Child Rape, Penn State and the Catholic Church: Is Religion Especially Bad?

From Alternet:

The child rape scandal at Penn State raises inevitable comparisons with the Catholic Church. Does religion make these kinds of abuses worse?

By Greta Christina
November 22, 2011

I can’t be the only person who heard about the Penn State child rape scandal and thought, “Holy crap — it’s just like the Catholic Church.” The abuse of power by a trusted authority figure; the coverup by people in authority; the unwillingness of witnesses to speak out; the grotesque, morally bankrupt defenses of a beloved institution by its followers… all of it is depressingly familiar.

And I can’t be the only critic of religion who’s been wondering, “Hmm. If Penn State has been acting like the Catholic Church… then did the Catholic Church child rape scandal actually have anything to do with religion?”

I still think it does. But it’s a complicated question. Let’s take a closer look.

Apologists for the Catholic Church and its role in the extensive child rape scandal often use the “But everyone else does it!” defense. “Priests aren’t the only people in positions of trust and power over children who abuse that power,” they say. “Parents, relatives, teachers, babysitters, coaches — they rape children as well. It’s all terrible… but it’s unfair to single out the Catholic Church as if it were special.”

Atheists and other critics of the Church typically respond to this defense — after tearing their hair out and screaming — by pointing out: The rapes aren’t the scandal. The coverup is the scandal. The rapes of children are a horrible tragedy. The scandal is the fact that the Catholic Church hid the rapes, and protected the child-raping priests from discovery and prosecution: lying to law enforcement, concealing evidence, paying off witnesses, moving child-raping priests from diocese to diocese so they could rape a whole new batch of children in a place where they wouldn’t be suspected. The scandal is the fact that it wasn’t just a few individuals in the ranks who protected and enabled the child-raping priests: it was large numbers of Church officials, including high-ranking officials, acting as a cold-blooded matter of Church policy. The scandal is the fact that the Church treated their own stability and reputation as a higher priority than, for fuck’s sake, children not being raped.

And many critics of religion have concluded that the nature of religion itself is largely to blame for this scandal. They have argued that religion’s lack of any sort of reality check, and its belief in a perfect supernatural moral authority that transcends mere human concerns, makes religious institutions like the Catholic Church far more vulnerable to abuses of this kind.

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After Salmonella outbreak, egg mogul is leaving the industry

From The Austin Statesman:

The Associated Press
Monday, Nov. 21, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A ruthless businessman who built one of the nation’s largest egg production operations from scratch even as he racked up environmental and labor violations is getting out of the business in disgrace after one scandal was too much to overcome: a nationwide salmonella outbreak caused by his products.

Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son, Peter, said in a statement they have given up control of egg operations in Iowa, Maine and Ohio, including the farms that produced salmonella-tainted eggs that sickened an estimated 1,900 people and led to a recall of 550 million eggs. Federal inspectors later discovered filthy conditions at the farms, including dead rodents and towers of manure.

Steve Boomsma, chief operating officer for Centrum Valley Farms in Alden, Iowa, said in a telephone interview Monday his firm had signed a nine-year lease with an option to purchase six DeCoster operations in Iowa, including the Wright County Egg farms responsible for the outbreak. A division of Minnesota-based Land O’ Lakes announced earlier this month it is taking over DeCoster’s Maine egg farms. And Boomsma said a deal could be announced this week involving Iowa investors’ takeover of DeCoster’s egg operations in Ohio.

The salmonella outbreak caused big retailers like Wal-Mart to drop DeCoster products, a Congressional hearing where DeCoster struggled to defend his record, and a bitter legal feud with DeCoster’s longtime top associate, John Glessner, in which each is accusing the other of mismanagement. The DeCosters recently reached financial settlements with about 40 people who were sickened during the outbreak, and attorneys involved in the litigation say they are seeking compensation for more than 100 others.

“While we are committed to working to address outstanding issues related to the outbreak, it is important to note we no longer operate any of the farms involved and are no longer in the business of egg production,” the DeCoster family said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

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Transgender student’s restroom use raises questions on PSD policy

This story is a few days old but I’m posting it anyhow.

I’m all for transkids being able to change their sex prior to puberty marking them with the wrong sex hormones.

I know the Christo-Fascists and right wingers have shit fits about transkids being able to have normal girlhoods or boyhoods as members of the sex they are becoming.  Heaven forbid we get treated like normal people.  I have the feeling more than a few people wedded to the Transgender Borg ideology probably also view this as problematic since these kids may never become part of their transgender ghetto.

But that is the point of helping kids transition when they are still kids.  The ghetto isn’t some sort of wonderful place and leaving “the community” for an ordinary life is a good thing.

BTW I think she should be allowed to use the same restroom as the other girls.

From The Coloradoan:

Written by Sarah Jane Kyle
Nov. 16, 2011

One question is causing a stir at Fort Collins High School: Who has the right to use which restroom?

Dionne Malikowski, 16, a transgender student at the school, said she believes she should have the same rights as any student to use the bathroom of her choice. But the fallout from following her convictions is prompting her to transfer to another school.

Malikowski, who was born male and now identifies as a female, said she was told by school officials that she would be required to use only staff restrooms when she entered the Lambkin community, a policy that she said school officials told her was to keep her safe from harassment.

But the high school junior said she was suspended about a month ago for violating the policy by using a girls’ restroom instead of a staff facility. Malikowski had previously received a warning for a similar violation but said she still believes the rule to be unfair and discriminating.

“I want to be able to use the girls’ bathroom without being harassed for it or suspended or having charges pressed against me,” she said. “I just want people to understand that there are so many kinds of people out there, and people who are a little different shouldn’t have to be treated differently or looked down on.”

PSD Board of Education President Nancy Tellez said that the use of staff bathrooms for transgender students falls under a district policy that states that all students should be provided equal educational opportunities regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or special needs.

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Occupy Seattle protester claims police caused her miscarriage

From The Guardian UK:

Jennifer Fox, who was pepper sprayed during the march last Tuesday, alleges that police officers hit her twice in the stomach, Tuesday 22 November 2011

A pregnant woman who was pepper sprayed during the Occupy Seattle protests in the US claims she had a miscarriage five days later as a result of injuries allegedly inflicted by the police.

Jennifer Fox, 19, claims that she was also struck in the stomach twice – once by a police officer’s foot and once by an officer’s bicycle – as police moved in to disperse marchers on 15 November.

A picture of Fox being carried away became one of the abiding images of the police crackdown on the Occupy Seattle protests, along with that of 84-year-old Dorli Rainey, who was pictured with pepper spray – and liquid used to treat it – dripping from her chin.

Fox told the Stranger blog: “I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in. I was screaming, ‘I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.’ ” It was at that point, she said, that one officer lifted his foot and hit her in the stomach and another pushed his bicycle in the crowd, again hitting her in the stomach. She did not state whether she thought their actions were deliberate.

“Right before I turned, both cops lifted their pepper spray and sprayed me,” she continued. “My eyes puffed up and my eyes swelled shut.”

Video of Fox in distress at the protests was posted online on Tuesday. She can be seen telling people who have come to her assistance “I can’t see” and wailing.

Fox told the blog that she had been three months pregnant. She said an ultrasound at the Harborview medical centre that night did not indicate any problems but, on Sunday, she started getting sick, suffering cramps and feeling as if she was going to pass out. She went back to the medical centre where, she said, “They diagnosed that I was having a miscarriage. They said the damage was from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the foetus], too.”

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Pat Robertson: “What is this Mac and Cheese? Is That a BLACK THING?”

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Revolution Versus Reform

From Ted Rall:

Ted Rall
November 22nd, 2011

The Rift Within Occupy

Editors and readers expect pundits to weigh in on the brutal eviction of Occupy Wall Street from New York’s Zuccotti Park. People will ask: Does this mean the beginning of the end for the Occupy movement?


Now that we’ve dispensed with that, let’s discuss a major rift within the movement: Reformists versus revolutionaries.

Revolutionaries want to overthrow the government. They want to get rid of existing economic, political and social relations and create new ones. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are enemies.

Reformists want radical changes too. For example, Occupiers want to eliminate the corrupting influence of corporate money on politics. Unlike revolutionaries, however, they are OK with the basic structure of the system: the Constitution, Congress, 50 states, capitalism, and so on. They are willing to work with establishment liberals (, Amy Goodman, The Nation, Mother Jones, etc.) and the Democratic Party.

You can see the reform-vs.-revolution split whenever Occupiers discuss actions and demands.

Reformists say: Let’s move our accounts from banks to credit unions. Encourage Black Friday shoppers to buy from locally-owned businesses. Demand that Congress pass a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood. Restore the Glass-Steagall Act.

Those tactics leave revolutionaries cold. They don’t want to nibble around the edges of a system they despise. If revolutionaries get their way, there won’t be a Congress. Members of the House and Senate will go to jail. No one will need to boycott banks or choose which merchants are least malevolent.

Capitalism won’t exist.

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Anonymous Message to Occupy Police

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