3rd highest ranking Vatican official accused of sexual assaulting multiple children

Religion did not play a significant role in my life growing up. My parents did not force me (or, later, my sister) to attend church on Sundays or Wednesdays, or Christmas or Easter. I’m sure my parents had a BIble or two in the house, but I don’t recall seeing a copy (my memory becomes hazier the further back I try to recollect, so they might have had one and I don’t remember). We said grace before big holiday meals like Easter, Turkey Day, and Christmas. Mom and dad would occasionally pray to god for one thing or another and mentioned that they didn’t want to belong to any one church, so they were non-denominational believers.  Aside from that, religion was not a presence in my life growing up. No Bible was ever put in front of me, nor was I told I had to read verses before bed or other stuff many kids have to do. In fact, to this day I’ve not read the Bible cover to cover*. Church was such a non-presence in my life that by age 21 I had only been inside three churches. The first time was for a funeral.  Second time was for a wedding. The other was a trip to New Orleans with friends and we walked around a cathedral (can’t recall the name of it, but I think it had some really nice stained glass windows).

For all that we weren’t a church-going family, we did consider ourselves believers, even if nominally. My parents used to say “we don’t believe in organized religion, but we do believe something is out there” (I’ve occasionally thought about discussing this with them bc the statement “we don’t believe in organized religion”–taken on its face–is nonsense, given that organized religion *does* exist and here in the Southern United States, we have evidence of it on what seems like every other damn street). I don’t ever recall asking my sister her thoughts on religion, though with the eight year difference (she’s younger) she may not have given it much thought until her teen years bc our parents did not foist religion upon us.  For my part, I remember as a teen holding beliefs about a vague universal guiding force that created everything.  I didn’t worship him (and yeah, of course he was a him, thanks patriarchy), but I believed he existed. When I finally started coming out of the closet, my views shifted a bit, bc I wasn’t seeing any evidence there was a god. So I became an agnostic. And when I went to college and took some philosophy courses and an intro to logic course, I ditched agnosticism and chose atheism (though technically I’m an agnostic atheist, as I don’t know for sure there is or isn’t a god, but either way, I don’t *believe* in a the god of the Bible any more than I believe in any of the other thousands of gods humanity has created).

One thing I noticed as I got older was how much in the dark I was about religious issues.  My lack of religious background as a child left me incredibly ignorant on many things that others find mundane. When I first heard about PZ Myers’ Communion Wafer incident, I had no clue what a Communion Wafer was or what Communion was (now that I do? what a weird belief). I knew nothing about the Establishment Clause and how important it is to our secular society, nor had I heard any of the cognitive fallacies that theists engage in when trying to demonstrate their deity exists. I also knew virtually nothing about Judaism or Islam.

Then there’s the harmful stuff I knew nothing about. The morally repulsive stuff. The stuff that leads to an increase i suffering. Among the deeply disturbing information I discovered about christianity  was the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church to the use of birth control, the Religious RIght’s war on queers, the use of the Bible to support slavery, and the history of child sexual abuse cases from the Roman Catholic Church.

Speaking of the child sexual abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Church, another example came to light today: Cardinal George Pell, the third highest ranking Vatican official has been accused of multiple sexual offenses:

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3rd highest ranking Vatican official accused of sexual assaulting multiple children
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Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Human rights have got to go!

Are you living in a country with a constitution that echoes-in part or whole-the human rights as enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?  Do you ever get the feeling that those rights are just a little…I don’t know? Stifling? Do you, on occasion, feel that you and the people around you would be better served by eliminating a few of those pesky rights? On hopeful days, do you find yourself lost in thought, contemplating how exhilarating it would be to cast aside rights like bodily autonomy or freedom of religion (bc let’s be honest, you know that some people really shouldn’t have the right to dictate what happens to or with their bodies ((that’s a responsibility best left to others)) and no one, but no one, should ever be allowed to decide whether or not to hold religious beliefs)? On really good days, do you speak out online or in meatspace about the virtues of living a life with significant restraints on freedom of speech and expression (bc of your sincerely held  belief that the world would be so much better if more people were imprisoned for heresy)? Do you often find yourself alone at night, laying atop your bed replete with rosary covered 1200-thread count sheets, thinking about people being slaughtered in the name of blasphemy laws as you grasp your really Good Book in one hand and attend to personal matters with the other?  If you do, then you probably have something in common with he who doesn’t like human rights (some of them anyway) Patriarch Kirill, the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church:

Continue reading “Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Human rights have got to go!”

Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Human rights have got to go!

Racial profiling in Texas

This is 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, a talented 9th grader living in Irving, Texas. The gifted student felt like his teachers were unaware of how skilled he was and wanted to impress them. So he created a simple electronic clock. In 20 minutes. Yeah, the kid has mad skills. Naturally, when he brought the clock to school with him on Monday, he was praised for his work and encouraged to continue developing his skills. No. Wait. That didn’t happen. Instead, he was arrested on suspicion of building a bomb:

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Racial profiling in Texas

I'm worthy of death

At least I am according to Gordon Klingenschmitt.  Last month, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a photography studio’s refusal to photograph a same-sex wedding was unconstitutional.  In response, Klingenschmitt  (aka “Mr. Chaps”) said that Romans 1:32* should be printed out by Christian business owners on the back of their business cards. Oh, and those pesky gay people wanting photos from said Christian business? They should have Romans 1:32 printed on the back of all their photos. What a swell guy Mr. Chaps is, to advocate for killing people bc their sexuality differs from his. Nevermind that my being gay doesn’t affect him in any way, shape, or form.  Like many bigots he uses the Bible as a tool to justify his desire to oppress LGBT people.  He, like so many bigoted Christians, are never consistent. On the one hand, they’d have us believe that the Bible is so important and that following the tenets therein is of utmost importance.  I wonder if he follows all the other Biblical commandments, or if he is just cherry picking which rules to follow.  Nah, he’d never do that.

Romans 1:32

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Why anyone would want to worship or follow a deity that calls for the death of people for their sexuality is beyond me. Being gay harms no one. This is one of the problems with divine morality. It’s a form of morality that is divorced from human interactions. Instead of deciding on how moral an action is based on the potential harm done to others, divinely inspired morality is just irrational rules from on high.

I'm worthy of death

I’m worthy of death

At least I am according to Gordon Klingenschmitt.  Last month, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a photography studio’s refusal to photograph a same-sex wedding was unconstitutional.  In response, Klingenschmitt  (aka “Mr. Chaps”) said that Romans 1:32* should be printed out by Christian business owners on the back of their business cards. Oh, and those pesky gay people wanting photos from said Christian business? They should have Romans 1:32 printed on the back of all their photos. What a swell guy Mr. Chaps is, to advocate for killing people bc their sexuality differs from his. Nevermind that my being gay doesn’t affect him in any way, shape, or form.  Like many bigots he uses the Bible as a tool to justify his desire to oppress LGBT people.  He, like so many bigoted Christians, are never consistent. On the one hand, they’d have us believe that the Bible is so important and that following the tenets therein is of utmost importance.  I wonder if he follows all the other Biblical commandments, or if he is just cherry picking which rules to follow.  Nah, he’d never do that.

Romans 1:32

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Why anyone would want to worship or follow a deity that calls for the death of people for their sexuality is beyond me. Being gay harms no one. This is one of the problems with divine morality. It’s a form of morality that is divorced from human interactions. Instead of deciding on how moral an action is based on the potential harm done to others, divinely inspired morality is just irrational rules from on high.

I’m worthy of death

Moderating your language is not the same thing as equality

Compassion.

Understanding.

For the homosexuals.

<gasp!>

Those two words mark the tone of the preliminary position paper drawn up by the Vatican synod. To many people, this represents a shift in the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church, which has traditionally seem homosexuality as immoral and depraved. In 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote (with the approval of Pope John Paul II):

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Moderating your language is not the same thing as equality

Pope's second in command spews homophobia

Raymond Burke is basically the Vice President of the Catholic Church. He is the Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Ooooh, “respect mah authoritah!” Uh, no.  He was recently interviewed by LifeSiteNews and shared his opinions on homosexual relationships:

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Pope's second in command spews homophobia

Pope’s second in command spews homophobia

Raymond Burke is basically the Vice President of the Catholic Church. He is the Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Ooooh, “respect mah authoritah!” Uh, no.  He was recently interviewed by LifeSiteNews and shared his opinions on homosexual relationships:

Continue reading “Pope’s second in command spews homophobia”

Pope’s second in command spews homophobia

First it was Stop N Frisk. Now it's Preach N Ticket?

I’m accustomed to hearing stories of cops Stopping and Frisking African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.  I’m accustomed to stories of cops brutalizing citizens of the US, especially People of Color. I’m not use to hearing stories of police officers proselytizing during the course of a traffic stop. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to Ellen Bogan:

Continue reading “First it was Stop N Frisk. Now it's Preach N Ticket?”

First it was Stop N Frisk. Now it's Preach N Ticket?

First it was Stop N Frisk. Now it’s Preach N Ticket?

I’m accustomed to hearing stories of cops Stopping and Frisking African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.  I’m accustomed to stories of cops brutalizing citizens of the US, especially People of Color. I’m not use to hearing stories of police officers proselytizing during the course of a traffic stop. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to Ellen Bogan:

Continue reading “First it was Stop N Frisk. Now it’s Preach N Ticket?”

First it was Stop N Frisk. Now it’s Preach N Ticket?