Posts Tagged “apology”

Papa Francisco na JMJ - 24072013For well over a decade the Vatican has fiercely denied that any of its clergy abused children or that its hierarchs protected the abusers. This scandal has traveled around the world and reared its head on every continent (except Antarctica), but the Church’s commanders have repeatedly insisted they’re the true victims, not the abused children, and have blamed the scandal on anyone and everyone other than themselves. So I find it remarkable that, as the Religion News Service reports, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness over it (WebCite cached article):

“I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil that some priests — quite a few in number, though not compared to the total number — and to ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done by sexually abusing children,” Francis said [cached].

“The church is aware of this damage,” he said. “It is personal and moral damage, but carried out by men of the church. And we do not want to take one step backward in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I believe that we have to be very firm. Because you cannot take chances with children!”

Catholic News Service provides video of the Pope, via Youtube:

Of course, the Pope’s request for forgiveness is a far cry from the sort of true accountability that people around the world have been looking for, for over a decade. But given the Vatican’s long history of excuse-making and refusal to date even to admit the possibility it might have done anything wrong, it does show a somewhat different attitude. Let’s hope Francis does take additional steps and actually holds his Church responsible for what it did.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Yez I wuz caught bean stooped. Nao leef me alone bout it! / Courtesy of LOL Builder, http://builder.cheezburger.com/builder/In various posts, I’ve tangentially mentioned the phenomenon of the non-apology apology. This is when someone who’s done something wrong, tries to take it back, but without really admitting wrongdoing, without really explaining what s/he did, and/or by cluttering the matter up with deflections. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri, about whom I blogged yesterday, thoughtfully provides us with a sterling example of what a “non-apology apology” is. Talking Points Memo reports what he had to say (WebCite cached article). I will parse this “apology” out and demonstrate how, point by point, Akin actually failed to apologize:

As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault.

The trouble with this sentence is, his comments had nothing whatever to do with “protecting” any “victims of sexual assault.” By talking about “legitimate rape” (as opposed to “illegitimate rape,” I guess) he was suggesting that some rapes are not actually “rapes.” I don’t see how that could “protect” any woman at all.

In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.

This is failure point two: Akin did not “misspeak.” Rather, he blathered on about something in detail, even mentioning that doctors had told him women’s reproductive systems shut down and prevent pregnancy during rape. That’s not misuse of a word or phrase. That’s a specific, purposeful invention … and it’s likely a fiction (since I doubt any doctor ever told him such a thing).

Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.

Failure point three: It’s all well and good that he can say rapists “are the lowest of the low in our society,” but when he gave away the fact that he thinks not all rapes are true “rapes,” what good is it for him to say this?

I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue.

This is perhaps the one honest statement Akin makes: Yes, indeed, abortion is emotionally-charged. It’s the emotionally-charged nature of the pro-life movement that Akin has latched onto and is trying to appeal to for votes. Emotion is indeed the main fuel of the pro-life movement.

But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.

Failure point four: This is a deflection. Here he diverts attention from his asinine comments, and toward his pro-life stance. Repeating that he’s pro-life … which by now everyone already knows, anyway … does nothing to convey the slightest contrition over the comments he’s supposedly trying to apologize for.

I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.

Failure point five: Akin is playing the “martyr” card. Poor me, he’s saying, there are people whose votes I can never get, because <sniff> they hate me for being pro-life <sniff> and I can’t get them to <sniff> change their minds about me. All I can say to that is — Boo fucking hoo, Rep. Akin.

But I also believe that this election is about a wide range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren.

This is failure point six, and another deflection. Akin is saying, Stop whining about me, let’s bellyache about the economy instead. Unfortunately his original comments had nothing to do with the economy, therefore his apology cannot have anything to do with the economy.

We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion-dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs.

Failure point seven, and yet another deflection. Once again, Akin brings up something that has absolutely nothing to do with the comments he’s ostensibly apologizing for.

That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.

Failure point eight, and for the exact same reason.

Note what Rep. Akin did not include in his so-called “apology”: An explanation for how and why he thought women’s reproductive systems disable themselves during a rape. He specifically mentioned that doctors (plural!) had told him about it, but in his “apology” he doesn’t mention this at all. He doesn’t tell us which doctors told him this, nor does he say where else he might have gotten this idea from. It’s a significant component of the original remarks he claims to be apologizing for, yet he glosses them over as though he’d never said them.

Oh, and the icing on the cake of Akin’s putative “apology”? He put up a Web page on his site mentioning that he’s sorry (cached) … and right below it, a solicitation for campaign donations! How much more fucking mercenary could the man get!? He can’t even manage to apologize — if one can call it that (and as I’ve shown, one can’t) — without also putting his hand out for more money.

I close this by thanking Rep. Akin for offering this lesson in non-apology apologies. Public relations folks will no doubt look to this as an exemplar they can work from in the future.

Update: Politico reports Akin is doubling-down on his playing of the “martyr card” (cached). The “liberal media,” it seems, are out to get the poor little thing. Of course, he’s forgetting that a lot of his critics — including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his VP choice Paul Ryan — can hardly be called part of “the liberal media.” There there, little Toddie, everything will be OK. Quick, someone give the little crybaby a pacifier … !

Photo credit: Courtesy of LOL Builder.

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David Letterman sure stepped in it when he cracked some jokes about the family of Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, former VP candidate, and current heroine and idol of the Religious Right. He took on the wrong person, and clearly, the R.R. isn’t going to give up until he’s off the air.

This is in spite of the fact that Letterman made an apology (not just once, but twice), and Ms Palin accepted the second of them (as reported by CBS News):

Sarah Palin has accepted the olive branch handed to her by David Letterman, following his jokes about Palin’s daughter getting “knocked up” by a professional baseball player.

That Palin ultimately accepted Letterman’s apology, however, appears to mean absolutely nothing to the armies of the R.R. who are arrayed against him, as reported by a USA Today blog:

According to New York’s Daily News, Anna Barone, an official with FireDavidLetterman.com, says the apology is not enough. “An apology is a first step, but it’s not accountablity [sic] to me. CBS should at least suspend him for a little while.” The group is still planning to protest outside the show this afternoon.

Hold on a minute. You’ve named your group and its Web site “Fire David Letterman,” yet you claim you will be satisfied only with a suspension? Either Barone is lying when she says she’ll be happy with a suspension, or the name of her group is itself a lie. Ah, disingenuity … a hallmark of the religionazis! More lying liars for Jesus. They never met a lie they wouldn’t tell, in defense of their religion and their presumed right to impose it on the universe.

A blog entry at Time elaborates on the unwillingness of people — in the face of a moral victory — to accept that victory:

But really this controversy doesn’t belong to Palin and Letterman anymore, and both of them only have so much power to end it. That distinction belongs to the army of cable-news and online commenters using it as a proxy for every dispute under the sun, and they are too well invested in keeping it going. Yea, verily, it has been written down in The Holy Book of Partisan Grievance, and it shall be cited henceforth in culture wars to come.

You know how that works. A controversy like this comes up, and suddenly there’s a mad dash to the history books to cherrypick decontextualized examples and catch the other side in an act of hypocritical defense of / outrage against humor. Well, what about when Jay Leno made essentially the same joke last year!, Letterman’s defenders cried. But what about Imus!, Palin’s partisans countered. CBS fired Imus for his remarks! Well, what about all the jokes people made about Chelsea Clinton? Yes, but what about the ones about the Bush daughters? You’re a hypocrite! No, you are!

On and on it goes, the grievance and counter-grievance, the gotcha and counter-gotcha. And thus the discussion over a freaking tacky late-night joke becomes like adjudicating an ethnic conflict in the Balkans, where yesterday’s atrocity is rationalized by a massacre during World War I, which in turn was righteous payback for some atrocity in 1484, which in turn… Good Lord.

This article pefectly explains the tit-for-tat, schoolyard-style juvenile sniping involved in this case and many others like it. Isn’t it time for people to grow the hell up and move on?

Note to R.R.: GOP presidential candidate John McCain said as much, himself, as USA Today relates in an update:

David Gregory on the Today show asked Sen. John McCain about Letterman’s apology this morning and he said he appreciated that Letterman was sorry and said, “Now we need to move on.”

I doubt this will be enough for the R.R., however, since they do not consider McCain “one of them” … even if he did everything in his power to pander to their ferocious, relentless, and unforgiving hyperreligiosity, last year. They will ignore him, and rage on in their unending bellicose sanctimony.

P.S. I consider Letterman’s jokes about Palin and her family to have been in very poor taste. They included slurs about flight attendants and Alex Rodriguez, in addition to the Palins. His “jokes” were just not funny. But even with that concession, his apology and Palin’s own acceptance of it, means the controversy is over. The children in the R.R. need to let go and grow the fuck up, for once in their lives. Raging and fuming over bad jokes is just a waste of time and energy.

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Things are getting weirder at Kieffe & Sons, the car dealership I blogged about earlier. They had issued an apology, but apparently it wasn’t a sincere one — they’ve since retracted it.

So, their apology, at the time they issued it, was actually a lie, since they are not now and never were truly sorry for anything they said. Hmm. Makes you wonder how such apparently-devout Christians could dare to lie, in defense of their faith?

As it turns out, lying is scriptural! This may come as a shock to those who have read passages such as Exodus 20:16 (the commandment forbidding false testimony against others), 1 Timothy 1:10 (which counts liars as among of a number of sorts of people who are “contrary to sound teaching”) and Revelation 21:8 (which condemns liars, along with others, to “the lake of fire” at the end of time), all of which appear to condemn lying. That is contradicted by other scripture, however, such as passages in which it is stated that God himself has caused deception (e.g. 1 Kings 22:23, 2 Chronicles 18:22, and 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

So if it’s good enough for God, then lying (as in, issuing an apology which was not the least bit genuine) must be good enough for Kieffe & Sons, eh?

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John McCain has pastor troubles of his own, which recently have been somewhat alleviated by the pastor himself:

Pastor Hagee apologizes for anti-Catholic remarks

John Hagee, an influential Texas televangelist who endorsed John McCain, apologized to Catholics Tuesday for his stinging criticism of the Roman Catholic Church and for having “emphasized the darkest chapters in the history of Catholic and Protestant relations with the Jews.”Hagee’s support for McCain has drawn cries of outrage from some Catholic leaders who have called on McCain to reject Hagee’s endorsement. The likely Republican nominee has said he does not agree with some of Hagee’s past comments, but did not reject his support.

In a letter to William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, Hagee wrote: “Out of a desire to advance a greater unity among Catholics and evangelicals in promoting the common good, I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful.”

Donohue, one of Hagee’s sharpest critics, said he accepted the apology and planned to meet with Hagee Thursday in New York.

Note that this allows Donohue and his Catholic League, and Hagee as well, to line up behind McCain in November. This still leaves Hagee quite separate from other evangelical leaders who, as I’ve blogged about before, despise McCain and are willing to let Obama win in order to deny him the White House.

Having said all of this, and having endured the Obama/Wright affair … is anyone else as tired of the clerical politicking as I am? Isn’t it time for America’s presidential candidates to extricate themselves from the affairs of ardent pastors who’re often afflicted with that illness known as “diarrhea of the mouth”?

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