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Taylor Berman at Gawker reports that two of the top candidates to replace retiring Pope Benedict have predictably well-informed opinions about why Catholic priests rape so many children. Read the rest
Read the rest
After years of legal battles, The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has grudgingly released files on priests accused of sexually abusing children. An announcement from the church about the document dump is here (PDF). You can browse the files yourself at clergyfiles.la-archdiocese.org.
Reuters: "The 12,000 pages of files were made public more than a week after church records relating to 14 priests were unsealed as part of a separate civil suit, showing that church officials plotted to conceal the molestation from law enforcement as late as 1987."
Scanned documents from church files on each of the priests known to have molested children are here, listed in alpha order of the each priest's name. Major trigger warning. They include explicit accounts of abuse testimony, and in some cases, letters of denial from officials within the church.
On Monday, I published a letter from my husband, Christopher Baker, to the Boy Scouts of America. In that letter, Baker returned his hard-earned Eagle Scout award and explained that he no longer wanted to be associated with an organization that discriminated against gay teenagers and GBLT parents. By the end of the day, I'd posted six updates to that story—adding letters from other Eagle Scouts who had joined my husband in resigning from a fraternity they had loved and had worked incredibly hard to join.
The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization. The Supreme Court has said they have the right to discriminate. What these Eagle Scouts are saying is that legal precedent doesn't make the discrimination right. Overwhelmingly, they've said that it makes them sad to see the organization that meant so much to them go against the very values of inclusion that it taught them as children. As Baker wrote, "banning openly gay scouts and leaders is not a neutral position any more than separate-but-equal was a neutral position on race."
Yesterday, I received more letters from other Eagle Scouts who want the Boy Scouts of America to know how disappointed they are, and that they choose to stand with the persecuted rather than with the people doing the persecuting. In this post, you can read inspiring words from 13 Eagle Scouts who asked that I share their letters. In most cases, I've included a photo of the letter, and quoted text for easy reading. They're worth reading. These are amazing men.
Well, amazing men, and one woman. I'm starting out this collection with the letter of Dr. Julie Praus.
Read the rest
Music for Marriage Equality is working with Washington musicians to approve R-74, a referendum that will put same-sex marriage to the popular vote on Washington's state ballot in November.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis recorded this lovely song, which includes vocals by Mary Lambert, to benefit Music for Marriage Equality. The cover art (above) for the single is a photograph of Macklemore’s uncles, who served as inspiration for the song and were a model of a committed and loving relationship while he was growing up.
Here's Macklemore on the process of writing the song:
This song, which I wrote in April, is a response to what I have observed and experienced, and is also an act of personal accountability. It was not easy to write, and I struggled with how I, as a straight male, could genuinely speak upon this issue.
Initially, I tried writing from the perspective of a gay, bullied kid, but after getting some feedback, I felt it wasn’t my story to tell. What I do know, and where I wrote from, is my own perspective growing up in a culture where “that’s gay” was commonplace, with a huge stigma on those who identified and were perceived as gay.
Growing up in the Catholic Church, I saw first-hand how easily religion became a platform for hate and prejudice. Those who “believed” were excused from their own judgments, bypassing the stark issue of basic civil rights.
But, more influential to me as a kid than the church was hip hop, my cultural foundation that influenced my worldview.
Unfortunately, intolerance of the gay community in hip hop is widespread. The best rappers will use homophobic language on albums that critics rave about, making hip hop and homophobia inextricably linked. We have sidestepped the issue entirely, become numb to the language that we use, and are increasingly blinded to our own prejudice.
The consequence and impact of what we say, and the culture of shame and abuse it creates, has very real, sometimes deadly impacts upon LGBTQ young people looking for acceptance and belonging.
You can hear the song now for free (below), buy it on iTunes next week or pick up a limited 7" vinyl single to support marriage rights for everyone.
From Think Progress:
Cardinal Timothy Dolan has led the charge against same-sex marriage, describing gay and lesbian unions as “unjust,” “immoral,” and unnatural. “This is a very violation of what we consider natural law that’s embedded in every man and woman and we’re really worried as Americans that it’s going to be detrimental to the common good,” Dolan said in a radio interview in June, as New York prepared to legalize marriage equality. “[W]e still worry about the detrimental effect upon society, upon culture, and certainly upon our individual churches.”
But church documents showing that Dolan paid off priests who had been accused of sexually abusing minors suggest that the prominent Catholic leader was willing to overlook these very same religious convictions to help colleagues accused of egregious wrong doing. The documents, obtained by the New York Times, also show that Dolan lied to reporters when he initially dismissed news of the payments as “false, preposterous and unjust.”
When a religious leader is found out to be a lying hypocrite, the members of the religion become much more devout. Church leaders should do this kind of thing more often.
(via Mia Farrow)
David Friend, CEO of the company Carbonite (which makes backup software), explains why his company won't be reinstating its advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show. Carbonite was one of the advertisers that pulled its Limbaugh dollars after the radio host described a law student a "slut" and a "prostitute" for testifying on the cost of contraception for students whose Catholic university wouldn't extend insurance coverage to reproductive control.
“No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”
[Video Link] Soft Skull Press has kindly given Boing Boing an exclusive excerpt of Mike Edison's history of Playboy, Penthouse, Screw, and Hustler magazines, called Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!: Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers -- An American Tale of Sex and Wonder.
A wild and uncompromising history of four infamous magazines and the outlaws behind them, Dirty! Dirty! Dirty! is the first book to rip the sheet off of the sleazy myth-making machine of Hugh Hefner and Playboy, and reveal the doomed history of Hefner's arch rival, Penthouse founder Bob Guccione, whose messiah complex and heedless spending -- on a legendary flop of a movie paid for with bags of cash, a porn magazine for women, and a pie-in-the sky scheme for a portable nuclear reactor -- fueled the greatest riches to rags story ever told.
The adventure begins in the early 1950s and rips through the tumultuous '60s and '70s -- when Hustler's Larry Flynt and Screw's Al Goldstein were arrested dozens of times, recklessly pushing the boundaries of free speech, attacking politicians, and putting unapologetic filth front and center -- through the 1990s when a sexed-up culture high on the Internet finally killed the era when men looked for satisfaction in the centerfold. As America goes, so goes its porn.
Along the way we meet many unexpected heroes -- John Lennon, Lenny Bruce, Helen Gurley Brown, and the staff of Mad magazine among them -- and villains -- from Richard Nixon and the Moral Majority to Hugh Hefner himself, whose legacy, we learn, is built on a self-perpetuated lie.
Mike Edison is the former publisher of High Times magazine, a Hustler and Penthouse correspondent, and the former editor-in-chief of Screw magazine. He is the author of 28 pornographic novels and the legendary memoir I Have Fun Everywhere I Go -- Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World. Edison lives and works in New York City.
Before you continue, read the following:
WARNING: ADULT TYPE MATERIAL
IF YOU ARE LIABLE TO BE OFFENDED BY SUCH MATERIAL KINDLY LAY OFF AND CLICK THE BACK BUTTON ON YOUR BROWSER.
The contents of this publication are neither obscene nor pornographic according to the guidelines set by the United States Supreme Court.Read the Excerpt
Officials of the Catholic church in Ireland object to a new law that mandates the reporting of child abuse. From the BBC:
The Irish Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that priests who are given admissions of child abuse during the sacrament of confession will not be exempt from new rules on mandatory reporting. During his homily to worshippers at Knock shrine in County Mayo, on Sunday, the archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland said: "Freedom to participate in worship and to enjoy the long-established rites of the church is so fundamental that any intrusion upon it is a challenge to the very basis of a free society."
The discussion seems to center on future abuses revealed during confession, but I wonder if it's really about the ongoing use of the sacrament to hide internal discussions of undisclosed abuses from the possibility of legal scrutiny.
(Lady Gaga performs during a gay pride concert in downtown Rome. Stefano Rellandini / Reuters)
The gay icon Lady Gaga was there wearing her green wig, together with up to one million people marching chanting singing in a carnival gay pride march.
Rome is the capital of Vatican too, the place where Pope lives and preaches from his balcony every Sunday morning about how people should live and love. Lady Gaga's motto this Sunday was the power of love. She recalled her Italian origin and name ( La Germanotta) and, in a passionate speech, demanded immediate equal rights for the gays, meaning the right to get married, have children etc. While singing her new song Born This Way, an anthem to diversity...
But only few days ago, the Pope announced his firm opposition to equalize even straight informal marriages, that is, unions not sanctioned by God in a marriage sacrament. Where the Catholic church is concerned, gay marriages are not only a taboo topic but even a place of severe demonization and homophobia.
Silvio Berlusconi will be the first head of a G-7 state to be arraigned in court on charges of paid sex with a minor.
A few days ago, the court from Milan issued a subpoena for the Italian premiere, on a charge that could carry a penalty of 15 years of prison. This April 6, sugar daddy Silvio will face three adult female judges from Milan, the Italian women that the press here in Italy call his "Nemesis."
A right wing commentator of the TG1, one of the TV channels owned and controlled by Berlusconi himself, said: I believe in his innocence, but by the time he proves that, his reputation will be gone forever. And to tell the truth he worked hard on that himself! What on earth did he think he was doing when he meddled with minors and showgirls?
The Church as well as Catholic believers are divided. It's not about sex, says one of the high ranked church officials: hardly any Italian anymore confesses those misdeeds as sins. It's his way of doing it. Then there's the hardcore of Italian machismo, who aspire to that level of misbehavior themselves, and frankly admire Berlusconi for his orgies.
"Ruby The Heartstealer," the Moroccan illegal belly-dancing minor, was the last-known in the lengthy chain of Berlusconi's sweethearts. Ruby may have triggered a final avalanche of shameful publicity that will crush the lascivious premiere... but, Ruby nevertheless just cheerily appeared in Italian television, in black lingerie, peddling a tell-all book. Italians have always adored sexy foreign girls: Belen Rodriguez, the Argentinian top model, is the star of the Sanremo music festival although she cannot sing, and also the spokesmodel for a wireless Internet service, though her appeal is by no means high-tech. Italy's high-fashion business puts a premium on female beauty, not to mention a bald market price.
"If Not Now, When?" was a national demonstration of Italian women, against Berlusconi and, to put it bluntly, his porno-democracy. The demo had other slogans as well: Resign! Basta! I don't give up! ADESSO, NOW!
A flash mob in 280 cities of Italy and 50 cities abroad, millions of people, mostly women, but also men and children. The demonstrations have been growing in the months since Berlusconi got caught up in the sex scandal vertigo with minors, prostitutes, pimps and orgies.
A week ago in Milan, in a big rally, the prominent intellectuals in Italian public life threw themselves into the campaign: the distinguished professor and writer Umberto Eco, Roberto Saviano the star of the antimafia campaign, the judges of of the constitutional court, trade union leaders and many others. But as one of the speakers, the orchestra director Pollini remarked : Berlusconi will never step down.
Berlusconi did not leave public life. On the contrary, he sped up his counter-campaign, attacking the judges in Milan who brought the latest of many legal cases against him. He even threatened to take his case to the European Parliament and sue the nation of Italy. He organized rallies in his support , claiming that his innocent altruistic interest in young girls had been cruelly misunderstood. He also accused the investigators of orchestrating a communist-biased coup against himself as head of government.
But his luck may be turning these days, after sixteen long years of media monopoly and political domination. Even the Catholic daily, Avvenire, came out with a big editorial claiming that decent Catholic women should be in the public squares on the 13th of February. It's rare of the Church to urge women to take to the streets to defend their dignity. Then there is the dignity of the state to consider, for the ludicrous shambles of Italian public life has become a matter of international concern.
A scientific experiment avoids confusion by holding as much as possible constant, while systematically varying some factor of interest. When you are trying to think through a complex train of thought it can be helpful to do something similar, especially when sorting out separate arguments that might be confused. My previous Boing Boing post, "Should employers be blind to private beliefs?," could be seen as raising four separate questions. These were in danger of being confused with each other, and it is helpful to consider them one at a time, setting the others on one side temporarily--the equivalent of holding other variables constant in an experiment. The four questions were:
1. Should Martin Gaskell have been turned down by the University of Kentucky? I got rid of this one by explicitly stating that I was not concerned with it. I shall continue to ignore it here.
2. Should employers ever discriminate on grounds of the beliefs of candidates? If the answer to this is no, there is no point in going on. I tried to dispose of it by reductio ad absurdum. I postulated hypothetical extremes (flat earth geographer, stork theory doctor, astronomer who thinks Mars is a mongoose egg). I presumed that everybody would agree to discriminate against such obviously preposterous extremes, and that we would therefore have a non-controversial baseline from which to move on to more subtle questions. As it turned out, I was wrong: I underestimated the emotive impact of the very word 'discrimination'. I may also have underestimated the power of the relativist doctrine that all opinions are equally worthy of respect. But in any case my purpose was not to erect a straw man and knock it down. I wanted to find a baseline of agreement, which would enable us to set Question 2 on one side, while we went on to the other questions.