Monday, May 24, 2010

Drill Baby Drill, Spill BP Spill, 34 Days of Clean-Up Hypocrisy

     After thirty-four days, the BP oil spill in the gulf of Mexico continues spewing oil as slicks coat the Gulf Coast.  Where are the chants of the Republican National Convention "Drill, baby, drill"?  Where does one drill in Sarah Palin's Real America?

     Here, Jon Stewart points out some of the numerous political hypocrisies in the ongoing environmental disaster the Gulf Coast is enjoying courtesy of BP.
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     Here is Rachel Maddow's latest coverage of the environmental disaster care of BP, our government, and our culture's addiction to oil that is literally destroying our planet.  Maddow discusses whether BP's promise to clean up every last drop is even possible.

     Keith Olbermann covers the environmental hypocrisy of BP's use of dispersants that the United Kingdom outlawed ten years ago due to their toxicity.  BP continues using the dispersants, even after last week the EPA ordered an immediate end to their use.  He also calls President Obama to task, for not taking charge of the situation.

Are You a Real American? Jon Stewart Deciphers Sarah Palin's Real America Formula

     Do you ever get sick of hearing politicians, like Sarah Palin, talking about the "Real America"?  

     In this video Jon Stewart deconstructs Palin's Tea Party rhetoric, exposing the underlying hypocrisy involved in pitting a rural "Real America" against an urban "Fake America" where people shop at Target, eat at KFC,and don't know how to be patriotic.  

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Australian Archbishop Coleridge Admits Catholic Church's Culture of Discretion Is One Cause of the Child Sexual Abuse Scandal

     Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra, Australia, is trying to speak the truth.  Yesterday, while Christians around the world celebrated the "birth" of the church on Pentecost, Archbihop Coleridge released an open letter in which he attempted to explain what it is about Catholic culture that lead bishops, relgious, and lay to turn a blind eye to priest-perpetuated sexual abuse and rape if children.

     The Roman Catholic Church's culture of discretion and focus on "sin and forgiveness rather than crime and punishment" were among ingrained factors that ultimately led to the child sex abuse scandal and cover-up surrounding the church today, a pre-eminent Australian bishop said Monday. 
     Archbishop Mark Coleridge, whose archdiocese is based in the national capital of Canberra, took the unusual step of writing an open letter attempting to explain the culture that led the church to turn a blind eye to priests accused of molesting children.  Factors include a determination to protect the church's reputation, a culture of discretion, "institutionalized immaturity" of priests fostered by seminary training, and an outlook of "sin and forgiveness rather than crime and punishment," Coleridge wrote. 
     Broken Rites Australia, a support group for victims of clergy sex abuse, said the church's failing as outlined by Coleridge was unforgivable.  "The archbishop's comments show how the Catholic Church hierarchy have covered up sex abuse and dealt very badly with the victims," group president Chris MacIsacc said. "But there is no excuse for not understanding that rape, sodomy and child sex abuse is a crime. To be more concerned for the perpetrator of crime than the victim is unforgivable."
     Here are some excerpts from the Coleridge letter:
     Another factor was the Catholic Church’s culture of forgiveness which tends to view things in terms of sin and forgiveness rather than crime and punishment. But in the case of clerical abuse of the young, we are dealing with crime, and the Church has struggled to find the point of convergence between sin and forgiveness on the one hand and crime and punishment on the other. True, sin must be forgiven, but so too must crime be punished. Both mercy and justice must run their course, and do so in a way that converges. This relates to larger questions of how the Church sees her relationship with society more generally. We are “in the world but not of it”: but what precisely does that mean in the here and now? There is also the large question of the relationship between divine and human judgement. The Church insists that it is to God, not to human beings, that final judgement belongs. Yet how does that fit with the need for human judgement when we move within the logic of crime and punishment? We have been slow and clumsy, even at times culpable, in shaping our answer to such questions. 
     I have asked myself often enough who has been to blame in all this. Clearly the victims were not, though we have treated them at times as if they were. Just as clearly, the offenders were to blame and must bear the full weight of judgement both human and divine. The bishops? Yes, insofar as they concealed or denied the abuse.
     Coleridge concludes that Pope Benedict is the man to lead the Catholic church through the crisis, which I think is an unfortunate conclusion.  This conclusion undermines the entire letter, in which he called for clerics to be held accountable for their crimes.  I guess he doesn't consider the cases of alleged cover-up and denial of abuse at the hand (or signature) of Pope Benedict/Ratzinger as grounds for criminal investigation.  On that we disagree.

     Until, the pope resigns and is replaced with someone, who had no ties to cases of sexual abuse and cover-up, the Catholic church's credibility will be in question, especially in matters of child rape, sexual abuse, and transparency.

Father Strachanowski, Priest, Rapist, and Dungeon Master, Arrested in Brazil

     State security officials said Marcin Michal Strachanowski, 44, surrendered to authorities Friday night in the village of Realengo.  According to Brazil's Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, the priest could not be found Friday morning.  
     The newspaper reported that a 16-year old alleged victim told investigators that after being frequently raped by the priest, he was forced to remain silent and was threatened regularly.
     Citing court statements, the newspaper reported that criminal Judge Alexandre Abrahao Dias Teixeira said police investigations revealed the profile of a man with a "compulsive attraction to having sex with adolescents" and that he had allegedly turned his parish residence into an "erotic dungeon" where he forced boys to have sex with him.
     Camila Donato, a spokeswoman for Rio’s civil police, said that complaints about Father Strachanowski first surfaced in 2004. The police began a formal investigation in 2007 based on the accusations of the 16-year-old. 
     Prosecutors said that Father Strachanowski began sending pornographic material to the boy in e-mail messages in early 2007. About February of that year, Father Strachanowski handcuffed the teenager to a bed in the rectory and forced him to perform sex acts, according to the state prosecutors.  At one point, the priest, “using coercion, put money into the pocket of the victim and demanded silence, threatening to tell everyone what had happened,” the public prosecutor said in the criminal complaint.
     One thing that irks me about this story is that the reason it's getting so much press because this particular priest-rapist had a sadomasochistic dungeon, as if that's worse than other kinds of sexual abuse.  The raw truth is that whether Father violently handcuffs a boy to headboard or caressingly corners a girl in the confessional, it's rape.  It's damaging.  It' s a crime.

     This is the third major sexual abuse scandal to hit Brazil. In recent months, a video of an octogenerian priest having sex with a former altar boy exposed Msgr. Luiz Marques Barbosa and two other priests, and after that another priest, Rev. José Afonso, was arrested for raping numerous altar boys. The church has removed these priests and condemned their acts. 

     The obvious question is did the church know of these abusive priests' proclivities, and if so how long had they been enabled to go on abusing children?  And how long will the leadership in the Brazilian church keep pinning the blame on homosexuals, before the documents of these bishops' complicity is exposed?