Age of Kali: Using Religion as an Excuse

Religion can be used to excuse a lot of things. Religious war, terror, rape and even assault and battery.

Indian newspapers range from the delightfully staunch supporters of journalistic integrity to the vaguely sycophantic. Often one has to read between the lines to find out if a person is condemning an action or not.

The fact remains is that different cultures have different boundaries on personal space and what is acceptable or not. However the fact also remains that in a civilised country mob rule is not encouraged. I see no action being taken about the assault of two people who for all intents and purposes probably had no idea about Indian Cultural and Social Rules. Hell even I didn’t the first time I came here and I am indian by ethnicity. I used to eat with my left hand back home because I found it more comfortable, in India I have to eat with my right. I am quite used to women treating you like you are normal in the UK, in India they treat you (IMHO) like you are a rapist with a contagious disease. The first few times it actually hurt my feelings but then I realised that it’s just the culture. I cannot change it and I am sure when they come to the UK they too think that british women are promiscuous simply because they treat men as equals. Cultural differences exist and sometimes they are insulting to other people. I genuinely worry about the instance in this case because the reporter’s relatively coy language belies the seriousness of the assault. The paper clearly shows two heavily bloodied men with head injuries and treated it as if the citizens of Tuticorin involved with this attack were upstanding citizens rather than brutal thugs.

It is however shocking that the police didn’t consider assault by a mob of people as an acceptable reason to issue a warrant for the crime of assault and grievous harm (Or injury as it is called in India – I have had to study Forensic Medicine in India as part of my course and it deals with junk like this).

What shocks me even more is that these men are being charged for a crime… Section 295A is a law that states that

Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.— Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of [citizens of India], [by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise], insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to [three years], or with fine, or with both.”

Wait a second? Doesn’t that mean that any atheist can technically be charged for the crime of merely existing since a lot of faith treats us as an outrage? That I can technically be charged for speaking out against religion as I am critical of it’s actual flaws? I am deliberately criticising religion and I am sure this outrages many people. And many people do get insulted by what I write. It’s quite an insulting post to take when you criticise the many mores, follies and failures of any faith.

The scary bit is the use of the word attempt. This entire law has so much weasel words in it that it can apply to anyone. The mere phrase of “Goddamnit” if offensive to someone could theoretically apply the law to me. In fact I am pretty sure any damn person who has complained about a religious activity can be jailed simply because someone got insulted.

This law is the death of free speech and rational discourse. It is a law aimed at the heart of dissent and can be applied to anyone who doesn’t believe in a god at whim. It is a law that can be used to protect sadhus, priests and other charlatans from the derision of rationality and it is a law that can definitely be invoked to crush the freedom of speech. 

Descending into the gutter – To punch William Donahue’s arguments in the mouth

Bill’s recently been on the counter offensive regarding the catholic sexual abuse scandal due to further evidence coming out of the Philadelphia archdiocese and possibly because he lacks a moral compass having been told that the Church is the only moral body in the universe and that anything contrary to that line therefore is immoral.

The evidence that homosexual priests account for the vast majority of sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church is uncontested—80 percent of the minors victimized have been male and most have been post-pubescent—so when comedians take shots at abusing priests, we all know who they are really talking about. That includes Kathy Griffin, who last night called priests “kid f******.” For this she was wildly cheered by her huge homosexual audience. “

Really, the fact that they are possibly gay is more of a problem than the fact that they molested MINORS? And you think we would be more impressed by your argument about how you hid their abuse and ensured they escaped justice on a federal crime (atleast in the USA).
And homosexuals would just go get a rent boy or find a secret lover. Maybe another priest or something, why have none of these priests said “I am here and queer, the laws of celibacy apply to men sleeping with women, so I am footloose and scot free of your crazy sex laws. (Hey the Defence of Marriage argument can work both ways.)

No one knows for sure what percent of priests are homosexuals, though it is safe to say it is higher than found in the general population; it is also safe to say that less than half of those in ministry today are homosexual. Therefore, to paint all priests as homosexual molesters is unfair: most priests are heterosexual and have never been involved in sexual abuse. It is even unfair to homosexual priests: while they have definitely caused most of the damage, there is no evidence that most homosexual priests are molesters.”

Here we reach the bit demonising homosexuals. Why would gay people want to be priests? Less than half, implies the number is close to 50% while covering the basis, 1% is less than half too! Bill is trying to start a witch hunt of homosexuality within the church by fear mongering.
The number of women abused by the church seems to have been hushed up a lot more. Rape is traumatic for men but the recent cases have got people to come out, while universally women tend to be a lot more silent about rape. This is due to the unbelievable stigma and self loathing and dehumanisation that rape does to a human being. Such women are traumatised for life and often do not wish to relive it.
The number of women traumatised by the church is well known and catalogued such as the Magdalene Laundries. Rape of women by priests is a lot rarer because priests are not in contact with women as much, but it is present in areas where priests do have access to vulnerable women.

 One more thing. Since it is very difficult for homosexuals to enter the priesthood these days, the rate of sexual abuse is nearly non-existent. Which means Griffin is running out of copy.”

How do you manage this? I cannot for the life of me think of a way to distinguish gays from the straights beyond witnessing their bedroom antics. This is as bad as one of my dates where the girl thought I was gay because I owned a large comfy dressing gown that I often wore around the house with pyjamas while doing things. I loathe the thought that the Vatican is out there hiring rent boys to try and seduce their priests as some sort of homosexual trial by fire. One hopes they test the conviction of their straight priests by sending prostitutes around to make sure they don’t have sex either.

When journalists and commentators discuss sexual abuse, they rarely offer a graphic description of the sex act; they properly assume that readers get the gist of what occurred when they say someone was raped. [Note: the vast majority of priestly abuse cases did not involve rape.] But when it comes to priests, a different standard is evident: the most detailed descriptions are offered.”

Actually we usually do. The issue is that minors were involved and the details of the abuse were kept silent because the case would have to be tried in a court of law as a criminal case and the person involved in the rape of a minor requires a fair trial. How many priests have been tried? They aren’t being tried because the Catholic Church protected priests by settling out of court and that local police have not done their jobs. The crime is statutory rape and sex with a minor. The punishment in the USA is federal. In Europe the church actively sought to hide abuse cases from the police mollifying believers who didn’t know better, but in the USA the crimes would have automatically been an FBI investigation. The church concealed crimes. Unknown numbers of them, including at the very highest level since the Pope is responsible for some cover ups personally.
And from what I have read the tales are not graphic at all. Reporters are asked to repeat verbatim what victims say. The priests of the church used coercion and their position to abuse victims and that is what is being conveyed.

We know what’s going on: get Catholics so riled up that they will demand the Church adopt the liberal agenda on sexuality. They just don’t get it: it was the detour from orthodoxy that allowed the abuse scandal to take hold in the first place.”

No, the reason the abuse scandal took place was that the church created a cult of celibacy in men much like a prison then left young children in their hands allowing horrific abuse because of one simple thing

But when it comes to priests, a different standard is evident:”

Is this not what the basis of priesthood is? That the catholic priest follows a different standard to the flock? That he is meant to be closer to god both by his actions and by his beliefs? Your priests are meant to follow a higher standard than the people around them, instead have used that high position to molest people (Children or Otherwise) and protect themselves.
 The crime is not whether the priest is gay or not, but whether people were raped. They were, it does not matter what your sexual orientation in this is gay, straight or bi or one of the many “inbetweens” encompassed by the moniker of queer. The issue is that people were raped and the Catholic Church undertook a systemic cover up to silence accusations and protects the priests from justice allowing many priests to reoffend.
If we wer
e to apply the same standards as applicable to us mere atheists and liberals, the entire organisation’s activities would be under scrutiny. We would try to hunt down every single priest who abused a human being (does not matter if they are child or adult, gay or straight) and give them a fair trial. A fair trial means that if they are guilty they will go to real jail. Then we will try every single person who was complicit in protecting these priests from justice for aiding, abetting and obstruction. Those who are guilty will also have to do hard time.
Those are the standards by which we try such criminals. As of now the church has no right to declare any moral standing due to the sheer immorality of it’s behaviour.
Would Bill Donahue complain about the different standards were we to treat the priests involved as human beings who are subject to the laws of the land rather than possessors of a culturally appropriate imaginary friend?
Probably a lot more, let’s do that instead.