I have no problem with showing even the worst people mercy. I think that it demonstrates one’s character to show compassion and concern for those who would show you none. However, I do think there should be a limit to what that mercy entails. It is one thing to spare someone’s life or avoid any cruel punishment. It is another to let them off unpunished for their crimes. This is what Pope Francis did with several priests accused of sexually abusing children:
Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope’s own advisers question. […] Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry.
In some cases, the priests or their high-ranking friends appealed to Francis for clemency by citing the pope’s own words about mercy in their petitions, the church official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proceedings are confidential.
“With all this emphasis on mercy … he is creating the environment for such initiatives,” the church official said, adding that clemency petitions were rarely granted by Pope Benedict XVI, who launched a tough crackdown during his 2005-2013 papacy and defrocked some 800 priests who raped and molested children.
This makes no sense. Outside of sentencing these men to prison, the only penalty that would likely matter to them would be removal from the priesthood. This seems the least Francis considering that these men preyed on children for years.
What does a lifetime of penance and prayer mean? Are these priests to become monks tucked away in a remote church? How will any of this actually punish those who preyed on children? How will it keep them from abusing again? Continue reading →
Joe Rogan recently interviewed Neil Degrasse Tyson. I enjoy listening to Tyson speak. It is rare to hear someone that enthusiastic about science. He also comes across as a likeable man, which makes him even more engaging.
One of my favorite things about Tyson is when he offers up tidbits of science that people are familiar with and proceeds to show how much deeper the knowledge goes. He does this with multiple types of infinity. I had heard of this before, although I cannot recall where. Yet his explanation is simply inthralling.
I also hope he takes Rogan’s advice and goes back to commenting on films. I find it fascinating to hear what catches his attention as glaringly wrong.
It is a fun interview, and of the rare instances where science is explained in a simplified way to make it palatable. Continue reading →
When you deal in fear mongering, it is only a matter of time before your response becomes completely unreasonable. Such is the case withKasey Edwards’s reaction to all the hyperbolic concern over child sexual abuse.
No one can fault a parent for wanting to protect their children from abuse. However, Edwards’s method is pure stupidity:
When our first daughter was born my husband and I made a family rule: no man would ever babysit our children. No exceptions. This includes male relatives and friends and even extracurricular and holiday programs, such as basketball camp, where men can have unrestricted and unsupervised access to children.
Eight years, and another daughter later, we have not wavered on this decision.
Edwards argues that it is too easy for men and boys to lure her daughters away without being noticed. Never mind that the vast majority of men and boys are not child abusers. Never mind that despite all her efforts would not prevent a woman or girl from abusing her daughters. No, Edwards is convinced that men are a threat to be avoided. Continue reading →
In September of 2015, Salon published two articles by a self-professed pedophile Todd nickerson. The man stated that he has an attraction to girls, and went on to explain his “coming out” story (for lack of a better word). Salon and the author received a great deal of criticism, the man for his positions and Salon for running the article. It is worth noting that majority of the criticism came from victim advocacy groups and right-wing groups. Left-leaning people, particularly progressives, remained silent on the topic or supported Salon.
Things became more questionable when Salon published a follow-up article by this man in which he bemoaned the criticism, painting himself as a victim of people’s bias against pedophiles.
One lesson very controversial people must learn is that they will eventually say something they ought not say. This is not a matter telling them to silence their free expression. Rather, it is a basic truth. It is not because what they say will be wrong, but that it can easily be used against them.
Milo Yiannopoulos is a self-professed provocateur. He says things he does not necessarily believe because of the reaction it will get. He also happens to say things he does believe that prompt the same outrage. Unless you follow his comments and understand his mannerisms, it is easy to confuse one of his jokes for his actual opinion. He also tends to mire his genuine opinion in with outrageous commentary, making even more difficult to parse his intention.
I think this is what happened with his comments about cross-generational sex. The Reagan Battalion released an edited version of a Drunken Peasants podcast Milo was on in 2016. In the podcast, Milo makes several statements regarding adult men having sexual encounters with teen boys. I think it is important to hear the exchange in context to understand precisely what Milo said. Here is the beginning of the exchange: Continue reading →
Bill Maher interviewed Milo Yiannopoulos on Real Time with Bill Maher last night. The interview was okay. Maher avoided most of the touchy subjects that Milo is known for. It seemed more like Maher wanted to teach Milo to tone down his behavior than conduct an interview. I got that impression from how Maher brought up the people Milo targets. He also read some jokes from the late Joan Rivers. Maher’s point was that Milo should choose his targets more carefully and thoughtfully, and if not make sure the jokes are funny. Maher clearly sees something in Milo because he later tells Milo that he sees him as a potential “young, gay, alive Christopher Hitchens.”
The intervention tone, however, kept the conversation from getting to anything of substance. Milo’s own behavior did not help. He tends to speak endlessly. Maher does the same thing. They both interrupt others a lot (Hitchens also did this). It makes for a stilted conversation because neither one of them could make a point and dig into it.
What I consider the low point is the end of the interview. Maher tells Milo that he needs to “get off the Trump train”, but ends the interview without letting Milo explain why he supports Donald Trump. While I agree that Milo’s support of Trump is misguided at best and deliberate trolling at worst, it was bad form for Maher to make the comment and not let Milo respond. Continue reading →
Jeffrey Sandusky, the son of Jerry Sandusky, faces 14 counts of sexual abuse against his two stepdaughters. According to police, Jeffrey repeatedly sent sexually explicit texts to both teen girls over the years:
Police launched an investigation in November 2016 after one child claimed to receive text messages from Sandusky, who was suspended without pay from his job as a corrections officer at Rockview State Prison.
In a news release, Pennsylvania State Police said Sandusky assaulted the two female accusers—who were 15 and 16 at the time—in spring 2013 and in March 2016. They were solicited by Sandusky for oral sex and nude cellphone pictures, police say.