Miss Information strikes again as police beating of 16-year-old girl sparks UK riots. The police shooting (many would say murder) of Mark Duggan, and a subsequent beating of a 16 year old girl are the events that actually started the riot, but the media is ignoring these two crucial events, especially the second one.
A quick Google search for ‘UK riot cause’ leads to many news articles reporting on the monetary costs to businesses that have been burned and looted. Sure, this is an unfortunate consequence of the rioting, but what about the cause that started the riots?
To truly understand why certain people participated in the riots, British society must be examined. Since 1824 here has been a stop and search policy (or sus law) allowing police to search anyone they want, provided they look suspicious. It could be compared to SB1070 in Arizona. During the early 1980′s in England, uprisings against the racial profiling and the sus law became wide spread. There were many race riots in England between 1980 and 1981. The British Government reacted by removing the sus law. Recently, stop and search again went into law in response to the war on terror. Many young blacks and some whites are angry at the law, as many of them have been stopped and searched many many times in their young adulthood. A 37 year old woman is bringing a lawsuit because she was stopped for carrying a bag.
The political right propaganda machine doesn’t only make outrageous claims unfounded in reality. Much of their efficacy comes from what they don’t say. Legitimacy is often given arguments of false equivalence by failure to point out that some arguments presented to the public just don’t have two sides.
Examples of this phenomenon include giving Creationism equal footing with Natural Selection. One is science based on over one hundred fifty years of observation of nature subject to rigorous testing and retesting. The other is a set of opinions bolstered by false authority in superstition and magical thinking. One is based on interpretation of reality based fact; the other is founded on guesswork opinions and suppositions, tradition and hearsay.
Rightwash campaigns redefine reality for political gain. The recent debt ceiling crisis is a case in point. The facts are that the government has to take short term loans and issue government bonds to meet obligations made long since by Congress. Congress has routinely held its nose and raised its self imposed borrowing limits regardless of economic circumstances because the full faith and credit of the government is an issue very different from budgets, entitlements, pork barrel spending and fiscal responsibility.
Cutting government spending wholesale leads to lost government jobs. It is the worst thing you can do in a recession. Fewer government jobs means less money circulating in the economy which lowers consumer demands which leads to less manufacturing, product transport and private sector jobs. It’s a real domino effect. Delaying guarantees of government debt services erodes bankers’ confidence in getting their capital repaid. This uncertainty forces a rise in interest rates which, in this instance, is costing this government $1.7 Billion more than had raising the debt ceiling two weeks earlier would have. That’s 57,000 teachers, police and fire-fighters. Gone. For nothing. Into the pockets of bankers, the very people who created the financial meltdown we’re in the middle of and from which we’re trying so desperately to recover. How many miles of highway repair, bridges built or renewable energy infrastructure now languishes even further out of reach? Where is the fiscal responsibility in that? Who among the Republican Tea Party Caucus is crowing about how bravely they’ve cost their children and grandchildren an extra one thousand, seven hundred million dollars in interest to prove how short sighted their obstructionist intransigence has been? Where is the virtue in that?
These issues go on and on: Elevating the administrative infraction of undocumented foreigners to the status of a crime, ignoring undocumented residents’ contributions to society, the taxes they pay, and the levels of undocumented immigration rates at the lowest it’s been for decades. Just ask the Georgia farmers whose crops have rotted in the field because punitively draconian, Republican rhetoric driven, xenophobic laws created catastrophic farm worker shortages. How’s that helping the economy? Who is going to help out those farmers with their spoiled crops and their families’ devastated finances?
The culture wars are manufactured crises brought to bear by myopic, perennial malcontents who would reshape America into a mythical Leave-It-to-Beaver utopia, where mom stays home to wash the breakfast dishes in her smart suit and sensible pearls, the kids go to school to learn life’s lessons to the extend appropriate for instruction outside the home, free from imposed sex education, social equality for gays or integration of minorities, and without proscriptions from enforcing uniform declarations of the superiority of “our” faith on the one hand, or the formation of medieval style feudal dystopia run by a divinely entitled few who lord effective ownership of the voiceless many by controlling every aspect of their lives to better extract wealth from the sweat of their brow and the strain on their backs.
That’s about the size of it from the perspective of the erstwhile Conservative populists who populate political rallies, man the phone banks, and fill their churches, and the wealthy, self entitled elite who bankroll and call the shots behind the curtain of ersatz grassroots PACs.
It’s been over thirty years of setting the stage that allows so many to substitute reality for opinion and replace fact with assertion. Americans have long been trained to accept without question the authority of God and the interpretation by select exponents of that message’s meaning. Even if you don’t’ agree with the interpretations by the pastor down the block, you just don’t speak up because that would be disrespectful of their faith and injurious of their freedom to worship. Religious tolerance.
Conservatives have taken this armour against critique by bringing evangelicals and their organized blocks of votes to bear. Imposition of their godly edicts upon the entire population is the price of their support of rampant corporate deregulation, special tax breaks and the lowest tax rates for the wealthy in over half a century, that low taxes increase Treasury revenue and stimulates job creation. Add the manufactured cultural issues that service undermining women’s reproductive rights, demonized government service workers, teachers unions and the social safety net, painting immigrants – the basic foundational element of our population – and gays as a threat to marriage, family, children and democracy. What we end up with is the black-is-white, up-is-down, progress-is-devil’s-work delusion of current American conservatism: Rightwash.
It’s all about redefining perceptions of reality to conform to false declarations based on hearsay, unsubstantiated opinion, non-provable assertions and outright fabrications. The goal is to keep the most gullible and the undecided electorate scared and angry with distractions built to confuse attention away from those grabbing money and power. There are many, many issues to choose from. Let’s examine one of the most emotionally irrational and easily manipulated issues, the denial of gay rights equality and destruction of homosexuals’ full citizenship.
It’s not only what they say, it’s what they don’t say.
The right maintains that same sex headed households harm children. Some cite studies that say children fare better when reared in a home led by both a mother and a father. What they don’t’ say is that the study they cite compared two parent households with single parent households. They don’t mention that none of the families in the study were same sex couple families. Rightwash.
Recently, Focus on the Family spokesman Tom Minnery spoke at a Congressional hearing citing a Dept. of Health and Human Services study in support of theDefence of Marriage Act. The study said that children fare better in a family where the parents are married and all the children are either biological or legally adopted. Minnery wanted to say that the study proves only heterosexual parented families work well. What he didn’t say is that the study didn’t differentiate between opposite sex headed families and same sex headed families. What he didn’t say is that the study actually indicates children born to or adopted in a same sex couple headed family enjoy the same securities and benefits as their opposite sex parented counterparts. That’s exactly opposite to what Minnery would have had the Senate inquiry believe. Rightwash.
According to the blog, Antigay Lies and Liars, “The following researchers, physicians, and Ph.D.s have complained about how the anti-gay industry has misused their work:
A. Nicholas Groth, along with other psychologists cited among anti-gay assertions, charged Paul Cameron, the disgraced anti-gay junk scientist, with distortions of their work Upon subsequent investigation, the American Psychological Association and other mental health professional societies have expelled, repudiated or condemned Cameron for misrepresentation of others’ work and use of unsound methods in his own studies. October 1994. Undaunted by scientific consensus, anti-gay groups continue to cite Cameron’s fraudulent work in support of their narratives.
Robert S. Hogg,Stefan A. Strathdee, Kevin J.P. Craib, Michael V. Shaughnessy, Julio Montaner, and Martin T. Schehter, the six researchers of a Canadian study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology on the gay and bisexual life expectancy in w:st=”on”>Vancouver in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their claim is the paper has been misrepresented by“homophobic groups [that] appear more interested in restricting the human rights of gay and bisexuals rather than promoting their health
Dr. Robert Garofalo (see Gays as Diseased) complained an anti-LGBT ad campaign citing his work was a “a complete misrepresentation” of his research regarding high-risk behavior, including substance abuse, leading to suicide. Anti-gay groups claimed the death came from the corruption of homosexuality itself rather than from the alienation gay teens confront in a “culture that is often unaccepting” which Garofalo described as “the complete opposite conclusion of what the paper actually concluded.”
Lisa Waldner, repudiated (p. 15) the Family Research Council’s mischaracterization of her non-scientific, out-of-date, study, made as an undergrad student, on Gay and Lesbian sexual practices within a non-random, closed circle of friends among her acquaintances.
Patrick Letellier, whose unscientific research on gay domestic violence was cherry picked by Gary Glenn of the American Family Association of Michigan, ignoring a dozen years of subsequent, actual scientific research finding contrary conclusions. “Culture and Family Institute and Focus on the Family resurrected Glenn’s fabrications and rebroadcast them as evidence that hate crimes are committed by homosexuals against homosexuals, not by gay-bashers. [Gary Glenn is considering a Republican Senate challenge of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)]
Dr. Joanne Hall (citation 2b), complained of the distorted findings of her 35 subject study as a ‘fact sheet’ regarding the fabricated dangers of gay adoption, rather than “the description of health care interaction and patterns of perception by Lesbians already in recovery” based on anecdotal evidence. (section 6, pp.17)
Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, stated on national Canadian TV that her research into teen Lesbian suicide “has been hijacked for somebody’s political purposes or ideological purposes and that’s worrisome” and “she was “baffled” by the conclusions the organization drew from her research … which showed that lesbian teenagers were more likely to attempt suicide. Reacting to survey results, Focus on the Family blamed the very people trying to help teens enter a more accepting society. June 2006
Dr. Robert Spitzer, Professor of Psychiatry, w:st=”on”>Columbia University, complained right wing groups, particularly Focus on the Family, misrepresented his work on reconversion therapy. February 2007
Dr. Francis Collins, refuted statements made by Greg Quinlan, working with the New Jersey Policy Council in an interview published by American Family Association’s One News Now website, attributing noted geneticist Francis S. Collins as untrue — including descriptions of Collins’s work on the human genome project to indicate, and subsequently claimed as fact, that homosexuality derives with absolutely no genetic component and is 100% nurture. September 2008
Gary Remafedi, professor of pediatrics at University of Minnesota, accused Parents and Friends of eXgays (PFOX) of manipulating and misrepresenting his research, demanding PFOX immediately remove his study from their website. July, 2008
Professor Michael King, responded to Box Turtle Bulletin when asked about an article by Kathleen Gilbert on two anti-gay websites, LifeSiteNews and the American Family Association that cited Dr. King’s work but left “little resemblance between it and the claims of AFA and LSN,” actually drawing conclusions opposite from Dr. King’s findings. September 2008
Professor Lisa Diamond, Associate Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies University of Utah, called out the National Association of Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) for “willful misuse and distortion of my research. Not an academic disagreement. Not a slight shading of the truth. It’s wilful distortion. And, it’s illegitimate and it’s irresponsible and you know that. And you should stop.” November 2008
Judith Stacey, Professor of Sociology , New York University, , via SoulForce produced YouTube video describing misrepresentation of her research, with Dr. Timothy Biblarz, into Lesbian and gay parenting by Focus on the Family’s James Dobson
Angela Phillips, wrote to Focus on the Family leader, James C. Dobson for “seriously misrepresenting” her work “The Trouble With Boys,” asking him to “prominently” publish her letter on Focus on the Family’s website, December 2006
Professors, Ron Stall, and Ronald O. Valdiserri, authors with Richard J. Wolitski of the book Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States Cited multiple instances where Exodus International and Focus on the Family, on their web magazine CitizenLink authored by Jeff Johnson “misrepresented findings in the book to suggest that childhood sexual abuse causes male homosexuality” as “inaccurate and, in our opinion, a distortion of the scientific literature.” June 2009
This is but an abbreviated list of characters who abuse reality based on ideology and advancing their political cause regardless of contrary proof or reason. The most prolific among these reality distorters above are James Dobson of Focus on the Family (Family Radio Network) and the American Family Association that publishes the reactionary One News Now and broadcasts Bryan Fischer’s Focal Point radio show. But, they’re by no means solitary players. They work toward common cause with dozens of other organizations, ideologues and politicians.
This past weekend, Gov. Rick Perry held his The Response prayer rally of which Dobson was an honorary co- chair, along with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, another rabidly anti-gay group, The Family Research Institute (Paul Cameron), The Family Research Council (Tony Perkins), Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (Peter LaBarbera) and the American Family Association (Bryan Fischer) are all designated hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center based on criteria that includes “… beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for immutable characteristics.” Hate group activities run the gamut among speeches, marches, rallies, meetings, published materials and distribution, and criminal acts such as violence, though, according to the SPLC, not all groups on their hate groups list go so far as to employ criminal activity.
DavidBarton, the revisionist, self-identified expert, pseudo-historian, founder of WallBuilders, consulting designer of history school books in Texas and California, embraces Seven Mountains theology, also known as the Dominion Mandate, Dominion Imperative and several other similar monikers. This movement’s eschatology blueprints the Christian fundamentalist evangelical takeover of the seven structures that define and drive western culture:
The last few years has seen an upsurge of Dominionists raising their heads out of the shadows to merge openly Religious Right politics with Dominionist theology. Among them are the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins at its center, Lou Engle, founder and president of the Call to Conscience, Rick Joyner of the Oak Initiative, Jerry Boykin, Janet Porter, and Frank Turek. According to Right Wing Watch, Joyner, Boykin, Turek and Perkins have already joined in calling for Christians become more involved in (read: take over all levels of) politics. They claim biblical commands to recover “all that we’ve lost…in a fellowship called 300…We have enough people… This country has a Judeo-Christian heritage … that is being robbed from us… We are retreating no further.”
The likes of Reps. Michele Bachman (R-MN), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) have joined for events with open Dominionists Lou Engle (The Call, International House of Prayer), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Jim Garlow (Skyline Church pastor) and Harry Jackson (High Impact Leadership Council) in December 2009 for a “prayercast” seeking supernatural intervention, as organized by the Family Research Council, against passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Many among this group were speakers at Rick Perry’s The Response gathering last weekend. Huckabee, who would force Americans to listen to historical revisionist David Barton at gunpoint, first embraced Dominionists and then backed off when he got some heat for it.
These people aren’t messing around. They won’t be happy until they’ve “returned” to a feudal holy theocracy where everyone is forced to at least pretend to agree with their delusions of the supernatural and their attendant superiority. You have seen relatively minor examples documented above how these people will create whichever narrative they wish to force false equivalencies upon fabricated issues injected into the public square. They have advanced by bullying the most vulnerable, marginalized groups such as immigrants, (poor) women and pseudo-Americans such as liberals, apostates, blasphemers, Muslims and any other non-apostolic/non-evangelical believers/dissidents/non-believers, non-English speaking naturalized immigrants, and everybody else they say are unworthy of the benefits of living in America. They currently focus especially on (inherently corrupt and evil, undeserving, abominable, unsympathetic and just plain ickey) gay Americans to stifle diversity, eliminate equity and fairness and crush dissent. These are true believers who ignore history, dismiss reality and actively seek to undermine the Constitution whenever and wherever it’s convenient. They are organized and are rallying to create a theocratic Dominion. They actively collude with politicians and corporations to hoard money, amass influence over the populace and grab power. They have corporate backing and deep pockets. They must be called out and exposed at every turn. What they’re not telling you is that you would be left without a choice: Rightwash.
©Nathan Garcia 2011 All International Rights Reserved.
Roads of Deception: The Religious Right’s War of Lies on Gay America
Groups Cook the Books on Gay Domestic Violence
JONAH – Another ex-gay group pushing bad science
Homophobic ‘researcher’ Paul Cameron in all of his repulsive glory
Top six religious right distortion techniques used to defame the lgbt community
The ‘Complete’ Words of love?
The so-called culture war exists only because of a relatively small, however shrill, collection of extremist religionists and political moralists who get away with their distortions because too few more reasonable believers fail to stand up to them at all, much less at every opportunity.
There are a vast majority of reasonable, moderate to liberal believers who support progressive social issues like equality, choice and social justice. After all, these tenets are not only guaranteed by the Constitutional law of the land, but are primary aspects of the creed most religious believers ascribe to. A problem arises when Freedom of Religion is extended beyond the tip of one’s nose to stifle dissent of what a minority claim is part of their pursuit of religion. Too long have even the most outlandish and egregiously overextended abuses of religious freedom gone unchecked under the banner of religious choice and scriptural observation in the name of religious tolerance. Some faithful have enjoyed a taboo against criticism and critique for so long and to the extent that whatever they say is allowed not only to themselves but to affect those around them both near and far. Issues such as slavery, women’s rights, temperance, voting right, segregation, conservation, and xenophobia had historically been justified by religious doctrine and scripture long after a disaffected public turned against them. Many among these issues are contentious today. Assigning divine authority to the observation of non-religious issues is significant far beyond the most radically outspoken few.
Forty years of fusion between political conservatism and religion, since the 1970s have infused public debate with the authority and entitlement claimed by some believers to supersede history, empirical fact and the Constitution of the United States. Beginning with Jimmy Carter’s “I have lusted in my heart” evangelism, but especially since Ronald Regan’s first Presidential bid, the likes of Christian Voice (1978) and the Moral Majority (1979) and, later, the Christian Coalition (1987) have been prominently influential in defining the tone and timbre of public discourse to the effect exclusion of any alternative sources of philosophical authority.
Blending policy with religion serves several purposes. First, a great majority of Americans are taught from near infancy to believe a set of propositions that include prohibitions from questioning and challenging those propositions in any manner, to any degree, at any time, for any reason. An elect few are designated with transcendent power to not only interpret philosophical sources, but correlate ancient thought with current circumstances while enjoying the taboo against challenge, critique and criticism even among those who do not specifically acknowledge those claiming such power. As a result, they can say whatever they want, and inject whatever projection so contrived, protected from challenge by virtue of the specially unassailable authority of religious tolerance. That is assumed without regard of whom it harms, the damage it wreaks or how egregiously it contravenes fact. Even simple objections to their pronouncements on how everybody should think and behave, according the them, abridge their freedom to practice religion and their definition of religious tolerance.
Not all believers follow this paradigm, though there are enough among decidedly radical extremists who are well heeled enough to wield considerate political clout. Religious leaders have long enjoyed privileged access to a succession of chief executives, legislators, jurists, and on down the social structure to include actively compliant followers. Such religious influence in the halls of government has received at least tacit approval by the majority of believers who demur in the name of tolerance.
Who are the most prominent among the regressive religious radicals and what do they say about themselves, our nation and the alleged threats to their view of the world? Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority and Liberty University, is deceased without a charismatic successor. Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition has receded from prominence though his Christian Broadcasting Network, while faded in eminence somewhat in recent years, is still broadcasting worldwide. Most of the early trend setting organizations have been supplanted by not for profit organizations such as Peter LaBarbera’s Americans for Truth About Homosexuality and the American Family Association whose Director of Issues Analysis and host of their American Family Radio program, Focal Point, is Bryan Fischer. While there are dozens of similar groups in operation, these two organizations epitomize the general evangelical approach to social engineering:
(1) Create an issue.
(2) Justify its relevance with scripture
(3) Label a vulnerable, already marginalized target as the source of the threat.
Both these groups have been certified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center based on criteria of claims made by these groups that have been objectively discredited or demonstrably proven false. While the declarations made by these and similar groups are bizarre and most often absurd, they share an approach which may be characterized as a concerted effort to return racism, misogyny and homophobia to normalized status in American Culture.
According to Bryan Fischer, gay rights will prevent religious freedom because “every advance of the homosexual agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty,” Hitler was homosexual and the Nazi party was founded in a gay bar, DADT repeal will lead to the return of the military draft, and because gays are aberrant, gay role models cannot exist. He says any type of homosexual union should be outlawed.
Peter LaBarbara exhibits a keen interest in fetish sexual practices among gay men in support of his vilification of gay men and Lesbian women in general. Online reporters have opined that LaBarbara has exposed more Christians to gay sexual practices than have ever happened upon such discovery on their own. Last February, in a Twitter exchange with journalist Zach Ford, LaBarbara tweeted, “One man’s “discrimination” is another man’s fidelity to his conscience + moral/rel[igious] code. That’s the essence of this battle.” Earlier this week, his AFTAH organization was stripped of it’s non-profit status for faulty IRS documentation, which may put a serious crimp in the group’s ability to raise funds. Dampening its activities from lack of interest in its positions would have been much better, but even Al Capone was taken off the streets because of IRS issues.
The point of all this is that these religious ideologues have long been claiming religious freedom in undermining the rights of anybody who doesn’t agree with them, look like them, live, think or worship like them. They claim, at least indirectly, that their religious rights trump everybody else’s rights and supercedes any laws that would curtail the active expression of their beliefs. According to them, the mere existence of minorities, women’s needs, and gay people infringes on their rights to object and discriminate however they please.
It’s up to reasonable people to call zealots out whenever these ideologues make claims in the name of some conflated common cause, such as being heterosexual or American citizens, that oversteps the bounds of reason. Bryan Fischer, Peter LaBarbara and those who agree with their philosophies against diversity and inclusion, do not represent any genuine American ideal. They do not represent any opinion or philosophy supportable by the Constitution or any court of law.
I am ready to speak up and speak out. Are you?
Ireland is a small country of just under five million inhabitants struggling under the crushing debt brought on by government bail outs of irresponsible and intransigent bankers. The financial boon of the 90s which ran to 2007 brought huge social changes to the country, including improved education and a heretofore unknown prosperity. That age is largely gone with unemployment lingering over 14 percent, unprecedented mortgage defaults while large, unfinished housing developments languish into dilapidation from neglect forced on developers by irrational speculation and evaporated capital.
The Republic of Ireland is less than a century old, having won its independence after eight centuries of occupation in 1921, and becoming a free state, emancipated from the bonds of a foreign government, in 1948. Ireland has truly seen a litany of historic hard times. Its people still live under the institutionalized effects brought by eight centuries of occupation and over a millennium under unyielding power of the Catholic Church. Government indicates 92 percent of every primary and secondary school in Ireland is organized and overseen by the Church. These faith based schools prioritize enrollment first to families of their own faith, with Catholic schools requiring an oath before a priest that the child — whether the parents are non-practicing, apostate, agnostic, atheist, or even Protestant — be raised as a practicing Catholic or be denied enrolment. The mandatory “leaving cert” secondary level graduation examinations included a religion class module. Universities tread lightly on how they named science departments to avoid offending the Church. Ireland effected an anti-blasphemy law in 2010 that criminalizes “grossly abusive or insult [utterance] in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.” Meanwhile, the Church has systematically defended and hidden from public scrutiny its administrative role in hiding criminal activity within its ranks by protecting the well being of the Church over that of its members’ children and their families.
May, 2009 saw the release, by high court judge Sean Ryan, of a 2,600 page final report of a nearly decade long inquiry detailing findings among thousands of inmates in more than 250 church run industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s until the last of them were closed in the late 1990s. The report found that rape and molestation were “endemic” in facilities run mostly by the Christian Brothers order. Supervisors in charge were found to execute policies that increased the child inmates’ danger. Girls’ facilities were administered chiefly by the Sisters of Mercy where inmates suffered much less sexual abuse though they were subject to frequent assaults and humiliation meant to undermine their feelings of self worth. “In some schools a high level of ritualzied beating was routine…” By any measure, the children were systematically brutalized and tortured. Government not only failed to protect the children and prevent further assault, government protected the assailants, the orders involved, and the Church from criticism and investigation.
Church lawsuits, missing documentation, government obstruction and a Christian Brothers lawsuit successfully guaranteed anonymity of Christian Brothers members, regardless of the evidence and even among the few Christian Brothers convicted of attacks on children in courts of law.
A few months later, the government commissioned Murphy Report, examining clerical abuses specifically in the Archdiocese of Dublin, echoed the findings of the Ryan Commission, concluding “the Dublin Archdiocese’s preoccupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid 1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State.” The men in charge hid behind canon law to shield offenders at the expense of victims. Successive archbishops and bishops avoided scandal by pointed failure to report victims’ complaints to Gardaí, the state police service.
Taoiseach [ˈtiːʃæx or THEE shokh] Irish Gaelic, literally leader or chief, the prime minister. Formally an Taoiseach
Tánaiste [ˈt̪ˠaːnəʃtʲə or TAU nish tuh] Irish Gaelic, heir of the chief (Taoiseach) or king (rí), deputy prime minister in the Dáil. Formally an Tánaiste
Dáil Éireann [ /dɔɪl ˈɛərɒn/ or doll Er in] the lower house, but principal chamber of the bicameral Irish parliament, Oireachtas [ɛrʲaxt̪ˠasˠ or, or AKH tas]
In mid-July, 2011, the same Murphy Commission released findings on the Archdiocese of Cloyne, dubbed the Cloyne Report. But, its findings of obstruction and the “perversion of the course of justice” extends beyond Irish shores into the very heart of the Holy See.
In debate before the Dail over the merits and consequences presented by the Cloyne Report, Taoiseach Enda Kenny (Fine Gael, Co. Mayo) assumed a position never before taken by any government leader: Enough!
“The revelations of the Cloyne report have brought the Government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture. It’s fair to say that after the Ryan and Murphy reports Ireland is, perhaps, unshockable when it comes to the abuse of children.
“But Cloyne has proved to be of a different order.
“Because for the first time in Ireland a report into child sexual abuse exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.
“And in doing so, the Cloyne report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism – the narcissism – that dominate[s] the culture of the Vatican to this day. The rape and torture of children were downplayed or “managed” to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and “reputation”.
“The Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyze it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer … the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded… a case of Roma locuta est: causa finita est.
“Except in this instance, nothing could be further from the truth.
“While it will take a long time for Cloyne to recover from the horrors uncovered, it could take the victims and their families a lifetime to pick up the pieces of their shattered existence.
“The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade met with the papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza. The Tánaiste left the archbishop clear on two things:
• The gravity of the actions and attitude of the Holy See;
• and Ireland’s complete rejection and abhorrence of same.”
No public official in Irish history had ever before spoken similarly to call the Vatican to task. Within hours of the address, news services around the world carried the story of how the leader of this small nation took on the Vatican to hold it, the Goliath of world wide religious power, responsible for the abuses of its representatives in the field and its leaders in Rome.
Since his address, the Vatican has insisted the circumstances must be examined objectively, claimed the law proposed by the Taoiseach the day of his speech to the Daíl requiring child abuse be reported to civil authorities would undermine confessional protections, and claimed that the papal nuncio’s 1997 advice that “ ‘mandatory reporting’ gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and a canonical nature” could not in any way be interpreted as instruction to cover up wrongdoing or pervert the course of justice.
The Taoiseach isn’t having it. He’s standing his ground.
Long have religions enjoyed a taboo against challenge, critique and criticism of righteous positions and practices, and none more than the Roman Catholic Church. Until very recently, politicians in Ireland overtly or tacitly sought the blessing of the domestic Church authority to stand for office or embrace particular public policy. The Church had long been a king maker in civil Irish leadership where political hopefuls had to mirror Church philosophy, very much as News International mogul Rupert Murdock until recently enjoyed in the UK. It’s the very same kind of bully pulpit creed Conservative political hopefuls must appear to embrace if they hope to secure evangelicals’ support for just about any state or national Republican nomination in the U.S.
We don’t have a single, overriding religious authority in America, courtesy of the Constitution. Instead, we have a number of lopsidedly loud, disproportionately well funded, and therefore, powerful interest groups, each of which has its targets of abuse. But, instead of shrinking from scandal, they revel in creating controversy to better frighten their followers into blind submission and financial support.
These organizations are numerous and each is funded by mendacious deep pockets whose ulterior motives are historically well hidden, but which are readily apparent by recent behavior exhibited among groups and politicians equally well funded from the same financial resources. The tactics are always the same: create a crisis of grand social dimension by falsely describing easily redefined, socially marginalized targets used to evoke in-group sentiment at the expense of the targeted individual or group. Conservatives have long painted minorities, immigrants – Anyone and anything they can paint as “The Other” – to great effect.
A very effective dimension draws on the fact that most Americans are taught from an early age to never question divine authority, eschew any proof or evidence that would countermand that authority, and rely on the emotion of faith rather than reason, logic or empirical evidence. To challenge others’ beliefs in whatever they consider sacred is taboo and considered by the faithful as religious intolerance without regard to the harm caused or to whom. This is how the Catholic Church has escaped scrutiny and civl prosecution for many centuries. Conservatives’ use of divine authority to paint their villains through the likes of The Moral Majority in previous decades and relying on religiously rationalized prejudice gives conservative groups carte blanche to assign whatever apocalyptic scenario they please. Given divine imprimatur, these opinions are claimed tantamount to gospel and anybody who says otherwise is victimizing the faithful.
Neat and convenient. Very effective, too. And, manufacture landscapes of imagined consequences they do:
Marriage equality destroys heterosexual marriage.
-Bishop Harry Jackson, Stand4Marriage DC
-Lou Engle, The Call
Bullying of actual and perceived LGBT students expresses scriptural teachings, and restrictions on bullying abridges freedom of religion.
-Focus on the Family
-Alliance Defense Fund
-American Family Association
Gays must recruit to expand their numbers
-Pat Robertson, 700 Club
-Rev. Dwight McKissic, Cornerstone Baptist Church
- Robert Knight, Director: Culture & Family Institute, Concerned Women for America
- Lou Sheldon, Traditional Values Coalition
Armed Service members marching in recent Gay Pride parades are boasting sin.
-Peter LaBarbara, Americans for Truth about Homosexuality
Gays should be disqualified from public office
-Bryan Fischer, The American Family Association
The list goes on and on, the claims ever more outlandish, none connected to reality, provable by fact, or demonstrable by empirical evidence. Each and every claim has been disproven and debunked by the objective evidence of medicine and psychology and other sciences as well as the judiciary when heard before a court of law, by virtue of the Constitution and the weight of public opinion. These abusers of Constitutionally protected civil rights — freedom of association, privacy, freedom from religion, equal protection under the law, among others — confuse conviction with reality and opinion with truth.
Enda Kenny is a model for standing up to corrupt institutional power. Mr. Kenny stands on the outrage of his electorate, braving the political wrath of his detractors and faithful apologists. His is how it is done. It is time for local, county, state and Federal officeholders in America and around the world to follow the leader of the Republic of Ireland’s shining example in how to stand against tyranny informed by religious dogma, however traditional, long standing or dug in. The light of day has swayed public opinion against abusive rhetoric and oppressive behavior.
Call or write your mayor, council, assembly or legislature, Senator and Congressperson with instructions to call out the false and corrupt positions of those — whether religious, corporate sponsored, special interest or individual — who would deny the freedoms and equal protections of your family, neighbors and fellow American citizens. Refer them to Taoiseach Enda Kenny on how to do it.
The United States seems to be more warlike than any other nation in modern history. Obama is presiding over two official wars, another three conflicts that look a lot like war, over 662 foreign military sites, 2,200 nuclear warheads, and the willingness to use these resources to wage wars on a regular basis. Why has the US engaged in so many wars? War seems expensive and results in many many deaths, so there must be some compelling reasons, and there are. There are consequences for aggressive actions, and sometimes the victims have the audacity to ask for reparations, as Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is trying to do.
Daniel Ortega is proposing a national referendum on whether to demand the United States pay up the $17 billion owed under a 1986 World Court judgment that found the former Ronald Reagan administration had committed unlawful aggression. The ruling centered around the U.S. support for Contra militants who killed thousands of people in trying to topple the Sandinista government. Nicaragua dropped its demand for the United States to respect the judgment after a U.S.-backed government [in 1990] came [stole] into office following a decade of economic and armed warfare.”
Translated into plainer English, Ortega is demanding that the US pays for the cost of it’s past policy of attacking the Sandinista government, and Nicaraguan citizens, who took the country out of poverty, and increased the literacy rate from 50% to 92%. Then, after the world court decided the financial compensation owed to Nicaragua, the US tripled support for the Contras just as Regan-Bush promised the Sandinistas to stop the violence. This led to the Sandinista loss in the 1990 election. The winner, Violeta Chamorro, who was elected because the US promised to continue the violence if she lost. Obviously, she was very pro United States. Coincidently, she decided to cancel the payment of the $17 billion in reparations.
I have long been convinced that one is able to base sound decisions only upon a foundation of accurate information. Whether choosing an individual path or navigating the way forward for large groups, even tiny errors can lead to profound consequences down the road. Adherence to provable reality is crucial.
From a very early age I was taught to believe in the supernatural, to trust my emotions above any other knowledge. I was taught that I am intrinsically corrupted, fundamentally bad. But, I was not alone as everybody around me was portrayed to be in the same boat, on a tempestuous sea. Over time, however, I came to understand I possessed a special flaw bestowed only on a few. So heinous was this defect that I understood early on that it must be kept hidden, covered up, thwarted at all costs. I was not only doomed by events centuries before my existence, I was evil and hateful by special, inherent design. My only recourse to overcome this darkness deep within me was supernatural intervention.