Comments

  1. #1 Scote
    April 14, 2008

    It does seem that the secret to getting away with a crime is to do it on a staggering scale.

    Kill one man and it is murder. Kill tens of thousands in Iraq, it’s ok. Steal $100, you are a thief. Steal $100 million you are a CEO.

  2. #2 Paul Lundgren
    April 14, 2008

    As I’ve commented on my own blog, I’m no fan of the Catholic Church. But I’m no fan of Bill Maher tossing out throwaway phrases like “some of them molest children” as if they were documented facts. What we really need are studies that show statistics on Catholic priests arrested and charged with child molestation as opposed to clergy of other Christian denominations and other religions altogether. Let’s see who the real offenders are, and go after them.

  3. #3 J. J. Ramsey
    April 14, 2008

    There is also the not-so small matter that Maher is comparing apples and oranges. With the FLDS, child rape is an approved part of the religion, whereas the pedophilia scandal with the Catholic Church happened because too many of its clergy violated their own morality on a grand scale.

  4. #4 Elizabeth
    April 14, 2008

    JJ: Good point, but I think it could be said that this point is not relevant.

    If I move to Montana and say that my property is in a new nation that has a rule about not paying taxes to the US government (cult), or if I do not move to Montana and just don’t pay taxes to the US government (Church), I think I would be violating the same law. In other words, being an “approved part” of some wacko cult is no different than a horny priest deciding that it is gods will that he shall have oral sex from the altar boys.

  5. #5 J. J. Ramsey
    April 15, 2008

    “In other words, being an ‘approved part’ of some wacko cult is no different than a horny priest deciding that it is gods will that he shall have oral sex from the altar boys.”

    This conclusion doesn’t follow from your analogy, and your analogy is confused to begin with since churches, for better or worse, are legally exempted from paying taxes in the first place. Also, you still have the problem that the religious training of the “horny priest” gives him no reason to molest altar boys.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    April 15, 2008

    The part of my analogy that has to do with taxes is not relevant to churches and tax exempt status. When I wrote it I thought you might get confused by that but I did not really have time to switch analogies.

    Change “I don’t want to pay taxes” top “I don’t want to obey the speed limit.”

  7. #7 J. J. Ramsey
    April 15, 2008

    Greg Laden: “Change ‘I don’t want to pay taxes’ top ‘I don’t want to obey the speed limit.'”

    Okay, then we’re, what, comparing a member of the Church of Sammy Hagar to an epidemic of pastors who like to speed? I think we’re still stuck in the Land of Bad Analogies.

    Maher would like to think that the Catholic Church isn’t being prosecuted because it’s a large established religious organization. The reality is far more mundane. There are problems with statutes of limitations, problems with even finding what charges can be pressed against indirect enablers of pedophiles and making them stick, and problems with the perpetrators not all being within U.S. jurisdiction. Those would be problems even if we were dealing with a large secular organization. If anything, being religious hurts the Catholic Church here because it is seen as a hypocritical violator of a sacred trust.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    April 15, 2008

    JJ: You are only seeing these as bad analogies because you are not seeing them as analogies. I’m not talking about priests who drive to fast!

    I’m sure you are right that the church is seen as hypocritical for the reasons you cite.

    It is the case, though, that when the Boston diocese was first being considered for investigation and prosecution (for covering up felonies) the bishop made the claim that it would be best if the church handled this themselves.

    Now, we’re going to try another analogy: That would be like a major corporation that was carrying out felonies in, say, the accounting system, getting caught and saying “It would be better for us to handle this internally. We’ll fire some guys, and we’ll move some guys around so they are dealing with different accounts, and nobody involved gets a raise this year.”

    This analogy has nothing to do with priests doing accounting.

  9. #9 J. J. Ramsey
    April 15, 2008

    Greg Laden: “You are only seeing these as bad analogies because you are not seeing them as analogies. I’m not talking about priests who drive to fast!”

    I know that you aren’t talking about priests who drive too fast. I’m just expanding out the analogy to see where or if it parallels the real case, and when I do that, I don’t find very good parallels.

    Greg Laden: “This analogy has nothing to do with priests doing accounting.”

    And now it doesn’t have a whole to do with the FLDS, either. More to the point, it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with religion.

    If you can’t make a parallel work between the FLDS and the Catholic Church without resorting to hazy analogies, maybe the parallel just isn’t that good.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    April 15, 2008

    I’m just expanding out the analogy to see where or if it parallels the real case, and when I do that, I don’t find very good parallels.

    JJ: All analogies get sucky if you expand them too much. No fair expanding my analogy then finding that it does not work!

    My analogies were meant to be transformative experiences. I’m asking people to understand something about which most people have very biased views in a somewhat different light. As long as the scales of bias remain before an individual’s eyes, the analogies will remain fuzzy.

    There is an analogy for this, but I won’t even go there….

  11. #11 J. J. Ramsey
    April 15, 2008

    Greg Laden: “All analogies get sucky if you expand them too much.”

    True, but that’s not the same as expanding out a tersely written analogy just enough to try to make the parallels clear. I didn’t even expand them out all that far.

    Greg Laden: “As long as the scales of bias remain before an individual’s eyes, the analogies will remain fuzzy.”

    In other words, blame the audience instead of your own lack of clarity.

  12. #12 Elizabeth
    April 15, 2008

    JJ: I got it. I think most people got it. Maybe you just need to read it again.

Current ye@r *