Monday, November 18, 2013

More great moments in religion

UPDATE: The church jury has passed its verdict. This hero has been suspended for thirty days and told that at the end of that time he's going to have to publicly state his willingness to knuckle under. As a friend of mine put it, "confess, or call for "more weight.""

After the jury pronounced its sentence, Schaefer's supporters began overturning chairs in the courtroom — symbolizing the biblical story of Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers — and held an impromptu communion service.



Just so you don't think I'm singling out any one religion, here are a couple of highlights showing modern religions living up to their holy principles.

The most current first. Today a Methodist minister was convicted in a religious church of violating church principles by performing a wedding ceremony for his son. You guessed the reason, right? The son married another man.


As reported in the Los Angeles Times:

The jury will reconvene Tuesday morning to decide the penalty for the Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa., the Associated Press reported. Schaefer faces punishment ranging from a reprimand to losing his ministerial credentials.
. . . 
The United Methodist church, the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination, rejects homosexuality as contrary to Christian teaching and bars its clergy from performing same-sex marriages. However, gays and lesbians are allowed to be full members of the church.

Feel free to try to engage your brain in a system of reasoning that accepts gays and lesbians as "full members" while it disrespects and condemns their families. Just don't complain to me if it gives you the mother of all headaches.

********************

And another story I came across today relates to a crime we've seen all too much of in recent years: clerical child rape. The twist is that it's not just for Catholic priests anymore.

It's reported in Vice:

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg—who is 63 with a long, graying beard—recently sat down with me to explain what he described as a “child-rape assembly line” among sects of fundamentalist Jews. He cleared his throat. “I’m going to be graphic,” he said.

. . .

 The victims, like those of Catholic priests, are mostly boys. Rabbi Rosenberg believes around half of young males in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community—the largest in the United States and one of the largest in the world—have been victims of sexual assault perpetrated by their elders. Ben Hirsch, director of Survivors for Justice, a Brooklyn organization that advocates for Orthodox sex abuse victims, thinks the real number is higher. “From anecdotal evidence, we’re looking at over 50 percent. It has almost become a rite of passage.”

Ultra-Orthodox Jews who speak out about these abuses are ruined and condemned to exile by their own community. Dr. Amy Neustein, a nonfundamentalist Orthodox Jewish sociologist and editor of Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals, told me the story of a series of Hasidic mothers in Brooklyn she got to know who complained that their children were being preyed on by their husbands.

It's tempting to say, as so many did in the Catholic rape crisis, that this is the actions of a minority of depraved individuals. The key here, though, as in the Catholic Church, is that the institution has stood together to protect the perpetrators and isolate and compound the crimes visited on the victims.

All we need now is aggressive action in behalf of these children.

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