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Atheist bus runs into heavy Italian traffic

Italian Atheist Bus

Italian Atheist Bus

Booted off Genoa, Italy, buses earlier this month after heated Catholic and Muslim protest, the atheist bus ads will run in drastically toned-down form on perhaps one bus for two weeks in February.

The new ad approved by advertising licensing agency IGP Decaux, reads: “The Good News Is There Are Millions of Atheists In Italy; The Excellent News Is They Believe In Freedom Of Expression.”

Originally the message was “The Bad News Is God Doesn’t Exist, The Good News Is You Don’t Need Him.”

The secretary of the Italian Union of Atheists, Agnostics and Rationalists (UAAR), Raffale Carcano, said the UAAR was working to get the original message approved in cities where IGP doesn’t control advertising.

Heaven only knows whether they’ll succeed.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Religion | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Puzzled’ L.A. Cardinal gets 0 sympathy

“Mystified and puzzled” Cardinal Roger Mahony got no twitter love in his efforts to comprehend a federal grand jury investigation into the handling of alleged clergy child molestation cases by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he was stunned but gladdened by the report.

The LATimes said the prosecutors are applying an honest services legal theory in an apparently novel way” by trying to determine whether church officials’ actions constituted a fraud against parishioners. The applicable federal statute bars conspiracies to deprive others of honest services, and in this case, the victims would be parishioners who entrusted the safety of their children to church leaders.

If the approach is “novel,” it’s an interesting novel. One wonders whether other denominations might yet find their own pages in it. Others whose conspiratorial silence contributes to the serial abuse of young parishioners.

Update

Judgment Day for Cardinal Mahoney: Long-time observer and victims comment.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Law, Religion | , , , , , | 1 Comment

How many clerical predator ‘hush money’ agreements?

They’re like cockroaches explains Christa Brown of Stop Baptist Predators:

It is the very nature of such agreements that they hide in the dark. That’s the reason for them. By design and function, they keep troubling news quiet. Most of the time, they work. The people never talk, and you never hear about the hush money or the reason for it.

She discusses the New Life Church claims with regard to Ted Haggard:

After all, this is a church whose leaders not only paid a young man to keep quiet, but then they effectively denied doing it. Instead, they had the sickening gall to claim they were trying to help the young man. “Compassionate assistance,” said Brady Boyd, the senior pastor.

She proceeds to document how the Baptist General Convention of Texas has offered hush money to clergy sex abuse victims, and having purchased the victims’ silence, denied having done so.

Read the entire post here. Hush money agreements are like cockroaches. Yes. The piece is well worth reading.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Crime, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on How many clerical predator ‘hush money’ agreements?

Grand Jury Could Charge Mail or Wire Fraud In L.A. Clergy Sex Abuse Cover-Up

Religion Clause reports:

The Los Angeles Times reported today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles has begun a grand jury investigation into the responses by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, and possibly other top Catholic Church officials, to reports of sexual abuse by priests.

The rest is here.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Crime | , , , , | Comments Off on Grand Jury Could Charge Mail or Wire Fraud In L.A. Clergy Sex Abuse Cover-Up

Inaugural Jesus

In The inaugural Jesus, Martin E. Marty writes:

We should devise some signal by which those who pray particular prayers (as I believe all are) let everyone know that while praying in their own integral style and form, they are aware and will at least implicitly assure their audiences that they are not speaking for everyone. They can then encourage others to translate what is being said into contexts they find congenial, and still share a communal experience.

Take the altogether worthwhile walk to that conclusion, starting here.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | | Comments Off on Inaugural Jesus