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Tuesday, July 24

Um. All we have is ourselves.

An LA Times reporter, William Lobdel, who covered the religion beat in earnest for years has lost his faith and has written about it. It's a remarkable story and one that I know will touch the hearts of many readers of this blog based on the comments and emails I receive.Read Religion beat became a test of faith

Notice the similarity in church politics and national politics:
While reporting the [Father] Harris story, I learned — from court records and interviews — the lengths to which the church went to protect the priest. When Harris took an abrupt leave of absence as principal at Santa Margarita in January 1994, he issued a statement saying it was because of "stress." He resigned a month later.

His superiors didn't tell parents or students the real reason for his absence: Harris had been accused of molesting a student while he was principal at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana from 1977 to 1979; church officials possessed a note from Harris that appeared to be a confession; and they were sending him to a treatment center.

In September 1994, a second former student stepped forward, this time publicly, and filed a lawsuit. In response, parents and students held a rally for Harris at the school, singing, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." An airplane towed a banner overhead that read "We Love Father Harris."

By this time, church leaders possessed a psychological report in which Catholic psychiatrists diagnosed Harris as having an attraction to adolescents and concluded that he likely had molested multiple boys. (Harris, who has denied the allegations, now stands accused of molesting 12 boys, according to church records.) But they didn't step forward to set the record straight. Instead, a diocesan spokesman called Harris an "icon of the priesthood."

Harris' top defense attorney, John Barnett, lashed out at the priest's accusers in the media, calling them "sick individuals." Again, church leaders remained silent as the alleged victims were savaged. Some of the diocese's top priests — including the cleric in charge of investigating the accusations — threw a going-away party for Harris.
Does this remind you of US politics or what? And the sheeple!

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Personally I lost my faith in god and my country around the same time in my life. It started in the early Reagan years and really got going during Newt's "contract with America" which shattered my trust in human beings and the possibility that there is an almighty god. During the Clinton witch hunts I was reminded of old Salem in Massachusetts and Nathanial Hawthorne. By the time bush took office and the news channels referred to him (of all people) as a devout christian, I had abandoned any belief that anyone who sought to lead people in government or religion was a selfless person or even a semi-decent human being save for a few who to this day are despised and ridiculed by the powers that be.

People in real life often chide me for my insistence on discussing religion and politics. What can I say? Anyone's who's not paying attention needs a good metaphorical slap in the face. I don't care if people agree with my opinions exactly, I just want people to wake up and think.

Oh the poor professors that had to endure my term papers, class discussion and my answers and arguments on test papers as I studied for my masters degree in theology from a Catholic Seminary. (It was a very left of center seminary, where we eagerly awaited the death of Pope John Paul who set the church back 500 years, so I stayed till the end and graduated even while arguing that banning abortion was unfeasible in a secular society and expressed my very politically incorrect opinions when the subject of homosexuality came up in a place where the clergy was so openly gay and not terribly celibate that one of the older and very sincere priests told me he felt like he was living on the set of Designing Women. Indeed. Let's not even get into the gym and the pick-up bar in the basement of the seminary.

My mom was the first to notice that I had become an atheist and told the bishop so at my graduation. I hadn't even consciously accepted that I was an atheist at the time for I regarded the Catholic Church as a place where both very liberal and very conservative theologians and scholars were welcomed. I imagine they still are, but the oppressors are still in power promoting that mean old sky god who hates wimmin and homos. Just like in America. What ever happened to Jesus?

The more I try to understand this 'god and country' rhetoric, the more it reinforces my belief that We're on our own, cousin. All alone cousin...


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