Archive for the “General” Category
Posts of a general nature
This is a story which is a couple weeks old, but sadly, it might as well have been decades old. Why? Because it’s merely the latest example of a long-standing pattern of behavior which the Roman Catholic Church has engaged in around the world. Several years ago a priest in the Newark archdiocese admitted to having been a pedophile, and agreed to stay away from children thereafter. But as the (Newark, NJ) Star-Ledger reports, he failed to abide by that agreement, and did so — as a priest still in good standing! — under the noses of his bosses in the archdiocese (WebCite cached article):
Six years ago, to avoid retrial on charges that he groped a teenage boy, the Rev. Michael Fugee entered a rehabilitation program, underwent counseling for sex offenders and signed a binding agreement that would dictate the remainder of his life as a Roman Catholic priest.
Fugee would not work in any position involving children, the agreement with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office states. He would have no affiliation with youth groups. He would not attend youth retreats. He would not hear the confessions of minors.
But Fugee has openly done all of those things for the past several years through an unofficial association with a Monmouth County church, St. Mary’s Parish in Colts Neck, The Star-Ledger found.
The archdiocese can’t plead ignorance of Fugee’s agreement with prosecutors, because it was made with their knowledge and even their blessing:
In addition to Fugee and Prosecutor John Molinelli, the archdiocese’s vicar general signed the agreement on behalf of Myers, pledging to abide by the restrictions on Fugee’s ministry.
The document — which can be found on NJ.com, the online home of The Star-Ledger — states explicitly that Fugee may not have unsupervised contact with children, minister to children or work in any position in which children are involved.
“This includes, but is not limited to, presiding over a parish, involvement with a youth group, religious education/parochial school, CCD (or Sunday school), confessions of children, youth choir, youth retreats and day care,” the agreement says.
Amazingly, the archdiocese contends Fugee’s activities didn’t actually violate the agreement:
But [Archbishop Myers's spokesman Jim] Goodness denied the agreement had been breached, saying the archdiocese has interpreted the document to mean Fugee could work with minors as long as he is under the supervision of priests or lay ministers who have knowledge of his past and of the conditions in the agreement.
“We believe that the archdiocese and Father Fugee have adhered to the stipulations in all of his activities, and will continue to do so,” Goodness said.
Even if Fugee heard private confessions from minors, those supervising Fugee were always nearby, Goodness said.
“The fact is, he has done nothing wrong,” the spokesman said. “Nobody has reported any activity that is inappropriate, and I think that’s important to know, especially given that he’s a figure whose name is public and whose past is public.”
It’s clear that Mr Goodness and the rest of the Newark archdiocese have parted ways with reality, if they think anyone is going to buy into this idiotic claim. I’m certainly not stupid enough to accept it.
In any event, a few days after this revelation, the Rev Fugee contradicted Mr Goodness by admitting his behavior was, in fact, a breach of his agreement, and attempted to deflect any blame for it from the archdiocese (cached):
Asserting his actions were “my fault alone,” the Roman Catholic priest who violated a court-sanctioned agreement to stay away from children wrote in his resignation letter that he attended youth retreats and heard confessions from minors without the knowledge of his superiors in the Archdiocese of Newark. …
“In conscience, I feel it necessary to make clear to all that my actions described in recent news stories were outside of my assigned ministry within the archdiocese,” Fugee wrote. “… My failure to request the required permissions to engage in those ministry activities is my fault, my fault alone.”
This latter Star-Ledger article includes a revealing tidbit that bolsters what I’ve said, since this blog’s inception, about the worldwide Catholic child-abuse scandal:
For years, Myers has faced criticism for his handling of Fugee, whom he has characterized as a victim in the criminal case. In correspondence with priests of the archdiocese, he referred to the criminal case as an “acquittal” despite the fact Fugee entered a rehabilitation program and underwent counseling for sex offenders.
You see, the hierarchs who rule over the R.C. Church are largely convinced that abusive priests — not the children they abused — are the real victims in this scandal. It sounds crazy, but it’s absolutely true. The abusive clergy and the Church sincerely and truly do not consider themselves responsible for any of the bad behavior uncovered by numerous investigations around the world; according to the Church, the scandal is anyone and everyone else’s fault.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: archdiocese of newark
, bergen cty
, catholic church
, catholic clerical abuse scandal
, catholic clerical child abuse
, catholic clerical child abuse scandal
, clerical child abuse
, clerical child sexual abuse
, clerical sexual abuse
, michael fugee
, newark NJ
, priestly pedophilia
, priestly pedophilia scandal
, rev michael fugee
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
No Comments »
The discovery of three kidnap victims in Cleveland, who’d been missing for 10 years or more, has made national news (WebCite cached article). This is fantastic news, although famed psychic Sylvia Browne … who’s claimed an accuracy rate of 87-90 percent … probably isn’t too happy about it. You see, as ABC News reports, back in 2004 she’d pronounced Amanda Berry dead, right to her mother’s face, on The Montel Williams Show (cached):
A year after Amanda Berry disappeared in Cleveland, her mother appeared on “The Montel Williams Show” to speak to a psychic about what happened to her daughter.
Psychic Sylvia Browne, who has made a career of televised psychic readings, told Louwanna Miller on a 2004 episode of the show that her daughter was dead, causing Miller to break down in tears on the show’s set.
“She’s not alive, honey,” Browne told Miller on the show, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. “Your daughter’s not the kind who wouldn’t call.”
Sadly, Miller died believing Browne’s declaration just a little while later:
Miller told the newspaper that she believed “98 percent” in what Browne told her. Miller died a year later from heart failure.
Predictably, Browne is now avoiding accountability for her failed declaration:
Browne did not return phone calls seeking comment today by ABC News. The Montel Williams show, through syndicator CBS, also did not return calls for comment. The show no longer airs new episodes.
Here’s ABC News’ video report on Browne’s catastrophically erroneous declaration:
That Browne was wrong … again … isn’t news to those capable of reviewing her vaunted accuracy. As I blogged some time ago, her accuracy rate is a big, fat, fucking goose-egg. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Zip. Not one of her predictions that could be verified, proved true. Not a single one.
The ABC News article goes on to chronicle other noted examples of Browne having been demonstrably wrong, and further, elaborates on how “psychics” prey on people who have missing relatives, and that their “tips” are unhelpful. I find this amazing, because the mass media typically are complicit with fraudsters like Sylvia. It’s rare for them to be so candid in calling out psychics, their lies, and other assorted games. It’s something that just doesn’t happen.
Photo credit: PsiCop modification of original on Skeptic North.
Tags: amanda berry
, cleveland OH
, montel williams show
, psychic detective
, psychic detectives
, sylvia browne
3 Comments »
For decades, UFOnauts have been clamoring and whining for Congressional hearings into supposed extraterrestrial visitations and all sorts of presumed government cover-ups of them. They think this will, somehow, lend credence to the various wingnut scenarios and conspiracies they allege have been going on since the 1940s, and they also hope to expose “the Truth” of things like the 1947 Roswell, NM “flying saucer” crash. This week, “Congressional” hearings are being held … but Congress doesn’t actually have anything to do with it. As MSN News reports, the whole thing was carefully staged so as to appear Congressional, when it’s not (WebCite cached article):
Are UFOs real? Have aliens been trying to contact the human race? And if so, has the U.S. government conspired to cover up decades of such encounters?
Those questions are the subject of a “congressional” hearing in Washington this week.
The event has all the trappings of a high-profile D.C. policy event. It’s being held at the National Press Club, with dozens of experts testifying to a panel of officials seated on a dais.
But, to be clear, the officials are former members of Congress and were each paid $20,000, plus travel expenses, to participate.
The event is being put on by the organization Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, whose motto is: “If Congress won’t do it, the people will.”
I find it exceedingly interesting that this group actually paid people to show up and participate. Not unlike the paid actors who — supposedly, according to the “Sandy Hook Truth” conspiracists — had been hired by the Obama administration to stage a massacre in Newtown, CT. Hmm. Whodathunkit?
This outfit’s Web site is a shining example of propaganda at its most transparent. You see, its top banner features a picture of the US Capitol, in spite of the fact that these so-called hearings are not even being held in that building! (Here’s a captured copy of their Web page.) It’s true the group admits (in its name, even) that these are mere “citizen” hearings, but slapping a picture of the Capitol on their Web site is an obvious disingenuous tactic designed to grant it an dignity and authority it doesn’t deserve. It can’t reasonably be called anything other than dishonest.
I’m amazed at the rugged persistence of America’s UFOnauts. If they can’t get themselves onto the stage of a Congressional hearing to pontificate on their insane conspiracies concerning government silence about extraterrestrial visitations, they just stage one anyway, including hiring
actors former Congressmen to show up and make it seem official. Well done, guys!
Photo credit: PsiCop crop/modification of CHD Web site.
, citizen hearing
, citizen hearing on disclosure
, congressional hearings
, extraterrestrial conspiracy
, flying saucer
, flying saucers
, national press club
, project blue book
, washington DC
No Comments »
Christians have lived in terror of “antichrists” ever since the author of the Johannine epistles coined the term (αντιχριστοι or antichristoi in the original Greek), around the turn of the 2nd century CE. At the moment, it’s most common for Christians to view the Beast of Revelation as “‘the’ Antichrist,” even though Revelation doesn’t make that connection (in fact, Revelation doesn’t contain the word “antichrist” at all).
But that doesn’t mean Christians can’t manage to find “antichrists” elsewhere, and it doesn’t mean they’re not willing to go as far as they can in order to fight them. A recent chilling example of this phenomenon happened in Chile, as reported by The Santiago Times (WebCite cached article):
Investigative Police (PDI) arrested four people Thursday and are looking for the remaining members of a cult that sacrificed a three-day-old last November in the Valparaíso Region.
The ongoing investigation by the PDI alleges that 35-year-old Ramon Gustavo Castillo Gaete, cult leader and the deceased’s presumed father, believed the baby was the “antichrist” and needed to be sacrificed to stop the world’s presumed end on Dec. 21, 2012.
In an interview with Chilean news outlet 24 Horas, PDI representative Miguel Ampuero said that none of the current detainees — including the infant’s 25-year-old mother — have shown any remorse for what has happened, believing the sacrifice “saved the world.”
These fine representatives of “the Religion of Love” certainly outdid themselves in exhibiting “compassion” for this little baby:
“The baby was naked,” Ampuero said. “They strapped tape around her mouth to keep her from screaming. Then they placed her on a board. After calling on the spirits, they threw her on the bonfire alive.”
The ST article explains a little about the history of this sect, called Antares de la Luz, including that some of its members are professionals. These people are not entirely stupid, and don’t have any rational excuse for their murderous behavior. Only a delusionally-hyperreligious mind could assume a newborn baby could possibly be a danger to anyone.
Photo credit: Oloremo, via Flickr.
Tags: antares de la luz
, child sacrifice
, infant sacrifice
, murder for god
, natalia jequier
, ramon gustavo castillo gaete
, valparaiso chile
, valparaíso region
No Comments »
A few years ago I blogged about Herbert & Catherine Schaible, who killed their son Kent by relying on prayer instead of medicine to save him from pneumonia. Well, it seems they managed to kill off another of their children. WCAU-TV in Philadelphia reports they killed an 8-month-old son for Jesus (WebCite cached article):
A couple that was sentenced to probation after their 2-year-old died in 2009 from pneumonia have had another child die.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible, fundamentalist Christians who believe in the power of prayer ahead of modern medicine, recently had their 8-month-old son die, according to Philadelphia Police spokeswoman Jillian Russell.
Honestly, I saw this coming a mile away. These people just don’t care about their own children’s lives. They demonstrated this conclusively, already, when they allowed Kent to die for no good reason. That they let another of their children die for Jesus was inevitable. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania also ought to have known this was coming. But they chose to do nothing. In fact, despite their conviction for Kent’s death, Pennsylvania courts and officials purposely and coldly allowed them to endanger more kids:
In 2010, a jury convicted the Schaibles, who have seven other children, of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the death of their 2-year-old son Kent. The Schaibles were each sentenced to 10 years of probation — they could have faced prison time [cached].
Yes, folks, you read that correctly: For having been convicted of killing their own son Kent, the Schaibles were effectively unpunished, and didn’t even have their other children taken away from them so as to protect them. The commonwealth allowed them to go right back home, and just do whatever they wanted to their remaining kids. While the Schaibles are clearly deluded by their fierce, unrelenting, irrational and destructive religionism, the judge who sentenced them — and commonwealth officials who supposedly monitored them — have no viable excuse for their negligence. In a way, because of their comparatively-greater awareness of the problem, they’re actually more culpable for this second death than the Schaibles themselves!
Perhaps they, too, should now be hauled into court and tried for manslaughter. They cannot possibly have failed to know the danger. But we know they won’t be held accountable … because they, and the rest of Pennsylvania’s government, clearly just don’t fucking care about the Schaible kids. At least, they don’t care about them any more than the Schaibles themselves do — which quite obviously, is not at all.
Hat tip: Secular Web News Wire.
Tags: chatherine schaible
, child abuse
, child neglect
, herbert schaible
, kent schaible
, killing for jesus
, killing kids for jesus
, philadelphia PA
No Comments »
By now we all know … whenever something awful happens, fierce religionists just can’t help but blame it on their theological enemies, or whoever else they despise. It doesn’t matter whether or not the facts are in, or if they actually know what they’re talking about. They just rage and fume and bluster and hurl the blame everywhere they can, just because they happen to be sanctimoniously enraged that there are insolent people out there who actually dare not believe what they believe.
By now I expect all my readers have heard about this afternoon’s Boston Marathon bombing (WebCite cached article). It’s only been a few hours, but already there are lots of religionists, I assume most of them Christians, who’ve announced via social media that “godless” people are to blame for it. Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, has done a yeoman’s job of cataloging a number of these hateful and idiotic postings (cached).
Please go to Hemant’s page and read their bilious spew; I won’t repeat any of it here. Suffice it to say, these people have absolutely no fucking idea whether or not a “godless” person or persons bombed Boston. As I type this, the New York Post reports a Saudi national has been identified as a suspect (cached). This person is virtually guaranteed to be a Muslim, and not some “godless” person.
Yeah, I get that it’s the Post reporting this, and it’s very early in the investigation and quite tentative. Nevertheless, if that marginal tidbit is best information we have at the moment, no one can rationally justify deciding the bomber(s) must have been “godless.”
Listen up, people. This is just ridiculous, and it needs to fucking stop already! Right now.
Update: The Boston Globe reports the aforementioned Saudi national is not a suspect (cached). The investigation is back to square one and, essentially, stalled out.
Photo credit: PsiCop original, based on Matthew 7:16a, NASB.
, boston MA
, boston marathon
, boston marathon bombing
, godless society
, social media
No Comments »
The Religious Right in the US sincerely believes Christianity is “under attack.” There’s a war against their religion, they claim. Now, most of us know there’s no such thing going on. Churches aren’t being shuttered or bulldozed; Bibles and crucifixes aren’t being confiscated or destroyed; devout Christians aren’t being put on trial for believing in Jesus. Put as simply as possible: There’s no persecution of Christianity going on in this country. It’s. Just. Not. Fucking. Happening.
You may have heard that the great Biblical state of Kentucky passed a law protecting Christians’ freedom of religion (even though, with First Amendment protections already in place, no such law is needed — in Kentucky or in any other state). One of its proponents is outraged that there’s been criticism of this law, and penned a letter to the editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader to explain why it was needed (WebCite cached article):
Could it be a war on Christianity? Now I know your response will be that there is no attack on religious freedoms. Indeed, you will deny the very existence of such a war. Yet, tell that to the owners of Hands On Originals or Chik-fil-A, who were vehemently attacked by government officials and agencies for expressing their personal religious beliefs. Tell that to the high school coach who gets sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for offering a prayer of protection before a ballgame. Tell that to the teacher who gets sued for saying, “Happy Thanksgiving,” “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter.” Tell that to the valedictorian who gets enjoined from mentioning God in her graduation speech. Tell that to the county judge-executive who gets sued for posting the Ten Commandments. Tell that to the student who tries to pray or read her Bible during school. Tell that to the citizens whose governor decided the State Capitol needed a “holiday tree” as opposed to a Christmas Tree.
Rep. Stan Lee’s complaint is basically a “dump” of childish whines. There’s no cohesion to it, and Lee generously salts his bellyaching with mythology, marginal claims, and outright lies.
First of all, no business owner has been “attacked” by any officials. An “attack” is a punch in the face or being held up at gunpoint; criticism is not, and never will be, an “attack.” Second, no American — not even the owners of Chick-fil-A or Hands On Originals — is ever entitled never to be criticized. Third, using their position as bosses to coerce their employees to live their private, non-workplace lives according to the fierce, rigid strictures of their own dour metaphysics, is not merely “expressing their personal religious beliefs.” It’s quite something else.
Lee doesn’t provide any evidence of these teachers he says have been “sued for saying, ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’ ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Easter.’” It sounds like urban legend to me. There’s nothing specific, just wild claims without a stitch of support.
Valedictorians in public schools being told not to talk up God is part of an effort to keep church and state separate. Let’s face it, lots of public schools use children as proxies to force religion into them, and that’s forbidden.
Oh, and public-school students most certainly can both pray and read Bibles in school. It happens all the time. To say it can’t, is a flat-out lie, and Lee knows it.
Public-school coaches leading students in prayer, and judges putting up immense Decalogue idols in courts, are both examples of Christians using the power of government to promote their religion. And it’s illegal.
And calling a Christmas tree a “holiday tree,” harms no one! Since Christmas is a holiday, semantically speaking, this means all Christmas trees truly are “holiday trees.” To say otherwise is also a lie.
Like the rest of the Religious Right, Rep. Lee is confused. He thinks Christians being criticized for wanting to control everyone’s lives, is an “attack” on his religion. He thinks separation of church and state abridges Christians’ freedom of religion. He thinks Christians are entitled to get their way, all the time, every time, and when they don’t, it’s unacceptable.
As I’ve blogged many times already, I understand where Christians are coming from. A desire to be persecuted for Jesus is part and parcel of their religion, and it has been almost since its inception. This persecutorial delusion is embedded deep in the psychopathology of Christianity. Rep. Lee and the rest of the Religious Right really, truly want to think they’re being attacked for their beliefs. In many ways, they literally can’t help themselves.
But that’s really no excuse for remaining attached to this paranoid delusion. It’s one thing to fantasize about being a martyr, because one’s religion is founded on a martyr. It’s quite another to invent persecution that’s not even happening, and accuse others of doing things they haven’t done. The delusions don’t serve any good purpose, and really need to fucking stop already.
I have to add Rep. Lee to my “lying liars for Jesus” club. Not that he’s alone there. Lying for Jesus is a common pastime among Christians. That’s because … to paraphrase Isaac Asimov … lying is the last refuge of the insecure.
Photo credit: I Can Haz Cheezburger Builder.
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
, christian martyr complex
, christian persecution
, christian persecution complex
, christian right
, frankfort KY
, religious freedom
, religious right
, rep stan lee
, stan lee
No Comments »
An odd discovery has made headlines around the world. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, a team of archaeologists claim they’ve found a “gate to Hell” in the ruins of Hierapolis in Turkey (WebCite cached article):
Archaeologists say they have pinpointed an ancient — and lethal — cave that was once believed to be the entrance to the underworld.
Working at the World Heritage Site of Hierapolis in southwestern Turkey, Francesco D’Andria of the Italian University of Salento and his team found a cave featuring Ionic semi columns with inscriptions dedicated to Pluto and Kore, the underworld’s deities.
D’Andria and his team also found the remains of a temple, a pool, and multiple steps placed above the cave, which is said to closely fit the ancient writings on the site.…
Writing in the first century BC, the Greek geographer Strabo portrayed the cave as follows: “[T]his space is full of a vapour so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Now to those who approach the handrail anywhere round the enclosure the air is harmless, since the outside is free from that vapour in calm weather, but any animal that passes inside meets instant death. At any rate, bulls that are led into it fall and are dragged out dead; and I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.”
Strabo’s deadly “vapour” — actually CO2 gas — remains in the cave, said D’Andria, who presented his findings at a recent conference on Italian archaeology in Istanbul.
It’s not difficult to comprehend why the ancients might have believed this about the toxic cave, and constructed a temple there. This is one of the rare cases in which a religious belief actually had a simple, mundane, and understandable, explanation.
Photo credit: Francesco D’Andria, via Digital Spy.
, gate of hades
, gate of hell
, gate to hades
, gate to hell
, hierapolis turkey
, pamukkale turkey
No Comments »