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Wed Jun 12, 2019, 12:31 PM

For Those Who Argue That the First Amendment Protects

child-abusing priests who confess their crimes to another priest, I offer this:

The First Amendment protects the right to worship as one pleases but, like other parts of the Constitution, there are limits. Our laws recognize those limits. For example:

Some religious denominations prohibit seeking medical care, and rely on prayer and other religious rites to cure. The right of an adult to refuse to seek medical care is protected. THAT DOES NOT APPLY IN THE CASE OF CHILDREN. Adult parents may not withhold life-saving health care from their children based on the adults' religious beliefs and rely on the First Amendment to insist that no care be given.

The courts, in case after case, have required that the child receive medical care in such instances. The rights of the minor child take precedence over the rights of the parents to follow their religious beliefs. Children have rights that are also protected by the Constitution and by laws.

Where child sexual abuse by priests is involved, the so-called "sanctity of the confessional" is overridden by the harm caused to the child, who cannot consent to such sexual acts. The doctrine of the church has nothing to do with any of it. The protection of the child overrides the right of the church to hide this crime from the authorities, just as the government can require that medical treatment be given to a child, regardless of the beliefs of the adult parents.

The state has an interest in protecting the rights of those who cannot assert their rights in the case of harm by an adult. That interest overrides religious doctrine.

That's my argument with regard to this.

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply For Those Who Argue That the First Amendment Protects (Original post)
MineralMan Wednesday OP
demigoddess Wednesday #1
MineralMan Wednesday #2
trev Wednesday #3
zipplewrath Wednesday #4
Major Nikon Wednesday #5
stopdiggin Wednesday #8
Major Nikon Wednesday #10
stopdiggin Wednesday #12
Major Nikon Wednesday #13
guillaumeb Wednesday #15
Lordquinton 17 hrs ago #30
zipplewrath Wednesday #11
Major Nikon Wednesday #14
zipplewrath Thursday #16
Major Nikon Thursday #17
zipplewrath Thursday #18
Major Nikon Thursday #19
zipplewrath Thursday #20
Major Nikon Thursday #21
zipplewrath Thursday #22
Major Nikon Thursday #23
zipplewrath Thursday #24
Major Nikon Thursday #25
zipplewrath Thursday #26
MineralMan Thursday #27
Major Nikon Thursday #28
zipplewrath Thursday #29
trotsky Wednesday #6
Major Nikon Wednesday #7
MineralMan Wednesday #9

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 12:35 PM

1. amen! very well thought out. Too bad the lawyers can't think.

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Response to demigoddess (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 12:37 PM

2. I don't know that that particular issue has actually been tested.

I suspect it will be soon, though.

It's a simple argument, and one that any competent attorney would think of in such a case. There are precedents for overriding a religious doctrine if there is a conflict between it and the rights of an individual.

Freedom of worship is not an absolute freedom. Not at all. It is a powerful freedom, but has limitations. If a doctrine causes serious harm to an individual, the rights of the individual take precedence. That's why human sacrifice would not be protected, nor would cutting of the hand of a thief by church authorities.

The Constitution is not a document of absolutes. Every right has its limitations, and harm to others is one of the areas where those limitations come into play.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 12:53 PM

3. Although his crimes were different,

Baghwan Shree Rajneesh found out in the 1970s that a religious organization can't just do whatever it wants to.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajneesh

Good post.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 12:56 PM

4. Your correct

Where child sexual abuse by priests is involved, the so-called "sanctity of the confessional" is overridden by the harm caused to the child, who cannot consent to such sexual acts.


The problem is two fold. First, you have to establish in court that the confessional priest (not the predator) actually was told of the abuse. If you were successful, it wouldn't change much because the priest STILL isn't going to break his vows. So you'll never get testimony out of him.

The real problem is that the priest is following what he considers to be a "higher law". The courts have generally allowed them their protection, but I suspect after all of this stuff, they may be willing to reconsider. Although it is a problem considering how many Catholics are on the Supreme Court.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #4)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 01:09 PM

5. Is there a higher law that requires priests not to rape children?

If there is that one get's broken on pretty much a daily basis.

As far as priests not breaking their vows go, put them in front of a Grand Jury and let them decide for themselves if their vows are worth going to jail instead of those they are protecting.

As far as the SCOTUS goes, I seriously doubt if any case even remotely approaches it. Can you imagine the PR failure of the RCC trying to argue they have the right to keep covering up child rape?

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #5)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 01:44 PM

8. RCC has defended the confession, repeatedly

Actually, the sanctity of the confessional HAS been articulated, debated and defended by the RCC MANY times. I agree completely that religious rights and 1st amendment rights are not without limits. But I'm also somewhat surprised that "confession" and the rationale behind it seems to be poorly understood, at least in this string. Perhaps it is the wrath (much of it richly deserved I might add) that has built up against the Catholic Church .. and people simple don't care about the church's argument or position.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 01:53 PM

10. We already have a resident member who fills us in on the RCC's position on the subject

The "argument" boils down to protecting the same system of secrecy that has allowed the RCC to cover up an epidemic of child rape spanning at least several decades, and almost certainly thousands of years.

Meanwhile nobody gets the exemptions the RCC gets when it comes to mandatory reporting of child abuse. Not lawyers, not teachers, not mental health professionals, not doctors or anyone else. Yet somehow the very organization which is the most egregious and notorious about fostering a culture of child rape just needs to have their position explained?

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #10)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 02:15 PM

12. you mistake me for an apologist

and I'm not. In fact, have little truck with ANY religion. But I think the fury of your response illustrates my point. In your world the church HAS no position. even though it has been articulated. And that is just fine by me. Cheers.

(by the way, lawyers, teachers, doctors and other health professionals are all secular positions. oh wait .. perhaps I spoke too soon!)

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #12)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 07:54 PM

13. Didn't say or imply that, but it would be an easy mistake to make

We do have a resident apologist who also claims others just donít understand the RCCs position and everyone else here is just intolerant of the RCC. Also likes to make underhanded and unfounded allegations about the tone and motivations of other posters.

Meanwhile your continued assumption that others are ignorant of the RCCs argument is a pretty piss poor one. Believe it or not there are posters here who are not only well informed of that position, but also those of prosecutors and child welfare organizations which are fighting the problem. Now unlike you Iím not going to allege your ignorance of those positions, but your failure to even mention them suggests either ignorance or apathy. It also makes me wonder what you think of all the lawmakers, prosecutors, and child welfare organizations advocating for clergy mandatory reporting. Perhaps you also think they are angry, ignorant and bigoted.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #13)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 08:49 PM

15. We also have a resident misframer who loves to build with straw.

Sound familiar?

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 15, 2019, 03:49 AM

30. They're the same person

Sound familiar?

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #5)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 02:13 PM

11. Yes

But that law has no force within US law, and their method of enforcement is rather lame, and to some extent relies upon perceived consequences after death.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #11)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 07:58 PM

14. To be fair that's how most religion exerts control

When they canít enforce religious law through the power of the state, about all thatís left is the conveniently unverifiable promise of reward and punishment.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 08:09 AM

16. Yup

And many of them incorporate the concept behind "karma", that somehow your reward will come in some unforeseen and unexpected earthly reward in the future.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #16)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 08:24 AM

17. Sounds a bit like prosperity gospel

But at least with Christianity I don't have to worry about coming back as a dung beetle.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #17)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 08:25 AM

18. Roughly the same thing

The concept of Quid pro quo finds its way into many religious theologies.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #18)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 08:50 AM

19. The difference is the level of delusion required

Oopsie. I almost forgot our father of the perpetually offended here in the religion group says I can't use the grammatically correct word "delusion" in association with religion because someone has deluded themselves into thinking that word only is defined as a clinical pathology. To be fair, I suppose there is at least some identifiable associations between the two. Perhaps it's better to use the word "faith".

When someone tells you to give them $10 and you'll get back $100, it takes a higher level of "faith" not to realize you are being scammed.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #19)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 09:51 AM

20. Mostly "magical thinking"

It is a particular way of thinking, that finds itself rooted in alot of GOP positions. Not that some liberals can't also be guilty of it. There is a way of thinking in which one determines how things "should" work, and therefore that must be how the "do " work. It is especially problematic in the area of human behavior. I always cringe when someone starts a though about cause and effect in human behavior with "but no one would CHOOSE to...".

"Serious" theologians/philosophers generally get to a place where they admit and understand that there is rarely if ever a direct connection between moral behavior and worldly outcomes. The usual expression is "bad things happen to good people". Mostly they take a position that more approximates Las Vegas. Doing the right thing may not result in good things happening, but that's the way to bet.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #20)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 10:18 AM

21. Most belief systems include some sort of philosophy

It's just generally a half-fast philosophy that isn't subject to empirical study, reason, or arbitration.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #21)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 10:28 AM

22. Usually a fundamental feature

There are exceptions of course, but an awful lot of belief systems, not just religious ones, quickly get to the "you're not supposed to be able to prove it" kind of place. An awful lot of "woo" that gets pushed in various venues about healing powers of triangles, pyramids, blue light, special stones, etc. often involve the assertion that one basically must accept or believe in the power of these things in order for them to work. If they don't work, you belief wasn't "strong" enough.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #22)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 10:37 AM

23. Quickly followed by the "your position isn't provable either"

Which is the epitome of a strawman rhetoric which claims one must offer a competing position to call bullshit, and assumes extraordinary claims are somehow equal to ordinary ones.

So yes, it's not unheard of to find similar departures from critical thinking beyond religion. It's just religion makes it a lot more efficient.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #23)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 11:01 AM

24. Well, strictly speaking they're correct

Asserting there is no "god" or after life or "other worldly" consequence isn't provable. There literally is "no way of knowing", at least for most of the larger faiths out there. But as you suggest, the faithful should recognize that this condition is intentional on their part for the strict purpose of avoiding having any other basis for the belief than faith. Disbelievers on the other hand are just making a deductive conclusion, understanding that someday they could be proven wrong. Of course disbelievers on the other hand should recognize that there is a certain circularity to their deduction. It can't be proven because it's not suppose to be provable so the lack of evidence is evidence that it doesn't exist, even though there isn't supposed to be evidence.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #24)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 12:36 PM

25. I don't even make it that far

I donít feel much obligation to disprove assertions which no proof was offered to begin with.

Even if one deluded themselves into believing anyone must take a position on the god/no god question, thatís actually just the realm of deism. Theism at a minimum goes much farther, by not only asserting there is one or more gods, but said god(s) intervene in the existence of humans, and they know what said god expects from humans. All three are extraordinary claims each built upon the non-existent foundation of the other. Once one accepts that bag of tricks, add a heaping helping of unbelievable mythology just for good measure.

Then you have those who will continue to insist the theist position is no less valid than the positive atheist position which isnít extraordinary at all and requires no day trip from reality to accept.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #25)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 12:52 PM

26. My one real caveat

Then you have those who will continue to insist the theist position is no less valid than the positive atheist position which isnít extraordinary at all and requires no day trip from reality to accept.


Mostly as a thought experiment, but I think it illustrates the real difference in the thought of the theist and the atheist.

If one day, God showed up and proved his existence, the atheist would accept that they were wrong.

If any aspect of the existence of God, or the related beliefs is falsified, the theist will just alter their beliefs or understanding to ensure the continuation of the existence of God.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #26)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 01:14 PM

27. Well, given that such a thing has never occurred, nor has any witness

been identified who encountered such a thing and made a contemporaneous account of it, it's not a possibility that I have ever considered.

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Response to zipplewrath (Reply #26)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 01:15 PM

28. Most atheists don't assert no god exists

So only a subset would have to accept they were wrong, but that just shows they were subject to reason which got them there in the first place. Taking your thought experiment one step farther, if Allah showed up it's unlikely most Christians would admit they were wrong.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #28)

Thu Jun 13, 2019, 02:38 PM

29. I agree on both points

There are a few kind of atheists. Among them are people who just don't really spend much time thinking about it, there are those that are basically waiting for something "tangible" before bothering to think much about it, and those that have an adamant position. That third kind is probably a small subset, but it includes my spouse so I hear about it alot.

And I agree, I suspect if Allah showed up, some would declare it a trick of evil or the devil or something so as to hang on to their original beliefs.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 01:27 PM

6. No right is absolute.

"Fire" in a crowded theater and all that. We routinely recognize that there are reasonable limits on all our rights.

It's interesting to me that the two groups who insist their rights ARE supreme and inviolable are extreme gun rights advocates, and the rigidly religious.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 01:41 PM

7. Perhaps there should be a constitutional right to children not getting raped or killed

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Response to trotsky (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 01:51 PM

9. Yes, gun nuts and religious nuts.

Good connection there.

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