Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.


- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Friday, May 11, 2007

A question for the Pope

Your Eminence, I have a question:

As an ex-Catholic, I don't quiver and shake at the threat of excommunication, but I realize there are many who still belong to the Church, and view it as their only avenue to salvation.

You are apparently quite aware of your power in this regard, and seem to believe that using your status to influence politics around the world is 'fair game.' Nothing new here: your predecessors did this for centuries.

Catholic officials have been debating for some time whether politicians who approve abortion legislation as well as doctors and nurses who take part in the procedure subject themselves to automatic excommunication under church law.

The pope was asked where he stands on the issue during the flight to Brazil, in his first full-fledged news conference since becoming pontiff in 2005.

"Do you agree with the excommunications given to legislators in Mexico City on the question?" a reporter asked.

"Yes," Benedict replied. "The excommunication was not something arbitrary. It is part of the (canon law) code. It is based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with going in Communion with the body of Christ. Thus, they (the bishops) didn't do anything new or anything surprising. Or arbitrary."

In light of your recent statements in Brazil, concerning the excommunication of Mexican lawmakers who passed abortion legislation - and I do realize that you later flip-flopped on this statement - I have to ask the question that has been burning in my soul for years:

Why do you protect unborn children, and yet refuse to excommunicate your own priests when they repeatedly molest, terrorize and traumatize (often for life) real, 'walking and talking' children who have been entrusted to their care?

I consider the molestation of helpless children by priests who had absolute power over them - not to mention of the trust of their parents and the community - to be one of the gravest crimes ever committed by representatives of the Church. Crimes against helpless children. A human being can't sink much lower than that.

The way the Church behaved in the aftermath - calling in lawyers, trying to buy off the victims and to cover up the crimes, moving predator priests around from parish to parish without telling anyone of their past behavior - this demonstrates complicity in the crimes themselves.

You protected these pedophiles - for years - allowing them to continue preying on children in community after community. You knew of their crimes, and yet you never excommunicated a single one. Not one! You even allowed them to continue saying Mass!

It appears you are in favor of protecting the rights of children... right up until the moment they are born. In this you have a lot in common with the Religious Right, but perhaps not so much in common with Jesus himself, a great advocate and protector of children and of their innocence.

"But anyone who is the downfall of one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone hung round his neck."

Hmm.

With this hypocrisy fresh in everyone's minds, you might consider staying out of global politics and the 'judging' game.

Thank you.

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