A third infamous “horseman” has joined the ranks of prominent atheists calling for justice in the continuing cover-up and facilitation of child abuse by the Catholic Church. Sam Harris all but apologized for not joining the cause sooner in a May 10th Huffington Post Article.
I confess that, as a critic of religion, I have paid too little attention to the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Frankly, it always felt unsportsmanlike to shoot so large and languorous a fish in so tiny a barrel. This scandal was one of the most spectacular “own goals” in the history of religion, and there seemed to be no need to deride faith at its most vulnerable and self-abased.
I admit to a certain amount of skepticism when I read this opening paragraph. Sam Harris, out of all the prominent atheist authors, strikes me as the most prone to hyperbole, satire, and melodrama. Has Sam really been feeling reticent to criticize the church, or is this a well-timed volley intended to stir up the dying embers of what was originally a groundswell of outrage?
Regardless of the answer, the timing of this article is significant. Especially in America, we have a very low tolerance for ongoing scandal. Within twenty minutes of a new scandal hitting the airwaves, everybody knows what everybody else thinks. Beyond that, most people aren’t really interested in talking about it. After all, what’s left to gossip about?
The truth of the matter is, we bore very easily. Without new bullet points and bumper-sticker slogans, we tire very quickly and forget about whatever it was that bunched our panties. In a very real way, the duration and magnitude of the Church’s offenses might work out for them in the end. I believe that public consternation is the only thing that has a real chance of affecting real change in the way the Church conducts itself behind closed doors. If the Vatican can only ride this thing out until the next economic downturn or the next tsunami, it stands a reasonable chance of being able to extricate itself from the whole thing with a couple of well placed and sincere sounding apologies and the metaphorical heads of one or two disposable bishops.
Make no mistake, regardless of the “truth” of religion, this is not a religious issue at heart. This is evil people getting away with evil, and using little old ladies’ retirement money to fund it. This is a very powerful, very rich cadre of entrenched and largely criminally immune men who have been systematically committing rape. They have been anally raping boys, then threatening them with eternal torment if they tell anyone.
The orphan children, they had it bad. I knew …(who they were)… by the size of them, I’d ask them and they’d say they come from …named institution…. They were there from an early age. You’d hear the screams from the room where Br …X… would be abusing them.
There was one night, I wasn’t long there and I seen one of the Brothers on the bed with one of the young boys … and I heard the young lad screaming crying and Br …X… said to me “if you don’t mind your own business you’ll get the same”. … I heard kids screaming and you know they are getting abused and that’s a nightmare in anybody’s mind. You are going to try and break out. … So there was no way I was going to let that happen to me…. I remember one boy and he was bleeding from the back passage and I made up my mind, there was no way it …(anal rape)… was going to happen to me. … That used to play on my mind. LINK
We have a lot to worry about here in America. We have an economic recession, teabaggers, healthcare reform, and any one of a hundred tragedies reported every day on FAUX News. Everything moves fast here. Whether it’s by design or not, we are not good at solving problems that take longer than a season of American Idol. But this is a problem that demands a solution. Accuse me of trying to guilt people into helping, and I’ll plead guilty. Anyone who does not loudly and vehemently vote with their feet on this issue is guilty of allowing children to be raped. There’s no other way to look at it.
Let me put this succinctly. If you are a Catholic, and you’ve put a dollar in the offering plate since this scandal hit the news, then you are responsible for facilitating child rape. If you are a sentient, adult person, and have not called for justice against the people who have perpetrated this evil, you have helped to allow it to continue. This is not about religion. It’s about child rapists using the cover of religion to perpetrate evil. If there is a God, he will not be happy with members of the flock who have protected the “Holy Church” when it has systematically raped children.
This is not something that we can allow to be swept under the rug.
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