PZ Myers receives hate mail from a Catholic. No surprise there. But I’m jealous. I’d like some of that ire tossed in my direction. Most of the Christians I’ve had ‘discussions’ with are of the Protestant persuasion, although, my childhood experiences with religion were mostly at Catholic Churches; they either consisted of my religiously apathetic mother dragging me to Christmas Mass, “for the pageantry”, or a friend’s parents inviting me to Easter services, because they thought I was a heathen. My boyish reaction at these events was usually the same; I felt like a disappointed fan at a rock concert when the main act doesn’t show up; everyone in the audience pretended like god the ‘rock star’ is going to make an appearance, but he’s a no-show. All hype and no delivery was how I saw religion. My feelings remain the same.
But one of my favorite stories about Catholic priests is from 2001, out of San Francisco. The details are so over-the-top that you’d think an anti-religious Hollywood writer had penned them while in therapy. One Rev. Bernard Dabbene was literally caught in the act.
A priest of 34 years, Dabbene was spotted by police on Nov. 11 with the teenager in a parked car at 25th and Illinois streets — an area frequented by drug dealers and prostitutes.
Both were found with their pants unzipped and Dabbene’s trousers fell down when police confronted him.
The boy said he was running from a gang and sought help from the priest only to be fondled. The priest said they were merely discussing unspecified job opportunities.
In the TV news reports at the time, it was stated that when Dabbene stepped out of the car, his pants fell to his ankles. This is comedy gold. And it reminds me of the twisted and often ironic humor of Dante’s Inferno. It almost makes me wish there were a hell.
In Kirk Cameron’s stunted imagination, “if evolution were true”, we ought to see “one animal transitioning into another”; for example, an individual crocodile literally transforming into a bird, with the intermediate being a Crocoduck, a perfect half-and-half creature, like a decimal half way between two integers. Well, tucked away in my childhood, toy depository, I have just such a creature. No, I have three such creatures. Welcome to the Kirk Cameron Zoo.
Behold, the magnificent Chickow
Recoil before the teetering Giraffant
Gaze upon the creepy Catogator.
The tragedy of Kirk Cameron is that he’s fixated on a definition of evolution that doesn’t exist in the real world, the adult world. Kirk, here’s a bit of advice from your own medicine cabinet –the Bible.
Corinthians 13:11 — “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
A survey asking about people’s knowledge of religion has some not-so-surprising results. Protestants and Catholics are less knowledgeable about their own religion’s doctrines than atheists, Jews, and Mormons.
Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn’t know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ. [Yahoo News]
In addition, Americans don’t grasp the secular laws that protect both government and religion, the separation of church and state.
The study also found that many Americans don’t understand constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools. While a majority know that public school teachers cannot lead classes in prayer, less than a quarter know that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.
“Many Americans think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are tighter than they really are,” Pew researchers wrote. [Yahoo News]
Questions concerning Charles Darwin and evolution were included in the survey.
Respondents were also asked, “And which of these court trials focused on whether evolution could be taught in public schools?” and offered the choice of the Scopes trial, the Salem witch trials, and Brown vs. Board of Education. Only 31% of respondents selected the correct answer of the Scopes trial, 36% selected Brown vs. Board of Education, 3% selected the Salem witch trials, and 30% said that they didn’t know. [Nation center For Science Education]
Nothing particularly surprising in the results. The Pew Research Center’s report is here (PDF).
Polls from Fox News and CNN indicate that around 60% to 70% of Americans disapprove of an Islamic community center being built in New York, blocks from Ground Zero. A followup Gallup poll, though, shows 65% of Americans have only heard a fair amount, a little, or nothing at all about the issue.
Either way, I find it disturbing. The majority of Americans either think their petty sense of emotional outrage is more valuable than an unambiguous right of religious freedom, or they are opinionated on an issue they are not completely familiar with. The media has gleefully fanned the flames without clarifying the facts.
“Yes,” I hear the critics of the Islamic community center say, “we all have religious freedom.”
“But,” they add, “you should be polite enough not to use it when it offends us.”
No matter how well a person states something, no matter how eloquent, mild mannered, and straightforward they are, religious drones will find some way of belittling and warping the initial message. Promoting a reverence for Christianity only protects Christians; promoting freedom of speech protects everyone. But some Christians miss this point entirely and criticize writers like Philip Pullman for writing an “offensive” book they don’t have to buy or read. And then some of them sometimes ask why Western atheists don’t speak blasphemously of Allah, too. What’s most disturbing is the envy that question betrays.
To the person who shouted ‘Baby Killer’ in the US House Of Representatives at Congressman Stupak from Michigan. Unless you come forward and own your outburst, you are a COWARD of the highest order.
And the shouter comes forward, sort of. It’s Rep. Randy Neugebauer from Texas. But his backbone’s jelly-like consistency prevents him from standing up fully.