Tag Archives: Catholic church

JFK: “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute…”

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Image of John F KennedyIn 1960 when questions about John F. Kennedy’s religion came up, he gave a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. Although given 50 years ago, it still seems it should apply to politics today. I wish it would.
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Pope knows Nazis but doesn’t know what atheism is

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Pope Benedict XVI is visiting the United Kingdom this week. It is the first state visit of a Pope to the UK since 1982. Not only is there the issue of clerical child abuse to deal with but Benedict stepped in the crap by suggesting that the Nazis and Hitler were atheists. Obviously he knows about Nazis having been in the Hitler Youth but he doesn’t know his history very well.

The Pope said on 9/16 in front of Queen Elizabeth II:

Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny”

Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate.

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI Palace of Holyroodhouse – Edinburgh Thursday, 16 September 2010

Jaw drops on floor….

Even a middle school student of history KNOWS that Hitler and the Nazis were NEVER atheist or anti-theist. NEVER were.

Religious conservatives like Pope Benedict like to rewrite history and attempt to associate Hitler with atheism since it fits their narrative. In fact Hitler was another in a long line of Catholic fascists in history – the same religion that gave us the Spanish Inquisition.

All one has to do is read what Hitler wrote and said during his time:

“I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”

Adolf Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936

And that is just one of many quotes proving the Pope’s comments were ignorant.

Evan Harris in The Guardian wrote:

Secularism is unfairly characterised and attacked by religious leaders as a way of seeking to protect their privileges.

Secularism is not atheism (lack of belief in God) and nor is it humanism (a nonreligious belief system). It is a political movement seeking specific policy end-points. Many secularists are religious and many religious people – recognising the value of keeping government and religion separate – are secular.

A secularist manifesto

The Catholic Church has been good at collaborating in order to preserve their power and privilege. The Church did that with the Nazis when they signed The Reichskonkordat

This agreement did some of the following:

* Unhindered correspondence between the Holy See and German Catholics. (Article 4)
* The right of the church to collect church taxes. (Article 13)
* The oath of allegiance of the bishops: “Ich schwöre und verspreche, die verfassungsmässig gebildete Regierung zu achten und von meinem Klerus achten zu lassen” (English: I swear and vow to honor the constitutional government and to make my clergy honor it; Article 16)
* State services to the church can be abolished only in mutual agreement. (Article 18)
* Catholic religion is taught in school (article 21) and teachers for Catholic religion can be employed only with the approval of the bishop (article 22).
* Protection of Catholic organizations and freedom of religious practice. (Article 31)
* Clerics may not be members of or be active for political parties. (Article 32)

A secret annex relieved clerics from military duty in the case that mandatory military service should be reinstated.

There is some feeling that the Pope slandered secularism and atheism to distract from the clerical child abuse issue in the media. That could be a reason he made such a stupid statement about Nazi history.

Church and State news in brief

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While checking out the Sunday “papers” I came across some of these stories about church and state:

Some clarity on the perils of Bush’s church and state
By LEE COPPOLA
News Book Reviewer
5/21/2006

In it, Michelle Goldberg takes to task many of the views you and your dittoheads express, and she warns those views threaten to crumble the democratic society upon which the nation is built.

Goldberg examines in depth all the touchstones of the right vs. the left, all with the premise that the right she labels Christian nationalists don’t want to take over the democracy, just dominate it. To that end, she compares the far right’s regard of homosexuality to that of the Nazis; she lambastes the disregard of science in matters of evolution and the environment; she labels faith-based initiatives nothing more than “a spoils system for evangelical ministries,” and she sees a takeover of the judicial system as the ultimate goal of the Christian right. Goldberg has done an admirable job of gathering information and interpreting it to follow her theory. Her work is certain to elicit knowing nods from some and vitriolic outrage from others.

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20060521/1007769.asp


Iranian activist teaches us to be grateful but vigilant
By Jerry Large
Seattle Times staff columnist

That little “separation of church and state” thing we have is a pretty good deal. Imagine living in Iran, governed by religious law interpreted arbitrarily.

Shirin Ebadi, a lawyer who considers herself a devout Muslim, has been resisting the injustices of Iran’s government since she first realized that freedom from the shah came with its own costs, especially for women.

Ebadi, who was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her work, has been promoting her memoir, “Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope.” She was in Seattle recently, head uncovered, a tiny woman dressed in a red blouse and black pants that wouldn’t distinguish her from anyone else on the street.

Religion isn’t bad, she’ll tell you. What’s bad is using religion to excuse behavior that has no justification.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/living/2003005930_jdl21.html?syndication=rss


Judge in Dover case says founders saw religion as inquiry

The Associated Press

CARLISLE, Pa. – A federal judge who outlawed the teaching of “intelligent design” in science class told graduates at Dickinson College that the nation’s founders saw religion as the result of personal inquiry, not church doctrine.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones gave the commencement address Sunday to 500 graduates at Dickinson College, his alma mater.

“The founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry,” said Jones, who was thrust into the national spotlight by last year’s court fight over the teaching of evolution in the Dover school district.

The founding fathers – from school namesake John Dickinson to Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson – were products of the Enlightenment, Jones said.

“They possessed a great confidence in an individual’s ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason,” he said.

“This core set of beliefs led the founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.”

http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/103-05212006-659607.html


Sex Ed & Money
Heritage Community Services is a major player in abstinence-only sex education, but questions about curriculum and financial dealings have drawn criticism.

BY MICHAEL GARTLAND
The Post and Courier

In a darkened cinderblock classroom near the back of Summerville’s Alston Middle School, some boys learn about the downsides of sex. Graphic photos of gonorrhea and herpes flash past them.

Billy Rogers, who’s 24 and their instructor for the next several days, narrates. The boys listen and wince.

“Sex is like fire,” Rogers tells them. “Good things, bad things. Right place, wrong place.”

He peppers them with questions: What is abstinence? What are the four basic sex acts? One by one, these seventh-graders rattle them off. Oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, masturbation.

“Can you get pregnant from all these types of sex?” he asks. “Can you get (diseases) from all of them?”

Rogers is one of the many foot soldiers in the abstinence-only education movement. He is young, religious and doesn’t think preaching condom use will curb the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. To prevent the spread of infection among adolescents, he advocates abstinence, period.

His employer, the North Charleston-based Heritage Community Services, has spread the same message for the past 10 years. Not only in South Carolina, but in Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Maine and Rhode Island.

Heritage Community Services began more than a decade ago as an offshoot of a Christian anti-abortion group called Lowcountry Crisis Pregnancy Center. The two maintained a close relationship, and their offices are sandwiched in a North Charleston strip mall.

Anne Badgley founded the pregnancy center in 1986 to provide support groups, parenting classes and supplies. In the decade that followed, she saw dozens of desperate teenagers. Many of them were unmarried. Some had venereal diseases.

Their damaged lives prompted Badgley in 1995 to found Heritage Community Services to teach young adults abstinence-only. She kicked off the program at several U.S. Naval hospitals in 1996. Soon after, Heritage received a grant from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for a pilot program to run in middle schools and high schools in Dorchester County.

Federal money for Heritage started as a trickle during the Clinton years and has flowed more freely during President Bush’s time in office.

Badgley campaigned vigorously for Bush in his 2000 and 2004 presidential races, and for Republican David Beasley in 1998 when he ran for re-election as South Carolina’s governor. In 1999 Badgley organized a meeting between Bush and state conservative leaders and helped introduce him to key state Republicans.

http://www.charleston.net/stories/?newsID=88903&section=localnews


Religion, Rome and The Reich: The Vatican’s other dirty secret
Forget ‘The Da Vinci Code’, ‘God’s HQ on earth’ has a real ghost in the cupboard – collusion with the Nazis. No wonder then, says Peter Stanford, that the church is hiding papers on the dealings of ‘Hitler’s Pope’, Pius XII
Published: 21 May 2006

As The Da Vinci Code arrives in our cinemas with its lurid accusations of a church cover-up of Jesus’s life as a family man, Roman Catholic leaders have been vocal in dismissing the film of Dan Brown’s bestseller as unsuitable viewing for believers. Cardinal amongst its sins according to them is its suggestion that a church organisation, Opus Dei, would attempt to manipulate history to fit its beliefs. But that, it was charged last week, is precisely what the Vatican is doing in regard of a much more recent event, the Holocaust.

An unflattering spotlight fell on God’s business address on Earth when the German Justice Minister, Brigitte Zypries, announced on Tuesday that her country is finally to open its huge archive of Nazi records on 17 million concentration camp inmates and slave labourers. Germany’s belated move to answer the pleas for access to its archives by Holocaust survivors and their families now leaves only the Vatican standing all alone in denying them the chance to read what is in its wartime documents.

You might expect an organisation that – as the bishops have been busy pointing out last week to counter the picture of their church presented in The Da Vinci Code – is dedicated to truth, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation to have been among the first to offer access to its files. And its refusal to open its secret files has only increased suspicion that it has something it wants to cover up – principally evidence of the alleged pro-Nazi sympathies of wartime pope, Pius XII.

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article549446.ece

More problems for sex abusers in Ohio, unless you are a Catholic priest

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With 2006 being an election year, the Ohio legislature was busy trying to pass some laws that would show voters how important they were – even though a closer look would show that the legislature was pandering. Election year pandering takes the form of passing laws addressing some issue that 99% of the population would agree with and that wouldn’t bite them in the ass while campaigning. This year the issue is sex abuse against children.

Over the recent years, laws have become progressively more severe against people convicted of sex abuse against children. It started by forcing convicted offenders to register for life with their local police, then laws were passed restricting where the former felons could live, and this year, the Ohio legislature considered tougher sentencing laws as well as extending the statute of limitations for lawsuits from 2 years past the victims 18th birthday to 12 years.

Don’t get me wrong. Sex abuse against children is wrong – simply wrong – and the criminal code and civil code should be very severe against convicted felons in those types of crimes. If such efforts were indeed to protect children or were in fact addressing a pressing issue – like an epidemic of children being abused – I would be first in line to pat my state representative on the back for “standing up for children”. However, it seems these efforts are simple pandering to parents, voters with children, who are literally in fear for their children. The hysteria – think “Salem Witch Trials” – even has led one state, South Carolina, to consider the death penalty for convicted child molesters. This is one reason the actions of the Ohio legislature is simple pandering:

Of course among these sex offenders are indeed some criminals who have caused extreme harm: violent rapists of adult women as well as children. A few of them have kidnapped, tortured or murdered their victims. Dr. Fred Berlin of the Johns Hopkins University Sex Disorders Clinic in Baltimore estimates that such crimes account for less than 1/10th of 1% of all sex offenses in America. His studies also show that fewer than 10% of child sex offenders re-offend–though recidivism is usually given as a reason for draconian measures against them. As child abuse experts point out, about 50 children are reported kidnapped and raped or murdered by strangers annually, compared to more than 3,000 children murdered by parents and other family members in non-sexual cases.

Sexual Fascism in Progressive America : Scapegoats and Shunning

So it is a no-brainer for the state legislator, looking to get re-elected, to pass these laws against a minuscule number of felons for crimes that are more rare than the media would lead us to believe and then he/she can splash, all over their campaign materials, how they “stood up for children”.

Another example that the state legislature is pandering is that while the tougher laws against child abuse were being considered, another law directed at Catholic Priests who have abused children was changed after heavy lobbying by US Bishops. While the law includes a requirement of the Church to report suspected abuse and creates a registry of non-convicted abusive Priests (those who are held liable in civil court after a trial but who’s criminal statute of limitations have run out), a provision to allow previous victims a chance to file civil suits for old cases was removed.

The state’s bishops and the Ohio Catholic Conference lobbied against the look-back period, arguing it would be costly and unreasonable to open decades-old cases. They said it would have been almost impossible to fairly judge abuse claims after so much time.

Child protection bill passes without ‘look-back’ provision

Well of course the Church sees such “look-back” provisions as costly because the Church would be liable for any monetary judgments made against the Priest. The simple fact that the Church rarely reported abuse, actively covered up abuse, and in most cases simply moved an abusive Priest to another church, shows how costly it could be for them.

If you are just a regular person and are convicted of sex abuse you can expect to lose your job, family, and friends. Be forced to tell authorities where you are for the rest of your life and have limits on where you can live.

If you are a Priest who abused children back in the 60’s and 70’s and earlier, you pretty much are in the clear.

So much for protecting children.