Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

So how long has the child-rape problem existed in the church?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 6, 2010

Well they want to blame it on modernity. This video begs to differ! Oh and look at that, the video cites actual documents we can check out for ourselves. Yay!

Church doctrine in a nut shell

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on April 16, 2010

Don’t worry this won’t take long. Apparently Mexico gets it, their education officials that is, and as always the church completely misses it, the point that is.

MEXICO CITY – Mexican educators and officials defended the country’s public school sex education Friday from criticism by a Roman Catholic bishop who said such teachings make celibacy vows more difficult for priests to keep.

Education Secretary Alonso Lujambio told reporters that public-school sexual education texts “seek to make our boys and girls responsible, to take responsibility for their actions, and for that they need information.”

Lujambio said the programs are careful to avoid “hurting any social sensitivities.”

On Thursday, Bishop Felipe Arizmendi said that “when there is generalized sexual licentiousness, it is more common to have pederasty.”

“In the midst of the invasion of so much eroticism, it is not easy to remain faithful in celibacy, or in respecting children,” Arizmendi, the bishop of the San Cristobal de las Casas diocese in Chiapas state, said at a meeting of Mexican bishops.

Of course! Because teaching children to use protection and safe sex when engaging in consensual sex, obviously sends the message to grown up men that raping children, non-consensually, is acceptable.  That makes perfect sense: what better to reduce the priestly carnal desires for young flesh than keeping said kids ignorant about safe sex? Elementary!

Yes, The Pope Should Be Arrested, and I Don’t Care Who Does It

Posted in Skepchick by Skepdude on April 12, 2010

As usual, the original Skepchic is right!

Yesterday morning the big news was an interesting article with a ridiculous headline: “Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI“.

I thought my Tweet summed up my feeling on the matter:

Richard Dawkins is going to personally arrest the pope. I hope it’s like the video for Sabotage but with old dudes http://is.gd/bo707

I was wrong to assume that people would read that and think, “Yes, that is a completely ridiculous headline.” I’m kicking myself for not being clearer, because when Dawkins posted a clarification to say that no, he did not say he’d be personally arresting the pope, a lot of my Twitter and Facebook followers happily declared that it was all a big hoax. A few others declared that it was all a big publicity stunt on Dawkins’ part, and that it therefore hurt “the skeptical movement.”

Bullshit.

Dawkins’ clarification explained that while he was not going to swing into action Beastie Boys-style, he does support the actual effort currently underway to hold the Pope accountable for the systematic protection of child abusers. And that, to me, was the entire point: not that Dawkins is involved (though that is a funny image), but that the Pope may in fact answer for his crimes. So no, it’s not all a big, overblown hoax. It is a real and important story.

On to the second point, that this effort will apparently hurt the “skeptical movement”: it won’t, and it’s completely absurd to suggest otherwise.

I like and admire Massimo Pigliucci, but he is 100% wrong when he posted this (among other things) on my Facebook profile:

naturally, always a good thing to keep one’s baloney detector set to orange alert. though the basic problem remains: two of the “horsemen” are behind a sensationalistic stunt that has no chance in hell (pun intended) of actually succeeding in the real world

Bullshit, Massimo, on several points. Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins lent their support to an effort that was already well underway, and if it weren’t for that support, most people wouldn’t know that this is happening. To describe their support as a “sensationalistic stunt” is pointless cat-fighting. And to describe it as an effort that “has no chance in hell” of succeeding is simply ignorant.

Yemen would you please get your shit together?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on April 9, 2010

Yet another Yemeni child has died because the idiotic Yemeni laws legalize child rape under the form of child brides. This time a 12-year old girl has died of internal bleeding, 3 days after being “married” to a much older pedophile rapist who proceeded to have intercourse with this child, as if she was a grown up woman! Does anyone think there was consent there? Is a 12-year old mature enough to even comprehend fully what marriage/sex mean? Yemen, get your shit together and repeal your moronic child-rape-facilitating laws, and punish all those that engage in this barbaric, stupid, criminal practice, starting with the children’s parents and finishing up with their pedophile raping “husbands” and everyone that willingly participates in this crime.

(CNN) — A 12-year-old Yemeni bride died of internal bleeding following intercourse three days after she was married off to an older man, the United Nations Children’s Fund said.

The girl was married to a man at least twice her age, said Sigrid Kaag, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Her death is “a painful reminder of the risks girls face when they are married too soon,” Kaag said Thursday.

Amal Basha, chairwoman of the Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights, a Yemeni human rights group, identified the girl Friday as Elham Mahdi.

“Elham was married on March 29th and died three days later” and lived in Yemen’s Hajjah province, Basha said.

The death is the latest in a series of child marriage cases in Yemen, where the minimum age to tie the knot is still under debate.

Pope Vows To Get Church Pedophilia Down To Acceptable Levels

Posted in Fun, Humorous by Skepdude on April 5, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE ONION

VATICAN CITY—Calling the behavior shameful, sinful, and much more frequent than the Vatican was comfortable with, Pope Benedict XVI vowed this week to bring the widespread pedophilia within the Roman Catholic Church down to a more manageable level.

Addressing thousands gathered at St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday, the pontiff offered his “most humble apologies” to abuse victims, and pledged to reduce the total number of molestations by 60 percent over the next five years.

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Pope Benedict said. “It seems a weakening of faith in God has prevented our priests from exercising moderation when sexually abusing helpless minors.”

“And let me remind our clergy of the holy vows they all took when they entered the priesthood,” he continued. “They should know that they’re only allowed one small child every other month.”

The pope said he was deeply disappointed to learn that the number of children sexually abused by priests was almost 10 times beyond the allowable limit clearly outlined in church doctrine. Admitting for the first time in public that the overindulgent touching of “tender, tender young flesh” had become a full-blown crisis, the Holy Father vowed to implement new reforms to bring the pedophilia rate back down to five children per 1,000 clergy.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE ONION

Your daily dose of religious morals

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 25, 2010

Of course without religion we’d have no morals. Who would show us, by example…over and over again, what immorality looks like? As reported in the NYTimes:

Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

The Wisconsin case involved an American priest, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.

In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.

Yemeni girl, 12, dies in painful childbirth

Posted in News by Skepdude on September 14, 2009

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT CNN

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) — A 12-year-old Yemeni girl, who was forced into marriage, died during a painful childbirth that also killed her baby, a children’s rights group said Monday.

Fawziya Ammodi struggled for three days in labor, before dying of severe bleeding at a hospital on Friday, said the Seyaj Organization for the Protection of Children.

“Although the cause of her death was lack of medical care, the real case was the lack of education in Yemen and the fact that child marriages keep happening,” said Seyaj President Ahmed al-Qureshi.

Born into an impoverished family in Hodeidah, Fawziya was forced to drop out of school and married off to a 24-year-old man last year, al-Qureshi said.

Child brides are commonplace in Yemen, especially in the Red Sea Coast where tribal customs hold sway. Hodeidah is the fourth largest city in Yemen and an important port.

More than half of all young Yemeni girls are married off before the age of 18 — many times to older men, some with more than one wife, a study by Sanaa University found.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT CNN

Child rape survivor saves ‘virgin myth’ victims

Posted in News by Skepdude on June 8, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “CNN”

Hope was 14 years old when her uncle raped her.

Betty Makoni founded the Girl Child Network to help Zimbabwe's young sexual abuse victims.

Betty Makoni founded the Girl Child Network to help Zimbabwe’s young sexual abuse victims.

“He trapped me to the ground and covered my mouth with his hand,” said the 18-year-old from Zimbabwe. “He threatened to kill me if I ever told anybody.”

So, she kept quiet.

“After a while people around the villages started saying that I looked pregnant,” she said.

Hope was not only pregnant, but her uncle had infected her with HIV.

Like many young girls in Zimbabwe, Hope was the victim of a widely held belief that if a man with HIV or AIDS rapes a virgin he will be cured of his disease. This so-called virgin myth, perpetuated by Zimbabwe’s traditional healers, has led to the rape of hundreds of girls, according to UNICEF. Some of those victims are too young to walk, much less protect themselves.

Betty Makoni has fought for nearly a decade to protect her country’s young girls from sexual abuse. And she’s witnessed some of the worst cases of the myth in action.

“The youngest girl I ever came across was a day-old baby who was raped,” said Makoni, 37.

Through her Girl Child Network (GCN), Makoni has helped rescue 35,000 girls from abuse — including Hope; thousands more have found an empowering community and a public forum in which to speak out.

“Ten girls per day report rape cases,” she said. “It means if we keep quiet, at least 3,600 girls per year may just be contracting HIV and AIDS.”

Makoni’s own tragic experiences fuel her fierce determination.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “CNN”

The savage reality of our darkest days

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 21, 2009

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “THE IRISH TIMES”

THE REPORT of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse is the map of an Irish hell. It defines the contours of a dark hinterland of the State, a parallel country whose existence we have long known but never fully acknowledged. It is a land of pain and shame, of savage cruelty and callous indifference.

The instinct to turn away from it, repelled by its profoundly unsettling ugliness, is almost irresistible. We owe it, though, to those who have suffered there to acknowledge from now on that it is an inescapable part of Irish reality. We have to deal with the now-established fact that, alongside the warmth and intimacy, the kindness and generosity of Irish life, there was, for most of the history of the State, a deliberately maintained structure of vile and vicious abuse.

Mr Justice Ryan’s report does not suggest that this abuse was as bad as most of us suspected. It shows that it was worse. It may indeed have been even worse than the report actually finds – there are indications that “the level of sexual abuse in boys’ institutions was much higher than was revealed by the records or could be discovered by this investigation”.

With a calm but relentless accumulation of facts, the report blows away all the denials and obfuscations, all the moral equivocations and evasions that we have heard from some of the religious orders and their apologists. The sheer scale and longevity of the torment inflicted on defenceless children – over 800 known abusers in over 200 institutions during a period of 35 years – should alone make it clear that it was not accidental or opportunistic but systematic.

Violence and neglect were not the result of underfunding – the large institutions, where the worst abuse was inflicted, were “well-resourced”. The failure of the religious orders to stop these crimes did not result from ignorance. The recidivist nature of child sexual abusers was understood by the Brothers, who nonetheless continued deliberately to place known offenders in charge of children, both in industrial schools and in ordinary primary schools. At best, this represented what the report calls “a callous disregard for the safety of children”. At worst, it was an active protection of, and thus collusion with, the perpetrators of appalling crimes.

Nor did the abuse continue because of secrecy. Again, the very scale of the violence made it impossible to keep it sealed off from either officialdom or society at large. Contemporary complaints were made to the Garda, to the Department of Education, to health boards, to priests and to members of the public. The department, “deferential and submissive” to the religious congregations, did not shout stop. Neither did anyone else. Indeed, perhaps the most shocking finding of the commission is that industrial school inmates were often sexually exploited by those outside the closed world of the congregations, by “volunteer workers, visitors, work placement employees, foster parents” and by those who took them out for holidays or to work.

The key to understanding these attitudes is surely to realise that abuse was not a failure of the system. It was the system. Terror was both the point of these institutions and their standard operating procedure. Their function in Irish society was to impose social control, particularly on the poor, by acting as a threat. Without the horror of an institution like Letterfrack, it could not fulfil that function. Within the institutions, terror was systematic and deliberate. It was a methodology handed down through “successive generations of Brothers, priests and nuns”.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT “THE IRISH TIMES”

Thank God…or Allah….or whoever you want to thank

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on April 30, 2009

Finally, this has been resolved. Let’s hope this is the beginning of some real change in Saudi Arabia. It still sucks that it all hinged on the father giving up his claim basically, but I guess we have to take what little scraps come our way.

Media reports say an arranged marriage between a Saudi girl aged eight and a man in his 50s has been annulled, in a case attracting worldwide criticism.

The Saudi Gazette says the divorce was agreed in an out-of-court settlement after a judge rejected two attempts to grant the girl a divorce.

The case prompted Saudi officials to say it would start regulating the marriages of young girls.

Rights groups say some Saudi families marry off young daughters for money.

The judge who first heard the case in the town of Unaiza refused to end the marriage at the request of the girl’s mother , but he stipulated the groom could not have sex with the girl until she reached puberty.

The girl’s father is said to have married her off against her mother’s wishes to a close friend in order that he could pay off a debt.

A new judge was appointed to oversee the case, who issued the annulment after the husband finally gave up his insistence that the marriage had been legal, reports say.

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