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According to a new Pew Research Center survey, one in five Americans have no religious affiliation, and one third of adults under 30 years of age have no religious affiliation.  The survey also shows that the "Religiously Unaffiliated" also have a poor view of religious institutions with 70% saying these institutions are too interested in money and power, and only 52% saying these institutions protect and strengthen morality.  Politically conservative individuals constitute one fifth of the "Religiously Unaffiliated."  

Young people also want and seek out role models and below the fold I offer two more reasons why people, especially young people, won't be flocking to church anytime soon.

First, there are men of the cloth like the recently resigned Roman Catholic priest, Monsignor Kevin Wallin, 61, who was arrested at his Connecticut apartment on January 3, 2013.  Wallin, who was paid a stipend from the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, until his arrest had resigned in 2011 from his priestly duties after those in the church discovered he was a cross-dresser who was having sex in the rectory at Bridgeport's St. Augustine Cathedral. Oh, and also, for allegedly dealing crystal meth from the church.  Authorities have said Wallin was dealing up to $9K a week in crystal methamphetamine in the Waterbury area, and there is some evidence that he may have been producing it too (or at least he had a gallon bag of the stuff at one of his two apartments). Authorities also have said that the former Monsignor Kevin Wallin laundered his drug-making profits into a pornography/sex-toy store that he purchased.  All of which begs the question: why is this man, who owns a business, receiving the free services of a federal public defender for the indigent? Wow, this guy knows how to play every system out there.

Second, meet former pastor at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Gaston County, North Carolina, Larry Michael Bollinger, 66.  He stood accused of raping Haitian girls while doing church work in that country.  The Reverend Bollinger had pleaded not guilty to his charges, and 25 to 30 members of his church, including his wife, Margaret (but not his two adult children) were in court to support him as he pled not guilty.  At that time, the current Holy Trinity Lutheran Church pastor, Nancy Kraft, said of Bollinger's supposed innocence: "Sometimes really good people make mistakes, but the news doesn't like that."

Now, here's the rest of the story as told yesterday by the Department of Justice press release:

Former Minister Pleads Guilty in North Carolina to Engaging in Illicit Sexual Conduct in Haiti

WASHINGTON – A former minister pleaded guilty today in North Carolina to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in Haiti, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Anne M. Tompkins and Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas.

 Larry Michael Bollinger, 67, of Gastonia, N.C., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge David S. Cayer in the Western District of North Carolina to two counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place.  Bollinger was charged in an indictment filed on May 15, 2012.

 According to filed court documents and court proceedings, Bollinger was a former Lutheran minister who performed missionary work in Haiti.   Court records show that Bollinger regularly travelled to Haiti and served as the Haiti director for a Lutheran charity.  Bollinger admitted that from about August 2009 to October 2009, he sexually molested four Haitian females, between the ages of 11 and 16.  According to court records, one of the victims said that Bollinger offered to give her food and money in exchange for sexual acts.  

 Bollinger has been in federal custody since he was charged in May 2012.   Each count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  A sentencing date for Bollinger has not been set yet.

 The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimlani M. Ford of  the Western District of North Carolina and Trial Attorney Michael W. Grant of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).  The investigation was conducted by ICE-HSI.

 This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

No word yet from Rev. Nancy Kraft about yesterday's guilty plea.

Meanwhile, as America's young are taking note of these news stories, they are finding other things to do besides go to church, finding other ways to enrich and deepen their lives.  Really, who can blame them?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why does anyone need to go to church if they (6+ / 0-)

    really know the difference between good and bad behavior?? I think church is more of a hide-out than serving any truly good these days..

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 05:52:20 AM PST

    •  I think you're incorrect, for reasons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I illustrate downthread. But I also see why you say that.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:14:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Why does anyone need to go to church" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, isabelle hayes

      Perhaps because so many houses of worship offer facilities that mimic sport & social activities, not to , mention architecture,of Country Clubs and also include even  baby sitting and summer camp services.

      With houses of worship, as non profits, the US Treasury is deprived of some 71 billion dollars of tax payments per year.

      Time 2 do away with that. By the way Soup Kitchen services can just as well be handled by a communities social conscious volunteers and without the religious shtick.

      •  No one at our food pantry (5+ / 0-)

        or at the 100 year plus running soup kitchen of my former parish in Boston is ever subjected to any kind of prayer or religion at all. There is no shtick. This is true of many such services provided by thousands of mainstream Christian churches around the country.

        What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

        by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:30:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why should houses of worship... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass taxed while nonreligious nonprofit organizations are tax-exempt?

        You would set up a system where religious organizations are discriminated against by law.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:31:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps for the same reason..... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, commonmass

          ....religious organizations enjoy all sorts of tax-exemptions for property that has nothing whatsoever to do with their religion, but has everything to do with amassing wealth.

          Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

          by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:39:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Nonreligious nonprofits are untaxed to the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BoxerDave, Chi, commonmass

          extent of their charitable expenditures. Churches are untaxed even if they never expend a penny on charitable activity.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:53:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, there could be a way (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to set it up where there would be taxes, but any services provided to the community would be deductible -- for example food pantry and clothing closet programs, housing for homeless (the churches in one local community provide rotating shelters), lunch programs, etc. Those that are truly providing a service to the community would likely be paying a pittance if anything at all by the time everything was added up.

          "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

          by Cali Scribe on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 11:35:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Because it connects them to something. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, wintergreen8694, commonmass

      Because they are part of a community or tradition that they value.

      Because it motivates them to be better people or to do better things or to act selflessly.

      Because they like it.

      The fact that you don't see a reason for people to go to church doesn't mean that there isn't any. It just means you don't see it. But naturally, those who have different thoughts, feelings, and experiences than you do are deserving of your judgment.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:28:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At its basic roots (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wintergreen8694, commonmass

        church is nothing more than community -- a group of people who gather together with a common purpose. No different than the Sierra Club, or Rotary, or even this place.

        When I was growing up and my father died suddenly of a heart attack, the church was there for us -- it was the pastor at the time who told my mom to let the doctors gradually withdraw food from his feeding tube as he lay in an irreversible coma (and this a good 2 decades before Terri Schiavo). He told her that as far as he was concerned, that was just an empty shell and that my father's spirit was already with The Lord. (I had many a theological disagreement with that church and that pastor, especially when I got into my teenaged years, but I will always appreciate him for that.) And members of the church were there with casseroles and comfort and giving me rides home from church functions whenever necessary.

        In a society where we might be far from family and childhood friends, and where we barely know our own neighbors, it's good to find community wherever one can.

        "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

        by Cali Scribe on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 11:43:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  We talk about "tradition" as being part of the (0+ / 0-)

        "three-legged stool" of Anglicanism (the other two "legs" being Scripture and Reason). I was just talking to our Cathedral's dean, Ben, the other day and we talked about this. "Tradition" does not mean--to Anglicans, anyway--"we've always done it this way", or ancient rites for "tradition"'s sake, but rather the collective experience of all Christians over the last two thousand years. That is why, for instance, the Episcopal Church could decide to allow for LGBT clergy (or female clergy back in the 70's for that matter) and bless same sex marriages. Tradition not only endures, it evolves. Tradition is not only kept, it is made.

        Food for thought.

        What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

        by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 03:21:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Who goes to church? (8+ / 0-)

    Forty to fifty percent of Americans say they do.

    From wikipedia

    "Church attendance data in the U.S. has been checked against actual values using two different techniques. The true figures show that only about 21% of Americans and 10% of Canadians actually go to church one or more times a week. Many Americans and Canadians tell pollsters that they have gone to church even though they have not. Whether this happens in other countries, with different cultures, is difficult to predict."

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:08:05 AM PST

    •  Well, I go to church. Of course, I'm paid to be (6+ / 0-)

      there. But I'd go even if I were not.

      NPR recently did a story on church attendance and the data you provided above. No one, especially in the South, wants to tell a stranger taking a poll that they really don't go that often. So we must take that data of forty to fifty percent with a grain of salt, as you point out.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:15:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Every summer at my previous church the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, Remediator, BoxerDave

        minisiter would return from his 2 week vacation and say those polls saying 40% of Americans attend church are wrong, as he would see WAY more people staying home on Sunday than that.

        **Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does** h/t Clytemnestra/Victoria Jackson

        by glorificus on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:06:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here in Maine, we have 17 Summer Chapels (4+ / 0-)

          in our diocese. Interestingly, people who do not normally go to church (or who are not even Episcopalians) attend these services during the summer--many of them are summer residents only anyway.

          Last Summer I had the honor of being asked to be the organist for St. Cuthbert's Summer Chapel, which is the only one of the 17 which is located on an island which is only accessible by boat. The summer colony on that island was started by Bishop Codman and some other clergy at the end of the 19th century, and as a result many of the residents are at least nominal Episcopalians. Most of them, however, are not churchgoers during the year but are during the Summer.

          I tell this to illustrate that while I believe that the numbers of regular churchgoers in this country is, in fact, wildly inflated, there are lots of people who are irregular churchgoers, like the ones who attend St. Cuthbert's.

          I'll add that the salary they paid me for the summer was obscene in its generosity.

          What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

          by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:12:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  As a former christian (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, BoxerDave, lexalou, RUNDOWN, Chi

      I have worked in multiple churches as well as being a session member for almost 20 of my 30 yrs as participating christian.  The reality of a poll does not reflect the reality of the congregations.
      The last church- before I gave up on the mythology - had about 200 on the books - regular attendance was about 50 and maybe 30 who came occasionally.  However, the twice a year christians stuffed the sanctuary - twice a year.

      BTW - I left the church 5 years ago and I'm still on the books!

      •  So you were a Presbyterian. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It pains me to know that so many churches stop at the mythology and legends and never get deeper into the message. There is much more to those myths and legends than what you can glean on the surface. Sadly, that is where most people stop.

        What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

        by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:16:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well said (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If mythology and story-telling has any value at all beyond entertainment it's in real-word meaning.  It's like someone who reads Aesop's fables and comes away with messages like "animals can talk" and "foxes eat grapes" instead of the real human lessons that can be learned from these fantastic stories.

          Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

          by GreenPA on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:31:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's pretty sad that the only stories we hear (10+ / 0-)

    about religion seem to be about either evangelical bigots or criminal clergy.

    Frankly, there are plenty of good churchmen and women out there doing real good in the world and especially in their communities. The food pantry that the parish I belong to runs is the largest in town and makes a difference in the lives of countless low income and homeless persons. We took a decisive stand for social justice and dignity by actively supporting marriage equality both in the State of Maine and in the Episcopal Church. Could the food pantry be run by someone other than us? Of course it could. Did secular groups make just as large a contribution to marriage equality and gay rights as we did? Of course they did. But that doesn't change the fact that our work makes a difference in people's lives.

    Now, the church where I am employed (different parish than where my membership is) is actually growing. We're open minded, questioning, challenging, caring, and fun. On top of that we have one of the best choirs on the traditional Anglican model in the state. We're apparently a place people want to come, some of whom are young.

    There are lots of reasons to go to church, and lots of reasons not to. But I think it does no one any good when we only dwell on the juicy news of misconduct and bigotry and forget that many clergy and churchgoers are decent people who are doing good in their own way.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:13:03 AM PST

    •  Yesterday, in the SF Chronicle..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....there was an anti-liberal story about people who booed and hissed at a black minister who stood before the Oakland City Counsel to ask that the city institute a "stop and frisk" policy, because he is sick and tired of (to paraphrase the news article) sick and tired of seeing young African -American blood spilled on the streets of Oakland due to gun violence.

      The minister who spoke has a LONG track record (20+ years) of helping out (saving/changing) lives of the young people in his community.  It was nice to see that that fact was included in the anti-liberal news article.  

      Sadly, the writer concluded that the booing liberals who are against "stop and frisk" were attacking this man's entire career, when indeed they were disagreeing with him about one issue only.

      Hey, I thought to myself, at least the writer didn't accuse the minister of being racist for saying that he was sick and tired of spilled black blood and not all blood.

      Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

      by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:27:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Was the fact that Wallin was a crossdresser... (4+ / 0-)

    ...relevant to this story?  Why did you feel te need to include it?

    •  Because our existence is to be a matter of (4+ / 0-)


      FOX and the SF paper were worse.

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:26:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was wondering the same thing, Robyn. (3+ / 0-)

      That jarred me a little bit. It may have been relevant for the Church, but it certainly wasn't to the diary, IMO.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:35:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those are legit questions. Very legit. (5+ / 0-)

      Both the CT news outlets and also the San Francisco Chronicle really featured the fact that this man was cross-dressing and having sex while cross-dressed; it was in fact in the headlines of their stories.  I think that that is sensationalism frankly.  Indded, it saddened me that the SF Chronicle made so much mention of him being a cross-dresser in light of the other aspects of the story (although it is not clear to me that he was a transvestite, but rather that he was cross-dressed only when having sex).  

      His cross-dressing sex is only relevant to my diary (and really to his whole sorted story) insofar as it was what got him brought to the attention of members of his church:  rectory workers told others in the church about seeing him cross-dressed, seeing other men cross-dressed at the rectory and also having sex there.  It was that that got the church to look more closely at the priest.  It was then that they discovered he may also be dealing meth.  I understand that that was when and how uncover cops began to follow him.

      That he is a porn shop owner using the public defender's officer for free counsel while awaiting meth dealing charges really is the thing that I can imagine disgusts people (maybe not the people of his parish, perhaps they were more disgusted he wore women's clothes while having sex, who knows).

      Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

      by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:41:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Two quibbles and a funny story: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steven D, Chi, Cali Scribe, FG

        First off, overall I enjoyed your diary. Now the quibbles: "sordid", not "sorted". Though I suppose we could argue that the strangeness of this story is "assorted" weirdness, LOL. The other thing, and this is not to gang up on you but because it is a pet peeve of mine: "Reverend" is a modifier, not a title. It's The Reverend so and so, just as it's "The Venerable" for an Archdeacon.

        Now for the funny story, which I've told here on Daily Kos before. Years ago, Second Baptist Church in Houston outgrew its old building and set about a capital campaign to raise money to replace it. There were two brothers who were pillars of the congregation who were doctors with very, very successful practices. They offered to purchase the stained glass windows for the new building. But there's a twist: it wasn't the money from their medical practices that paid for those windows, rather the income from the chain of peep shows and adult bookstores they owned. So, it is joked, those stained glass windows were paid for a quarter at a time. True story.

        What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

        by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:48:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I never edit a story before I post it! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, glorificus

          Truly, never!  But, I do once I post it.  Thanks for the input.

          I do love the stained glass story!

          Have you received the chain email going around about all the typos in church bulletins?  Some of those are hysterical.  

          Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

          by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:56:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, yes, I've seen many of those. (4+ / 0-)

            They are truly funny. Not to mention the things clergy say. For a number of years when I lived in Massachusetts I served a Swedish Lutheran congregation with a German-born pastor. His English (and about six other languages) was perfect. Hardly a trace of an accent. But like everyone who sometimes has to read from a text in public, he was not immune to the occasional mistake. In reading the story of Jesus being baptized, he transposed some words, and this is what came out: "Jordan baptized Jesus in the John". It was the first, and last time I heard those old Swedes laugh in church.

            The one from the chain mail type stuff that I have always loved was the sermon title posted on the church sign outside during their stewardship (fundraising) campaign: "I upped my pledge, up yours".

            What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

            by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:03:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Great story! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Yes, the "I upped my plegde" was precious.

              I also remember the one about the church fundraiser.  It went something like: bring your old clothes, your old dishes, and you can even bring your husbands.

              Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

              by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:20:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  My very favorite indictment of evangelical (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Remediator, BoxerDave

                religion comes from the composer Virgil Thompson, who himself had a Southern Baptist background:

                For an article (never published for reasons that will become apparent) for Vanity Fair in 1917, he presented the following analysis of the Baptist Hymnal:

                36 of them are evangelical exhortations.
                28 explain the benefits of conversion
                25 anticipate or describe heaven
                13 are for children.
                6 are prayerful.
                4 are military.
                3 predict the Judgement Day.
                1 is about mother.
                1 recalls with pleasure a little brown church in the wildwood.
                91 confess erotic feelings for the person of Jesus.

                What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

                by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:27:54 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Irrelevant (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, enhydra lutris
        (although it is not clear to me that he was a transvestite, but rather that he was cross-dressed only when having sex)
        Still offensive to the Transgender community.

        "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:51:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  let me add this too... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The SF Chronicle story about Kevin Wallin (I did not bother to provide a link to their story in the diary which I read yesterday morning), which as I said made a big deal out of him cross-dressing while having sex seemed to imply, while going out of its way to avoid stating, that he is gay.  The story said he was seen cross-dressed, was seen at the rectory having parties with other men who were who looked "strange" according to the article.  There was never any mention that he was seen having sex with women or that women were at the cross-dressing rectory parties.  The SF Chronicle reader was supposed to conclude that the cross-dressing aspect of this man (YAWN) was a big deal as was his having sex while cross-dressed (lower case yawn).  They also went out of their way to state that "weird sex toys" were found at his apartment during his arrest (I have no clue what constituts a weird sex toy from a non-weird one; given that he sells sex toys for a living, it would not be strange that he would have some of his store's inventory at his home because he might have been merely storing extra inventory there).

        I concluded yesterday after reading the SF Chronicle story about Wallin that the paper was catering to the gay reader (by not mentioning that he is gay or very likely is gay and the paper did not bother to research his sexual orientation at all, which would be relevant given he is was, at the time, a Catholic priest) while at the same time maligning the trans reader.   Just now I went back to that story to make sure I was not omitting or altering what they wrote, BUT, the story now has been completely re-written!!

        Now there is NO mention of his cross-dressing, his sex parties, or his being caught by rectory workers possibly selling meth (which led to police involvement). Reading today's version of the SF Chronicle story, the reader cannot tell exactly how Wallin became ensnared by the police.  That's a major omission, of course, but at least they took out the very largely irrelevant part about him cross-dressing (again, it's only relevant in that it was what led the church to watch him more closely and then to ultimately be in touch with the police). Perhaps the biggest ommission from the revised story is that there is no mention he is having tax-payers foot his legal bills while at the same time he owns a business (i.e., is not indigent).

        Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

        by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:37:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the point of public defender (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is to provide counsel if you can't afford it. Just because he owns a sex shop doesn't mean it's a successful sex shop; with competition from Good Vibes and other similar facilities, plus the wide variety of online purveyors of pleasure products, it's hard (no pun intended) to gain a foothold in the business these days even in SF.

          "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

          by Cali Scribe on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 11:52:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  As a former Catholic (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoxerDave, Chi, Betty Clermont, commonmass

      I can tell you that it probably was the bigger item in getting him dismissed from his pastorate. Someone might SEE him and it would disturb the simple faithful who would then question the Church's teachings.

      Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

      by gelfling545 on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:51:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A third grader knows (7+ / 0-)

    My mother was just beside herself trying to make me attend church on Sunday.  She lamented to me over and over, why won't you go to chuch with me, why must you make me fight with you to attend.

    Finally I answered her.  They (pastors) always talk about mean, nasty stuff and how Gawd (sic) punishes us and how we don't deserve this/that, and how we will never be worthy of his blessing and how many stories are just so hard to believe.

    Fact of the matter is this; if it seems too good to be true, chances are that it is too good to believe.  The thought that you can do all sorts of nasty stuff and still go to heaven is as nasty as it can get.


    •  Sadly, your pastor had a warped idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cali Scribe

      of what the Gospels actually say. I simply do not understand how people in ordained ministry can preach hate, but many of them indeed do. I steer clear of that kind of clergy. In my denomination, the best thing that has happened to us are the people who left over Gene Robinson's consecration as Bishop of New Hampshire. For the most part, that has left the Episcopal Church free to get down to the business of social justice, treating all persons with dignity, aiding the poor and needy, acting from a position of radical welcome and love, and basically going about the business of practicing what the Gospels preach with very little mean-spiritedness left. If you go and look at the websites of the churches and dioceses that left the Episcopal Church recently, you'll see a lot of hate and vitriol, and you'll also notice that they have allied themselves with people like Bishop Akinola who think that gays should be put to death. It pains me to say this, but I'm glad the majority of those people have left our church, because I am truly uplifted by people coming together around justice and dignity--be it in the church, or in progressive politics. What was widely reported as threatening a schism in the Anglican Communion has made us stronger, not weaker, not only today but I believe in the view of history as well.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:41:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No true gospel fallacy! The bible says what it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        says, and no sect or person is arbiter of how to read or interpret it.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 10:02:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  they are human too (4+ / 0-)

    I have struggled in my life with tolerance toward the religious, in view of all the scandals and other hypocritical behavior.  It helps me to remember that they are no more perfect than the rest of us heathens.  Whether they claim to be or not.

    Thanks for everything, Richard. We'll finish it for you.

    by ProgLegs on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:43:34 AM PST

    •  Very true..... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, glorificus, Buckeye54

      ....but until churches start doing a better job of vetting and/or monitoring its leaders, stories like this will continue to hit the press....and young people will be all the more turned off from religion.

      For me, these flawed people are the same ones who have used their religious institutions' beliefs to further the oppression of many in society, me as a gay man, being one of them.

      Also, if you believe that some humans can be evil (a belief many religious people and non-religious people too), then you have to entertain the possibility that a repeat child rapist, like the NC pastor, is and always was evil.  He just found an institution to hide out in and use.

      Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

      by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:51:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not exactly. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BoxerDave, Cali Scribe

        We have a situation here in Maine where the former Dean of our Cathedral was arrested for passing drugs to two prisoners. The Canons of the Episcopal Church and of our Diocese dictate an automatic suspension and hearing and 100 percent cooperation with law enforcement. These canons are not new nor are they a reaction to the Roman Catholic abuse scandals.

        Some religious organizations have integrity in these matters, and the Episcopal Church is one of them.

        As for "bad people" hanging out in churches, I think there is some truth to that. Often, they are doing so to try to "fix" themselves.

        I do not think this priest is evil. I think he is sick. If he broke the law, he should be held accountable, and he also should be afforded the same dignity we would afford anyone else with addiction and sex abuse issues. While behind bars, of course.

        What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

        by commonmass on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 06:58:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The priest may or may not be evil.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          (and by stating that, yes, I am one of those people who believe that some people are evil, a proposition I realize not everyone will agree with......sadly, the mental health field calls evil people psychopaths, but by giving them a psychiatric label that only serves to confuse mentally ill people with evil people)....the ex-CT priest may have somehow become addicted to meth and then to have begun dealing it to pay for his addiction.  That's possible. That would be addiction-driven behavior, not evil. It doesn't explain him owning a business while receiving free legal counsel (and thus keeping a legitimately poor person from having counsel).  

          I will disagree with you, if you are asserting that the ex-NC pastor is not evil.  A serial pedophile; that's evil (also the psychiatric community co-opted that word and turned it into a mental illness, but preying on people and damaging them is evil, it's not anxiety or psychosis or depression...those are mental illnesses not forms of evil). And as for his replacement, I suppose she was just standing by a congregant.  Still, her quote was repulsive in that she was bringing the press into the story.

          Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

          by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 07:13:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  IMO as a clinical psychologist who did research (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BoxerDave, Betty Clermont, commonmass

            with imprisoned psychopaths, group counseling with prison inmates, and years of forensic evaluations, not all people who habitually do evil things are psychopaths.  (Not believing in metaphysics, I don't believe there's any such thing as an "evil person" any more than I believe in Satan, who is basically a projection of the destructive and sadistic impulses in all of us.)

               It's a layman's  over-generalization to call all such people "psychopaths"--e.g., during the election many people here called Romney a psychopath, by which they really meant that he was a real dick with a plutocratic point of view.  No competent psychiatrist or psychologist would call Romney a psychopath.  Similarly,  Hitler may or may not have been a psychopath (his military record actually suggests that he probably wasn't) but Goebbels almost assuredly was not.  However, he obviously lived a pretty evil life.  

            As to the original diary, it's not just the obvious, outrageous violation of Christian ethics by Church functionaries that drives people away from religion, but also churches' more chronic failure to live up to the more difficult ideals pretty explicit in the Gospels.  If science and philosophy hadn't led me to agnosticism, about the only "churches" I could tolerate belonging to would be the Friends or the Unitarians, who, of course, believe in, at most, only one God anyway.  

            •  Thank you for your post.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Buckeye54, commonmass

              ....we can certainly have our differences of opinion about whether evil people exist or not (or whether there is an afterlife), for sure.

              As a psychologist at some point you became aware of all the research on doing therapy with anti-social personality disordered people and those deemed psychopaths:  therapy only makes them better at committing their evil acts, to fly under the radar to not get caught?  This research only strengthens my beliefs that mental health professionals have overreached in labelling evil people sick and have done little to help society deal with them.

              Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

              by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:58:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I hope people who go to church (7+ / 0-)

    go and appreciate and enjoy each other's company.  

    That seems sensible.  

    To me, there's a huge difference between that sort of experience and Tony Perkins braying like a rabid jackass in the media about "social issues."

  •  Holy Trinity homophobes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Citizen, BoxerDave, commonmass

    Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Gastonia, NC left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and joined the North American Lutheran Church. The NALC was established solely in opposition to GLBT-inclusive policies in the ELCA.

    Perhaps they should have been focusing on the plank in their eyes.

    •  The church in my hometown did the same (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BoxerDave, commonmass, mph2005

      No one would have forced them to hire gay ministers. This was in rural Minnesota, and gay people there either moved or were deeply in the closet. Apparently, simply knowing that some other church may hire gay ministers was too much for them to deal with.

      I looked it up, the NALC had 341 congregations, while the ELCA had 10,008. I think the main group can wind up stronger than ever when the bigots splinter off.

      The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

      by A Citizen on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:27:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  mph2005..... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, mph2005

      ....thank you for pointing that fact out.  

      I believe that it is important for readers to know that there are several different groups of Lutherans in the United States.  There are some Lutherans who, I understand, are not opposed to gay people marrying; others, believe we are going to hell with our LBT brothers and sisters.

      There are different Lutheran synods and some of them are sociopolitically different from one another, from what I understand (Missouri synod being pretty conservative socially, the American synod not so much), but please correct me/educate me if I am wrong on that.

      Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

      by BoxerDave on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:09:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The differences (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The ELCA is a very moderate to liberal denomination that ordains women and partnered LGBTs.

        The LCMS is a nearly fundamentalist denomination that does not ordain women and was founded on a belief in Calvin's predestination doctrine.

        The WELS (Wisconsin) is a very fundamentalist denomination and was Michele Bachmann's church until two years ago.

        The NALC is made up of former ELCA churches who broke off simply either because of the 2009 vote in favor of ordaining gay clergy or because of the 2001 vote for communion with Episcopalians.

  •  Church attendance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, commonmass

    has little to do with "religion" itself, but the disposition of the attendee at that time in their lives.

    Serious life and family issues, and the general economic and social well being of the community in general.

    I doubt any poll could accurately reflect society's views on organized religion, since the very concept means different things to different people.

    Social and spiritual bonding does not require a "church" or any religion for that matter - the church however is where many people find it.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:25:38 AM PST

  •  Church is full of sinners (0+ / 0-)

    They are just like the rest of us, except the right wing ones spend a lot of time judging others for what they themselves are doing, mainly because it's profitable for them.

    In my experience, most of the leaders are scammers, grifters, con people, who are out to get as much as possible for themselves.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 02:20:46 PM PST

  •  sigh..... (0+ / 0-)

    Yesterday's sermon in St. Catherine of Sienna, a Trumbull church went something along the line of “Well, Msgr. Wallin had a lot of responsibilities, and once  he looked sickly. (The priest) asked around and related that ‘they’ (others in the church hierarchy) said that he’d gone on … somewhere."

        I didn’t hear an official apology, nor did I hear they were cutting ties or mandating accountability for his behavior.

        A couple of weeks ago we had to listen to Fr. Joseph Marcello state all Christians should agree with the Pope and stand up to the danger homosexuals pose to our civilization.

        I was the one who stood up and (loudly) told Father Marcello what he was saying was sacrilegious and against the teachings of Christ. I also demanded he not use the pulpit for political purposes. Yes, I made a scene.

        Unfortunately, there are few opportunities to stand up to the current hiereus (bureaucracy). How else can we reiterate to the young listening to this drivel that “all Christians” don’t agree?

    God is infinite love. Why is that so hard to understand?

    by Sprinkles on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 11:52:53 AM PST

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