votes unless one wishes to first endorse the legal notion of tyranny of the majority who gain special privileges with the establishment of unequal legal rights based on group membership. This notion is antithetical to the fundamental autonomy of the individual that shifts rights away from each citizen to membership in legally defined and politically privileged groups. 

It is with a great deal of satisfaction that I now read federal judge Vaughn Walker’s decision on overturning California’s Proposition 8, the recent plebiscite that rescinded the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. Judge Walker’s decision to overturn the 52% majority vote that denied gays and lesbians the civil right to marry was for exactly these reasons of discrimination on the sole basis of group membership – whether the genders of the spouses were the same or different. No evidence could be provided to show that this legal discrimination was based on anything other than this single discriminatory criteria that no other rational justification supported. Without going into the detail of the ruling, suffice it is to say that it completely dismantles the factual statements made in support of the proposition and makes clear that it is discriminatory solely on the basis of same or different gender of spouses without rational cause.

Well done, Judge Walker. May this case become the precedent. Step by enlightened step, may the bigotry supported by organizations like Focus on the Family and the mormon church and the catholic church (that to a large extent funded Proposition 8 ) be forced by secular law out of the public domain.

August 1, 2010

Can you imagine what law based on catholic dogma might look like in action?

Oh, wait. We don’t have to imagine. We have Guanajuato! The catholic church must be so pleased.

From Change.org with bold added:

Six women in the conservative Mexican state of Guanajuato have been sentenced to 25 to 30 years prison time for the crime of making decisions about their own bodies.

Actually, that’s not completely accurate: one woman’s crime was having a body that made the decision for her.

Ms. Magazine reports that the six women were tried and sentence for homicide under laws criminalizing abortion. Activists working with the women reports that all six defendants were poor and had little education. Two were impregnated by rape, and all were abandoned by the sperm-providers. One had a spontaneous abortion, a.k.a. a miscarriage.

Is this not exactly what we would expect to find with catholic dogma about sex ed, contraception, and abortion at work in the legal system?

Guanajuanto can brag about sporting the country’s harshest penalties for abortion, which is only legal in Mexico City, and even rape survivors can face 25 to 30 years in prison.

Guanajuato can also brag about having the country’s highest teen pregnancy rate, which might be related to the utter refusal to teach sex education in schools in the area. The mayor even tried to ban passionate kissing in public, and duly became a laughingstock.

It was also the only state to fail to enact legislation against gender violence, such as rape, despite the fact that this had been required on the federal level. The excuse for not instating such a law? Well, because violence against women in Guanajuanto doesn’t exist, so it’s just silly to have legislation against it. I guess they said as much to the women who decided to abort the pregnancy caused by their rapist.

After all, why attempt to prevent unwanted pregnancy by teaching youth about sex and birth control or instituting legal protections for women against rape when you can simply throw vulnerable women in jail for ending a pregnancy that they didn’t want and were unprepared to provide for.

Why not attempt to prevent this unfolding tragedy? Because it goes against being a good little catholic, silly, and would interfere with what is much more important than criminalizing some women: what is much more important is to institutionalize the catholic church’s misogynistic teachings, of course. Yes, the church can be very proud of this progeny of turning women into incubators for rapists or murderers. Well done, Mother Church.

Can we feel that burning christian love yet? It’s a different kind of burn…

May 21, 2010

What does fear of gays look like in action?

From the CBC:

A judge in Malawi has found a gay couple guilty of unnatural acts and gross indecency after a trial that drew worldwide condemnation of that country’s laws on homosexuality.

Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa issued the ruling Tuesday. The couple could be imprisoned for up to 14 years.

Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, had been jailed since their arrest Dec. 27, when they celebrated their engagement with a party that drew crowds of curious and jeering onlookers.

Their hearings also drew ridicule, an indication of views on homosexuality in this traditional society — and elsewhere in Africa.

Homosexuality is illegal in at least 37 countries on the continent. In Uganda, lawmakers are considering a bill that would sentence homosexuals to life in prison and include capital punishment for “repeat offenders.” Even in South Africa, the only African country that recognizes gay rights, gangs have carried out so-called “corrective” rapes on lesbians.

What can I say? I was offended, so I wrote to the Malawi high commissioner:

The sentencing by this Malawi ‘court’ of Steven and Tiwonge is a mark of bigotry and shame that contravenes section 20 of your country’s constitution. And your government seems to be in full agreement with this ruling. When court rulings support populism, but break the spirit of guaranteed constitutional rights and freedoms for all, then all citizens lose. The fact that your government is satisfied with this ruling makes a mockery that human rights are respected and are of any legal value whatsoever in Malawi. On the world stage, your country has taken a giant step backwards into an age of superstition and fear about a victimless activity between consenting adults some in your country find offensive.

So what?

Unless and until the government of Malawi and its agents in positions of authority have the moral courage and political fortitude to step forward and accept that rights and freedoms for all outweigh popular superstition and bigotry against some, your country’s voice will be one of regressive and brutal bigotry codified and enforced by a bullying and ethically corrupt government that deserves nothing but condemnation and marginilization for it lack of intestinal fortitude. If your government can so easily discriminate against these two men because you find their behaviour offensive, then I see no reason why your country should not wholeheartedly agree to have its membership at the United Nations revoked and sentenced to 14 years of hard labour for offending the many people other governments represent who find your ruling so offensive. Simply put, your country does not belong at the same discussion table as civilized nations because your failure to act in this matter of Steven and Tiwonge is uncivilized and deeply offensive. Your government’s failure to intercede and insist that your courts enforce the law equally on behalf of these two men is at the very least a disgrace, an abdication of your government’s responsibility to all the people it represents like Stephen and Tiwonge, and I consider criminally negligent.

If nothing else, overturning the court’s decision on constitutional grounds would show the world that your government at least has the merit, unlike 37 other timid and scared African countries, of having grown a pair.

There. That feels better.

April 30, 2010

Faith-based sexual ethics: special sensitivity or outright bigotry?

Let’s ask a British judge.

The case brought to us by the Guardian and indented by us:

A marriage guidance counsellor’s bid to challenge his sacking for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexuals has led to a serious clash between the Christian lobby and the judiciary.

I can understand why a christian marriage guidance counselor  would not want to give sex therapy to homosexuals. Gay sex is so… so… icky, not to mention an act worthy of death according to certain writings dictated by an all loving creator.

In a powerful dismissal of the application to appeal, Lord Justice Laws said legislation to protect views held purely on religious grounds could not be justified. He said it was an irrational idea “but it is also divisive, capricious and arbitrary“.

Oh my. That’s hardly an appropriately apologetic position to take before dealing with actions based on religious intolerance. The nerve! What’s a good christian to do? Call in the theological Big Guns for support:

The former archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey had sent a statement to a judge hearing the appeal application by Gary McFarlane. The senior church figure called for a special panel of judges with a “proven sensitivity and understanding of religious issues” to hear the case.

Yes, let us stack the court with judicial religious supporters. Then we’ll be see what an unbiased judiciary appropriately sensitive might look like in action.

I can’t help but wonder who might determine what the qualifications of “proven sensitivity’ should be? Perhaps religious Big Guns themselves? What a grand (and sensitive, not to mention almost unbiased) idea.

Lord Carey said recent court decisions involving Christians had used “dangerous” reasoning and this could lead to civil unrest.

Oh yes, very dangerous indeed… to those who wish to establish religious favouritism by the State. But hey, if the threat of religious violence works so well for Muslims, then isn’t it high time we see the same tactic by christians? It’s all about results in service to the lord… the supernatural one, that is, and not the judicial one. Not that violence has to actually be done, mind you… just the threat to help the judiciary to be a little more… sensitive.

Lord Justice Laws’s ruling said: “We do not live in a society where all the people share uniform religious beliefs. The precepts of any one religion – any belief system – cannot, by force of their religious origins, sound any louder in the general law than the precepts of any other. If they did, those out in the cold would be less than citizens and our constitution would be on the way to a theocracy, which is of necessity autocratic.

The law of a theocracy is dictated without option to the people, not made by their judges and governments. The individual conscience is free to accept such dictated law, but the state, if its people are to be free, has the burdensome duty of thinking for itself.”

What a remarkably clear and cogent argument. We cannot reduce the freedom of all citizens by using the state (through its laws) to make any one religious belief system ‘louder’ in a citizen’s life than any other.

Can we get this guy on the US Supreme Court? No? Oh well. He probably wouldn’t pass the religious test so heavily favoured by US senators in the vetting process anyway (shhh… not supposed to tell anyone about that).

Lord Carey said: “The description of religious faith in relation to sexual ethics as ‘discriminatory’ is crude and illuminates a lack of sensitivity to religious belief.

Well, it may seem crude and insensitive to a supporter who thinks sexual ethics is a branch of religious belief, but to the rest of us it’s still discrimination. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then calling it a duck isn’t really a question of sensitivity; it’s a question of accuracy and honesty.

The comparison of a Christian, in effect, with a ‘bigot’ (ie, a person with an irrational dislike to homosexuals) begs further questions. It is further evidence of a disparaging attitude to the Christian faith and its values.

Well, it begs no questions but may raise some.

Funny, isn’t it, how challenging a religiously inspired notion in the public domain is so easily characterized by religious supporters as some kind of attack – in this case a disparaging one – against religious belief in general rather than what it actually is: a legitimate public response to the threat against equal rights and freedoms of all from a religiously inspired  and biased imposition.

That any religion thinks itself justified to rule on what is and is not sexually ethical is itself merely an assumption of colossal arrogance and the obvious foundation for religious bigotry in this matter. Sure, anyone can have an opinion on the matter, but something more is required to elevate that opinion to a position of rule. Claiming favouritism by god may curry support from the devout for those religious leaders who would enunciate these rules on god’s behalf (He who always seems unable to speak for himself in these matters, somewhat surprisingly), but the assumption that religious leaders have any greater expertise than others offers us no reasonable justification of the unfounded claim. The medical expertise, the biological expertise, the social and philosophical expertise on sexual ethics may offer us some meaningful insight into the ethics of sex, but an Iron Age religious belief set unfettered by any need to justify and validate its assumptions? I don’t think so. Asserting as Lord Carey does that the belief set deserves special dispensation and sensitivity to have its rule on what is and is not sexually ethical be enforced by secular law in order to avoid violence by its adherents if that rule is denied, is a rationalization of the worst kind: it reveals a very disparaging attitude to the civil rights of all and does violence to reasoning itself.

That’s why faith-based sexual ethics is outright bigotry.

April 27, 2010

Why should we be ashamed of respecting religious belief in the public domain?

Canada is hosting a G8 summit and wants to promote a child and maternal health-care initiative for developing countries. But that will not include any money for funding abortion.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the health initiative should include access to safe and legal abortion. Why? Because safe abortions reduces women mortality – a fundamental concern when addressing issues about about child and maternal health-care. So access to therapeutic abortions is a health concern.

According to the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women by 189 participating countries and more than 2100 non-governmental organizations, the resolution passed that access to family planning, safe and legal abortion and maternal health, are essential to achieving gender equality. The UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies (TMBs) have recognized that access to these essential reproductive health services is rooted in international human rights obligations. The Beijing PFA (Platform For Action) highlighted the impact of unsafe abortion on women’s lives and health and the need to reduce recourse to abortion through expanded family planning services. It urges governments to review punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortions and calls for women’s access to quality post-abortion care. In turn, over the last decade, human rights bodies and regional and national courts have increasingly recognized that restrictions
on access to safe and legal abortion interfere with women’s enjoyment of their human rights.

So access to abortions according to the UN is a human rights concern.

But rather than follow this previously agreed to PFA, Canadian officials say they will instead focus the G8 plan on other measures aimed at improving the health of women and children in poor countries — including safe drinking water and vaccination programs, an important issue about child and maternal health to be sure. But why not therapeutic abortion?

Access to therapeutic abortion (outside of Canada) according to Harper and his Canadian government is about “clarifying family planning,” which simply does not include any discussion about abortion. One must wonder why when it is widely considered both a health-care concern and a human rights concern. According to Harper, it is not a concern at all and certainly not one open to debate.

This omission is a cop out, a capitulation not to the best practices of modern medicine nor furthering the human rights of children and their mothers. It is a tacit nod of agreement to the religious belief that abortion under any circumstances is wrong. By refusing to fund abortion outside of the country, the Canadian government’s inaction supports the bizarre idea that a zygote is of greater value than is the life of a fully developed mother. This position simply ignores (or at least finds perfectly acceptable) maternal mortality when therapeutic abortions are unavailable. What lies behind the politics of abortion is neither any kind of informed debate about why it is a necessary part of health-care or a necessary plank in furthering maternal human rights; it is a position in favour of appeasing religious sensibilities at home about this controversial topic. And how informed is that sensibility by comparison? I think not at all. It’s simply an uninformed, unjustified belief that has no place at the table of discussion about child and maternal health-care.

And do religious sensibilities stop in areas of public health care?

Umm, no. Are we surprised?

In January (2010), the Ontario government introduced changes to the sex education component of the public school curriculum: Grade 1 children were to be taught to identify genitalia using the correct words, such as penis, vagina and testicle, Grade 5 children were to be taught to identify parts of the reproductive system and describe how the body changes during puberty, and in Grade 7, the plan was to teach kids how to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Children in grade 7 are usually 12 years old.

CBC News reported the following:

Religious groups objected to the revised curriculum and raised a voluble campaign against it earlier this week. They promised a huge demonstration on the front lawn of Queen’s Park (the Ontario provincial legislature) to protest the sex education changes.

“It is unconscionable to teach eight-year-old children same-sex marriage, sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Charles McVety, head of the Canada Christian College. “It is even more absurd to subject sixth graders to instruction on the pleasures of masturbation, vaginal lubrication, and 12-year-olds to lessons on oral sex and anal intercourse.”

So we know what McVety thinks is unconscionable and absurd in sex education at these grades and seems quite content to oppose any curriculum that promotes healthy sexuality, counteracts schoolyard misinformation, prevents teen pregnancy, gives information that shows how to avoid STDs, and so on. What does he offer in return as an alternative that still meets the goals of informing ht epublic about these issues? Nada. On what, then, does he base his opposition? His religious belief. And how is that uninformed religious belief comparable to the kind of consideration to what informs best practices in education? On what basis of knowledge is a religious belief about sex education equally worthy of consideration than curriculum development done by professionals and informed by evidence?

Only because the public tolerates unjustified religious interference and unwarranted intrusions in the public domain does ignorance and bigotry of uninformed religious belief become a potent political force, enough to adversely affect informed public policy in education to the likes of the sanctimonious self-righteous morons like McVety and his ignorant ilk, as well as adversely affect funding for promoting the health-care and human rights of women in developing nations. That’s the ongoing gift (and legacy) of religious belief in action in the public domain: promoting ignorance over knowledge, belief over health, misogyny over human rights.

These weak-kneed governments should be ashamed of themselves for appeasing the ignorant and foolish among us (including those within these parties) for political gain. That political behaviour – supposedly done in the name of good governance – is what is  truly unconscionable and absurd. For when we grant guanocephalic clerics and their supporters a place at the table of determining public policy like education and foreign policy aid because of some warped idea that the representatives of the public owe respect to religious beliefs of the few, we are damaging the welfare of all.

April 16, 2010

National Day of Prayer ruled unconstitutional: Why didn’t someone tell me Eisenhower was a founding father?

Filed under: Law,Religion,Secularism — tildeb @ 6:56 am

Uh oh. The great state of Wisconsin has really gone and done it now: a federal judge in Madison has ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, saying the day amounts to a call for religious action. From the AP:

Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists and agnostics, filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2008 arguing the day violated the separation of church and state.

The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based group of Christian lawyers, issued a statement saying the judge’s ruling undermines American tradition dating back to the nation’s birth, which according to them must have occurred sometime around 1952 when Eisenhower inserted “under god” into the pledge of allegiance as well as started up the prayer breakfast… clearly the historical revision needed to remake the States into the christian nation it was always meant to be.

The Judge wrote that her ruling was not a judgment on the value of prayer. She noted government involvement in prayer may be constitutional if the conduct serves a “significant secular purpose” and doesn’t amount to a call for religious action. But the National Day of Prayer crosses that line, she wrote.

“It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context,” she wrote. “In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience.”

In modern pluralistic democracies, the state should be neutral about the truth and social value of religion. It is not the purpose of the state to prop up and promote religion. In the case of a national day of prayer, there is no significant secular purpose, making this ruling a no-brainer even if it is a courageous one on the part of the judge: now let’s watch the religious in the States throw a hissy fit over this one. Should be some fine entertainment. What do you think? How long will it take until this ruling is categorized by Fox News (the most trusted source of ‘news’ in the nation) and its merry band of talking heads as evidence of another vicious secular “attack” on poor god-fearing christians and their humble ways?

April 13, 2010

Why is the pope a criminal? Consider these three strikes…

From Andrew Sullivan’s Atlantic article:

The AP’s story on Joseph Ratzinger’s direct involvement in delaying for six years the defrocking of a priest who had confessed to tying up and raping minors ends any doubt that the future Pope is as implicated in the sex abuse crisis as much as any other official in the church. The facts are as clear as they are damning.

The Pope cannot blame the local bishops this time – they desperately tried to get the priest fired.

He cannot claim he was out of the loop: his signature is on the letter.

He cannot get an underling to take the fall: it’s his name and his office behind the unconscionable delay and behind the actual, despicably callous and self-serving reasons to protect a man who tied children up and raped them.

It’s over now.

When we look at this Pope we see a man who knew that one of the priests he had authority to fire had restrained and raped children. Yet he did nothing for years, and finally sided with the priest. He had more sympathy for the relatively young age of the rapist, rather than the innocence and trauma of the raped children.

We see a man utterly corrupted by power and institutional loyalty.

Strike one.

From Richard Dawkins’ Guardian article:

Lashing out in desperation, church spokesmen are now blaming everybody but themselves for their current dire plight, which one official spokesman likens to the worst aspects of antisemitism (what are the best ones, I wonder?). Suggested culprits include the media, the Jews, and even Satan. The church is hiding behind a seemingly endless stream of excuses for having failed in its legal and moral obligation to report serious crimes to the appropriate civil authorities. But it was Cardinal Ratzinger’s official responsibility to determine the church’s response to allegations of child sex abuse, and his letter in the Kiesle case makes the real motivation devastatingly explicit.

This pattern of putting church PR over and above the welfare of the children in its care (and what an understatement that is) is repeated over and over again in the cover-ups that are now coming to light, all over the world. And Ratzinger himself expressed it with damning clarity in this smoking gun letter:

“This court, although it regards the arguments presented in favour of removal in this case to be of grave significance, nevertheless deems it necessary to consider the good of the universal church together with that of the petitioner, and it is also unable to make light of the detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke with the community of Christ’s faithful, particularly regarding the young age of the petitioner.”

Suppose the British secretary of state for schools received, from a local education authority, a reliable report of a teacher tying up his pupils and raping them. Imagine that, instead of turning the matter over to the police, he had simply moved the offender from school to school, where he repeatedly raped other children. That would be bad enough. But now suppose that he justified his decision in terms such as these:

“Although I regard the arguments in favour of prosecution, presented by the local education authority, as of grave significance, I nevertheless deem it necessary to consider the good of the government and the party, together with that of the offending teacher. And I am also unable to make light of the detriment that prosecuting the offender can provoke among voters, particularly regarding the young age of the offender.”

The analogy breaks down, only in that we aren’t talking about a single offending priest, but many thousands, all over the world.

Strike two.

And from Christopher Hitchens’ Slate article:

It must be noted, also, that all the letters from diocese to Ratzinger and from Ratzinger to diocese were concerned only with one question: Can this hurt Holy Mother Church? It was as if the children were irrelevant or inconvenient (as with the case of the raped boys in Ireland forced to sign confidentiality agreements by the man who is still the country’s cardinal). Note, next, that there was a written, enforced, and consistent policy of avoiding contact with the law. And note, finally, that there was a preconceived Ratzinger propaganda program of blaming the press if any of the criminal conduct or obstruction of justice ever became known.

One should not blame only the church here. Where was American law enforcement during the decades when children were prey? Where was international law while the Vatican became a place of asylum and a source of protection for those who licensed or carried out the predation? Page through any of the reports of child-rape and torture from Ireland, Australia, the United States, Germany—and be aware that there is much worse to come. Where is it written that the Roman Catholic Church is the judge in its own case? Above or beyond the law? Able to use private courts? Allowed to use funds donated by the faithful to pay hush money to the victims or their families?

Good questions and salient points one and all.

And the conclusion…? Again from Hitchens’ Slate article:

Ratzinger himself is now exposed as being personally as well as institutionally responsible for obstructing justice and protecting and enabling pederasts.

Strike three.

April 12, 2010

Shouldn’t eternal salvation equate with eternal liability?

Filed under: Catholic Church,Law,Sex scandal — tildeb @ 10:16 am

Apparently not. From CNN:

A bill in Connecticut’s legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from…

Can you guess? No, really… what organization can you think of might be threatened by such a change in law? The International Congress of Kids and Youth and Pedophile Priests (ICKY P P)? Nope. Pedophiles United (PU) ? Not them, either… at least, not publicly. The fervent response comes from…

…the state’s Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure. The Catholic archdiocese of Hartford also published a pulpit announcement on its Web site, which was to be read during Mass on Sunday, urging parishioners to express opposition to the bill.

Who would have suspected? It must be because of the very high moral standards the church brings to bear on determining what kind of human behaviour is acceptable to god to ensure eternal salvation, right? Well, not quite.

The letter is posted on the Web site of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, the public policy and advocacy office of Connecticut’s Catholic bishops. It asks parishioners to contact their legislators in opposition of the bill.

And I’m so relieved that the church uses its pulpit to minister to eternally vital spiritual matters rather than cross the line into actively interfering with dirty secular matters like law and governance. But we can always count on the church to do what’s morally right and respect the separate but equal magisteria over which it claims to have divinely sanctioned dominion… ministering to the spiritual needs of its flock and thus worthy of public tax exemption for its selfless work. Yup, the church has a separate, morally higher, area of concern and expertise altogether. It’s a spiritual institution, we must remember. Most of the time, that is. When it’s convenient to define it that way, like when faced with legitimate criticism for its earthly and repugnant official collusion with pedophiles in its ranks. When it officially participates in aiding and abetting criminal activity and attempts to justify its official policies to protect itself and its reputation at the expense of its victims by skirting behind the old defense of separate concerns than the secular, a separate magisteria. In other words, we really should trust them because they really do have their own best interests at heart which just so happens to be OUR best interests for eternal salvation. Funny coincidence, that.

The “legislation would undermine the mission of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, threatening our parishes, our schools, and our Catholic Charities,” the letter says.

Oh? How so?

The church’s concern is about frivolous abuse claims against it, according to Connecticut state Rep. Beth Bye, one of the bill’s sponsors. In other words, liability. Charges to have merit are only acceptable from people 48 years old and younger. At age 49, a claimant’s case becomes frivolous the church leadership assures us. Good to know. I’m so relieved this revelation has been granted to the catholic hierarchy who really knows a lot about these kinds of detailed matters pleasing to god. Not that the church has anything to worry about as far as protecting any elderly priests from prosecution for their sexual abuse of children from days gone by, of course. Perish the thought.

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