Well Rick...

I was trying to help you out a bit by separating the values of Christianity from the people of Christianity, but you're continuing to make the percentage argument that's just a sinking ship as more and more information on this thing comes out. So I'm just gonna' have to take you to task on this.

So 5% of priests actually engaged in those abhorrent acts. First of all I can't see how you wouldn't agree with Pete that that's 5% too much. Second of the other 95% of the other priests, how many of them knew one of those 5%, knew what was going on, and did not report them immediately to authorities? Those priest are absolutely in the wrong as well. Just as you would be wrong for not reporting a fellow teacher who you knew was abusing kids. As it is becoming more and more clear the amount of people that knew what was going on and didn't say anything is starting to get pretty large and now apparently includes the Pope himself! So your 5% figure of priests who did something wrong is probably more like 20% or 30% or maybe even more and probably includes the very leader of the Church itself. I hope you're not saying that morally you're in the clear if you're only one who knew of something but didn't actually perpetrate the abuses. Even the law in most circumstances sees the purposeful withholding of information in a crime as a crime itself. So I'm sorry, 95% not guilty, 5% guilty is not only an incredibly weak defense, but it's also just plain false.

This is not to say that an individual, like yourself, can't find what they need to find in Christianity without being in the percentage of people that have committed a crime directly or indirectly. But even at that, I'd have to say if you're not at least keenly aware of the scope of the problem and are not willing to ask hard questions of even the people that you know are not part of the problem, you're definitely not part of the solution.

How is it that the Bishops and other higher ups have been able to cover this thing up for so long? Because people blindly accept their authority. If you're not questioning them, you're not helping.


Here's Rick:


I just read all of the posts after my last one. There are several convincing arguments made and points to be considered. As usual Loff56 cracks open the egg to take a peek without bias, without agenda and just with simple questioning.

I want to give a response worthy of the conversation and will need to digest some of the clearly agenda riddled tones of the some of the things posted.

When I can catch my breath, I hope to provide some answers to the direct questions asked of me as well as some facts that keep the dialog open.

I know your penchant to win is greater than your ability to critically think about the positions presented. You forget, as a Sicilian, crying uncle will never happen and that Calabrese blood that runs through our veins makes our craniums steel plated and I'm sure entertaining to the readers.

I'll give you something to chew on... If the numbers were billions of dollars instead of millions to settle these cases, does that make it more pandemic even though the same, less than 5% of priests actually engaged in such abhorrent acts? 1/2 full 1/2 empty? No 95 % full 5 % empty. And yes, all of the churches and priests I've been involved with are part of the 95%.

Did you know the Pope was a member of the Hitler youth?

Here's PL:

I'm not sure what you are trying to say here, Rick, especially with the last paragraph and last line? Is there actually a percentage of cases in which spiritual guides sexually abusing children is acceptable? Or lends one to saying that the institution in question should be given some slack because it's only __ percentage who are molesting the kids and __ percentage of the authorities who are covering it up?! WHAT?!!?

One thing that you are saying above is clear, however, and is very clearly wrong. I am not trying to "win" anything here, my friend. It's actually you that has a "penchant" for thinking that these dialogues are some kind of contest. This isn't a sport to me. I am attempting to be a voice on this blog to help expose things that our society has a penchant for glossing over and sweeping under the rug, and especially when it comes to one of my dedications in this lifetime - helping children - I will brook no bullshit. There is no "winning" when it comes to the abuse of children.

Children are being hurt - by priests, by parents, by doctors, by teachers and by therapists, to begin with. And I don't care what percentage of those professions or callings are perpetrators or obstructors. If it's not zero, it's too high. And if it's not being dealt with front and center as a top priority by the leaders of those professions, in full public view, then the profession is corrupt, and we'd be better off starting from scratch.

I rarely even refer to myself as a "therapist" anymore these days, Rick, because I am so disgusted by the people in my profession who drug children and call it "therapy." And I don't know or care what percentage it is. And likewise, I am equally disgusted by the people in your profession who think that making kids conform to ritualized behavior, sit still in chairs, take rote tests, get arbitrarily graded and slave over homework after 6 hours of the above is even remotely "education." Do I need to go on? Do I need to go over yet again here all of the damage done to children by each and every profession purportedly established to help them, including and especially the "parenting profession?"

The huge problem with "conservative" thinking, Rick, whether it's in politics or religion, is that it sees an inherent good in keeping the established order of things. The Church isn't stronger because it has been operating basically the same way for 2,000 years, it is weak and corrupt because it hasn't fundamentally changed and grown in two millennia. Same with mainstream medicine, traditional education and, most unfortunately, parenting. And I'm not talking about Dr. Spock or Baby Einstein or breast-feeding approaches. Parents still don't get, and don't want to get, that if they don't work on themselves to become self-actualized in their lives, and that includes in love, Eros and sex, in their creative/work-lives, and in their mental, emotional and physical health, then they are abusing their children. Period.

And kids would be better off without them.

Thanks for stimulating me this morning, Rick. I hope you are equally stimulated!


"Should There Be an Inquisition for the Pope?"

It was asked by Maureen Dowd in today's NY Times.

Here's Ms. Dowd: "It doesn’t seem right that the Catholic Church is spending Holy Week practicing the unholy art of spin. Complete with crown-of-thorns imagery, the church has started an Easter public relations blitz defending a pope who went along with the perverse culture of protecting molesters and the church’s reputation rather than abused — and sometimes disabled and disadvantaged — children. The church gave up its credibility for Lent. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are now becoming Cover-Up Thursday and Blame-Others Friday.

Read the entire essay HERE.


Breaking Headline: Republican Party Spent Thousands At 'Bondage-Themed' Club
For more of my past posts on spanking and Republicans go HERE!


"What does it take to make someone walk away from the Catholic Church?"

That's the question posed by one Richard Greener, award-winning essayist, on today's Huffington Post.

Here's Richard:

Perhaps a Catholic mother or father in the United States might say that these despicable and unfortunate incidents are few and far between - sort of a "not in my parish" kind of defense. Do the facts support this?

The five biggest settlements made by the Catholic Church in the United States are (remember, this is money paid by the Church to victims of sexual abuse by priests): $660 million in Los Angeles; $157 million in Boston; $129 million in Portland, OR; $100 million in Orange County; $85 million in Covington, KY. Thousands of victims. Coast-to-coast. North and south. More than $1.3 billion, willingly paid by the Church to avoid civil trials. Few and far between? Not in whose parish?

Maybe, after seeing and accepting that sexual abuse by Catholic priests is widespread in the United States, these same Catholic parents might say that this is not essentially a church problem; it's an American problem. That might work, for a while. But, what does one say about the current state of Catholic priest sex scandals in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands and Spain? Or Brazil, which has the most Catholics of any nation? Or, on the other side of the world in Australia and New Zealand? What about Canada? All of these countries, plus others, have had sex scandals involving priests and young boys. A Church problem, not a national problem. And now the cover-up reaches into the highest echelons of the Vatican itself?

Not few and not far between. Sadly instead, sexual abuse of boys by Catholic priests is seemingly often and everywhere.



"Jesus Christ guides the faithful toward the courage that doesn't let us be intimidated by the chatting of dominant opinion."


"A Nope for Pope" by Maureen Down/PL sends a note to Rick!

Rick, my friend, you're backing the wrong horse this time.

The Catholic Church is not a benevolent institution with a few bad apples; its a nefarious corporation with a few good apples.

This barrel is rotten.

As I've said before, you have to credit yourself for your own wholeness, or holiness, Rick, not the church. I consider myself to be an effective holistic psychotherapist in spite of my profession, not because of it. The fact that psychotherapy as a profession existed, and therefore got me started as a practitioner, is hardly enough of a reason for me to honor an organization that supports the drugging of children or the selling of imaginary quick fixes to make a buck. Likewise, the fact that the Church introduces people to the positive teachings in the Bible doesn't mitigate the arrogant assumption of moral authority in an organization that has sanctioned, denied or hidden many evil acts over the years.

Not this time, Rick. Can't agree to disagree here. You're wrong.

Here in its entirety is Maureen Dowd's commentary in the NY Times on why the pope needs to step down:

Yup, we need a Nope.

A nun who is pope.

The Catholic Church can never recover as long as its Holy Shepherd is seen as a black sheep in the ever-darkening sex abuse scandal.

Now we learn the sickening news that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, nicknamed “God’s Rottweiler” when he was the church’s enforcer on matters of faith and sin, ignored repeated warnings and looked away in the case of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys.

The church has been tone deaf and dumb on the scandal for so long that it’s shocking, but not surprising, to learn from The Times’s Laurie Goodstein that a group of deaf former students spent 30 years trying to get church leaders to pay attention.

“Victims give similar accounts of Father Murphy’s pulling down their pants and touching them in his office, his car, his mother’s country house, on class excursions and fund-raising trips and in their dormitory beds at night,” Goodstein wrote. “Arthur Budzinski said he was first molested when he went to Father Murphy for confession when he was about 12, in 1960.”

It was only when the sanctity of the confessional was breached that an archbishop in Wisconsin (who later had to resign when it turned out he used church money to pay off a male lover) wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger at the Vatican to request that Father Murphy be defrocked.

The cardinal did not answer. The archbishop wrote to a different Vatican official, but Father Murphy appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency and got it, partly because of the church’s statute of limitations. Since when does sin have a statute of limitations?

The pope is in too deep. He has proved himself anything but infallible. And now he claims he was uninformed on the matter of an infamous German pedophile priest. A spokesman for the Munich archdiocese said on Friday that Ratzinger, running the diocese three decades ago, would not have read the memo sent to him about Father Peter Hullermann’s getting cycled back into work with children because between 700 to 1,000 memos go to the archbishop each year.

Let’s see. That’s two or three memos a day. And Ratzinger was renowned at the Vatican for poring through voluminous, recondite theological treatises.

Because he did not defrock the demented Father Murphy, it’s time to bring in the frocks.

Pope Benedict has continued the church’s ban on female priests and is adamant against priests’ having wives. He has started two investigations of American nuns to check on their “quality of life” — code for seeing if they’ve grown too independent. As a cardinal he wrote a Vatican document urging women to be submissive partners and not take on adversarial roles toward men.

But the completely paternalistic and autocratic culture of Il Papa led to an insular, exclusionary system that failed to police itself, and that became a corrosive shelter for secrets and shame.

If the church could throw open its stained glass windows and let in some air, invite women to be priests, nuns to be more emancipated and priests to marry, if it could banish criminal priests and end the sordid culture of men protecting men who attack children, it might survive. It could be an encouraging sign of humility and repentance, a surrender of arrogance, both moving and meaningful.

Cardinal Ratzinger devoted his Vatican career to rooting out any hint of what he considered deviance. The problem is, he was obsessed with enforcing doctrinal orthodoxy and somehow missed the graver danger to the most vulnerable members of the flock.

The sin-crazed “Rottweiler” was so consumed with sexual mores — issuing constant instructions on chastity, contraception, abortion — that he didn’t make time for curbing sexual abuse by priests who were supposed to pray with, not prey on, their young charges.

American bishops have gotten politically militant in recent years, opposing the health care bill because its language on abortion wasn’t vehement enough, and punishing Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights and stem cell research. They should spend as much time guarding the kids already under their care as they do championing the rights of those who aren’t yet born.

Decade after decade, the church hid its sordid crimes, enabling the collared perpetrators instead of letting the police collar them. In the case of the infamous German priest, one diocese official hinted that his problem could be fixed by transferring him to teach at a girls’ school. Either they figured that he would not be tempted by the female sex, or worse, the church was even less concerned about putting little girls at risk.

The nuns have historically cleaned up the messes of priests. And this is a historic mess. Benedict should go home to Bavaria. And the cardinals should send the white smoke up the chimney, proclaiming “Habemus Mama.”


One of the hallmark symptoms of alcoholism, before the alcoholic hits bottom, is denial. If one isn't puking on oneself, or is able to hold down a job, said alcoholic in denial will proclaim himself sober. Why? Because for the last forty years, being a drunk has stopped being acceptable or funny. Dean Martin, Red Skelton and many other comedians in the 1950's and early 60's made a career pretending to be lovable, laughable alcoholics.
Likewise, because racism has been so exposed as abhorrent in American society for the last forty years, it isn't acceptable to be an overt racist anymore, so many are in public denial, many even to themselves.
Enter the Tea Partiers and their supporters in what's left of the GOP. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. No one in their right mind thinks that the virulent hatred that has been directed by the crazy right and the GOP at Barack Obama, basically a moderate liberal president at best, is because of health care! No one thinks that the violence threatened or actually acted out towards certain members of Congress is over policy conflicts. It is racism. Pure and simple.
And racism denied is still racism.
The preposterous proclamations of some lunatic racists that the fact that they like Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes or Michael Steele proves that they're not racist is like an alcoholic saying he's not because he only drinks wine. Actions speak for themselves, regardless of the denials. This ever-shrinking part of our population will inevitably hit bottom. Hopefully, some will actually sober up before they fully self-destruct.


The following is a transcript from Rachel Maddow's Sept. 16 show of her interview with Christian Right expert Frank Schaeffer. Schaeffer is a conservative, a Christian, a former Republican who worked for John McCain in his 2000 presidential bid.

A very important part of what Schaeffer has to say, and there are many important parts, is that there are certain kinds of people that you cannot move and shouldn't try to move, but rather, as he says, you should "move past." I have made this point often in pieces where I call for "preaching to the choir." The people who choose to stay behind consciousness-wise must be worked around, not worked with, in a particular lifetime. Otherwise, the entire collective consciousness is held back. The retrogressive forces that are bellowing their resistance to change at all costs right now should be isolated, exposed and in terms of any decision-making for the country as a whole, ignored.

Read this! It's beautiful!!

Here's the interview:

MADDOW: Public Policy Polling released results from its new poll of residents of the great state of New Jersey. The poll found that 18 percent of New Jersey conservatives say they are sure that President Obama is the anti-Christ. No questions asked. Another 17 percent of New Jersey self-identified conservatives say they just aren‘t sure, but they‘re not willing to rule it out. Joining us now is Frank Schaeffer. He grew up in the religious far right. He is the author of “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All or Almost All of It Back.” Mr. Schaeffer, thank you so much for coming back on the show tonight. ... I do not know what possessed this polling firm to ask whether or not people think the president is the anti-Christ, but they did. Does the response rate among conservatives surprise you? More than one in three saying yes or they don‘t know.

SCHAEFFER: Well, I was a child when President Kennedy was assassinated, and my mother thought, because he died of a head wound, foretold in scripture of the anti-Christ he would be resurrected as the anti-Christ. She thought this might be a possibility. So, those of us who come from the evangelical subculture have been weaned with our mother‘s milk on a changing cast list of villains. It might be Kennedy to one generation, Obama to the next.

But I think the larger point this brings up is that the mainstream—not just media, but culture—doesn‘t sufficiently take stock of the fact that within our culture, we have a subculture which is literally a fifth column of insanity, that is bred from birth through home school, Christian school, evangelical college, whatever, to reject facts as a matter of faith. And so, this substitute for authentic historic Christianity, and I may add as a little caveat here, I‘m a church-going Christian, really brings up the question: Can Christianity be rescued from Christians? And that‘s an open question.

And when you see a bunch of people going around thinking that our president is the anti-Christ, you have to draw one of two conclusions. Either these are racists looking for any excuse to level the next accusation or they‘re beyond crazy? And I think beyond crazy is a better explanation.

And that evangelical subculture has rotted the brain of the United States of America and we have a big slice of our population waiting for Jesus to come back. They look forward to Armageddon. Good news is bad news to them.

When we talk about the “Left Behind” series of books that I talk about in my book “Crazy for God.” what we‘re talking about is a group of people that are resentful because they‘ve been left behind by modernity, by science, by education, by art, by literature. The rest of us are getting on with our lives. These people are standing on the hilltop waiting for the end.

And this is a dangerous group of people to have as neighbors, and they‘re our national neighbors. And this is the source of all of these insanities that we see leveled at the president. One way or another they go back to this little evangelical subculture. It‘s a disaster.

MADDOW: It is one thing though to think about these as almost cultish views, to think about these as views that are on the fringes of beyond the edge of mainstream Christianity. It‘s another thing to look at the numbers. I mean, in this same poll, the numbers are also really high on the question of whether or not the president was born in the United States 61 percent of McCain voters in New Jersey expressing doubt that Obama is American, saying he definitely wasn‘t born in the U.S. or they‘re not sure. The birther thing has been disproven. The anti-Christ thing is—it‘s all another kettle of fish. But how do you work to move people off that position? It doesn‘t seem like facts are relevant in trying to move people away from these beliefs.

SCHAEFFER: You don‘t work to move them off this position. You move past them. Look, a village cannot reorganize village life to suit the village idiot. It‘s as simple as that. And we have to understand, we have a village idiot in this country, it‘s called “Fundamentalist Christianity.”

And until we move past these people—and let me add as a former lifelong Republican—until the Republican leadership has the guts to stand up and say it would better—it would be better not to have a Republican Party than have a party that caters to the village idiot, there‘s going to be no end in sight. The next thing they‘ll do is accuse Obama of being the anti-Christ and then who knows what comes next on and on it goes.

There is no end to this stuff. Why? Because this subculture has as its fundamentalist faith that they distrust facts per se. They believe in an Earth younger of 6,000 years old with dinosaurs cavorting with human beings. They think that whether it‘s economic news or news from the Middle East, it all has to do with the end of time and Christ returns. This is la-la land.

And the Republican Party is totally enthralled to this subculture to the extent that there is no Republican Party. There is a fundamentalist subculture which has become a cult. It‘s fed red meat by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other people who are just not terribly bright themselves and they are talking to even stupider people. That‘s where we‘re at. That‘s where all of this is coming from.

And it‘s becoming circular. It‘s becoming a joke. Unfortunately, a dangerous joke because once in a while, one of these “looney tunes,” as we see, brings guns to public meetings. Who knows what they do next. It‘s a serious thing we all have to face, but the Democrats and sane Americans just have to move past these people, say, “Wait on the hilltop until the end, the rest of us are going to get on with rebuilding our country.”

MADDOW: Mr. Schaeffer, briefly, is there anybody on the right who could be constructive here if they wanted to be? To the extent that people could be moved off of these conspiracy theories? And I understand your point that they not—it‘s not true that all of them could be. But is there anybody who could be influential to try to stop the impact of these conspiracies?

SCHAEFFER: Look, in the year 2000 I worked for John McCain, to try to get him elected in the primaries instead of George Bush. But John McCain sold out by nominating Sarah Palin who comes directly from the heart of this movement and carries with her all that baggage. So, he sold out. I don‘t see anybody on the Republican side of things these days who has the moral standing to provide real leadership, or who will risk their position to do so."


"Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit."



Napoleon Hill


When I awoke today and saw the headline on the Huffington Post: "WE'VE MOVED ON," and read the piece in the Business Section of the NY Times proclaiming that the "Age of Reagan" was over, I heaved a 30-year sigh of relief. Now, it finally really was "Morning in America," three decades after Ronald Reagan hypnotized so many by declaring it so way back in the dark ages.

From the Times article:

"The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago. Since 1980, median real household income has risen less than 15 percent. For most of the last three decades, tax rates for the wealthy have been falling, while their income has been rising rapidly. Real incomes at the 99.99th percentile have jumped more than 300 percent since 1980.
"Mr. Obama understood that the Reagan administration had gone too far, and he promised that if elected, he would try to put the country on a new trajectory. 'The project of the next president,' Mr. Obama said in an interview during the campaign, 'is figuring out how you create bottom-up economic growth, as opposed to the trickle-down economic growth.”

Peter Loffredo says: "WHEW!!!"

Now, don't get me wrong. I know that we create our own reality - completely - individually and en masse, consciously and not. So, it's not like this just happened, anymore than Reagan just happened.

My positive feelings about the destiny of humanity over the last thirty years, even in the midst of overt insanity, has mainly come from the many people I've seen and known who are working and have been working to elevate their consciousnesses. The election of Barack Obama and the exposure and demise of the "Frontal Lobers," otherwise known as the Republican Party, along with their teabagging supporters of Flat-Earth ideology, came about because people had evolved.

I felt it in 2008, and I feel it even more now.

Which brings me to... "The Wave."



LOL! Okay, L56! I'm going first this time! Maybe that will help?
I still don't think you understand what I'm saying. I'll give it one more try. I'm saying that what Jesus taught, which is what Buddha taught, which is what all spiritual masters, known and unknown, taught and teach, and is basically the same, and is the same Truth, is separate and apart from the co-opting and bastardization of the messages by a politically motivated organization known as The Church. I am saying that by throwing out the Catholic Church, you lose nothing of the messages, and gain some fresh air. I definitely am not "lumping Christianity with The Church's failures," or with The Church at all. I'm saying The Church has nothing to do with the real practice of the teachings of Jesus, or as Gandhi put it: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
I think we are agreeing to agree, L56! I hope you agree!!

Here's LOFF56

"What has Christianity got to do with the Catholic Church?!"

Nothing. Which is exactly my point to both of you.

Through your whole debate I've perceived Pete as seeing Christianity getting lumped with the Church's failures and I see Rick seeing the failing Church being held up by what's good about Christianity.

It's like you're looking at the same jigsaw puzzle from different sides of the table arguing that it's a different picture. The glass isn't half full or half empty, it just contains 50% water and 50% air. I know, I know, that must be the most dualistic thing I've ever said... but until someone convinces me that we should either have a purely Truthful Christianity or absolutely no Christianity at all, (and even if only a few people can see a totally Truthful Christianity and the rest of the world cannot, that doesn't rule it out, after all Copernicus was one of a very small handful of people that could see a Sun centered Solar System), I'm not convinced of either argument. To write off Christianity you need to write off the pure nature of it.

I know the Church is completely broken as it stands right now, and I have a feeling Rick knows that too, but are you willing to argue that Christianity, in its pure, Truthful form is also broken?

As for Rick, I would ask the opposite question, are you willing to argue that the Church is really the best way to get any benefit from any Truthful Christianity that exists given its horrendous track record of violence and misrepresentation of whatever Truth there is to be found in Christianity?

Again, I'm not trying to take a side in this debate, I'm just looking to reframe the debate in a more transparent way


Here's LOFF56:

Whoa... well hold on a second here, Pete. I'm gonna' take you back to our previous back and forth about relativity. You said once in a post that just because long ago the best evidence we had told us the Sun revolved around the Earth, which was believed by close to 100% of the world, it didn't mean that it was True (with a Capital T). What about your own argument here? You said "...the Church does in fact attempt to change those teachings..." Yes, exactly... and by definition it doesn't make THEIR teachings True. My point is is that TRUE does exist somewhere. That's what I'm asking. Is that real Truth the institution of Christianity, or is the fake truth the institution of Christianity?

I'm not disagreeing with you at all on your assessment of the Church's heinous history, or present, for that matter. I'm just saying that that history is the fault of humans. I think you really need to draw a direct line between Jesus's actual teachings and the problematic Christian history in order for you make an argument that Christianity as a whole is worthless. Can you draw that line?

Here's the thing... you're probably right that at this point we should just throw that baby out with the bathwater. But I think it might be irresponsible for us to not put the blame on anything other than humanity for that action. We always destroy good things and blame it on something else other than ourselves, but what would we learn if we did that again? I don't think it's fair to blame the demise of Christianity on the TRUE beliefs, morals, teachings of Jesus. Our distortion of those on the other hand, yes, yes, yes!!

Here's PL:

I'm not exactly sure what you're saying here, L56, or maybe you misunderstood what I was saying? I mean, I think we are mostly agreeing with each other in an argumentative format! Perhaps with one exception - that I don't consider "humanity" to be monolithic. We are all human, and all one, yes, but if you're not thinking dualistically, then you can also accept that we are definitely not, as I've said many times before on this blog, all the same. Only a certain type of human being would become part of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, so I do connect those people with their institution, and as such throw that baby out with that dirty bath water.

And as for Christianity, by which I mean, and presume you mean, the teachings of Jesus? I would simply ask: What has Christianity got to do with the Catholic Church?!



"Americans appear to be finally falling out of love with cosmetic surgery after a new report revealed that the number of operations dropped by 18% last year."


Here's LOFF56:

I've been listening in on this debate for some time, and let me just butt in here for a moment if I can because I think both of you are sort of spinning your wheels in different patches of mud.

Let me rephrase the question at hand here to get to the root of what I think the debate here is really about.

Is an institution defined by its principals, documents, laws etc... or is an institution defined by its members?

I think what Rick is saying is that despite the fact that there's a lot of people in the Church that are really bad apples, that doesn't change the words in the Bible, it doesn't change the teachings of Jesus. And it also doesn't change fundamentally how those principals and teachings are SUPPOSED to effect the members within the Church. The fact that so many people are not listening to what those teachings are SUPPOSED to be telling telling them is not the fault of the institution as it's defined by it's laws, teachings, values and principals.

However on the other hand, Pete makes a good argument that you can't separate the institution from its members. After all it's the members that have the power to disseminate whatever information they want about the laws, teachings, values and principals. Often times this information is heavily tinged with their personal biases, opinions, fears and problems. So, what's the point of teaching anything from the Bible if it's never taught in an unbiased way?

I mean my take on it is this, humans are humans. We misinterpret things all the time, we hear what we want to hear, and we abuse power... any power. Buddhism is not a very mainstream religion at this point, and it's not very centralized either. But who's to say, that if it were both of those things that there wouldn't be power hungry people who would hijack that centralized access and use it for their own self serving purposes. We would all decry those that abused that power, but it wouldn't change the teachings of Buddhism. On the other hand we all have to be stewards of our own institutions. We have to stay involved and make sure that the good people stay in and the bad people get out. My sense is that if Jesus wasn't hijacked by Christianity the guy would seem much cooler to us hipster liberals.

I don't know, I think what I'm saying is that you're both right, but you're both suffering from thinking that only one of you can be right.

Here's PL:

Well, as usual, especially when I'm having at it with our friend, Rick, you choose the "middle way," L56. And as usual, I find that approach at times to be a bit too accommodating when the truth of a matter is being discussed.

Let me address something you say up front: "I think what Rick is saying is that despite the fact that there's a lot of people in the Church that are really bad apples, that doesn't change the words in the Bible, it doesn't change the teachings of Jesus."

BUT... L56, the Church does in fact attempt to change those teachings to serve its ego aims. The Church isn't entitled to a pass because they are a purveyor of the words in the Bible or of Jesus. Putting those words out there and distorting them is at least as bad, if not worse, than not putting the words out at all. History, except as told by the Church itself, does not support a view of the Church as having honorable and spiritual principles. Its history is mostly an example of the worst of theocratic corruption.

You also say this, which actually inadvertently makes my point: "Buddhism is not a very mainstream religion at this point, and it's not very centralized either. But who's to say, that if it were both of those things that there wouldn't be power hungry people who would hijack that centralized access and use it for their own self serving purposes."

I would say, L56, that the fact that Buddhism, after all these centuries, isn't "mainstream" or "centralized" isn't a coincidence, but rather a very different example. Maybe in Buddhism, unlike Catholicism, the teaching is more important than the institution.

Finally, you say this: "We have to stay involved and make sure that the good people stay in and the bad people get out. My sense is that if Jesus wasn't hijacked by Christianity the guy would seem much cooler to us hipster liberals."

Well, first of all, Jesus' teachings being "hijacked" by a church purportedly representing him is about as heinous spiritually as you can get, don't you think?! And secondly, sometimes the best way to deal with a corrupt institution is to abandon support of it and let it die its own long-overdue death, which, of course, is what's been happening to the Church over the last few decades, as fewer and fewer people practice Catholicism, and even fewer join the priesthood.

Good riddance, I say, to the Pontiffs and snake-oil salesmen of false spirituality!

Thanks, as always, L56!


Rick and I have been having this discussion for a while now on whether the "bad apples" in an institution should or shouldn't be seen as representative of the whole institution as a "bad barrel," with a particular focus, instigated by me, on the Catholic Church and organized religion in general as an example.

Here's Rick's latest installment:

And? Your point?

This confirms what you had said regarding institutions. How does that differ from your original point? Be it the head of the institution or the gentry. What difference does it make?

Up until the late 80's, it was an accepted belief that pedophiles, I know nothing about homosexuals/heterosexuals who prey on teenagers, could be rehabilitated.

What did anyone really know about these kinds of abuses and the damage they caused. What really happened to these offenders? Not much. I know of a person in my town who abused his own adopted sons during the 70's through the 90's. It wasn't until the 90's and his 3rd "son" did he get put in the clink. Look at domestic violence. How many people got physically/sexually abused before it became noble to call these bastards to the carpet? The good thing is that now people aren't afraid to speak up and/or simply "keep quiet".

It was a common practice to send these heinous offenders to clinics and therapists would "fix" them and send them back "cured". However, the German priest of whom you wrote has been reassigned and the charge is that he continued to molest until 2006. OK. If this is true, how will the institution respond??? If it banishes this bastard and admits to it's role, I expect you to hail the institution for trying to right a wrong. If it denies and buries the truth (if it is proven), I expect you to continue your assault on the institution and it's bad apples. But the faith and faithful??

Why wouldn't institutions such as hospitals, police, churches, schools, camp counselors put priests, monks, imams, teachers, bankers, therapists, doctors, cross guard people, babysitters, uncles, aunts, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters you name it, back in service? As in Boston, this shuffling of Priests is renowned. Pete, you really want to hear bad? Cardinal Law kept this practice up in the 90's when everyone knew it was wrong and it was then accepted these people could not be rehabilitated. Protecting the institution or his own ass? Yes. He should be condemned. Instead, I went to an Ash Wednesday service in Rome this year and he presided. Disgusting. However, this has nothing to do with the teachings of the faith and the overall mission of the church both of which I truly believe help me live fully. You know much about the hypocrisy but you also are tuned into the teachings and their value. I don't think they are mutually exclusive.

A friend of mine worked in the child sexual abuse unit of Boston's DA's office. You know the most dangerous and common offenders? The mother's boyfriend was #1 and the Uncle was #2 grandfathers + fathers + mothers rounded out the top. I can give you countless examples of these kinds of offenders as you undoubtedly will with the church and other institutions. Does that mean I should tell any parent who let's their kids near these people is abusing their kids as you have suggested they stay away from the church?

Should I not let my sons hang out with my own brothers? My father? My brothers/father -in-law? No. We each make our own decision and take from these relationships with "typical offenders", as with institutions, the wonderful things they can offer. There are bad apples and we try to do our best to flush those out. However, the "good" apples is the rule. The glass is 95% full not 5% empty.

Here's PL:

Let me start by making a "confession," Rick. I grew up Catholic. The real thing. Church every Sunday throughout childhood, Sunday School, Communion, Confirmation, Altar boys - for a while, I even wanted to be a priest! But here's the thing - when I went to church and Sunday school, I really listened. I paid attention. And what I heard was Jesus saying one thing, and the priests and nuns saying and doing something else. Jesus said empowering things things like "The kingdom of Heaven is within each of you" and 'You, too, one day, will effect miracles like I do." Church dogma, on the other hand, never even remotely allowed for such a sense of personal "godhood" in individuals (That's why the Reformation happened, by the way). Jesus also said "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," and yes, one of Jesus' best friends was a prostitute, Mary Magdelene. Contrary to what Jesus taught, from the church I received lessons in shame regarding sexuality and guilt trips about being "sinful."

For Christ's sake (pun intended), think about the whole notion of "Original Sin!" How utterly insidious is that to teach a kid?! "Sorry, my son, but you see you're fucked from the start, unless of course, you get baptized and follow Church doctrine to the letter, which is of course impossible, so get your ass to confession regularly, too, where the priest, who does have God's power, will tell you what to do temporarily to redeem yourself.

What I think about your questions is this, Rick: you don't give yourself enough credit. For some reason, you want to attribute the true spirituality that is within you, that you were obviously open to developing over your life, to the institution called the Catholic Church.

The "overall teaching and mission" of the church did not make you the good man that you are.

First of all, too many of the "teachings" of the Church are distortions and negative reinterpretations of the actual teachings of the man the church is supposed to be representing, and secondly, the "mission" of the Church, like all institutions, is to expand its own power. That is why so much enormous damage and carnage has been caused by the Church throughout history - the Crusades, the Inquisition, the philosophical support of slavery and the suppression of women and homosexuals, even as the Church itself is rife with homosexuals. And that's just the tip of the heinous iceberg.

And finally, let me reveal this to you and my readers, Rick - I know someone who was a seminarian - in the Vatican. Yes, that Vatican, as in Rome. And he told me point blank that the Church teaches members of its inner circles about reincarnation and about our abilities to transform matter the way Jesus did, etc., many truths considered "New Age" or Buddhist, etc. But... the seminarians are also taught systematically to suppress that information from the parishioners, because the Church deems (even after 2,000 years!) that we are not ready to hear it!

Get it?

As you can determine from reading my blog, Rick, I'm never talking out of my ass here, or out of prejudice. I am so down on the Church because I was first a part of it, then witnessed the hypocrisy, then did my homework.

The Truth is always available. If we seek it, we shall find it.

Oh, and there's an interesting piece in Huffpost called: "Sin Isn't the Problem with the World, Theology Is!"


Read more HERE!


"Quite literally, you live in the body of your beliefs. Your ideas and thoughts do not exist as phantoms or shadow images without substance. They are electromagnetic realities. They affect your physical being and they are automatically translated by your nervous system into the stuff of your flesh and experience."
Jane Roberts (channeling "Seth")




This is one of many scenes in the CITY ROCK series that brings us up close and personal inside a therapy session, this one between "Frank Cello" and "Reena," age 6.

Here's a clip from "Ridin' That Train," which will be performed in a staged reading on April 11, at Shetler Studios:


CLOSE-UP on 3 dolls: one black adult male, one black adult female and one black female child. The adult male and the child are held by two little black hands. The adult woman figure stands off to the side.

CAMERA pulls back and we see Reena holding the father and child figure, while Frank observes silently close-by. She never looks at Frank.

Reena makes a growling sound as she first just has the 2 figures jump around near each other, simply giving them life. Then, she makes a whining sound as if something bad is about to happen. The father figure leaves. The child figure is placed in a prone position, as Reena’s whining heightens, becoming more distressed. She starts to reach for the mother figure, then hesitates.

It’s all right.

Frank takes the mother figures and slowly brings it to Reena’s hand. Without looking up, she tentatively takes the mother in hand. The whine changes back to the growl, which becomes more and more feral sounding until... the mother pounces on the little girl ferociously. Over and over the mother attacks the child, while Reena’s voice rages at the scene.

CLOSE-UP of the mother in Reena’s hand as it prepares for one more assault. Suddenly, Frank’s hand intervenes, wrapping around the little girl’s hand, stopping the abuse.

Reena strains to free her hand and continue the attack. Frank easily maintains control... until the girl relents.

It’s all right. It’s not happening now. It’ll never happen again.

He gently takes the mother figure from her hand and places it far away from the action. Then, he picks up the child figure and first, holds it in his open palm, then brings it to his heart and holds it there.

Reena looks up at Frank’s face. He smiles slightly. She looks sad, but curious. Suddenly, she leaps up from the floor and into his embrace, wrapping her arms tightly around him.

CLOSE-UP on Frank’s face, eyes closed.


"Let's not fire the teachers when students don't learn - let's fire the parents!"
Bill Maher


This is from the National Geographic News, 3/3/10: Liberals, Atheists Are More Highly Evolved? Smarter people more inclined to nontraditional values, study suggests.

Your apelike ancestors probably aren't on the top of your mind when you enter the polling booth. But a new study suggests that human evolution may have a big influence on whether you're liberal or conservative—not to mention how smart you are, whether you believe in God, or whether you've got a cheatin' heart.

It's all linked to the evolution of intelligence, says author Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Kanazawa's theory is that intelligence—particularly our ability for on-the-spot problem solving and reasoning—arose as an adaptation to deal with the unusual and unexpected, such as a sudden forest fire.

Since disasters like that are rare in daily life, responding to them wouldn't likely be something our ancestors were hard-wired to "know" how to do. Surviving the fire required both the ability to think up a new behavior, and the willingness to try it out.

Passed down via genetics, those two traits are still the calling cards of an intelligent brain—expressed as a tendency toward adopting nontraditional social values and preferences, Kanazawa says in his new study, published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

As a result of their iconoclastic ancestry, he suggests, people with higher levels of intelligence are more likely to adopt social values and behaviors that are relatively new to human life—liberalism, atheism, staying up late, and (for men) monogamy, for example.

PL's comment: "DUH!!"


THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! To everyone who participated in Friday night's fantastic, light-filled CITY ROCK reading at Shetler Studios, including the full house in the audience. So much great energy and synergy. We were all transported.
See you at the next one - April 11, at Shetler Studios.

BACK TO YOU, RICK? Church Sex Abuse Scandal Has Now Reached The Pope!/Catholic Church Child Abuse Claims Sweep Across Europe

Here are but two breaking stories this week on why I so particularly and relentlessly zero in on the Catholic Church:

VATICAN CITY — Germany's sex abuse scandal has now reached Pope Benedict XVI: His former archdiocese disclosed that while he was archbishop a suspected pedophile priest was transferred to a job where he later abused children.

The pontiff is also under increasing fire for a 2001 Vatican document he later penned instructing bishops to keep such cases secret.

The revelations have put the spotlight on Benedict's handling of abuse claims both when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977-1982 and then the prefect of the Vatican office that deals with such crimes.

DUBLIN — It often starts as a voice in the wilderness, but can swell into an entire nation's demand for truth. From Ireland to Germany, Europe's many victims of child abuse in the Roman Catholic church are finally breaking social taboos and confronting the clergy to face its demons.

Ireland was the first in Europe to confront the church's worldwide custom of shielding pedophile priests from the law and public scandal. Now that legacy of suppressed childhood horror is being confronted in other parts of the Continent – nowhere more poignantly than in Germany, the homeland of Pope Benedict XVI.Yeah, right.


Here's LOFF56:

Yeah, I see what you're saying. Evolution is inevitable. It has to be otherwise life would have completely ceased to exist practically before it started.

I'm still not so convinced about the timing of it though. Evolution seems to take the firmest grasp when the species is in it's most precarious position. The more a species is challenged the more it adapts. This is obvious in the biological sense, but I think it rings true on a consciousness level as well. Granted the last few decades have been increasingly challenging to our collective consciousness, but I guess the question up for debate is has it been challenging enough to trigger a swift evolution of our consciousness?

I'm not sure to be honest. I think on some levels it's possible, but on others I'm not so sure. Despite some of the current challenges, I still think that a lot of people are still very comfortable. Both physically and personally. I think a greater majority of people are now seeing a problem, but the problem hasn't come to their home, so to speak, in large quantities yet. And I understand what you mean by certain people riding the wave forward, but to get a wholesale collective consciousness moving there's no doubt we need a certain quantity of individuals to effect that change on the whole. And I'm not sure where critical mass is in that equation. It's possible that we're inches away, but I also think it's possible that the human condition of finding the path of least resistance will continue to kick this can down the road for a bit longer, perhaps decades.

I'm not trying to sound pessimistic, actually for all our sakes I hope the corner gets turned tomorrow and we'll be well on our way to a better world. But the objective side of me always wants to take a look at the scoreboard to make sure we're not deluding ourselves that one touchdown will close a 21 point deficit. Obviously we need the touchdown, but it helps to know how many more we need.

(With apologies for the weak sports metaphor.)

Here's PL:

No apologies necessary, L56. Sports are metaphors to begin with!

I agree with all that you say here, but I would add that while we as individuals don't always know what the collective is up to, I have a feeling we're going to find out sooner rather than later!



It's an interesting theory. I don't think I disagree with the connection. In fact I remember someone putting out a chart after the 2000 election that showed which states voted for Gore and which states voted for Bush listed in descending order of each state's average IQ. The result was a clean break somewhere around an IQ of 100 or so, maybe 98 I think. Every state who's average IQ was above 98 voted for Gore, every state who's average IQ was below 98 voted for Bush. It was a pretty remarkable demarkation line; no cross over at all. So I think there's something to that theory that liberal=smarter. (Obviously there are very smart people who are conservatives and very dumb people who are liberal, but the point is that over large enough numbers there's some intriguing evidence to show that the averages tell the story of the big picture).

However. You should check out the movie Idiocracy. It's a really bad movie, one that barely has any cinematic value to it save for a very interesting central premise. Which is that America is undergoing a sort of a de-evolution. Towards the beginning of the movie the whole premise is summed up in a quick montage that cuts back and forth between two very different families. One, a well to do, well educated, supposedly well adjusted urban couple who are emotionally complicated but ultimately squirrelly in their actions. The second a red-neck ex-high school football player, typical red state, gun toting kind of guy who puts his penis in every hole he can find. As the montage goes on, they show a graphic of each family tree, and you see the family tree of the ex-football player grow and grow and grow as he's constantly impregnating cheerleaders, waitresses etc... On the other side, the urban couple mulls over the decision to even have a child, ultimately their emotional complications lead to them getting divorced and their family tree is left completely empty. Based on the tendency of that dichotomy playing out the movie cuts to a century in the future where the entire population is disastrously stupid.

The theory of how intelligence is evolved makes a lot of sense, but in reality, (which is highlighted in the extreme by the premise of this movie), we're unfortunately experiencing a de-evolution through the over-procreation of the less gifted.


I understand your concern, L56, and welcome back, by the way. Always glad to have your thoughts.

Here are mine -

If we think strictly in linear terms, we certainly would appear to be at risk of devolving into an "idiocracy." Our leaders in all of our major institutions - government, business, religion, medicine, education - seem instead of being the best and the brightest to be the worst and dullest among us. And yes, as inflammatory and not pc as it is to say so out loud, and I applaud you for saying it, L56, it has always been so that the least evolved in a society wantonly procreate the most.

So, where does hope for our evolution lie?

Well, not in our typically understood experience of linear cause and effect, but in quantum mechanics and meta-physics, in a manner of speaking. In other words, to push forward into our next highest phase of growth as a species, we will need to make a quantum shift, a change that is not just quantitative, but qualitative.

This shift is not going to come from advances in technology or philosophy, but from an evolution of consciousness. Quantum physicists know that it is consciousness that moves energy and energy is what everything is composed of. By shifting our level of consciousness, therefore, we will be able to make changes in our outer world that would otherwise be deemed impossible, in linear terms.

The time for such a change is clearly upon us.

Many people are experiencing major shifts in their lives these days, an acceleration of their personal processes, you could call it. As a result, people who are open, who have been working on freeing up their minds, emotions and bodies to a higher consciousness are being swept forward into experiences full of light and love and abundance and a peaceful knowingness. Simultaneously, people who are not open, who cling to fear and hate and superstition (or to guns and religion!), are being slammed by the earthquakes and tidal waves (literally and figuratively) of energy sweeping across the planet.

This is not a time where neutrality or fence-sitting is going to be possible, so fear not, L56. The force behind our evolution is inevitable. What is not inevitable, at least not in the short run, is that all will willingly choose to ride the wave forward. So be it.

Enjoy the ride, I say!


Playboy model, Jamie Jungers has come out to say that Tiger Woods never used condoms when sleeping with her, which echoes previous reports from other women.


My question is - what form of birth control was Jamie not using?



Here's Rick:

Once again, your "do over" is much easier to follow because you actually make sense with a well, thought-out response instead of a reactionary/impulsive rant.

You rightfully articulate that the evolution of institutions, typically creates a wide gap between those very principles on which it was built and the need for self-preservation. We see that with almost all large institutions to a degree. It sucks and I agree with you. The damaged caused is inexcusable! We can list many institutions, hospitals, schools, unions and your favorite = organized religious organizations or is it just the Roman Catholics?

Humans will never create that Utopia. Sir Thomas More was right in that America had the best chance at it because it had no history or institutions that usually end up screwing things up.

Greed, selfishness and pride can cripple people /institutions that begin with good intentions. Look at relationships. Many, familial, spousal or amicable all can fail or are dysfunctional because of those same traits. In the end, it is about choices and individuals doing the right thing. The best thing would be to protect the image or what's best for the individual. The right thing is what is best for everyone as a whole

However, as long as the principles of those institutions remain just and provide a significant contribution to allowing one to give themselves full permission to live, go for it.

Now, why do you only provide a story about the church and not the medical profession or police? What is your point? Why the need to go back? You did a great job in your response leave it alone.

Your ax to grind with these institutions appears to cloud your judgement in critiquing them. You simply support the very points that have been made. Where is the self preserving in this story? Where is the "institution" at fault. I need some help on this one.

Draw my own conclusions? OK. The story speaks about a corrupt/gay businessman and a gay choir singer. (I know why the Post included they were gay, but that is of no relevance to the point of the story and it exposes its agenda). They were immediately released from their lay church duties once those "bad apples" who were involved in illegal activities were exposed. It makes no mention of the institution's involvement or knowledge. If it did, those bastards!

According to your own critique of these institutions, we should be applauding the church! You should be encouraging people to return to the pews! Alleluia! The institution that usually screws things up actually put its ideals first. A renewed faith should be the call of the blog not draw your own conclusion.

Needing some here....

Here's PL:

Hello again, Rick!

So, since your main critique seems to be about my being particularly negative about the church, let me address that.

Yes, the other institutions - law enforcement, medicine, education, etc. - have their equally corrupt, self-serving side to them and deserve full scrutiny. But the church, and organized religions in general, are extra nefarious in their egoism because they strike at the heart of what could be the solution to the corruption in the other institutions - true spirituality.

A spiritual perspective that understands that love is the essence of All That Is, that we create our own reality, individually and en masse, and that we are all one holds the potential to heal so much that is ill with humanity. Instead, organized religions utilize fear of a wrathful and vengeful God, along with child-like promises of reward or punishment for proscribed behaviors, and also perpetuates a separation from and superiority over other people and their religions and belief systems. Case in point - even though Jesus himself said "The Kingdom of Heaven is within each of YOU," and also said that we all would be able to effect miracles like him one day, the church methodically manipulates not to empower its members with an understanding that we all have access to God's creative powers, but rather to minimize and intimidate its flock with guilt and shame.

It is always much more insidious when one uses parts of the truth to infiltrate consciousness with lies. That's why I single out religion, Rick, not for any lack of spirituality on my part, but because of it. That being said, since love is the essence of All That Is, we create our own reality, and we are all one, I understand that churches are part of the plan, too, that through their low vibration, we can find our way to the light!

Thanks for the stimulating dialogue!



"That is a special case all by itself as sexual repression and all sorts of twisted attitudes towards sexuality are inherent in the basic structure of the priesthood. Add in the fact that the church has a lot to lose if stuff like this gets out and you have a whole stinky kettle of fish."

PL: Point taken, HK!




SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Republican state Senator Roy Ashburn said Monday he is gay, ending days of speculation that began after his arrest last week for investigation of driving under the influence. Ashburn, who consistently voted against gay rights measures during his 14 years in the state Legislature, came out in an interview with KERN radio in Bakersfield, the area he represents. Ashburn said he felt compelled to address rumors that he had visited a gay nightclub near the Capitol before his DUI arrest.
"I am gay ... those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long," Ashburn told conservative talk show host Inga Barks.


This episode will be put up in a reading this coming Friday evening, 3/12, 7 PM in The Bridge Theater at Shetler Studios, 244 West 54th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue. If you would like to attend, e-mail me at: fpliving@aol.com... or just come on over on Friday night.

Here's the gripping moment from the episode when the rookie cop, Otha Prescott, riddled with guilt, cannot draw his gun to stop a crook.


An HISPANIC MAN in a Yankees baseball cap is wandering through the isles of groceries, looking around, waiting until the store is empty.



Otha, in uniform, is in the passenger seat. He is tormented. His partner, COP ONE of the cops from the shooting incident, is driving, non-plussed. They are in mid-conversation.

You got hit pretty hard so early on the job, O. You never really get used to it, but you’ll calm down.

We killed an innocent man.

Hey. O. Listen. The bad guys, they’re always killing innocent people... except when they’re killing each other. The good guys, the cops, we only go after the bad guys, but sometimes... an innocent gets hurt, maybe even killed. You can’t blame yourself. In the end you’re gonna save a lot more lives than you put at risk.

Otha turns back to look out the window. They pass the same bodega we were just in.



The man in the cap rushes up to the STORE OWNER, also Hispanic, behind the cash register, and pulls a knife on him demanding money.

The money! Give me the money or I cut you. NOW!

The store owner cautiously opens the register, while reaching down under it. As he starts taking out the money, he pulls out his gun quickly. The startled crook reacts, dropping the knife, then grabbing the owner’s hand with the gun. They struggle as the gun goes off and shatters the store window. The gun flies away as the two men grapple with each other.
We see the flashing lights of a police car as it screeches to a stop in front of the bodega. Otha jumps out and rushes into the store. The two men separate. Otha pulls out his gun. The crook starts running, but Otha is unable to fire, his hands trembling. The crook leaps out through the shattered store window as Otha’s partner rushes in.

What’s happening?

Otha can’t talk. He is still trembling.

O? Officer O!?

He got away! He let the mother-fucker get away! Why didn’t you shoot him?!

O is just staring into space. His partner stares at him.



Several cop cars, lights flashing, are on the scene now. Otha’s partner has pulled him away from the action.

O? You all right, kid?

(fighting tears)
I-I don’t know. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t pull the trigger.

His partner just looks at him.


From today's WASHINGTON POST: Vatican Hit By Gay Sex Scandal!

"The Vatican has been thrown into chaos by reports that one of the Pope's ceremonial ushers, as well as a member of the elite Vatican choir, were involved in a homosexual prostitution ring. The allegations came to light after Italian newspapers published transcripts of phone calls recorded by police, who had been conducting an unrelated corruption investigation. The tapes appear to record Angelo Balducci, a "Gentleman of His Holiness," (no joke!) negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Nigerian Vatican chorister, about men he wanted brought to him for sexual purposes.


Here's Hartkitt:

I see Rick got here before me but that's because I've been mulling over in my mind how to best comment on this post for several days.

First of all, I was surprised to see you jumping on the STRANGER DANGER!! CHILD MOLESTER IN EVERY CORNER!!! band wagon. The article you quote is so absolutely typical of the fear-mongering smoke and mirrors that characterizes this kind of story. "DOZENS!!" "At least 20!!!" Well, I went and did the numbers. There are approximately 85,000 pediatricians in this country and 70 million children (sources US census and American Academy of Pediatrics). Twenty pediatricians represents a miniscule percentage of the total number of pediatricians. It's so small that it's hard to say that there's any kind of correlation between "pediatrician" and "pedophile." Chance could account for that number of pediatricians being pedophiles (or pedophiles being pediatricians.) In fact, it might be that such a small fraction is LESS than other professions.

If "dozens" of those 70 million children were molested by their pediatricians that's still such a tiny percentage as to not even be calculable by my simple desktop calculator. The statistical reality is that children are most likely to be sexually molested (and beaten and murdered for that matter; I've looked this one up before) by their immediate family members. By a vast margine. So I'm with Rick on this one. We're not going to go around herding kids into giant institutions to protect them from their families and neither should we be treating our pediatricians with suspicion as a general rule.

Essentially, I think it's a bit careless to impugn pediatricians on this front, not to mention intellectually mushy.

AND here's my point on sexual repression: my personal theory is that our society is obsessed with the image of the mysterious child molester somewhere Out There because of, yes, repressed sexual feeling. Pardon my lack of the correct technical words here but by projecting ones own sexual feelings outwards onto shadowed figures in the environment one can pretend not to have those feelings oneself. In addition, those sexual feelings can be indulged surrepticiously by obsessively following news stories of evil day care workers even while hiding behind the pose of tut-tutting the moral weakness of those molesters. Having your cake and eating it to on the sexual feelings front.

And the society as a whole can excuse itself for sexualizing younger and younger children in the way they are dressed and the way they appear in "the media" by patting itself on the back over vigorously hunting down and condemning "real" child molesters.

FINALLY, I get to expound that theory in public :D

Here's PL:

Okay, HK! I hear you! And I agree with much of what you are saying, in a very lucid way, I might add. But I also hear something in the article I referenced, that there is more happening than what just that one study referred to, and something more than just the heinous case of the Bradley perpetrator, something that makes sense. Perhaps one of us can do the research. In any case, glad to have you and Rick hitting me up!


Here's a news story that shouldn't surprise anybody, but nonetheless, think about it:

"Mississippi Has Highest Teen Birth Rate, CDC Says"

"Mississippi now has the nation's highest teen birth rate, a new federal report says. Mississippi's rate was more than 60 percent higher than the national average."

Oh yeah, Mississippi has voted Republican in presidential elections for the last 28 years.



"Accepting your integrity in time allows the body to function until its natural end, in good condition, free from those distorted, invisible concepts about age."
Jane Roberts (channeling "Seth")


Here's a story about an actual "good apple" in the NYPD for my friend, Rick. This cop came forward to expose the quota system in the NYPD that leads to harassment of citizens.

From ABC NEWS: "NYPD Officer claims pressure to make arrests."

"When Officer Adil Polanco dreamed of becoming a cop, it was out of a desire to help people not, he says, to harass them. 'I'm not going to keep arresting innocent people, I'm not going to keep searching people for no reason, I'm not going to keep writing people up for no reason, I'm tired of this,' said Adil Polanco, an NYPD Officer."

Read the entire story HERE.



Great to have you back, Rick! You're always one to help me sharpen my focus, if not my verbal knives!

Here's Rick:

Ok Pete, I'll bite....
I thought the reckless broad brush was whittled down a piece? I guess it would make for much less interesting blogging if you didn't.
To castigate entire institutions because of a very few bad people is simply unsound even when other "bad apples" protect them.
I already posted all of the "institutions" that have "bad apples" back in July. You accurately mentioned the police, yes I would agree with this, and doctors. But you hold a dear place in your heart for the Catholic Priests (Here's one from your book = Are they idealized adults of your youth who let you down???)
Again, only 5% of the sicko priests were accused. A far less number were actual pedophiles, abusers of prepubescent children, like the doctors you mention. Most, as with teachers, social workers and doctors, engage in sexual abuse to minors. Also, most of the priests were homosexuals, not pedophiles.
Well, you hooked me particularly your obvious omission of therapists and your distinction of "western doctors". Unfortunately, abusers come in all shapes, sizes, religious affiliation and geographical "practices" and sexual preferences. Should we hate all heterosexuals? Should we hate all homosexuals? No. Should we should strike down all those people who take advantage of their position and abuse children, adults and the elderly? Yes! Yes! Yes! It matters less their affiliation to a group or profession and more their affliction. Should we hate Muslims? No. Muslim terrorists? Yes.
The highlighted cases of female teachers having sex with their middle school students (one happened in the school district where I teach) and several cases involving abuse of high school students parallel those of many "bad apples". However, do you then keep your children out of schools?
What about the Wall street scandal? Those bastards have raped and abused the lives of many more people than all of the institutional "bad apples" combined. Does that mean we shouldn't invest in good companies or take our money out of the banks and retirement funds?
Should we not go to schools, hospitals, police stations, fire stations, therapists' offices, churches, temples, mosques, social services or any institution that has bad apples? I think not.
We should embrace those institutions that help us become self-actualized and I feel all of those have the potential to do just that. We should support those professions that help us find peace in our society and within ourselves and protect and help us.
It is intellectually dishonest to simply demonize those very institutions because of the actions of a few, regardless of how heinous those actions may be.
There is only one exception. Those institutions/professions whose practice and philosophy supports abuse. Neo Nazis???

Here's PL:

As always, Rick, your points are well-taken, and as is almost as often the case, I have a response.

Institutions, for the most part, are set up in such a way that the survival of the institutions after a while takes precedence over the quality and integrity of the service that the institutions were meant to provide. This is the nature of bureaucracies that are based on an authoritarian rather than a collaborative model. "Bad apples" end up getting deliberately hidden from view for fear that exposure of their presence will damage the reputation of the institution, which of course, only encourages bad apples to continue being bad. It might seem ironic to some, but not to this blogger, that the more authoritarian or hierarchical the institution (i.e. - priesthood and police, etc.) the greater the propensity for acting out.

Organizations that are truly democratic at least hold the potential for solving this problem.

At my 12-year old's school, for example, the Brooklyn Free School, all aberrant behavior - by students or teachers - is immediately brought to the attention of the entire community and a "democratic meeting" is held to resolve the issue and decide on consequences, if necessary. Acting out is never swept under the rug for the sake of the school's reputation, nor are bullies able to rise to power amongst the student population or the staff. As a result, integrity reigns at the Free School.

You ask - provocatively - "Should we not go to schools, hospitals, police stations, fire stations, therapists' offices, churches, temples, mosques, social services or any institution that has bad apples?"

Well, actually, my answer, without taking the bait of the way you framed the question, is that, yes, as much as possible, we should seek health care services, education and safety from providers who are "out of the box" of establishment institutions that have shown a tendency towards corruption and exploitation. I haven't been to a "mainstream" doctor in almost two decades, and I am in fine health as a result, and as a bonus, my immune system hasn't been destroyed by drugs. Likewise, I would be very hard-pressed to send a child of mine to a traditional doctor, a traditional school or a traditional psychotherapist, and I certainly wouldn't send anyone I loved to a church, temple or mosque of any kind. And as far as the police are concerned, on the rare occasions that I have been a victim of a crime, I have found the police to be indifferent and useless at best, if not altogether downright incompetent. (Although in fairness, when it comes to skulking around neighborhoods waiting for parking meters to run out, I have found cops to really be on their game!)

The nature of "conservatism" is to conserve traditional ways of doing things. The nature of "progressivism" is to explore new ways of doing things. When I examine history, I never find a time in the past that looks more inviting than the future, even when there are problems in the present. We grow by reconsidering and re-examining the way things are currently set up and operating, and knowing that we can do better.

I know we can do better.

Okay, Rick. That's it for now. Once again, welcome back! Hope your travels have been enlightening.



"This is one of my favorite quotes! Thanks for posting, PL!"

The quote: “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
Henry Van Dyke

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