Open Thread for Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Huck cogitates on whether to do something "unregular"...

Huck cogitates on whether to do something “unregular”…

Very quickly, as I have to be somewhere:

  1. As a Last Resort on Health Bill, G.O.P. May Try Bipartisanship — Those wild and crazy Republicans! For whatever reason, they remind me of Huck Finn, who in a desperate situation made a fateful and unprecedented decision: “I reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight place is taking considerable many resks, though I ain’t had no experience, and can’t say for certain; but it looks so to me, anyway; and yet here’s a case where I’m blest if it don’t look to me like the truth is better and actuly SAFER than a lie. I must lay it by in my mind, and think it over some time or other, it’s so kind of strange and unregular. I never see nothing like it. Well, I says to myself at last, I’m a-going to chance it; I’ll up and tell the truth this time, though it does seem most like setting down on a kag of powder and touching it off just to see where you’ll go to. ” Huck was as well acquainted with truth-telling as these lawmakers are with bipartisanship. As to whether they have it in them, well, we’ll see.
  2. Obamacare Had Big Impact in Kentucky. Its Senators Hate It. — Which shows you just how completely unaffected by reality ideologues are, and the extent to which it has warped our politics. You boys and girls may not believe it, but I’m old enough to remember a time when senators supported things that benefited the people of their states, instead of placing a greater priority on partisan purity.
  3. Just 17 Percent Of Americans Approve Of Republican Senate Health Care Bill — Just a little something McConnell et al. may want to consider…
  4. Will Folks go to jail to protect a source? — This is a fascinating situation. Will doesn’t adhere to a lot of the norms and standards that conventional journalists do, yet here he is standing on principle as a conventional journalist. Strange new ground. I hope it doesn’t come to him going to jail — for his and his family’s sake, and because I’m not sure what purpose it would serve. Yet Kenny’s lawyers are seeking just that…

19 thoughts on “Open Thread for Wednesday, June 28, 2017

  1. Doug Ross

    17% of Americans support the be health care bill? That’s pretty good since zero percent of Americans know what it contains… About the same as those who knew what was actually in Obamacare. Useless statistics.

  2. Richard

    Big news day, 3 of 4 articles are about the healthcare bill.

    4. I’m beginning to think this whole Will Folks issue is about nothing. No judge is going to waste taxpayer money sending a reporter to jail for not naming a source.

  3. bud

    1. Is the bipartisanship approach desperation or a clever ploy to get an awful bill passed that doesn’t look bad compared to the really colossally awful bill trotted out this week. The rich get $500 million in tax “relief” rather than a trillion. Oh well getting by on a smaller yacht won’t be that bad. And they get to come across as statesmen. All of a sudden their election odds go up.

  4. bud

    Another day, another high ranking Catholic official caught (literally) with his pants down. And this guy is the third ranking leader of “The Church”. And these are the same people who want to deny birth control to poor people:

    SYDNEY ― Australian Cardinal George Pell, the third-ranking official in the Vatican, has been charged over “multiple” historical sex offenses, authorities in the Australian state of Victoria said Thursday.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      First, this is obviously NOT a situation of “another day, another” whatever.

      In all the days there have been since the beginning of time, no churchman of this rank has been charged with such a thing — unless something has slipped my memory.

      Also, you need to look up the meaning of the word “literally.” Here, you have used it to indicate an in flagrante delicto situation, which is not the case.

      What we have is allegations — extremely serious allegations of profoundly shocking crimes, a very grim and painful situation for all concerned.

      As for the charges, they will be adjudicated, and if the cardinal is found guilty, he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. These are profoundly horrific, shocking crimes with which he is charged.

      And I would also think that a person who cares about the world would be saddened to see something that could be so damaging to the Vatican. Good people everywhere, Catholic or not, believer or not, have been encouraged by this pope and his ability and willingness to be a positive force in this world, showing the love of God that is the foundation of the faith.

      If the Vatican is damaged by the unspeakable sins of a man in such a position, a lot of good will that the pope has generated can be diminished.

      Given that, the whole world has reason to want to see this cardinal receive maximum punishment if found guilty, because a man in his position who commits such crimes does greater harm than another man could do.

      Because the last thing this world needs is more cynicism, which is precisely what such cases generate…

      1. bud

        Let’s just have a moment of honesty here. I have major disagreements with the Catholic Church on a variety of issues. That would be true without the many charges of sexual assault by their clergy. But Brad and other Catholics probably feel the same way about the UUs and other more liberal churches. But this latest charge shows just how widespread and apparently ongoing this scandal is. Here’s an extremely damning aspect of this case:

        “Pell has been slammed for his behavior while in leadership roles in the Catholic Church, while child sexual abuse was rampant. During a recent government inquiry into child abuse within the church, he was accused of overlooking instances of abuse committed by members of the clergy.

        He admitted during the inquest he was “very strongly inclined to accept the denial” of priests who disputed allegations of abuse made against them. He also said he did not remember if any children came to him personally with complaints.”

        Very strongly inclined to accept the denials? Really? And this is the number 3 guy? This doesn’t come across as an organization trying to make amends and move forward. Yet Catholics brush this aside as though these clergy were caught smoking a cigarette or something. Catholics should demand that the utterly nonsensical celibacy rule be repealed. What purpose does that serve? Other churches based on the same bible don’t interpret scripture to require that. Does that make those churches heretics?

        But the worst aspect of the Catholic Church by far is this whole anti birth control doctrine. With the world’s population continuing to grow churches should be promoting birth control in high birth rate nations not condemning it. Currently the world’s average fertility rate stands at 2.5. In spite of Catholic doctrine that’s far below what it was 60 years ago but still unsustainably high. (It needs to drop to 2.1 or lower). This is a cruel policy that inevitably will lead to starvation and death, not to mention contribute to global warming.

        So yes I have a certain level of cynicism toward the Catholic Church. And yes the Catholic Church does promote some good policies like it’s opposition to war. But until they can modernize their policies to reflect the realities of the 21st century I’ll offer no apologies for this cynicism.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “Yet Catholics brush this aside as though these clergy were caught smoking a cigarette or something.”

          No, we don’t. And nothing I’ve said here could reasonably be construed that way.

          But yeah, I’m bound to disagree when someone says an institution devoted to timeless, eternal verities should “modernize” its views.

          Let’s say there was such a thing as a perfect church. That’s impossible, given the involvement of human beings, but let’s say such a thing existed.

          That church would, of course, be right about everything. It would be right now, it would have been right 2,000 years ago, and it will be right 2,000 years from now.

          A real-world church filled with sinful humans has the obligation to strive to be right, not “modern.” And when it succeeds, that rightness does not change. Eternal truths do not change. They have a tendency, however, to be out of fashion in this world, by their very nature.

          Question such things as, say, priestly celibacy. It’s good to have discussions. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t host a blog. But you’re never going to persuade me of anything by saying the church should do it in order to be in sync with currently fashionable notions. That’s an argument without legitimacy, for me…

          1. bud

            How about this then, the celibacy doctrine ignores basic, human biological urges and therefore contributes to the problem. Perhaps the church has always been wrong on this but we just didn’t have enough information to know it. They were wrong about the earth orbiting the sun, why is it so difficult to accept they are wrong on this as well?

            1. bud

              The birth control issue has nothing to do with what is currently fashionable. It’s about a serious concern that is the opposite concern of the situation we faced in the 12th century. After the Black Plague it was important to go forth and populate. Situations do change. So it is absolutely false to say what was fundamentally correct 2000 years ago will be today and 2000 years from now. That very type of doctrinaire rigidity is exactly why I could never be Catholic.

  5. Karen Pearson

    The sin of child abuse, and the sin of covering up child abuse for whatever reason are 2 different things. The clerics who committed these abuses need to be brought to justice. Those who covered up the abuse need to face justice as well. Having said that, the institution of the Holy Roman Church has paid money, and had it’s name deservedly dragged through the mud. But it has promised reform and seems to be, in fact, repenting and reforming with this Pope. We need to look at what the HRE is doing now, not continuing to beat it up for what it has done in the past. It has a chance to become a leader in protecting children from abuse. I don’t continue to condemn “the church” for what has happened in the past. Instead, I hope and pray that it will continue to improve, and will hold it’s clergy to at least the same standard we expect of other humans.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      A higher standard. We have every reason to expect a higher standard from spiritual leaders, while at the same time remembering we are all sinners (a hard thing to remember with a sin this horrible).

      In any such case, the victim must be our first concern.

      But when someone in a position of great trust commits something so horrific, the whole world — or at least the portions that depend on being able to trust the perpetrator — is victimized. The repercussions are extensive.

      Of course, all sin has repercussions beyond the individuals most directly and obviously involved. As the pope said the other day:

      Or, “if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less”…

  6. Karen Pearson

    I’d like to hold them to a higher standard, but their ordained or not they remain men. I expect all men to refrain from child abuse and all other forms of cultural depravity. That’s the standard. That many fail it both lay and clergy, doesn’t change it, and I have no idea what a “higher standard” might look like.

  7. Claus2

    I guess those of us moderated folks aren’t allowed to say anything factual about the Catholic church.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      When you do so, it will be approved.

      But when you say baseless things that I would have to stop and spend time refuting, and I don’t have that time at the moment, I’ll just not approve it.

      Take, for instance, this one:

      What is it with the Catholic church and pedophilia? When is the last time you heard about Baptist or Lutheran ministers fondling children?

      You’re right that you are more likely to hear about such cases when they involve Catholic priests. It fits in with a worldview that holds that this is a Catholic thing. It’s the simplistic, “Well, they don’t get married, so they all must be frustrated perverts” view that is so popular.

      Except that it isn’t true. Catholic priests are no more likely than other men to do this. If you look for it, you’ll see that such things happen with Protestant youth ministers, coaches and such. The thing is, no one looks at those cases and says, “This means there’s something fundamentally wrong with the Methodist Church!” Or schools, or whatever.

      It’s a horrible truth that there is a certain percentage of men who will commit such horrific acts.

      But here’s the thing you’re missing. The percentage of Catholic priests with such tendencies is the same as the percentage among men overall. In other words, there is no greater tendency for Catholic priests to commit such acts.

      Personally, I think that’s bad enough. Priests should be BETTER than the common run of men. But the fact is, they are no better, and no worse.

      So when I know all that, and I’m in a hurry, do you see why I would just not approve the comment, when I’m feeling too rushed to stop and explain all of this once again?

  8. Karen Pearson

    It wasn’t the priests that were molesting the children who caused the greatest problems. It was those bishops who concealed it and protected the pedophilic priests who ultimately caused the trouble. Usually when a Baptist or Lutheran cleric commits such an act and it’s discovered, the church itself calls the cops. There have been exceptions to that, but those cover-ups were the act of another person, not the policy of the church.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, you’re completely right. The Church wouldn’t have this huge image problem over the issue if it had not dealt with these cases so disastrously.

      It’s related to the “coverup worse than the crime” phenomenon.

      It’s not exactly the same, but a similar dynamic.

      Oh, sometimes I suppose it’s exactly the same — somebody avoiding trouble for himself and his institution, at the expense of justice.

      But with the church, there’s another complicating factor.

      The Roman Catholic Church is many things, and one of those things is that it is a huge forgiveness machine. Some people don’t realize that, focusing on historical phenomena such as the Inquisition and excommunication. But what the church does day in and day out is forgive sins, even grave ones. It’s kind of a joke about why it’s great to be a Catholic — you can do anything, and once you confess it and do penance, it’s all good.

      I think that whole forgiveness thing went horribly wrong with these priests who molested kids. The Church would catch these guys, and send them forth to another parish with their promise to sin no more. You have to really, really, REALLY believe in forgiveness to trust that a child molester won’t do it again, but I think a lot of bishops did believe that, and also believed that it was better for everyone, including the victims, for the story not to go public.

      They were wrong, deeply wrong. But I think gullibility, based in a desire to believe in rehabilitation, was a complicating factor…


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