Is your trust in science based on faith or based on science?

What I mean is this: how much do you actually know about the science most atheists parrot? Most atheists know as little science as most Christians know as little theology. Just as a Christian trusts his priest to tell him what he believes, an atheist trusts scientists with a Ph.D. tacked to their name to tell them what they believe. But how many times have the scientists turned out to be wrong? I only ask this because it seems this is central to the problem that most atheists have. They are repulsed by the phrase “believe” – they are addicted instead to the phrase “know”. But honestly, do you really know, or are you just believing what you’re told? I would like to remind you that in the 1970′s the scientists of the day were seriously concerned that we were about to enter an ice age, and less than 30 years later they are now convinced Earth is about to turn into a desert.

Unless you’ve observed something yourself, or observed and interpreted the evidence yourself and drew your own conclusions, you are just as guilty as faith as any religious person.

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Does that mean he's going away? Was it something I said?

If I'd only known, I'd have said it sooner --

Clergy are mandated in just 22 of the remaining 34, compared with medical, education, and child care workers, who are mandated in all 34.

This is true, but not proof of your claim.  As I have said before, historically as well as in the agency guidance under CAPTA, clergy were not included because (1) they were not licensed by the state, and (2) they were not professionally trained in recognizing the signs of child abuse or neglect.  Just as sports coaches are not included as mandatory reporters, for similar reasons.   So this does not support your claim of special religious privilege.

The reporting exceptions granted to clergy for "religious communications"

The quote here is improper.  When you read the statutes directly instead of summary documents, exemptions are granted typically for sacramental confession or the equivalent, not for religious communications more generally.  This is a First Amendment protection in the U.S., in the same way we also had altar wine during Prohibition.   So sure, I'd say in U.S. law, religion in general is protected by the free exercise clause of the Constitution from some infringements by the state.   Again, that does not support your claim of corruption/influence.  As I mentioned previously, that also was irrelevant for the Bernard Law affair, because his communications as bishop were not sacramental confession, and would not fall under the exemption in any of the states.

The laws in 46 states, Washington D.C., and at a federal level which allow 'religion' as an exemption or as a defense to child abuse, child neglect, felony crimes against children, misdemeanors, manslaughter, murder of a child, and child neglect resulting in death.

Your link here is self-referential, so it's impossible to know what you're talking about.  I think you must be referring to parental rights laws which allow parents to choose not to vaccinate their children or otherwise decline medical treatment.   In many states where providing children with alcohol or drugs is defined as child abuse, this exemption also allows for kids to participate in seder or native American youth to participate in native customs.   It allows Muslim children to participate in Ramadan.  There are non-religious exemptions as well.  The exemptions in the law are meant to balance parental rights and the state's interest, and define the scope of the intended law.

The laws in ZERO states which allow 'education' or 'child care' or 'legal practice' or 'scout mastering' or 'coaching' as a defense to any of the crimes listed above.

Oh, I don't know.  Many states allow corporal punishment in the schools, which is an exemption for education to what would ordinarily be considered battery committed against a child.  Coaches in most states are provided a limited exemption to hazing laws for athletic events.   Child care facilities are generally accorded limited custodial responsibilities and rights under the law, which allow them to do things like forcibly restrain a child that would be a crime for any ordinary person to do.    The point is that all these "exceptions" are really just a part of the law defining its scope.

But according to you: there is no evidence. None of this is happening, none of these laws exist, and if they do it's because the states have failed us, not because of the influence of religion.

It's not that simplistic.  The laws do exist, but they don't support or establish your claim. 

Show me a list of the acts of terror, war, genocide, conquest, and state that have been committed in the name of sports throughout human history.

Well this was quite a non-sequitur.  There are more youth killed every year in sports than in church.  Plus debilitating bone and joint injuries, permanent brain injury.  No criminal prosecutions either.  I guess I would also point to many riots resulting in death or injury that occur almost monthly.  This week, wasn't it a soccer referee who was murdered and quartered by fans?  Not to mention plenty of drunkenness and related shenanigans.

Show me evidence like that and I'll believe your theory that sports wields such a powerful influence over the thinking and perspectives of legislators and voters that it is keeping karate instructors off the mandatory reporting lists.

Nope, you missed the point.  The point was that for you to support a claim that religion exerted such a powerful influence, you have to establish that everyone else who had extensive youth contact - coaches, band directors, youth theater groups, robot club leaders, scoutmasters - were mandatory reporters, and only the special influence of religion kept clergy exempt.  In legalese, it's the "but for" test.  "But for the special influence of religion, everyone would be a mandatory reporter."  You can't show that.  LOTS of people with far more youth contact than a typical priest are not mandatory reporters.  So your claim fails.  There is a different, more plausible explanation, which I provided above.

You say that priests cannot commit child abuse, none of the mandatory reporters are required to report it, citizens are not required to report child abuse, and that child abuse cannot be reported anonymously.


I say that each jurisdiction defines "persons responsible for the care of a child" for the purposes of their child abuse and neglect laws, and that only those persons can commit child abuse under the law.    As you read through the laws of many states, you'll note that most limit this group to people who are legal guardians or custodians, or (in some jurisdictions) people acting in a custodial capacity on a temporary basis.  This would generally not include clergy, unless they were running a resident camp or somesuch.   So in those jurisdictions, the issue is not the crime of child abuse, which has reporting obligations and protections, but other crimes like sexual assault, which do not.

Suspicion of child abuse can be reported confidentially.  However, if the reported crime falls outside of the scope of child abuse as defined by statute, Children's services will instruct you to call law enforcement as it is outside of their scope.  Criminal complaints to law enforcement are not anonymous in any state I'm familiar with. 

You're wrong because information readily available and published by the US government and all fifty states says you are wrong.

Being right or wrong is not determined by reference to authoritative documents, though you would make a great fundamentalist.  Right or wrong is determined by an understanding of all of the issues in general, and experience in applying the principles to particular cases correctly.

Number #11 simply referenced what is common to the entire list of official links and phone numbers to report child abuse in all 50 states

Number 11 referenced a document on YesICan, a special interest lobbying site.  It's a simplified informational document that does not pretend to do what you claim.  It's interesting that #1 says "not every state has a statewide reporting hotline" which contradicts your claim above.

You haven't provided any "education" in legal theory, Robert. You've produced the most grotesque pack of lies, distortion, and falsehood you've ever uttered on this site, and you'd rather defend it for the sake of your undeservedly massive ego than show enough good character to admit you were the slightest bit wrong about any of it.

Random ad hominem.

Given the longevity and high visibility of this thread, I hope no actual child abuse ends up going unreported

I'll agree with that much.  I'm a firm believer, though, in the notion that people should really understand the way things work, not rely on law or authority to tell them what to do.  I think informed citizens will generally do the right thing, and that they deserve to be informed.

This is not good advice.

It's not good advice to contact an attorney with respect to a legal matter?  That's not actually what you're saying, is it?  

The interpretation of "immediate" in every state I'm aware of is within 6-24 hours, with a follow-up written report within 72 hours.  Case law determines, though consulting with one's attorney is always reasonable.  If you're broke, many/most attorneys will provide pro bono brief consultation in a case like this. 

My advice:  if you have evidence that a child has been sexually abused, protect the child and any physical evidence, and call law enforcement immediately using your real name and real phone number so that they can do the necessary follow-up and investigation.   Have the courage to make a real report and sign your name to it.  Agree to appear as a witness.  Step up to your responsibilities to protect children and don't hide behind anonymity.

If you have suspicion that a child is being hurt by a non-custodial person outside of the statutory definition in your state, tell the child's parent or guardian.  Don't hide behind anonymity, share your concerns and suspicions.  The parent or guardian is in a much better position to protect the child going forward than you are.

If you have suspicion that a child is being hurt by a custodial person within the statutory definition in your state, call your state Child Services agency.  File a full verbal report, and follow up with a full written report.  Do not make it anonymously.  Have the courage to leave your name and contact information so that the investigating social worker can speak to you in person as part of the investigation.  What you know or have witnessed may really matter. 

@Gallup - That would be brilliant - yet another theist who this time might actually be an intellectual - now, that would be a change.

@Bob - A joke for you, Bob, knowing what a sense of humour you have -

While they waited for their loaves and fishes, Mary, mother of jesus, came out with her hair teased up all big-like and her blouse tied up in front and entertained the crowd, which was most appreciative, bein' mostly men and all.

@Bob - I thought one of the funniest things I have got from the bible, was when a group of boys made fun of a bloke with a bald head, so God sent in a couple of bears to maul them - that is just so funny, I just rolled on the floor laughing.

Or how about the one where god killed all the first born males of Egypt - then the reallly funnny punch line is when theista justify the murder of babies, I just fall off my chair laughing.

I call that story "Baldilocks and the 42 Bears". It is from 2Kings2:24 and very few theists know of it. I use it when the debate gets to me being told I have no moral code without the Bible.

Hey, the sign clearly read: "Do Not Feed the Bears!" - somebody shoulda listened, that's all I'm sayin' --

@H3xx - Ya gotta keep the questions reaallll simple - which seems to be with the lovely Bob, all questions :)

Anything about what should be everybody's right - to marry whomever one wants and contraception - the questions turn into alien language, and he goes blind, his head touches his knees, and he needs to go to bed.

Nah, @Suzanne, I'm just trying to keep the topics straight.  Contraception or gay rights didn't seem particularly relevant to child molesting.   Would you like to pick one of those topics?  There's another thread around where I and some others talk about marriage extensively.   I was on the side of those who couldn't quite understand why atheists want gays to participate in what is essentially a religious ritual.

No Robert, you WERE the side that couldn't understand....

No, actually, if you go review the thread there were at least one or two others.


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