May 26, 2015

Bad Acts Motivated By Religion

Fans protest Michael Jackson's innocence in th...
Fans protest Michael Jackson's innocence in the child molestation scandal in 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you were keeping a file in which to store all the evidence pointing to the harm caused by religion, it would have overflowed long ago. While it is true that many bad acts - even some of those committed in the name of religion - do not necessarily require religion (e.g., sexual abuse), it is difficult to deny that religious belief, religious institutions, and religious privilege often exacerbate them by leading friends, family, church congregants, and even strangers to look the other way, help conceal the crimes, and make it far easier for the perpetrators and their supporters to justify their offenses. Crimes that would not be tolerated but for religion seem to become far easier to tolerate thanks to religion. The role of religious indoctrination is difficult to miss, and far too many people around the world are left paying the price.

Your file would also contain plenty of other cases where it seems obvious that the bad acts in question would not have occurred without religion (e.g., genital mutilation, honor killings, exorcism, the murder of "witches" and others believed to have magic powers, ex-gay therapy, cartoon-related murders, faith healing). In these and many other examples, religion is not just a factor but often the primary motive. These are things that would not be happening but for religion.

May 25, 2015

Bishop: The Catholic Church Will Outlive the Victims of Its Crimes

English: The Big Miner at Ballarat in Victoria...
The Big Miner at Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As many of you are probably aware, the Catholic church is under fire once again for...well...the usual reason. Australia is the location this time, and hearings are underway to uncover the scope of their crimes and subsequent efforts to conceal them. The Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse has been holding public hearings to evaluate claims put forward by survivors of child sexual abuse perpetrated at Catholic institutions.

The news coming out of these hearings so far is beyond appalling, and they are far from over. Anyone still wanting to deny the conspiratorial nature of clergy sexual abuse is likely to have a difficult time doing so as more information emerges. This story is definitely one to follow.

Something in Jane Lee's recent post in The Age grabbed my attention and will likely grab yours. According to the testimony of Andrew Collins, he met with a representative of the church, Bishop Paul Bird in 2013 to request financial assistance in the modest amount of $252. According to Collins, this was just too expensive for Bishop Bird.
Bishop Bird told us that if the church had to pay that amount to every survivor, the church would go bankrupt. Bishop Bird told us that we were intent on destroying his church. He said 'Andrew, you need to understand something, the church has endured for thousands of years and in another 40 years or so, you people will all be dead and all this will be forgotten about and the church will endure for thousands of years more'.

May 24, 2015

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Duggared

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged - Observe these faithful Christians in action...Jesus would be SO proud.

Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Matthew 7:1-3 (KJV)

May 23, 2015

If You're Not Gay, Why Do You Care About Gay Rights?


English: Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Logo. HRC...
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Logo. HRC is one of the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equal rights organizations in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I receive more questions from readers than I'll ever have time to answer, but I like to try answer those that seem to come up again and again. One that I've received fairly often is the question contained in the title of this post. It usually comes up after I've shared some pro-LGBT news or criticized anti-LGBT bigotry here or on social media. Fortunately, this is an easy one to answer.

I am not motivated solely by my own self-interest, and so I am able to care about the welfare of persons other than myself. I care about LGBT rights because I support equality and oppose religiously-motivated bigotry in all its forms. I support same-sex marriage because it is a necessary step toward equality. Same-sex couples deserve the same rights under the law as opposite-sex couples. I see it as both a church-state issue and a matter of civil rights. I do not want my secular government restricting the rights of anyone on the basis of religious dogma.

May 22, 2015

A Concise Summary of the Josh Duggar Debacle

Golden Lady Justice, Bruges, Belgium (6204837462)Let me see if I've got this right. Someone I've never heard of, Josh Duggar, who is part of a reality TV show I've never heard of ("19 Kids and Counting") and the Executive Director of the Family Research Council's FRC Action is in the news because reports have surfaced that he admitted to molesting several girls, most of whom were his sisters, when he was 14. This admission happened several years ago but was concealed. His family and church were aware of what he had done but decided not to do anything about it. When police were finally informed in 2006, they launched an investigation before realizing that the statute of limitations had expired. And while his TV show has been pulled from the air, he faces no criminal punishment and has a U.S. presidential candidate defending him.

While I've never heard of Duggar or his show, I have certainly heard of the Christian extremist hate group he worked for. Will they join Mike Huckabee in defending him, or will they cut ties? Should be interesting. Update: CNN is reporting that Duggar has resigned his position with the Family Research Council.

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