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Southern Religion

Arrest the pope? Not exactly

That Richard Dawkins/Christopher Hitchens arrest-the-pope campaign we referred to earler was, Dawkins suggestes, not altogether as advertised. Dawkins writes:

Needless to say, I did NOT say “I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” or anything so personally grandiloquent. You have to remember that The Sunday Times is a Murdoch newspaper, and that all newspapers follow the odd custom of entrusting headlines to a sub-editor, not the author of the article itself.

What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope’s proposed visit to Britain. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horme, other than to refer him to my ‘Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope’ article.

[H/T: Andrew Sullivan]

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, children, Crime, Pope Benedict XVI | , , , | Comments Off on Arrest the pope? Not exactly

Statute of limitations on child sex abuse (the pain doesn’t stop)?

Vatican guidelines of clerical sex abuse at last clearly require church-wide obedience to civil law, the New York Times reported today, while Connecticut bishops fight to limit the coverage of that civil law.

In Canada, there is no statute of limitations after which civil or criminal liability expires. As Child Abuse Effects explains:

When it comes to child abuse, there is no statute of limitations in Canada. Whether the child abuse occurred 5 minutes ago, 5 weeks ago, 5 or 50 years ago, an offender can still be charged. Nowhere is the latter more evident than with our Aboriginal people: more than 7,000 lawsuits have been filed against the Canadian Federal Government claiming sexual, physical and cultural abuse suffered at Residential Schools.

Connecticut bishops don’t want their state to emulate Canada, out of concern for the church as a financial entity. As NBC Connecticut reported, “Church officials say it could have devastating financial effects and could result in claims that are more than 50-years old which would be impossible to defend in court. Currently, victims have until their 48th birthday to file lawsuits.”

Impossible to defend? No. The burden of proof cuts both ways. So as Mark Silk observed, we’re left with the money bishops still don’t want to spend healing victims.

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, children, Crime, Pope Benedict XVI | , , , , , | Comments Off on Statute of limitations on child sex abuse (the pain doesn’t stop)?

Hear one victim

Arthur Budzinski, one of the victims of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, describes the pain of having been abused as a youth at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin:

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, children, Crime, Pope Benedict XVI | , , , , | Comments Off on Hear one victim

The majority (wants new) rules

Les Puryear, a pastor who has championed the cause of small churches in the Southern Baptist Convention, has initiated a move to give those churches a louder voice in convention matters.

Puryear, who ran for SBC president two years ago, started a web site called “the SBC Majority Initiative.”

“Prior to the SBC Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL, we will be announcing SBC Majority Initiative candidates for all major offices,” the web site says. “Also, we will be unveiling a motion which will be made in Orlando for a bylaw change which will effect greater representation of the SBC Majority on SBC entities boards.”

Puryear, who has previously questioned the wisdom of of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force emphasis church planting at the expense of existing churches, is pastor of Lewisville Baptist Church in North Carolina. Figures on the web site demonstrate the difficulty his movement faces.

The web site says SBC presidents come from churches with attendance in the top 1.4 percent, while 76 percent of trustees are from churches with attendance in the top 16.6 percent.

Clearly, the SBC rewards large churches. That’s not surprising in an organization that compiles its statistics in an “annual church profile” like last year’s showing a drop in membership. Perhaps, however, with signs pointing to denominational decline Southern Baptists will realize that higher numbers don’t necessarily equal God’s blessing.

If so, Puryear’s efforts might not be wasted.

April 12, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , | 1 Comment

Fired for acknowledging evolutionary science: Bruce Waltke

Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) Professor Bruce Waltke was forced to resign because he observed that faith and evolutionary science are compatible in a video in which he said, according to a reconstruction of his remarks by USA Today:

If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult … some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God’s Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness.

His remarks had to be reconstructed because Waltke was apparently driven by the “culture of fear” which pervades the evangelical community to ask the BioLogos Foundation, which had posted the video as part of their advocacy of science’s compatibility with faith, to take it down. And they did, yet Waltke was still compelled to resign.

Neither the video nor its contents should have come as a surprise. It wasn’t Waltke’s first run at the subject [1, 2]

The reaction is a surprise in part because Waltke isn’t otherwise a liberal, as Tony Cartledge explains:

Waltke is by most measures a very conservative scholar. Though he accepts a theistic version of evolution (acknowledging the reality of evolution while trusting that God guided the process), he also believes in an inerrant Bible and a literal Adam and Eve. But even that is too big a stretch for the most ardent inerrantists, leading to RTS’s over-the-top response.

Perhaps Waltke’s use of the word “cult” was the step too far.

If so, the reaction to his comments gives it legs.

[H/T: Tony Cartledge]

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Religion, Science | , , , | 1 Comment

‘Cradle catholic’ welcomes arrest-the-pope campaign

Deist and cradle Catholic Libby Purves welcomes the Richard Dawkins/Christopher Hitchens arrest-the-pope campaign. “Not just because of what bad priests did and bad bishops hid,” Purves writes:

What troubles me even more is that in doing this, church authorities repeatedly dragged other people into collusion and thus into what — in more convenient circumstances — they themselves would call sin. Young victims, particularly of sexual crimes, badly need to know that they are absolutely accepted as innocents betrayed: the crime is not their burden and does not define them. One of the ways in which societies achieve this is by openly punishing the perpetrator. Too often, that didn’t happen. In some of the most infamous Irish cases the children who suffered were sworn to secrecy, with all the dusty, incense-smelling, habit-rustling impressiveness of canonical process. They were made to collaborate in the shame, by men round whose necks hung the cross they had been taught to revere.

Read the entire piece here.

[H/T: Ruth Gledhill]

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, children, Crime | , , | Comments Off on ‘Cradle catholic’ welcomes arrest-the-pope campaign