Southern Religion

Graphing the (well-justified) slide in trust of clergy

Christa Brown explains why this is a self-protective adaptation.

Personally, I think it is good that people are beginning to view clergy with a greater measure of skepticism. That sort of skepticism may serve to make kids safer [from clerical sexual predators].

And note that the skepticism is rising among both Protestants and Catholics. That too is good. Maybe it is, in part, a sign that people are beginning to understand that clergy sex abuse is not just a Catholic problem. After all, the honesty and ethics rating for clergy has now dropped even lower than it was in 2002, the year that most consider to have been the peak of the Catholic clergy sex abuse crisis. Yet, the public’s perception of clergy has continued to slide even further downward . . . perhaps because the slide now affects all clergy.

Read the entire entry here.

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Churches | , , , , | 3 Comments

Rick Warren’s magic number (146,000 put-to-death Christians)

Somewhat factually challenged Rick Warren tweeted and reiterated the allegation that last year 146,000 Christians were put to death because of their faith. No one, except Christians, said anything.”

Unless you count Amnesty International (not a Christian organization) and Human Rights Watch — and others.

The number 146,000 is almost as startling as Warren’s willingness to encourage, without just cause, self-isolating Christian self-pity. In the lengthy process of attempting to find a valid source for Warren’s claim, we learned that 146,000 is a number which turns up frequently. Almost as if it were a magic number:

Dismissive assertions using dramatic, undocumented numbers — like Warren’s 146,000 tweet — tend to progressively discredit the source. It’s inevitable. Unless the source comes back with persuasive proof of his/her claims, they are demonstrations of untrustworthiness.

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vatican opposes anti-gay violence: No mention of Uganda

Thursday without actually mentioning Uganda. the Vatican voiced to a United Nations panel on sexual orientation and gender identity its opposition to “all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”

LBGT bloggers (1, 2) saw the statement as tacit opposition to Uganda’s gay genocide legislation, although the statement was explicitly a reiteration of a Vatican position taken last year. It also echoed the Vatican’s March position condemning violence against homosexuals without supporting the proposed U.N. Declaration on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, recognizing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as new categories that need human rights protections.

Scott Long of Human Rights Watch reported that the statement Thursday “stunned” many in attendance and was in part the result of a lobbying effort:

Among the many people who contributed to this truly historic result, in which the Catholic Church affirmed a tradition of peace and charity, I particularly thank Boris Dittrich, who lobbied the Holy See for almost a year to declare this position.

Long also said in an email:

One of the panelists proposed that Rev. Rick Warren, instead of issuing statements from California that rights abuses are bad, needs to go to Uganda-he’s preached there before-and tell Ugandans that he opposes jailing LGBT people.

The Reverend Philip J. Bené, J.C.D., legal attaché to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations, said [emphasis mine]

Mr. Moderator,

Thank you for convening this panel discussion and for providing the opportunity to hear some very serious concerns raised this afternoon. My comments are more in the form of a statement rather than a question.

As stated during the debate of the General Assembly last year, the Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person.

As raised by some of the panelists today, the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State. While the Holy See’s position on the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity remains well known, we continue to call on all States and individuals to respect the rights of all persons and to work to promote their inherent dignity and worth.

Thank you, Mr. Moderator.

When the Vatican in 2008 opposed the decriminalization of homosexuality, it was made clear that “no-one can or wants to defend the death penalty for homosexuals, as some people aim to insinuate.”

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , , , | Comments Off on Vatican opposes anti-gay violence: No mention of Uganda