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Member since: Fri Jul 4, 2008, 01:39 PM
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Take Your Dogma With You.

The Catholic Church has always suffered from a split conscience, a duality that has made it an enigma to many for centuries. That split between good and evil, hypocritical and honest, power-hungry and gentle, dogmatic and humble, is best represented by the feud between The Nuns on the Bus, and the Church hierarchy that tried to silence them. Of course the degree to which the division and its players are separated pales in comparison to the past, but the thought processes and character traits of those involved are the same. And it should go without saying that there has also always been some overlap, both within individuals and between the two sides of the Church throughout history.

The constant division between the side that represents forgiveness and helping one’s fellow humans, and the side that represents harshness and judgmentalism could be said to be as old as the New Testament itself. Jesus was shown to have been forgiving, didn’t judge harshly and preached about love. In the Old Testament, there were very harsh judgments, capital punishment for insignificant crimes and being pious was sometimes more important than how one treated others. And whatever ones beliefs are, there is no reason to have a savoir and a sacrifice without original sin and the Old Testament; so the two books are very much intertwined.

There are records going back centuries before the Crusades of priests molesting children and the Church covering it up. But society’s tolerance of such acts and the power of religious leaders have changed since those early days. In the fifth century a man who was later named a saint, Cyril, tortured and killed the philosopher Hypatia because she wasn’t Christian, or thought for herself… whatever the motivation, it was an inexcusable act. About a century later another man who was made a saint, Eligius, spent his money and time buying slaves in mass and freeing them. He took the bodies of executed prisoners and gave them a burial. The two saints could not have been more different from each other. Same church, different philosophies.

At the same time that those participating in the Inquisition were burning innocent women, torturing Jewish people and free-thinkers and keeping the entire populous living in fear, there were priests and monks fighting for social justice and trying to end genocide and slavery. Many who were sent by the Church and the King to the new world to convert and control those who were already living there, ended up trying to end slavery and stop the cruelty. Friar Bartolomé de las Casa started out in what is now Mexico supporting the system set up by the Conquistadores, then he changed to wanting to help the native population and end the enslavement of the natives and give them freedom. Unfortunately he then advocated bringing slaves from Africa. He then evolved further and moved into the actual moral realm and opposed all slavery and devoted his life to the humane treatment of others.

What’s going on now with Benedict’s resignation, the Church’s ongoing molestation scandal and those who want to help others as their calling is nothing new. Sister Simone Campbell led a group of nuns that toured part of the country last year trying to bring awareness to the plight of the poor and needy. For trying to help those in need, they were protested by right-wing Catholics, hate radio DJ Jan Mickelson joked about having the nuns pistol-whipped, they were disparaged in articles and blogs and many said they should be excommunicated. While some Catholics are devoting their lives to helping the sick and the poor, others are devoting their energies to restricting birth control access, denying rights to homosexuals and pushing other dogmatic parts of their church’s doctrine. Obviously over the centuries the fight for what’s right is slowly being won by those on the side of empathy and being more Christ-like. But there are ebbs and flows. Under Benedict the focus has moved away from social justice and towards dogma. With a new pope, one less restricted by dogma, maybe that trend will reverse.

As a lapsed Catholic and devout secularist, one might wonder why I care what the pope feels about where the Church should devote its time and resources. The reason I have for caring is the same reason everyone should have. Does one want the powerful, rich and extremely populous Catholic Church devoting its resources to supporting fringe Republicans, restricting the rights of others and trying to limit access to birth control, thus increasing unwanted pregnancies? Or is it better for the country if they use their considerable resources to take care of those in need? I’m with the Nuns on the Bus.

Senator Ted Cruz Has Avoided Many Important and Uncomfortable Questions

Senator Ted Cruz has taken a lot of heat for his questioning of Senator Hagel during Hagel’s confirmation hearings. This criticism, for simply be brave enough to do his job correctly, is far, far out of bounds. Not since Joe McCarthy has there been a senator willing to destroy reputations with outrageous and false insinuations to such a degree. And the country has suffered from that dearth of courageous statesmen. Bravo Mr. Cruz, Bravo!

Since I recognize and applaud Ted Cruz in his pursuit of character assassinations for their own sake, I’m sure he will be more than happy to assist me in my own intrepid investigation.

There are many nights during the past two decades where Ted Cruz has not accounted for his whereabouts. It does not necessarily mean he was having sex with prepubescent boys he bought on the black market on the nights in question, but he has refused to answer... which just leads to speculation. I'm not saying these boys were ages 4 to 8 years old, but they could have been. Some of them he could have kidnapped himself and kept in his basement until they were too old for him to lust after, then he may have sold them to others in a group he may belong to that buy and trade young boys regularly on the Internet. If those boys exist, and I'm not saying that they do, they must be terribly traumatized now; some of them may have even committed suicide due to Cruz's inhumane and monstrous treatment.

Senator, the ball is in your court.
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