There's no one quite as righteous as the one who believes himself to be part of the chosen people.
The Catholic Church's ongoing sex abuse scandal has lent itself to late-night jokes, investigative reports, disillusioned churchgoers, shameful clergy and lest we forget, an untold amount of shattered victims.
Though there were publicized prosecutions of priests as early as the 1960s, it wasn't until the Boston Globe's award-winning piece in 2002 highlighting the recent rash of lawsuits being brought against the Church in Boston that public awareness of the scandal reached a boiling point.
To commemorate that event and honor those who suffered the sometimes years of abuse at the hands of those they trusted, The Massachusetts Citizens for Children sponsored a three-day conference in Boston celebrating the article's ten-year anniversary, while calling for the continued prosecution and investigation of not only the abusive priests that preyed on their susceptible victims but the dioceses and bishops who tried to bury accusations, pay off complainers and shuffle around their "troubled" brothers to other communities where their past transgressions would stay unknown from local parishioners.
In response to the three-day meeting held over the weekend, Catholic League President Bill Donohue sent out a press release condemning the victims for basking in their misery. Among some other gems:
"Many Catholics that I have spoken to, including the clergy, have grown weary of those who claim they were victimized by a priest decades ago and are still not satisfied with the Church’s response."
"[T]hese people don’t want to move on, and that’s because they have too much invested in maintaining their victim status."
And in a fast contender for The Most Idiotic Statement That Completely Misses The Point award in 2012:
"No institution, secular or religious, has a better record combating sexual abuse today than the Catholic Church."
The amount of sanctimonious bullshit spilling forth from Donohue's mouth would almost be pathetically amusing to watch if A. He wasn't telling victims of rape and sexual abuse to get over it and B. He wasn't saying that in the position as figurehead for one of the largest religious advocacy groups in America, one with close ties and support from the Archdiocese of New York (including a ringing endorsement from newly tapped Cardinal Dolan).
Not content to merely be a hypocritical pissant, Donohue soon topped himself on Monday, proudly gloating that the demonstrations had only garnered 75 people and declaring that people were simply tired of listening to victims whine about their everyday problems, like having their lives destroyed before they often even reached puberty by their supposed moral and ethical guardians.
Now it's fair to point out that Donohue and his league do not speak for the Supreme Church, or any church for that matter. And it's fair to point out that Donohue has a long track record of spouting off not-so-Christian sentiments (while we're on the subject, is it just me or is the phrase not-so-Christian usually used to describe a self-described Christian more often than not?). But this isn't about Donohue. It's about what he exemplifies; the arrogance and disdain shown by those steeped in religious cloth when their failings are brought out of the shadows and into the light.
Donohue's attitude is typical of those who insist we bury the not-so-Christian actions of the Church, every church, in the past, when they answered to no authority but their own, and give them yet another chance to spread the wisdom and moral guidance of their religion. The question is why?
The willful oppression of human rights, the barbaric murders of unbelievers and heretics, and the purposeful dulling of intelligence and criticism in the name of the Faith; these are but a small sample of the sins committed and endorsed by the hierarchy of organized religions to this day. All under the mask of announced infallibility.
Now the default comeback might be that no one is perfect, that there will be always a few bad apples in every bushel, but you don't get to use that excuse if you're proclaiming your faith alone has the keys to moral and ethical guidance. That your chosen word is the one means by which we can learn to be the best possible people we can be when it's failed in that respect for millennia. You don't get to preach about how your religion is the sole moral backbone for society when its shepards are out molesting little children, spitting on women in the street for not covering themselves enough while mutilating their genitals or staying silent to acts of mass genocides (and before you think I'm talking about the Holocaust, think much more recent).
If your sole job is to be our watchdogs against corruption, hatred and ignorance and you fall asleep on that job for thousands of years, you shouldn't get to have that job any longer. The past and present is laden with examples of religious hypocrisy and destruction, and men like Bill Donohue have the audacity to shame those who want better from the arm of an omnipotent god?
Now these acts of predation, misogyny, and cowardice aren't the exclusive domain of religion, they're the outcome of our human flaws, and that's the point. That for all their boastful claims of righteousness, they've done no better at curbing our demons than chance would allow. For all the divine providence religion, every religion, claims, they've achieved shockingly very human results.
That hasn't stopped religions from selfishly staking a claim to our inalienable virtues of compassion, love, and sacrifice while vouching immunity to the vices of our nature. Yet, if anything, they've been privy to some of the worst examples of humanity. No one should be afraid to call them out on that fact.
Look up any youtube video or popular Facebook thread coming anywhere close to religion (or politics) and you'll soon confront a litany of insults and slurs on the stupidity and inanity of those who believe in a god (alongside the backhanded well-wishers who will dutifully pray for your eternal soul secure in the belief that hellfire awaits all unbelievers, I'll add). That's not what I'm doing here. It's not stupid to want comfort, to look for answers or to trust those who raised us when they tell us this is what we should believe. But the only thing I have learned to have faith in my young life is the belief that we deserve better than blind faith. We deserve better than the Donohue's of the world.
We deserve better than religion.
That wraps it up for this week. A new year, a new cross-post from my personal blog on skepticism and science. http://thedemonhauntedworld.wordpress.com/ Thanks for reading.