Archive for the “Religion” Category

Posts concerned specifically with religion

Rainbow flag on white background - harvey milk plaza, san francisco (2012) (8148105584)This is the sixth in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

Terrorism Isn’t Just an “Islam” Problem

A lot of Americans — especially on the Right — tend to view terrorism, especially when it occurs within the US, as solely the product of Islam. The only terrorists we’ve dealt with, they’d tell you, are Muslims. Thus, as they see it, terrorism an an Islam problem.

This has led to all sorts of idiotic tripe; for instance, Breitbart announced that fierce Religious Rightist Newt Gingrich called for a Congressional inquiry into “Islamic supremacism” (WebCite cached article):

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Tuesday for the creation of a congressional commission to examine the radical Islamic terrorist threat.

Gingrich said Tuesday in a Facebook video chat:

We can no more afford to have fanatic terrorists at home just because they’re American citizens, be allowed to run around, get organized and kill people, than we can afford to bring in thousands of unvetted and unverified Syrian refugees. So I believe the president is profoundly, fundamentally wrong. I believe the Congress should create a commission on Islamic supremacism and terrorism in the United States. I think we should start looking at serious new laws.…

Gingrich noted that he welcomes the “modern Muslim” who accepts the authority of “secular law” and the reality of “diversity,” but that adherents of Sharia law should be inadmissible to the United States.

Gingrich’s commission would surely resemble the anti-Muslim show-trials Rep. Peter King hosted a few some 5 years ago. Those never went anywhere, since they were never intended to do anything other than allow King and other Neocrusaders to grandstand. Also note the requisite bellyaching about the bogeyman of “shari’a law” in the Newtster’s Neocrusading comments. Perhaps he imagines this investigation somehow will prove his contention, a few years ago, that “radical Islamists” are “secular atheists” and vice versa. (In case you didn’t realize it, that would be a staggering contradiction: “Secular atheists” are non-religious, while “radical Islamists” are exceedingly religious. It’s literally not possible to be both at the same time.)

I’ve said it before and will say it again: Terrorism — both worldwide and in the US — is most assuredly not just an “Islam” problem. It’s a “religious extremist” problem! And extremism can be found within any religion.

The reality of terrorism in the US is that there have been Christian terror attacks in addition to Islamist attacks — not to mention ordinary, mundane, sociopathic attacks.

Many people refuse to believe there is such a thing as Christian terror, but there is! Among the most recent examples of it is the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, just last November (cached). There was also a guy who shot up Austin TX almost a year and a half ago (cached). There’s also a guy who was indicted for conspiring to kill Muslims in upstate New York (cached). Another guy conspired to kill Muslims and the president using some kind of radiation weapon (cached). And another creep tried to bomb the Kansas clinic that Dr George Tiller had worked at (cached).

Ultimately, any given American is much more likely to be attacked by a criminal with no religious motivation at all, or a Rightist with a potentially Christian motivation, than fall prey to a raging Islamist barbarian.

For Christianists like Newtie, or any other Neocrusaders, to scream and holler about how horrible and violence-prone Islam is, without acknowledging the violent militancy of some of their own co-religionists, is hypocritical. And hypocrisy is something that their own Jesus clearly, explicitly, and unambiguously forbid them ever to engage in. They should clean up their own religion before running around trumpeting about the faults of others. But of course, they will never do so.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on Orlando Shooting Observations, Part 6

Rainbow flag - DC Capital Pride parade - 2013-06-08 (8992857356)This is the fifth in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

Militant Christianists Spout Off Like the Hateful Cretins They Are

We all know by now that America’s Christianists are hateful little monsters who simply cannot — and will not — tolerate anything they dislike. They constantly rage and bluster and fume about all sorts of people they think shouldn’t be allowed to exist. A lot of the time they’re able to hide their despicable hatred, but all too often, something triggers them, their sanctimonious fury takes over, and they show their true colors. Talking Points Memo reported on a couple of them doing just that (WebCite cached article):

After 49 people were gunned down in an Orlando gay nightclub in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, pastors in California and Arizona praised the gunman for massacring “perverted predators” and “pedophiles.”

In Sacramento, Pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church said the killer succeeded in making Orlando safer.

“Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” Jimenez said in a sermon originally posted on YouTube. “Um no, I think that’s great! I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight.”

In the sermon, delivered just hours after the rampage on Sunday morning, Jimenez also said, “I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a wall, put a firing squad in front of them and blow their brains out.”

Tempe, Arizona preacher Steven Anderson also rushed to praise the “good news” that “there are 50 less pedophiles in this world.”

In a video posted online, Anderson, a pastor at Faithful Word Baptist Church, said while he wouldn’t advocate for violence, he said LGBT people should be “executed by a righteous government.”

“The bad news is that a lot of the homos in the bar are still alive, so they’re going to continue to molest children and recruit children into their filthy homosexual lifestyle,” he said, adding the attack would be used to attack Christians and push gun control.

“I’m not sad about it, I’m not gonna cry about it because these 50 people in the gay bar that got shot up were going to die of AIDS and syphilis and whatever else,” he continued. “At least these dangerous, filthy predators are off the streets. I’m just trying to look on the bright side.”

The videos were taken down by Youtube, but Anderson’s has been preserved:

Please note, Jimenez has since doubled down on his remarks and is unrepentant about his hatred for gays (cached).

In addition to these two creatures, longtime Christofascist prick Marion “Pat” Robertson, as Right Wing Watch reports, spewed yet more of his asinine ridiculousness (cached):

Today on “The 700 Club,” televangelist Pat Robertson reacted to the massacre at an Orlando gay club by making the absurd claim that liberal LGBT rights advocates have aligned themselves with radical Islamists and are now reaping what they have sowed.

Robertson said that liberals are facing a “dilemma” because they love both LGBT equality and Islamic extremism, and that it is better for conservatives like himself not to get involved but to instead just watch the two groups kill each other.

“The left is having a dilemma of major proportions and I think for those of us who disagree with some of their policies, the best thing to do is to sit on the sidelines and let them kill themselves,” he said.

Robertson, like Newt Gingrich, incorrectly presumes the American Left is “allied” with, or even includes, militant Islamists. In reality, a lot of Islamists effectively lean in the direction of fascism, and have nothing in common with American Leftists. Moreover, the Left is a secular movement, and Islamists despise secularism above most other things. So they can hardly be viewed as having any connection.

What bothers Robertson is, in all likelihood, Leftists’ determined avoidance of saying or doing anything that might even remotely be viewed as denigrating to Islam or to Muslims. Although this policy is misguided — it purposely ignores the fact that some terrorism, such as the Orlando massacre, is in fact driven by Islam (cached), in the minds of those who carry out these atrocities — that doesn’t mean Islamists are allied with, or part of, the American Left. Far from it! All it means is that they’ve successfully intimidated the Left. Which really, isn’t much of an achievement, since they intimidate pretty much everyone.

Now, with all of this said, it’s easy for moderate and reasonable Christians out there to point out that we’re talking about just 3 people here (Jimenez, Anderson, & Robertson), and they hardly reflect on Christianity as a whole. But let’s be honest: Those moderate Christians will do absolutely nothing about any of them. Each will retain his ministry, or in the case of Robertson, his broadcasting network. None of them will be ousted from their positions, or in any other way punished or disciplined because of what they said. They will, instead, be allowed to rant and rave all they want, however they want, whenever they want.

None of those moderate Christians cares enough to correct any of them … and they will never do so. (No, merely stating disapproval of what these animals said does not, in any way, constitute “correction.” Words are cheap and mean nothing. They’re just a cop-out.) That’s what “the religion of love” stands for. And it’s sickening.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on Orlando Shooting Observations, Part 5

Rainbow flag breezeThis is the first in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

Why, Of Course It Was About Religion!

Rather soon after the shooting, the shooter’s name was known to the media and they began inquiring about him. His father made an early statement to NBC News, trying to deflect the whole thing (WebCite cached article):

His father told NBC News that his son was affected by a recent incident involving two men showing each other affection.

“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident,” the elder Mateen said. “We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country.”

He added: “This had nothing to do with religion.”

Sorry, pops, but no. That’s not going to fly. Not with me, anyway. Pretty much all hatred of gays, and distaste for homosexuality, follows from religious objections to it. There’s no rational, non-metaphysical reason to be obsessed with homosexuality or to be outraged at gays’ existence. That’s something only religion teaches people.

Reports are trickling in that the shooter may have been bipolar and abusive, according to his ex-wife (cached). Also, co-workers had observed him to be “unhinged and unstable,” among other things (cached). So those who wish to absolve religion for any role in this, would seem to have plenty of ammunition: They can protest that he was mentally ill, sociopathic, etc. Any or all of those, however, can very well co-exist alongside a religious motivation. (I won’t even mention that we don’t, in fact, know with any certainty that the shooter had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or any other mental illness, to begin with.)

Let’s be honest: If not for widespread, longstanding, pervasive religiously-motivated hatred for gays, why would anyone — even a (possibly) mentally-ill sociopath — have carefully selected a busy gay nightclub as his massacre target? The Abrahamic faiths have had their collective panties in knots over gays and homosexuality for something like 2,500 years, and they’ve infected occidental and Muslim civilizations with their nasty, odious bigotry. How can anyone reasonably insist that this played no role whatever in this savagery?

Oh, and in addition to the aforementioned insistence that his son’s massacre “had nothing to do with religion,” it turns out the shooter’s father actually shared his religiously-inspired hate for gays. CBS News reports on additional comments he posted to Facebook (cached):

The Orland gay club gunman’s father has well-known anti-American views and is an ideological supporter of the Afghan Taliban. A new message posted by the father on Facebook early Monday morning also makes it clear he could have passed anti-homosexual views onto his son.…

The elder Mateen says he was saddened by his son’s actions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He then adds: “God will punish those involved in homosexuality,” saying it’s, “not an issue that humans should deal with.”

So it seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Let’s hope everyone keeps an eye on pops, from now on.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on Orlando Shooting Observations, Part 1

Pope Francis among the people at St. Peter's Square - 12 May 2013Since his ascension to the Vatican throne, there’s been an expectation, or perhaps just a hope, that Pope Francis would finally adopt a new tactic in the handling of the Catholic Church’s worldwide clerical child-abuse scandal. As something of a reform advocate, Church watchers assumed he’d do things differently. And he has, in fact, marched to his own drum in many regards, as I’ve blogged quite often, but where “priestly pedophilia” has been concerned, he’s mostly been a big disappointment.

Yeah, he’s said and done a few things that suggest he “gets it,” but in the end, nothing has really changed, on that score. The best example of this is his special review commission, which apparently imploded because at least one of its members (foolishly, it seems) expected some actual results from it. “Priestly pedophilia” has turned out to be an ongoing problem which Francis ultimately hasn’t done anything about.

But that may have changed. I emphasize the “may have” in that sentence. The Associated Press reports the Pope has changed canon law so that bishops who failed to protect children might be disciplined (locally-cached version):

Pope Francis has established legal procedures to remove bishops who botch handling sex abuse cases, saying they can be kicked out of office if the Vatican finds they were negligent in doing their jobs.

In a law published Saturday, Francis answered a long-running demand by victims of abuse and their advocates to hold bishops accountable for failing to protect their flocks from pedophiles. Victims have long accused bishops of covering up for abuse, moving rapists from parish to parish rather than reporting them to police.

In the law, Francis acknowledged that the church’s canonical code already allows for a bishop to be removed for “grave reasons.” But he said he wanted to precisely state that negligence, especially negligence in handling abuse cases, can cost a bishop his job.

Yes, it’s true there really hasn’t been anything to date preventing a Pope from demanding the resignation of a negligent bishop — for pretty much any reason at all. It could always have been done, had it been desired. The Pope has a great deal of authority, both within and outside of canon law. But having this provision explicitly within canon law is a noteworthy change.

Even so — as with the review commission that collapsed — that doesn’t mean anything will ever come of this. The Vatican will, in all likelihood, continue doing as it wishes. We’ll just have to see if this new canon law actually goes anywhere … and given the Catholic bureaucracy’s glacial pace, it might take years for it to be noticed.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Governor Phil BryantChristianists’ persecution complex ramped up severely in light of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). They actually think it causes them injury to have to treat gays as though they’re fellow human beings. I’m not sure how or why that’s the case, but they’re convinced of it, and that conviction drives them to keep pitching fits over it.

Of course, a desire to be persecuted for their Jesus is inherent in Christianity’s psychopathology, and has been since its inception. To a large extent, they can’t help themselves. That’s especially true for fundamentalist Christians, because their fundamentalism has infantilized them to the point where they’re incapable of knowing any better.

This persecution delusion explains something Mississippi governor Phil Bryant recently said. As the Associated Press reports via the Washington Post, he made some telling comments during a Religious Right conference in Washington (locally-cached article):

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says the “secular, progressive world” vented at him for signing a bill that would let clerks cite religious beliefs to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Republican governor spoke in Washington as the conservative Family Research Council gave him an award last Thursday for signing House Bill 1523 this year and a similar one in 2014 called the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.…

During his speech at the Family Research Council event, Bryant asked whether critics believe people of faith will abandon “freedoms that our forefathers died for,” including religious freedom.

“They don’t know that Christians have been persecuted throughout the ages,” said Bryant, who is United Methodist. “They don’t know that if it takes crucifixion, we will stand in line before abandoning our faith and our belief in our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.”

Yes, indeed, folks. You read that right. Bryant actually said that Christians would prefer to be crucified than treat gays fairly. Seriously. He said it. He said it proudly and gladly. Bryant spoke for all Christians as though all of them agree with him and share his deluded martyr complex … even though some churches don’t actually object to gays the way he does.

Still, that means nothing to Christianists like the governor. He’s very myopic where his faith is concerned: In his eyes, all Christians think and believe precisely as he does, and there is no variation. Should any disagree, they’re the proverbial “not ‘Real’ Christians” who — in his mind — make him and his religion look bad. In truth, Bryant is making his religion look bad, all by himself. And he’s done a marvelous job of it! Way to go, Guv! You must be so proud!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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SRL Bell Tower (St Rose of Lima church Web site)Over the years I’ve taken lay Catholics to task for their general acquiescence to their Church’s hierarchs. Yes, there are exceptions — e.g. groups like Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) and Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) — but most lay Catholics have no problem with things like priest shuffling. At least, they can’t have any problem with it, because the vast majority have done nothing about it. In many of my posts I’ve implored and/or dared lay Catholics to get off their asses, take charge of their own Church, and clean up its act. Still, it just doesn’t happen.

At least, it hadn’t. Finally, a group of Catholics in Florida actually did something about a wayward priest. As the Miami Herald explains, they hired a private investigator to check into him and presented a report to their archbishop (WebCite cached article):

The pastor of St. Rose of Lima has been asked to step down after a group from the parish presented a 129-page report to the Archdiocese of Miami filled with allegations of sexual impropriety against Father Pedro Corces.

The allegations are … well, “fascinating” is an apt word:

The Christifidelis document, titled “Dossier on the Improprieties of Father Pedro M. Corces And an Appeal to His Excellency Archbishop Thomas Wenski For Urgent Action” and dated May 16, consists of information provided by an investigator hired by the parents. It accuses Corces of improper relationships with a maintenance worker he hired and three other individuals associated with the parish, including a deacon. The investigator is not named in the report but he followed the priest for weeks, photographing him, tracking the social media account of the maintenance worker and others, and going through the church rectory trash.

The report, along with dozens of pictures, copies of receipts, and 28 appendices, claims that Corces replaced the maintenance staff with workers who included “a felon and prostitute, Santeria practitioners, promiscuous gay practitioners and people who openly mock the Catholic faith.”

It claimed that Corces became romantically involved with a maintenance worker and that the two men shared “frequent, lavish trips and dinners.”

I’m not sure how these parishioners thought Archbishop Wenski would take this report. But he did exactly as I’d have expected, lashing out against it rather than examining it thoroughly:

“This unfortunate chain of events has fractured the spirit and unity at this long established parish and school,” wrote Archbishop Thomas Wenski in a May 26 letter (cached) emailed to parents Thursday afternoon. A printed copy of the letter was being sent home in students’ communication folder Friday.

But far from calming parents’ concerns, the letter angered the group, which calls itself Christifidelis. The Wenski letter blames the fracturing of the parish on a small group. “Slanderous gossip, calumny, detraction — all sinful behaviors — have fomented division in the parish and school communities,” he wrote.

Miami attorney Rosa Armesto, who has children at the parish school in Miami Shores, is representing Christifidelis. She met with Wenski on May 16.

“It’s such a shameful letter. The archbishop is not upset at what the priest has done but that it has been uncovered,” she said. “The church isn’t upset by the sins of their priests but by the fact that the faithful have had the audacity, the temerity, to bring this up.”

In short, Wenski isn’t concerned with the integrity of St Rose of Lima parish, nor its school, nor the nuns who’d been there, nor the parishioners, nor the children at the school. Oh no. None of that bothers him at all! What bothers him is that some insolent parishioners dared question their priest’s behavior. That — and not the possibility of wrongdoing by that priest — sent him into a tizzy.

I applaud this effort by lay Catholics to force their own Church to own up to its failings. But with that said, this seems to have gone about as far as it can go, given the nature of the R.C. hierarchy. Corces had to quit his parish and the school, it’s true, but he’ll be moved on somewhere else and will land on his feet. Wenski will remain in denial about what happened and ensconced in his palatial office. And that’s it.

Unfortunately, lay Catholics in Miami have a lot more to do. They’ll need to coerce Wenski and their archdiocese to change its tune and its policies. Many will say there’s nothing they can do, the Church is what it is and it’s immutable. But that’s bullshit. There’s plenty they can do! They have the power of the collection plate. If they withhold donations from their Church, its hierarchs will have no choice but to comply with whatever reforms they demand. They won’t have the leisure of not doing so, because their livelihoods depend on those donations. It might take awhile — some parishes and dioceses have considerable financial reserves — but eventually they will have to cave in and do as their donors instruct. It really is as simple as that.

Photo credit: St Rose of Lima church Web site.

Hat tip: Raw Story.

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Comments Comments Off on Lay Catholics Drive Out Questionable Pastor

St Peter's Square, Vatican City - April 2007Among the defenses the Roman Catholic hierarchs have relied on, regarding their mishandling of clerical child-abuse worldwide, is the assertion that it’s something which is “in the past.” Done. Over. Finished. No longer an issue. The US bishops, for instance, used a report they commissioned to declare it a “historical” problem — as in, “it’s history.” Unfortunately for the bishops, it turns out this isn’t actually the case. Reuters reports that an audit actually showed an uptick in child-abuse incidents (WebCite cached article):

An annual audit of reports of sexual abuse by members of the U.S. Roman Catholic clergy released on Friday showed sharp increases in the number of new claims and in the value of settlements to victims.

The audit showed that 838 people came forward from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, to say they had been sexually abused by priests, deacons or members of religions orders while they were children, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said.

That is up 35 percent from 620 new reports of abuse a year earlier, an increase that the bishops said largely reflected a large number of claims in six dioceses that had either filed for bankruptcy or were located in states that opened windows allowing victims to sue over old cases of sexual assault.

It’s true that bankruptcies and changes to the law can bring out more reports of abuse that took place long ago, but this audit included more recent reports:

While the bulk of the reports related to cases of abuse date back to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, there were 26 reports made by minors of more recent abuse.

If in fact the “priestly pedophilia” scandal truly was the “historical” phenomenon bishops have claimed, this number would have been zero, not 26. Once again, the truth rears its head and reveals the hierarchs as the inveterate liars they actually are. It’s long past time they owned up to what they’ve done — i.e. to protect abusive clergy — rather than making excuses for it or dismissing it (e.g. insisting it’s not an ongoing issue).

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on No, It’s Definitely Not a “Historical” Problem