|This guy really likes apostrophes!|
There really seems to be a lot of religious news today, but maybe I can get through the rest of this stuff pretty quickly.
For example, I don't have much more to say about the above image - besides the caption - except to wonder what "P.K's" might be, or "High Fullutent." Any idea? I can certainly see that he's a man ("Loud Mouth Women"), and not too bright (obviously).
Next, this article struck me, because a Lutheran pastor is apologizing for attending that interfaith prayer vigil with President Obama at Sandy Hook, the site of the recent elementary school shooting. Is he apologizing for blurring America's separation of church and state? No, that's not it.
A Connecticut Lutheran pastor has apologized for participating in an interfaith prayer vigil for the 26 children and adults killed at a Newtown elementary school in December because his church bars its clergy from worshipping with other faiths.
The December prayer vigil was attended by President Barack Obama, leaders from Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths, and relatives of the 20 first graders who were gunned down in their classrooms two days earlier after a gunman entered their school.
You see, Lutherans have got the only real religion, which they believe by faith, while all those other faith-based people are wrong. (How do you know that? Well, faith, of course.) So you can't hang around with those people, since it might imply that they're equals, you know.
Or maybe, since none of you have a good reason for your beliefs, it might get people wondering why they should believe any of it?
Lest I seem to be picking on Protestants, here's the Catholic Church planning a "massive fundraising campaign." Gee, I wonder why they need the money?
The non-profit Guidance in Giving lists the Los Angeles-area Catholic Church among its "diocesan accounts" and says it is exploring a campaign to raise $200 million for the diocese to meet "a variety of needs," including "priests' retirement, seminarian education, Catholic schools, Catholic Charities and parish needs."
That might sound reasonable, unless you know that "a variety of needs" includes this:
In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to a $660 million settlement with 562 victims of abuse by priests and other church personnel. According to the Times, financial reports show that the church remains $80 million in debt.
The effort to shore up church finances is the initiative of Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, who was installed in 2011, and now seems keen to move the church away from its tarnished past.
On Jan. 31, Gomez presided over the release of thousands of pages of priest personnel files that had been the subject of a legal tussle for six years. The 12,000 pages, made accessible through the archdiocese web site, reveal many communications among officials who appear to be concealing allegations of the priests' sexual abuses from police.
The court ordered the documents be released in 2007 as part of the settlement, but the church lawyers fought to redact many of the names in the documents until earlier this month, when a judge ruled against them.
Furthermore, there's this:
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles released 12,000 pages of internal files last Thursday on priests accused of sexually abusing children, saying that it was finally abiding by a settlement it signed with victims six years ago to make the painful history public.
But it now appears that the files the church released with much fanfare are incomplete and many are unaccounted for, according to the abuse victims’ lawyers. In addition, on many documents the names of church supervisors informed of abuse allegations were redacted by the archdiocese, in apparent violation of a judge’s order.
At issue is whether the survivors of abuse and the public will ever learn which church officials were responsible for mishandling or covering up allegations of sexual abuse.
And then there's this:
The quake that hit Los Angeles last Thursday (Jan. 31) was an ecclesiastical one, but still pretty earth-shaking for the Catholic Church: After the release of thousands of secret personnel files detailing decades of sexual abuse of children by clergy, Archbishop Jose Gomez publicly rebuked his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, and stripped him of his official duties.
But here’s the question: Did anything really change for the embattled cardinal? ...
The first indication that Gomez’s pronouncement was less than it first appeared was a clarification early Friday morning by longtime archdiocesan spokesman Tod Tamberg in response to initial news reports. He noted that as a retired archbishop, Mahony in fact had no administrative duties, so Gomez’s injunction on that score had no teeth. Indeed, canon law explicitly says that a cardinal’s authority is universal and cannot be curtailed by any bishop except the pope.
Tamberg also noted that Mahony remained a “priest in good standing” and that his day-to-day activities would not change. The cardinal would not be presiding at confirmation rites, Tamberg said, but as one local priest put it, confirmations are not popular tasks so “this is hardly a severe punishment!”
At the same time, in Rome, the Vatican’s spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, seemed to distance the pope from the battle in America’s largest archdiocese. Lombardi told reporters that the issue was being handled by Gomez, and that anything Gomez did would not affect the “other duties assigned by the pope to Cardinal Mahony in the Curia.”
In other words, Mahony, who turns 77 later this month, would still be eligible to vote in a conclave for a new pope, and as a cardinal would still be considered a “prince of the church” and a top adviser to the pontiff.
A few hours later, Mahony himself upped the ante by publishing on his personal blog a sharply worded private letter that he had sent to Gomez, defending his track record and pointedly writing that Gomez had known everything about the secret documents for three years and never took any action until they became public last week.
By late Friday, Gomez was forced to issue a statement under his own name stating that Mahony – as well as Curry – remained “bishops in good standing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to minister to the faithful without restriction.”
It's not surprising that the church would like to put such things behind it, but how do they plan to do that? Well, not by punishing the people who protected child rapists, letting them move on to new victims in fresh parishes, but by convincing the gullible to send them money.
Yeah, an extra $200 million would be nice, wouldn't it? Bless you, my son.
And speaking of Catholics, here's the University of Dayton:
The University of Dayton is a private Roman Catholic school in Ohio. Like many religious institutions of higher learning, they seem to welcome students who hold a variety of beliefs, including ones that don’t always fall in line with Church teachings, which explains why the Muslim Student Association, Spectrum (a gay-straight alliance group), Face AIDS (A group that supports condom distribution in Africa), and Quidditch Club (witchcraft!) are all registered student organizations at the school.
But guess who they won't allow to form a club? Yup, atheists. Diversity is one thing, but let's not go overboard, huh? You can disagree with the Catholic Church, but if you're not superstitious at all, that's where they draw the line.
I'll end with some good news, though. (Actually, now that I think of it, it's probably good news that the Catholic Church is so scared of us, don't you think?) Anyway, here's an editorial in the Buffalo [NY] News:
It is tough for a student to stand up and say the teacher is wrong. But an unidentified Cheektowaga High School kid did just that, when faced with a science teacher who carried her religious convictions into the classroom.
The teacher, 29-year-old Joelle Silver, is now making a federal case out of it. But my sympathies are with the student who gave the teacher a lesson on the separation of church and state. ...
Aside from the church/state issue, a classroom is not a gathering of equals. Silver is the authority, with disciplinary and grading power. By posting biblical verses, she takes advantage of her bully pulpit to promote her religious views. Up against that pressure, I applaud the kid who had the guts to toss the First Amendment penalty flag.
I have no idea if that high school student is an atheist or not, and I really don't care. I suspect so, given that he/she contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation, but either way, it's admirable to stand up for the United States Constitution.
In fact, I'm wondering if it's entirely respectful to call him/her a 'kid,' as that editorial does, in this particular situation. That action shows a lot of maturity, don't you think? I wouldn't have done it, when I was that age.
And it's always hopeful when young people act so responsibly. Then again, that teacher is pretty young herself, from my point of view. And she must at least have a bachelors degree. So maybe this isn't quite as encouraging as I first thought.