religion / lynch mobs / semantic niceties (WYD / Pope-fest '08)

I was lucky enough to miss the whole WYD / Pope circus - and slack enough to miss an ideal opportunity to mail bomb our major newspapers' letters columns about something I find rather infuriating - and a clear example of the extent of our dysfunctional western social myopia.

Some weeks prior to Pope-fest, we were flooded with nightly news updates of one lynch mob or another running released kiddie diddler Dennis Ferguson out of town after town in Queensland, complete with home made nooses and burning effigies. These were the same news organisations that, leading up to Pope-fest, would speculate daily on the likelihood of an official Papal apology to the legions of minors that had been sexually violated by trusted clergy throughout the entire history of the church. Where were the lynch mobs then ? Why is Dennis Ferguson worthy of rabid displays of public bloodlust, yet the readily identifiable members of the clergy who committed the same crimes not ?

I've seen several (non-mainstream) commentators mention this apparent discrepancy, though none in direct relation to Pope-fest: this is a rare instance of the hypocrisy and the double standards converging in the one place, at the one time. What the commentators have said is that the act of buggering a little kid by a man of the cloth is *always* referred to in terms of "child abuse", which can cover anything from harsh words to murder, and never in the more precise terms of "child rape" or "sexual violence" against a child - the latter are reserved for tabloid use against people like Dennis Ferguson. In effect it creates differing levels of severity to the criminal act of raping a child - the crime being somewhat lesser when perpetrated by a clergyman than when it is perpetrated by other members of the public. I doubt very much whether a child can see any difference - getting forcibly buggered by an adult more than twice your size and strength is horrific regardless of their uniform or religious affiliation.

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Tags: double standards, hypocrisy, sacred cows, thoughtcrime

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