A Suicide Note I Empathize With

Today, a man flew a small plane into a building in Austin. It’s captured our attention for most of the day. It turns out that the pilot was very frustrated and did what is effectively a suicide attack on an IRS office. He also torched his own house with his wife and child in it. It appears that one of his intents was to get the world to read his suicide note. His drastic measures have proven successful.

Although I can’t understand or endorse what he did, I found a lot in his note that I agreed with. The main theme was about how so much of American life is gamed by the big guys and how little power the little guy has to stop it. He railed against tax codes that exploited his profession, health care, the legal code, the political system that fails to represent the people, and the Catholic church. He called the church “vulgar” and “corrupt” and bemoaned the fact that they have received tax exemptions that helped make them wealthy. I agree completely with the spirit of his complaints, even though I don’t understand the details of his situation.

I’m a reasonably intelligent guy and I cannot for the life of me figure out why the United States gives a tax exemption to the Catholic Church. The Church seems to exemplify the rigged system that we labor under. They have run a pedophile ring for decades in multiple countries and done everything in their power to evade responsibility. I’ve written about this before. Yes, some priests have received the justice they deserved, but to date none of the scheming hierarchy has seen the inside of a court, let alone a jail. The Catholic Church is a criminal organization that should have its assets seized under the RICO (racketeering) law until a full investigation can be performed. The assets of the church should be used to benefit its victims. I simply cannot fathom why they are still receiving a tax exemption.

To add insult to injury, the Pope has evaded a law suit in the pedophile scandal by claiming diplomatic immunity. Some people think he’s the head of some state. Ok. If they want to play that card, then let’s make all of the Catholic hierarchy Vatican citizens and revoke their US passports. They clearly have little respect for US law and they’re only following orders, like good little immoral soldiers they are. If they are convicted of a crime, they can be convicted or deported like any other badly-behaving alien. They want to have their cake and eat it too. When they can evade laws or screw with other countries, they’re a foreign country. When they want to make money, they’re a charity. So far, they’ve been very successful at the game.

I will continue to remind people of the corruption of the Catholic Church, but I don’t see them being treated any differently in the foreseeable future. Catholic laity are still deeply loyal to the Church. They appear to be happy to support the pedophilia and corruption because the value their magic crackers and ticket to perpetual orgasm over any sort of human moral virtue. Either that, or they’re hopelessly mindlessly ignorant. If a Catholic reader has a more generous interpretation, I’d like to hear it. Perhaps that reader can also explain why anyone should trust them on their woo-woo unverifiable supernatural claims when they spend so much time lying about real-world claims. They’re really good at lying, as near as I can tell.

The Catholic Church doesn’t run the US legal system. (At least I hope not.) They clearly seem to have help from outside their church. It appears that the majority of Christians value “religious tolerance”. What this has come to mean is a situational moral blind spot when the perpetrators of some atrocity happen to be fellow Christians. You also hear it as “Thou Shalt Not Judge”. In practice, it’s an agreement among thugs: “You don’t draw attention to my sociopathic Rapture snuff porn business and I won’t draw attention to your pedophile ring.” “You let me pray my sick child to death and I won’t call you on your faith-healing con game.” The list goes on. In the end, practical Christianity is about screwing someone and inhibiting anyone from doing something about it. It’s worked well for Christian leaders so far, why would they want to change it? Why would believers risk their ticket to nirvana actually doing something when they can take comfort in prayer (which has the same practical effect as masturbation)?

Lest you think I’m making this up, I have gotten a number of e-mails from Christians who seem to be shocked that I’m rattling the skeleton’s in Christianity’s closet. (I’m not party to the agreement between thugs.) Their biggest desire seems to be to shut me up. They seem to know what I’m saying is true, but they don’t want to hear it. One correspondent actually wanted me to enter a deal where if I lost, I would never say anything bad about a Christian again (even if it was true). That alone speaks volumes about Christianity to me. The moral failings of Christianity are a big part of my motivation to be an outspoken advocate for atheism. They should be a reason why we deny tax exemptions to such blatantly corrupt religious organizations.

Sadly, Christianity’s corruption is only part of the overall screwed up situation we’re in. I’m doing what I can with the tools I have. I would encourage all of you to do what you can to get us out of the myriad messes we’re all in.

Ratzinger is a self-serving hypocrite and the press is too brow-beaten to tell the truth

In the May 12th Austin American Statesman, there is an article from the Los Angeles Times concerning the Pope’s visit to the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. (Unfortunately, I can’t find a link to the story that was printed.)

Ordinarily, I try very hard to ignore the ridiculous antics of the Pope and the Vatican. Maybe I secretly believe that if we don’t give them any attention, they’ll just crawl back under their rocks and leave the world alone. It’s not true, unfortunately. So many papers and TV stations seem to use any excuse at all to write some fawning piece on Ratzinger’s latest pontification or self-serving act of “reconciliation”.

What never fails to piss me off is that the news rarely covers the skeptical position on the issue. Supposedly, the “big controversy” of the Pope’s visit is how the Vatican is dealing with some idiot Bishop that denied the Holocaust. That’s just a minor side show compared to the issues the article failed to mention at all.

The article failed to mention that as a lad, Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth. No redeeming tale of heroism or defiance of a great evil excuses his actions, just a lame half-assed apology to the effect that everybody joined up, therefore he should get a moral “passs”. When this issue is brought up in the news, it’s quickly pointed out that he defected from the Hitler Youth. They fail to mention that his defection only happened when the winds changed and Germany was facing collapse. Remember that Ratzinger is supposedly the world’s best Christian. Maybe he is.

It’s rarely mentioned how the Catholic church was embedded in German culture and that the Church never spoke up against the atrocities of the Holocaust. Yes, there were a few exceptions among individuals. The Church had a millennium plus history of persecution of Jews and I honestly believe that the church was happy to have some godly people take care of those evil Jesus killers. It was only later, after the failure of Nazi Germany that the Catholic church felt any embarrassment about what they had done. This whole bullshit propaganda phrase “Judeo-Christian” was coined to attempt to spin clean the blood on the hands of both Catholics and followers of Martin Luther, perhaps Hitler’s only rival for the title of anti-Semite extraordinaire. (Fun fact: Hitler thought that Martin Luther was so wonderful that he chose Martin Luther’s birthday to launch Kristallnacht. The Holocaust was an ecumenical undertaking.)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it mentioned in the press that Hitler was a Catholic. He was never excommunicated by the Catholic church. God is on his side. Presumably, if you go to heaven, you’ll get to have lunch with the guy.

So when I read about Ratzinger visiting the Holocaust memorial and claiming that the event should “never be denied, belittled, or forgotten,” I get a little pissed off at the jaw-dropping show of self-serving hypocrisy. And the fact that most Americans are completely ignorant of the back story. Ignorance is bliss, as they say. The sad irony is that the few papers that would print this information would be beaten into submission by loyal Christian thugs who would claim persecution of their cherished religious beliefs (for printing facts about the real persectuion done because of those beliefs).

Celibate men in dresses say dumb things about sex

Ah well, the Roman Catholic Church is always good for a laugh. This week they’ve come out swinging against the pill. It’s deliriously silly.

The pill “has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature” through female urine, said Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, in the report.

“We have sufficient evidence to state that a non-negligible cause of male infertility in the West is the environmental pollution caused by the pill,” he said, without elaborating further.

For real, you can’t make this stuff up!

Remember, the official position of the Church is basically that they don’t want you to have sex at all, unless you’re married Catholics trying to make little Catholics, or…well…we know what the other criterion is.

Apology Apologetics

We’re sorry that the Pope just doesn’t know what a proper apology looks like. An apology is a request for forgiveness for harm done. However, a proper apology requires that the person apologizing admit to the harm he has caused and display an understanding of the impact on the victim. A proper apology requires a demonstration of learning to show that the perpetrator has changed his ways and will avoid making the same mistake in the future. A proper apology means taking responsibility for one’s own actions. Such an apology is a sign of moral maturity and growth as a human being. The Pope’s July 19thapology” to victims of the Catholic church’s pedophilic predilections simply doesn’t measure up. We’re sorry that anyone thinks the Pope has offered a valid apology.

The Pope did not bother to address the victims of the Church’s crime. Instead, he issued his pretend apology to an audience of bishops and seminarians. He certainly didn’t admit his own wrong doing. Ratzinger actively perpetuated a long-standing policy of official secrecy of sex abuse claims by clergy and issued an order for clergy to obstruct justice in sex abuse claims. We’re talking tens of thousands of victims over more than forty years. Simply put, the Catholic Church is a racket.

His attempted apology, said in part, “Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.” He certainly didn’t want to draw any attention to his own role in this sordid affair or that of the Catholic hierarchy. Remember that in 2005, he requested diplomatic immunity in the US for his crimes to evade a lawsuit where these facts would be front-page news for weeks. That would be bad for business. Besides running a pedophile ring, he is the head of the pretend nation called the Vatican. We’re sorry that the Pope has no intention of taking responsibility for his actions. We’re also sorry that the Pope, presumably the very best that Christianity has to offer, doesn’t even meet remedial standards of moral behavior.

We’re sorry that the Pope’s edicts put the Catholic hierarchy in the US in a conflict of interest. Were they to follow the Pope’s order and actively impede criminal investigations, lie, blame others, and claim church-state separation to avoid taking responsibility for their actions? Or would they do the right thing, follow US law, and side with the victims in bringing the criminals to justice? We all know the answer: “screw the victims.” Let us count the ways. We’re sorry that the Catholic hierarchy is all too happy to sell out children to save their own sanctimonious butts. We’re sorry that anyone looks to the Catholic church for moral advice.

We’re sorry that the media will dutifully print the latest moral ramblings of a cad in a funny hat, but they give a free pass to a foreign head of state who is actively controlling his Bishops here in the US. These stooges are systematically violating our laws with impunity. In this age of “the war on terror,” you would think that someone would give a shit about some actual harm done to Americans on US soil by foreign interests. We’re sorry that the media aids and abets such blatant contempt for our country, our citizens, and our laws by simply ignoring it.

We’re sorry that the Catholic laity still amply funds the Catholic church despite their systematic abuse of children. We’re sorry they don’t get to watch the real-life kiddie porn they’ve funded with their tithes. We’re sorry that so many people are happy to sell out children for magic crackers and make-believe trips to see Jeezus after you die, somewhere over the rainbow. We’re sorry that the rest of Christianity is so enthralled with the concept of “religious tolerance” that they’re happy to overlook the problems of their Catholic brethren, so that the Catholics will do the same when they perpetrate their own immoral acts. We’re sorry that Christians are largely ignorant of the long history of crimes of their religion.

We’re sorry the Bible says nothing negative about pedophilia. Children are disposable property in the Bible, owned by their father. We’re sorry that believers worship a god who is either too powerless to help children or who gets off watching the show. We’re sorry that believers think that because they worship such a god, they have done their part to make the world a better place. We’re sorry it never occurs to them that maybe their god doesn’t exist, they should stop being dupes, and maybe stop the harm.

We’re not sorry for the secular courts and twelve-member juries of ordinary people who have done more to clean up this sorry mess than God and all of Christendom with its empty claims of moral authority and power.

There is a little lesson in there somewhere.

Pedophilia enabler warns against “America’s brand of secularism”

Pope Ratzo is touring the U.S., about which some people with nothing better to do apparently give a shit. Amazingly, there are still those who actually think the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church still have some kind of moral authority as an institution that deserves to be leading the world, rather than what it is, a bunch of dirty old men playing dressup in expensive robes. Naturally, even Bush is kissing his ass. “In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded,” said the president responsible for launching an illegal invasion of a sovereign mideast nation under false pretenses, that has since taken the lives of over 4000 American soldiers and nearly a million civilians, “we need your message that all human life is sacred.”

Now, Ratzo has been paying lip service to those people whose lives are still shattered by the pedophilia scandal that rocked the Church but, disappointingly, did not bring it down. As Bill Maher pointed out recently on his TV show (to a muted, wary reaction from an audience that obviously can’t bring themselves to purge the virus of religion from their lives no matter how bad these people are revealed to be), if the Pope had been merely the CEO of a national chain of day care centers, and had been found to be covering up massive pedophilia within his company, he’d be doing 25-to-life right this very minute. Fortunately for the Catholics, they can get away with crimes that not even the FLDS can get away with. It isn’t just that if you cloak your child-rape in religion, people in America will give you a pass. Americans would simply prefer it to be a humongous, obscenely rich religion.

Now, Ratzo’s role in covering up the kiddie-diddlers in the priesthood is well documented. He infamously stonewalled any investigation against accused abuser Marcial Maciel, on the grounds that Maciel was too close a friend to then-Pope John Paul II. Ratzo’s past shows an unfortunate pattern of putting the protection of the Church before that of its people.

But here, touring the U.S., where the scandal is still very much an open wound, he knows, for political reasons, he must address it. So he goes around stating the obvious — that the abuse was “evil,” yada yada, without coming out unequivocally and assuring grieving survivors and their families that some heads will roll for it — while, in classically priestly fashion, saving his most dire warnings for, that’s right, the “threat” of secularism.

“Perhaps America’s brand of secularism poses a particular problem,” the pope said, according to the prepared text of his speech. “It allows for professing belief in God, and respects the public role of religion and the churches, but at the same time it can subtly reduce religious belief to a lowest common denominator.”

I would suggest that what reduces religious belief to a lowest common denominator is the absurd nature of that sort of belief itself, and the fact that even the most uneducated twit, who wouldn’t know a molecule from a motorcycle, can still gleefully accept and embrace the notion of an invisible sky-daddy who will grant you your fondest wishes as long as you’re all good little girls and boys.

I honestly don’t see the point of the Pope’s visit, or why it would be of any interest to anyone who isn’t a devout Catholic. Yet he is feted by politicians as if he is some sort of head of state, with valuable and worthwhile proclamations to make about the human condition. Seriously, what has this church done for humanity in the last five centuries that merits the kind of respect the Pope is accorded on these photo-op tours? Did they cure polio and smallpox? Put men on the moon? Come up with a solution for global warming? Why give a man who systematically covered up a series of crimes so heinous that even the SCOTUS is weighing putting people to death for it such a celebrity welcome, while research programs on the cutting edge of science designed to actually improve the standard of living for humanity have to scrape through loose change in the bottom drawer for funding?

Pope makes feeble, flailing attack on atheism

Pope Ratzo today issued an encyclical — a scholarly sounding term evidently used at the Vatican as a synonym for “overlong, ill-founded rant” — in which he purports to respond to the “new atheism” by drawing an oddly-reasoned equivalency between atheism and Marxism, and shoring up the theistic position with such empty, Hallmark-card platitudes as “Let us put it very simply: man needs God, otherwise he remains without hope.” To which the rationalist can only respond with, “Speak for yourself, you weak-willed superstitious infant.”

Seriously, if the news release is anything to go by, Ratzo really does hinge a huge portion of his anti-atheist position on comparisons to Marxism, which appear to have little depth beyond “Marx was an atheist, so atheism = Marxism.” Using that logic, one could argue that because Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian who painted bad landscapes (not to mention a Christian), that being a vegetarian or a bad landscape painter (not to mention a Christian) invariably leads to Naziism and white supremacist beliefs. It isn’t exactly Mensa-level thinking.

Amusingly, a commenter over at RichardDawkins.net has already noted that Ratzo, who belonged to the Hitler Youth as a child, goes out of his way to stick to Marxist comparisons while avoiding the Nazi comparisons being made by evolution deniers. But if, as the pope’s defenders will doubtless claim, Ratzo’s membership in that august boyscout club was compulsory and in no way reflects approval of Nazi ideologies, then why shouldn’t Ratzo go ahead and own up to that and start throwing around Nazi straw men alongside his Marxist straw men? It wouldn’t make his blatherings any lamer than they already are.

And it’s a bit rich to have the pope attack atheism by saying things like “It is no accident that this idea [Marxism/atheism] has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice,” given his own church’s bloody history. Hell, right up to this decade, we’ve seen the Vatican responsible for the enabling and cover-up of the largest and most horrifying pedophilia scandal in the history of western civilization. And yet, without a shred of irony, Ratzo can drone on sanctimoniously with such dreck as “We have all witnessed the way in which progress, in the wrong hands, can become and has indeed become a terrifying progress in evil. If technical progress is not matched by corresponding progress in man’s ethical formation, in man’s inner growth, then it is not progress at all, but a threat for man and for the world.” Ah, blow it out your ass, gramps.

Sorry, Mr. Pope person, sir, but looking at the track record of your little cult, I really don’t care how shiny and expensive your robes and pointy hat are, but you’ve got no moral authority to lecture anyone on anything. And as for your invisible sky fairy, I’ll tell you the same thing I tell all of you lot. Prove it exists — hell, provide even a modicum of credible evidence it exists. But even if you do that, you’ve still got an uphill battle to convince me that without this being I have no hope, since the actual experience of my daily life tells me that goal-oriented rationalism and productive, positive humanism gives me hope to burn.

Abortion still condemned by head of church that enabled rapist pedophiles

Yes, I suppose if you abort them now, it makes it hard to sodomize them later.

Joseph Ratzinger, known to millions of Catholics around the world as “the Pope,” has immediately touched off what melodramatic journalists love to call “a firestorm of controversy” over his condemnation of politicians upholding reproductive rights. He has said in effect that Catholic politicians who do not take a stand against abortion have basically excommunicated themselves and should not receive communion, a mad creepy ritual in which believers drink wine and eat little crackers and imagine themselves to be eating Jesus’s flesh and sipping his blood. Again, the moral confusion of the Vatican is enough to make your head reel. What possible system can condemn abortion but sweep pedophilia under the rug and hold entire services for people to perform pretend-cannibalism? (Yes yes, I know they don’t see it that way, but that doesn’t lessen the bizarreness quotient.) And they call us “moral relativists.”

Ratzinger’s remarks were occasioned by his first visit to Latin America, an area populated by almost half the world’s Catholics, and yet one which is undergoing a sea change where women’s rights are concerned. In Mexico, they’ve just legalized abortion. The Vatican is losing followers to Protestantism, particularly this fad called “liberation theology“. (Would that they were losing more to rationalism, but hey, you know, baby steps.) Liberation theology in particular drives Ratzo crazy. Part of what he is trying to do in his Latin tour is jerk a few million leashes and scare all the backsliders back into line.

Amusingly, the response from other prominent Catholics is to scramble to “clarify” Ratzinger’s remarks. This is funny, as I always thought it was part of the Catholic rulebook that their “Pope” is supposed to be God’s mouthpiece and thus infallible. But Papal infallibility doesn’t exactly seem to be in vogue in a part of the world where hardline adherence to the most intractible and medieval Catholic doctrines about sexuality could prompt even more mass walkouts then the Church has already suffered there.

This pope’s apparent candor can get him in trouble, said John L. Allen Jr., a reporter with the National Catholic Reporter. “Benedict doesn’t seem to distinguish when he is speaking as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and when he is speaking as the head of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Oh, there’s a difference? I thought that once Ratzinger got Popified, he wasn’t a mere cardinal any longer. But what does a heathen like me know about it? I must confess I have little interest in the carryings-on of a gang of medievalists who like to dress up in funny robes, give themselves pompous titles, and declaim as if they had any authority over anyone or any expertise to speak on any subject other than their storybook. I might as well take an interest in what a bunch of LARPers tra-la-la-ing about the woods in tights and chain mail and frilly blouses pretending to be Robin Hood and His Band of Merry Men have to say about abortion or human rights or geopolitics, for all that’s worth.

Another humorous comment from Ratzo: God, unlike what most Christians have been led to believe, is not in fact omnipotent.

“In all parts of the world, there are those who don’t want to hear,” Benedict said on the plane. “Naturally, even our Lord did not manage to make everyone hear.”

Naturally? Naturally. So there you have it, from his Infallible Mouthpieceness Himself: there’s something God cannot do. Ta-ta, omnipotence.

It would appear that, while most of Central and South America remain devoutly Catholic, there is growing courage amongst those who would stand against the policies and practices of an oppressive Church, that, ever since the pedophilia scandal of a few years ago, has as far as I’m concerned lost any moral authority it ever had to lecture anybody on anything. As Mexican legislator Leticia Quezada, herself one of Ratzo’s self-excommunicating Catholics, and one of the sponsors of Mexico’s new abortion law, has said, “I voted to address a crisis of public health…. I will continue to be a believer. The church has no right to interfere in my conscience.” Go, girl! It’s high time — centuries overdue, in fact — for the Vatican and its gang of thugs to be handed their walking papers by the human race. Let’s sweep the bums out, turn the Sistine Chapel into an art museum, and move forward with education and humanitarian aid efforts for delevoping countries that aren’t based on scaring them into submission to men in robes and their invisible magic capo in the sky.