Forney pastor gets 10 years’ probation for sexual assault of teen

From the Dallas Morning News
09:11 AM CDT on Saturday, April 3, 2010

By JENNIFER EMILY / The Dallas Morning News
jemily@dallasnews.com

A pastor was sentenced to 10 years’ probation Friday after pleading “no contest” to a charge of sexually assaulting a child.

Dallas County prosecutors say Lester Cody III assaulted the girl when she was 15 and 16. Cody was given deferred adjudication probation, which means he will not have a criminal record if he follows the terms of his probation. He must also pay a $10,000 fine.

Cody was a minister at Faith Crossing Church in Forney when he was arrested, but prosecutors say the abuse occurred when the church was in Mesquite. Cody was the girl’s minister and a family friend.

Continue reading at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/crime/stories/DN-pastor_03met.ART.State.Edition1.4d0427b.html#slcgm_comments_anchor

Now I realize he is a “Reverend” and all that BS but how come in an age when an 18year old teenager can be forced to wear the label of registered sex offender for the rest of his or her life for having sex with someone even a few days below the age of 18 is this prick allowed to skate free with mere probation?

Italian exorcist: Devil made NY Times attack Pope

Gee Maybe they will call for an Inquisition complete with “Malleus Maleficarum”  (The Hammer of Witches)

From Raw Story

http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0402/italian-excorcist-devil-ny-times-attack-pope/

By Daniel Tencer
Friday, April 2nd, 2010 — 1:36 pm

A spate of recent news reports alleging cover-ups of child sex abuse by priests was “prompted” by Satan, says a prominent Italian exorcist.

Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist, told Italian media this week that a New York Times report alleging that Pope Benedict XVI ignored reports of sex abuse at a Wisconsin school for the deaf was the work of the Devil.

That story asserted that the Pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, ignored repeated warnings from bishops that a Wisconsin priest, Father Laurence Murphy, may have molested as many as 200 boys at a school for the deaf.

“There is no doubt about it. Because he is a marvelous Pope and worthy successor to John Paul II, it is clear that the Devil wants to ‘grab hold’ of him,” Amorth said, as quoted at the Catholic News Agency.

Father Amorth added that in instances of sexual abuse committed by some members of the clergy, the devil “uses” priests in order to cast blame upon the entire Church: “The devil wants the death of the Church because she is the mother of all the saints.”

Continue reading at: http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0402/italian-excorcist-devil-ny-times-attack-pope/

Raising Trouble: Pink and Blue Brains?

From Bitch Magazine:

http://bitchmagazine.org/post/raising-trouble-pink-and-blue-brains

One of the most consistently jarring things about having a small child is how many conversations begin like this:

Another parent – often the expensively-educated New York Times-reading mother of at least one boy –will say, with the air of someone who is imparting a profoundly original thought, “You know, I always thought gender was socially constructed, but gosh, it’s just amazing how different boys and girls really are.” Her inevitable conclusion? It’s all in their intractable little natures.

Here’s my internal monologue at these moments:

Um, really? If your little boy enjoys trucks, as well as hitting other kids over the head with same, you can’t imagine any other reasons besides testosterone? And if your little girl wants to wear pink it’s just got to be those pesky double-X chromosomes. Because your friends and relations, your daycare, your playground, your nanny – and most uncomfortably, you — couldn’t possibly be part of anything so distasteful as “society.”

Continue reading at: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/raising-trouble-pink-and-blue-brains

New Video – Transgender and Transgender-Like Veterans – Part 1

From Monica Helms
Friends,
This is my most ambitious video project yet.  It’s called: “Transgender and Transgender-Like Veterans – Part 1.”  Besides doing it in widescreen, I used several techniques I have only experimented with in the past.
This is a documentary of those individuals who crossed gender lines to serve their country, from the Revolutionary War to the Spanish American War. The video has stories of interesting people, like Deborah Sampson, Albert Cashier and Cathy Williams. It didn’t turn out too bad for what I had to work with.
I wanted to do a tribute to all of those transgender and transgender -like people who served this country proudly.  It was amazing what I found when researching the information for this video.  I hope you like it.
Monica Helms
Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on New Video – Transgender and Transgender-Like Veterans – Part 1

Papal Indulgences

Subject to Debate

By Katha Pollitt

This article appeared in the April 19, 2010 edition of The Nation.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100419/pollitt

April 1, 2010

My favorite moment of the whole child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church was when Father Klaus Malangré suggested that Peter Hullermann, the redoubtable German pedophile priest, might be sent to work in a girls’ school. No boys, no molestation. Or, in churchly language, no occasion of sin. Problem solved! Plus, the good father would spend his life warding off female cooties. Malangré must not have heard about priests–and they do exist–who abused both male and female children. Nor had he learned the lesson of Watergate: the cover-up is worse than the crime.

The church has yet to learn that lesson. There is a positively Nixonian smarmy truculence in the response of church hierarchs to the ongoing scandal, which now involves Pope Benedict XVI himself. On Palm Sunday, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan urged worshipers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to show “love and solidarity for our earthly shepherd now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus.” On his blog, Dolan explains that what gets Catholics angry is not just the molestations themselves but also that “the sexual abuse of minors is presented as a tragedy unique to the Church alone.” Oh, really? Does the name Mary Kay Letourneau mean nothing to him? This man needs to read the tabloids, which have for years featured an endless parade of molesting teachers, doctors, dentists, therapists and scout leaders. To go by the news, looking at child pornography on one’s office computer is so common, it’s a wonder anyone finds the time to abuse real kids. At this late date I doubt anyone is unaware that the sexual abuse of children is a widespread phenomenon.

The difference is, when other professionals who work with children are caught out, justice takes its course. People are fired. Licenses are lost. Reputations are ruined. Sometimes jail is involved. No human institution is perfect, and it would be foolish to suggest that incidents are always investigated and that abusers who don’t happen to be priests are never protected by colleagues or superiors. Still, it’s probably safe to say that if a principal was accused of overlooking a child molester in his classrooms or recycling him to other schools, nobody would compare his suffering to Christ’s.

And nobody would be asking for his views about sex, reproduction, women, homosexuality or healthcare either. The moral authority granted the Catholic Church in the secular world is for me the most repellent aspect of the current crisis. In the succinct words of Jodi Jacobson, editor of RHRealityCheck.org, “Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women’s rights?” To which one might add: what gives a church in which celibacy is equated with holiness, in which males have almost all the power, the right to a place at the table where laws are made about women’s bodies? The same institution that has dealt so indulgently with its ordained pedophiles had no problem excommunicating a Brazilian mother who sought an abortion for her 9-year-old daughter, raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather, or pushing for laws in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Chile banning abortion even to save the woman’s life.

Most Catholics take a flexible view of the church’s teachings on sexuality. They use birth control–how else could Italy, Spain and Poland have among the lowest birthrates in the world? They divorce and remarry, use condoms to prevent STDs, undergo in vitro and other banned fertility treatments and even have abortions. Yet there were the bishops, holding the whole healthcare reform bill hostage to their opposition to abortion rights, advising on the crafting of language right in the halls of Congress. And as Jacobson details, it was the Conference of Catholic Bishops that worked alongside Republican Congressmen Chris Smith, Joe Pitts and Mike Pence to insert last-minute language denying HIV-positive women access to contraceptives and favoring abstinence-only-until-marriage policies in the 2008 President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

There isn’t much that non-Catholics can do to force the church to abandon its 2,000-year-old misogynistic ways. We can’t force it to ordain women and married men, or value a woman’s life over a fertilized egg, or see homosexuality as something other than, in Pope John Paul II’s memorable words, “intrinsic moral evil.” Catholics themselves will have to do that, whether by leaving the church in numbers large enough to get the bishops’ attention or by organizing within it, like Catholics for Choice, Women-Church Convergence or the international group We Are Church. But certainly the rest of us can demand that the Obama administration, Congress and government generally stop catering to the Vatican. The bishops can’t even make their own flock obey their outmoded and cruel rules and regulations, so why should they exercise power over the entire country? The United States should not have an ambassador to the Holy See in Rome any more than it has an ambassador to the Diocese of Canterbury or the Satmars of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And if the church wants to interfere with the making of laws, it should lose its tax-exempt status.

In February Bishop Margot Kaessmann, the first woman to head the German Protestant Church and a much-admired public figure, was caught running a red light while intoxicated. There was a lot of sympathy for her, even in the conservative media, which disagreed with her liberal and antiwar views, and she received the support of the church’s governing body. Nonetheless, within four days Kaessmann resigned, saying that her moral authority had been so compromised she could no longer do right by her high office. Maybe Pope Benedict and his bishops could learn something from her example.

Posted in Catholic Church, Rape, Social Justice. Comments Off on Papal Indulgences

“The Only Way to Survive is By Taking Care of One Another” — Legendary Activist, Philosopher Grace Lee Boggs

From Alternet:

http://www.alternet.org/vision/146290/%22the_only_way_to_survive_is_by_taking_care_of_one_another%22_–_legendary_activist%2C_philosopher_grace_lee_boggs

By Amy Goodman and Grace Lee Boggs, Democracy Now!
Posted on April 3, 2010, Printed on April 3, 2010
http://www.alternet.org/story/146290/

Amy Goodman: The legendary Detroit activist and community organizer Grace Lee Boggs has been involved with the civil rights, Black Power, labor, environmental justice, and feminist movements over the past seven decades. She was born to Chinese immigrant parents in 1915. In 1992, she co-founded the Detroit Summer youth program to rebuild and renew her city. Her 95th birthday is June 27th, the day after the close of the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit. [The following is a short clip of Boggs talking].

Grace Lee Boggs: We’ve got to redefine democracy, that we have been stuck in concepts of representative democracy, that we believe that it’s getting other people to do things for us that we progress. And I think that we’ve reached the point now where we’re stuck with a whole lot of concepts, so that when Michael Moore speaks about the number of people who make all this money and other people who don’t, it sounds as if we’re struggling for equality with them. Who wants to be equal to these guys? I think we have to be thinking much more profoundly.

Actually, if you go back to what Marx said in The Communist Manifesto over a hundred years ago, when in talking about the constant revolutions in technology, he ended that paragraph by saying, “All that is sacred is profaned, all that is solid melts into air, and men and women are forced to face with sober senses our conditions of life and our relations with our kind.” We’re at that sort of turning point in human history.

And I think that, talking about recovery, talking about democracy, we too easily get sucked into old notions of what we want. So we’re expecting protest. I’m not expecting so many protests. I don’t mind protests, and I encourage them at times. But what happened in 2001 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, when people gathered to say another world is necessary, another world is possible, and another world is happening, I think that that’s what’s happening.

In Detroit, in particular, people are beginning to say the only way to survive is by taking care of one another, by recreating our relationships to one another, that we have created a society, over the last period, in particular, where each of us is pursuing self-interest. We have devolved as human beings.

Learn more at the Boggs Center site.

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!.

© 2010 Democracy Now! All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/146290/
Posted in Activism, Discrimination, Economic Issues, Social Justice, Socialism, Unequal Treatment. Comments Off on “The Only Way to Survive is By Taking Care of One Another” — Legendary Activist, Philosopher Grace Lee Boggs