The Pope blames atheists for global warming. Pope Benedict is claiming atheists are responsible for the destruction of the environment. The Pope made the claims in a recent speech given at the Vatican. The claim is a puzzling attack on atheism that frankly makes little sense.
Excerpt from the Pope’s speech:
“Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where his existence is denied? If the human creature’s relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the ‘final authority,’ and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.”
The irony is that any historical evaluation places the blame for global warming and the degradation of the planet firmly in the lap of Christians and the Catholic church. The Holy Bible, a book atheists firmly reject for good reason, claims that God gave man dominion over the earth. Christians, including Catholics, took these words to heart. They used those words as carte blanche, a justification for all manners of planetary abuse.
Christianity, and Catholicism, are historically anti-environmental. In fact, if blame is to be placed for the current global environmental crisis, it is to be placed squarely upon the Judeo-Christian tradition. The fact that Christianity is anti-environmental is no secret. Indeed, many Christians have taken a perverse pride in claiming their dominion. For example, James Watt, who became U.S. Secretary of the Interior under Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s, wrote an influential and damning article entitled “Ours Is the Earth”. Watt, speaking for countless Christians, made it abundantly clear that for believers the earth is “merely a temporary way station on the road to eternal life…The earth was put here by the Lord for His people to subdue and to use for profitable purposes on their way to the hereafter.”
For those of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the earth is, for all intents and purposes, disposable, nothing but a waiting room for eternity. As such the waiting room can be plundered in any fashion. After all, the earth is but a temporary and transient thing of no consequence when compared to the promise of eternity (pie in the sky, yum yum!).
The fact that the Pope would bear false witness should surprise no one. Such is the stuff of most religions. The hypocrisy of the Pope is monstrous. He lives in opulent luxury, surrounded by obscene material wealth, while paying lip service to the poor unwashed masses. Children starve for lack of the most minimal of nutrition, while the Pope parades around in designer shoes. Words fail to describe the obscene perversity of this hypocritical buffoon.
The Pope is not alone is his hypocrisy. It is a hallmark of the successful Christian leader to live in luxury while preaching charity. It is one of the great and ugly ironies of religious life. The Pope is just another religious con man, the pointy hat and funny dress symbolic of criminal decadence and moral corruption.
T-shirts worn by the Smith-Cotton High School band have evolved into controversy among parents.
The shirts, which were designed to promote the band’s fall program, are light gray and feature an image of a monkey progressing through stages and eventually emerging as a man. Each figure holds a brass instrument. Several instruments decorate the background and the words “Smith-Cotton High School Tiger Pride Marching Band” and “Brass Evolutions 2009” are emblazoned above and below the image.
Assistant Band Director Brian Kloppenburg said the shirts were designed by him, Band Director Jordan Summers and Main Street Logo. Kloppenburg said the shirts were intended to portray how brass instruments have evolved in music from the 1960s to modern day. Summers said they chose the evolution of man because it was “recognizable.” The playlist of songs the band is slated to perform revolve around the theme “Brass Evolutions.”
The band debuted the T-shirts when it marched in the Missouri State Fair parade. Summers said he was surprised when he received a direct complaint after the parade.
While the shirts don’t directly violate the district’s dress code, Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt said complaints by parents made him take action.
“I made the decision to have the band members turn the shirts in after several concerned parents brought the shirts to my attention,” Pollitt said.
Pollitt said the district is required by law to remain neutral where religion is concerned.
“If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” he said.
Band parent Sherry Melby, who is a teacher in the district, stands behind Pollitt’s decision. Melby said she associated the image on the T-shirt with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
“I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” Melby said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”
Parent Alena Hoeffling said she is infuriated with administration’s decision to pull the attire.
“Whatever happened to the separation of church and state,” she said.
Hoeffling said she is both a scientific person and a practicing Catholic and enjoyed the “play on words.”
“I thought it was funny,” she said. “I didn’t think much of it.”
However, the T-shirt’s imagery became a hot topic at a recent TIMPO (band booster) meeting. Hoeffling said that’s where she learned the evolution T-shirts were causing a stir.
“Parents were informed the shirts had to be turned in,” Hoeffling said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Hoeffling said she enrolled her children in public school so they could have choices.
“If I wanted my children to be sheltered, I would have enrolled them in private school,” she said.
On Friday afternoon after practice, band members piled the shirts on a table. While most were apathetic about the shirts, others felt the drama surrounding the shirts was unwarranted.
“It’s not like we are saying God is bad,” sophomore band member Denyel Luke said. “We aren’t promoting evolution.”
High School junior Adam Tilley said he understood why the shirts were repossessed.
“I can see where the parents are coming from,” he said. “Evolution has always been controversial.” The 17-year-old trombone player said his parents “didn’t care” about the shirt because it was the “name of the band’s show.”
Senior Drum Major Mike Howard said he was disappointed when he had to return the shirt.
“I liked the shirt because it was unique,” Howard said. “The theory of evolution never even crossed my mind.”
While Howard was discouraged when he wasn’t given a choice whether to wear the shirt, he said he wouldn’t want to offend anyone. “Our fans are the community,” he said.
Summers said a new T-shirt is currently in the design stages, but declined to comment on the image.
“It has to be approved first,” he said.
Pollitt said the district would now have to absorb the cost of the T-shirts — $700 — that would have been paid for by the band parents. Pollitt said an anonymous donor had originally planned to pay half the cost, but declined after the evolution image was placed on the shirts. However, the donor does plan to fund half the price of the new T-shirts.
Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education member Michael Stees said it was unfortunate the T-shirt design was misconceived and he hopes the band can just move forward.
“This is an exciting time for the band,” Stees said. “They don’t need any negativity.”
Pollitt said the band’s new shirts would be approved by the activities director and administration before being printed.
“We support whatever steps the school district has to take,” Summers said.
THIS YEAR the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin is celebrating a year of evangelisation. The project’s website notes that “evangelisation is . . . an essential mission of the church”.
Necessary, courageous, no doubt, but, one might well ask the question, “why now?”
A friend told me, several years ago, of a conversation he had with a prominent Irish bishop whose diocese had the first exposure of an abuse scandal. “With this, what time do you think I have left for evangelisation?” asked the forlorn pastor. But worse was to come.
In recent times, it can be argued, the Catholic Church in Ireland has reached the nadir of its long history on this island. This institution is paying the price for its past success and for the kind of clerical dominance that almost inevitably leads to arrogance and the abuse of power.
Is it entering a land of exile?
The Ryan report was horrendous. The damage done to the victims was incalculable, the effect on the morale and reputation of the church, and, I would suggest, much of the country, devastating.
“How did we come to this?” we ask. It reflected not only on the church but also on the whole of Irish society. This will be followed up by the report on clerical sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin.
In the days following publication of the Ryan report, I was travelling on a train from Dublin to Tralee. Sitting opposite me were two elderly ladies, one going to visit her family, while the other was eventually joined by her sister, a retired religious in civil attire.
The conversation turned almost inevitably to Ryan. The two lay persons, both of whom had sisters who were religious, reacted largely as one might have expected from people of this generation and class.
There was a kind of uncomprehending anger towards the victims of abuse expressed in the most negative terms; a defence of the church, and those representing it; as well as an anger that was diffuse and directed at everybody and nobody, including the church. Above all there was a sense of confusion and loss.
These women, like many people today, struggled with the fact that the ecclesiastical institution, in grave difficulty, often reviled, had let them down.
While we have come to assume that young people have lost faith, this is not, of course, always the case. They continue their search for truth and for God.
A bond of trust has been so severely damaged that it is not clear whether it can ever be restored. While priests often receive generous support, they often sense distrust, even among their own family and friends.
And yet, this is the situation within which the church must carry out its mission. If we speak of contextual theology, a locus theologicus, it is within this context of vulnerability and weakness that we must start today. If we are to speak of evangelisation or re-evangelisation this is the locus where it must happen, for all those who present themselves as witnesses to truth.
At least they’re admitting their beliefs are bullshit..
MOGADISHU, Aug 10 — Somali Islamist group al Shabaab is forcibly removing gold and silver teeth from residents in southern Somalia because it says they contravene strict religious law, locals from a coastal town said today.
Residents in Marka say al Shabaab has been rounding up anyone seen with a silver or gold tooth and taking them to a masked man who then rips them out using basic tools.
“I never thought al Shabaab would see my denture as a sin. They took me to their station and removed my silver tooth,” resident Bashir told Reuters.
“In the station, I met several men and women whose dentures were being pulled out by a masked man they called a doctor. The doctor used a pincer or his gloved hand depending on the strength of the tooth,” Bashir said.
“As you smile your silver tooth accuses you. I was at a counter with my friend when three armed al Shabaab ordered me to follow them,” he added. “I am afraid they want to make money from taking all this precious metal.”
Al Shabaab officials declined to comment.
The Islamist group says the gold and silver teeth are used for fashion and beauty, which is against strict interpretations of Islam, residents told Reuters.
Al Shabaab, which means “Youth” in Arabic, is an al Qaeda-inspired militant group that has taken control of large swathes of south and central Somalia.
The group’s hardline interpretation of Islamic law has shocked many Somalis, who are traditionally more moderate Muslims. Some residents, however, give the insurgents credit for restoring order to the regions under their control.
In June, al Shabaab officials in one of the group’s Mogadishu strongholds ordered four teenagers to each have a hand and a foot cut off as punishments for robbery.
MELBOURNE Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart told a woman who had been sexually abused by a priest to “go to hell, bitch” in conduct labelled appalling by a Victorian magistrate.
Archbishop Hart later apologised to the woman in the Melbourne Magistrates Court for what magistrate Anne Goldsborough described as ”appalling words of abuse”.
But last night Archbishop Hart repeatedly claimed that he ”did not recall” his comments or the magistrate’s rebuke in mid-2004. ”It was a number of years ago, I don’t recall precisely,” he told The Age.
When put to him that he would surely recall the comment because it had become an issue in court, he again said: ”I don’t recall.”
Court documents confirm the archbishop’s outburst after he was granted an intervention order against the woman, who had pursued him over her abuse by priest Barry Whelan in 2001.
The magistrate said that a ”very, very angry” Archbishop Hart had told the woman to ”go to hell bitch” after she knocked on his door at 1.20am in March, 2004. The woman was the subject of an earlier intervention order after she had thrown stones through a window of the archbishop’s house and hassled him and his staff.
Delivering her findings in June 2004, Magistrate Goldsborough said: “Archbishop Hart has apologised for this appalling and ungracious act directly from the witness box in my presence.”
The magistrate said she “did not consider he [Archbishop Hart] was fearful or had any apprehension for himself or others” when he found the woman on his doorstep – but also described her conduct as unacceptable.
The magistrate found that the archbishop was angry that his privacy had been significantly breached as a result of the early morning visit.
But Ms Goldsborough rejected the archbishop’s lawyer’s claim that the victim’s abuse was not a relevant factor in the intervention order court case.
”I am assured … by the archbishop himself that [he] … has a good understanding of the complex set of circumstances in which [the victim] finds herself at least in part caused by her … abuse by former father Barry Whelan.”
In her findings, the magistrate also said that after attending the archbishop’s house, the woman had later asked for an apology from the archbishop over his comments and told his staff over the phone that she wanted to kill him. Ms Goldsborough found that the woman ”had no intention to carry out this threat”, but said it was ”threatening and alarming”.
”[The victim] says all of the behaviour illustrated in her phone conversations is borne out of her hurt and frustration,” Ms Goldsborough found.
”While that may be entirely understandable in one sense it is absolutely unacceptable behaviour in all other senses.” Whelan abused the woman in 2001 after his suspension as a priest in the 1990s for abusing another woman had been overturned.
Over several decades, five women have accused Whelan of sexually abusing them, including a woman who was 13 at the time of the alleged abuse and a woman who claims to have had Whelan’s son. The church reached a confidential settlement in 2006 with the woman involved in the 2004 court case.
While being unable to recall his comments to the woman and his dressing down by the magistrate, Archbishop Hart yesterday detailed some of the events that led to the court case. ”I put my cassock on, I went down to the door and I was very annoyed … [she was] ringing and ringing and ringing, I had just got to sleep, I was very tired, I was about to go off to Rome and I went down and I am sure I would have spoken strongly, but what I said I don’t recall.”
The Age reported yesterday that a St Patrick’s Cathedral newsletter last month named Barry Whelan as a ”living treasure”, despite the church’s own investigator finding that he had abused several woman. The archdiocese has said this was a mistake and has apologised.
The Age investigation into the Melbourne Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse claims has also reported:
? That a priest accused of abusing a minor was told by a church investigator that he was the subject of a covert police probe.
Archbishop Hart said yesterday he had accepted Peter O’Callaghan’s denial that he was told not to tell the priest about the police inquiry.
? Comments from Melbourne Vicar General Les Tomlinson that there is a church sex abuse ”victims’ industry” that seeks to exploit victims to make money – which the Archbishop yesterday said ”weren’t helpful”.
? Calls from a victims collective, who are backed by two interstate bishops, to review the Melbourne archdiocese’s handling of complaints. Archbishop Hart said there was no need to review the system. ”I would much rather concentrate on the compassion that we need to show to victims … They are people who should have expected more from priests and it is a tremendous suffering to be let down by people they trusted.”