Bomb Throwing Pacifist

If you took that happy, smiling guy from the box of Quaker Oats, handed him a bottle of gin and a rifle, and pissed him off to a point where he decided he wasn't going to take it anymore, you'd get a little something like this.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Who'd have thunk it?

A few weeks back I came across an article in the French magazine "L'expresse," which my family reads in order to keep up our language skillz. The article caught my eye because it concerned a topic I am keenly interested in: that of religion in France. The article was about a group calling itself "The Legionnaires of Christ," an uber-conservative Catholic reactionary group founded in 1949 by a right-wing Mexican priest. It was very interesting as not only did the article provide a lot of interesting information on this group, but served to hilight a shadowy, rarely-exposed aspect of the Catholic church: specifically, the emergence of ultra-rightist groups similar to those which permeated the Church in the late 1800's and in such places as Fascist Spain and 1930s Ireland.

Part of the problem with such right-wing groups isn't so much the fact that they exist in the first place. After all, the world is home to all sorts of kooky, wacky groups such as the United Nuwabian Nation of Moors, Heaven's Gate, the Aryan Nations, the World Chruch of the Creator, the Branch Dividians, and so on. And I for one take freedom of religion and freedome of speech very seriously, irregardless of a group or individual's beliefs. As such, if the Nuwabians choose to believe that their leader is a member of a space-faring Afro-Egyptian extraterrestrial civilization or if the Aryan Nations spend their time talking about the great upcoming race war, that is none of my business, provided no laws are violated (such as civil rights violations, stockpiling illegal weaponry, and group member abuse). It may be boorish, uncivilized and downright barbaric to talk about the extermination of a various group of people based on their religion, race, ethnicity, gender, or beliefs, but such speech is protected and rightly so.

However, while these views are repugnant and horrific, it can come as at least a small comfort to the world at large that these are tiny splinter groups whose views are wacky and rightfully deserving of condemnation. The problem is that these rather odd views are not confined to minority factions and splinter groups. All too often in these modern times various aspects of a particular religion have been used to justify all manner of abuses, yet the proximity of such groups to a well-respected and large group have served to insulate them from risk.

After all, it's one thing to call a random group of UFO worshipers wierdos, but its much harder to do so with Mormon splinter groups who are still into the whole Polygamy thing. I for one do, however, take it personally. No matter how quickly and easily dismissed these groups (such as the Legionnaires of Christ) may be, let us never forget one crucial fact: were it not for the secularist reforms of the renaissance and the enlightenment (and for that matter the early modern period), these are the same people who would be torturing and burning in the name of their God. Don't let the fact that they have no real legal power over you obscure that little factoid right there, boys and girls. If they had their way, canon law would still be legall binding and you would be burned for lapses of orthodoxy. Sleep tight kids.

And on another note...from

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -- The Vatican said Friday it had disciplined the Mexican founder of an influential Catholic religious order who has been accused of sexual abuse, instructing him to retire to a life of "prayer and penitence."

Maciel, who lives in Mexico, has been accused by some former seminarians of sexual abuses dating back to the 1940s and 1950s, when they were boys as young as 10.

Too bad he didn't have to face any real consequences for his actions. Like going to prison, say 50 or 60 years ago. But hey, that's about par for course.
Marc with a C, 3:29 PM


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