The deadly nightshade flower - an old symbol for falsehood.
Religion is unethical. It doesn't teach life's grey uncertainties between right and wrong. It preaches a belief system to perpetuate influence of that belief system made of invented rules and myths, and of course prejudice, politics, cronyism and control.
History riddled with it.
Scripture is brainwashing. How are Ron Hubbard's scientological teachings any less dogmatic than the anglican King James Bible or the Uniting Church's Good News for Modern Man Bible?
What is the purpose of projecting a guiding deity? It is to focus the faith of a religious order on a omnipresent mythical guardian so as to charm, enamour, ensnare, spellbind insecure and vulnerable people? Does it just prey on hope of the vulnerable seeking hope?...to thereafter insist on an absolute pledge of life-long loyalty?
Church is a form of cult, with milder varying degrees of orthodoxy, reliant upon the premise of truisms and a methodology of entrapment. So what has 'church' now meant to mean? Medieval christianity pervades our modern society unquestioningly more than we realise. But it has become increasingly irrelevant to the humanistic needs of modern society, evidenced by the demise of patronage and absence of youth attendance.
Children seek direction in life and that is when they are most vulnerable. If religion was barred from children until they were old enough think independently (say 16), then perhaps religion could lay claim that it is not a form of indoctrination and brainwashing, but it ain't. Religious orders intentionally grab children at an early age, knowing that they have them for life.
This warrants public questioning as is currently occurring and these churches are running scared. Old religious orders need to comply with ethical and moral standards of our 21st Century society, else they deserve labeling as fundamental extremists in the same category as the Afghani Taliban.
It is about time ethics, humanism and freethought were taught in schools by independent qualified experts. Humanism is an approach in study that focuses on human values and concerns. Freethought is about forming opinions on the basis of science, logic, and reason, rather than being blindly influenced by authority, tradition, or any other dogma.
Faith? Spirituality? Personally, give me pantheism any day. But I'd sooner worship a fly crawling up the wall before turning desperately to religion.
Religions are all about one group of people trying to dominate others. It is all about power and wars have been fought over it. It preys on the vulnerable. It starts with children while they are vulnerable and brainwashes them. Catholicism is all about controlling people through guilt. Each religion doesn't recognise the other. Look what happened last month at the Mosque of Cordoba.
Religion has held a monopoly on spirituality for eons. Now that our society is free thinking and free spirited, people are realising that their are spiritual alternatives to religion - ones that are orthodoxy-free and diety-free. And of course the dominant religions are worried of losing their sphere of influence. The Sydney Anglican diocese claims a new controversial trial of secular ethics classes has ''decimated'' protestant scripture classes in the 10 NSW schools where it has been introduced as an alternative for non-religious children, with the classes losing about 47 per cent of enrolled students. (Scripture classes lose half of students to ethics, say Anglicans)
The anglican church is so desperate that it has created a fund-raising website to ''protect SRE'' (special religious education). The website says the values underpinning ''Australia's moral framework.''
Morality? Well, another week, another dodgy priest exposed. The christian church has the reputation of a pedophilic cult. Go to any newspaper online and type the word 'priest'. Woa Hoa!Start with the Sydney Morning Herald...
'Priest defrocked over sexual misconduct' (today's headlines)
AN ANGLICAN priest has been defrocked after a professional standards board discovered he had engaged in multiple sexual liaisons, including with at least one woman from his parish.
'Flood of new priest abuse allegations'
A Belgian committee probing allegations of pedophilia by priests has been flooded with complaints since the resignation of a bishop who admitted abusing a boy.
'German priest to leave US in abuse case'
A German priest has been suspended and ordered home from a posting in the US as he faces allegations he abused teenage girls in Germany two decades ago.
'Priest, 83, under house arrest for abuse'
An 83-year-old Brazilian priest detained on allegations of sexually abusing young boys has been moved from jail to house arrest.
'Brazilian priest charged with pedophilia'
Brazilian authorities charged a 74-year-old Catholic priest with pedophilia after eight children in his church choir accused him of sexual abuse.
'Priest sex video on sale in Brazil'
A video of a priest receiving oral sex in a church from a former choir boy was being sold in the streets of Brazil.
'Priest, 84, in sex act with choirboy'
An 84-year-old Brazilian priest caught on camera in a sex act with a choirboy has been arrested and put in detention.
'Belgian priest tells of 300 sexual abuse cases'
BRUSSELS: Belgian bishops have failed to punish any clergy over 300 complaints of child sexual abuse brought to their attention in the 1990s, a priest who helped many victims claims.
'Pope urges Catholic penance over priest scandal'
Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday urged Catholics to "do penance" and a top cardinal called for a mass rally by clergy to support the pontiff under fire over widespread paedophile priest scandals.
'French priest admits child abuse'
A French Catholic priest has admitted sexually assaulting a minor, and sees his arrest as a "deliverance" after years of private torment, his lawyer says.
'Malta hosts pope under priest sex abuse cloud'
Pope Benedict XVI was due to give mass Sunday in front of St Publius Church on Malta, even as the controversy over child-molesting priests followed him to the tiny Mediterranean island.
'Priest jailed over sex with altar boy'
A former Anglican priest has been jailed for a second time on child sex offences.
'More child-sex charges for NSW priest'
A NSW Catholic priest already facing multiple child sex charges has again been arrested over a further allegation of similar offences.
'Vatican accused in new US priest case'
The Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI have come under fire in the US for allegedly covering up for another predator priest and doing nothing to remove him.
'Rome waited to ban pedophile priest'
The future Pope Benedict XVI took over the abuse case of an Arizona priest, then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the...
'Vatican comments on US priest case'
The Vatican's lawyer says then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told a bishop to make sure a priest didn't abuse children while the church worked to defrock him.
'Priest suspended over sex abuse'
MUNICH: The priest at the centre of a German sex-abuse scandal that has embroiled the Pope continued working with children for more than 30 years, even though Pope Benedict was personally involved in...
'Church swamped by priest abuse claims'
Norway's Roman Catholic Church received so many tip-offs about possible paedophile priests following revelations of abuse by a bishop that its computer crashed.
'Priest preyed on deaf children, victim says'
ST FRANCIS, Wisconsin: Arthur Budzinski says the first time the priest molested him, he was 12 years old, alone and away from home at a school for the deaf.
'Irish priest defends sex abuse cover up'
A Catholic bishop in Ireland has ordered a priest to remain silent over his views that church officials should not tell police about child abusers.
Milly (not verified)
Fri, 2010-05-14 14:41
priests are human, the losers
Vivienne (not verified)
Fri, 2010-05-14 20:55
It is not all bad!
Sat, 2010-05-15 20:07
'Bad' is not a relative term, it is an absolute term
Fri, 2010-05-14 16:00
Australia worse off without ethics taught by organised religion
Mon, 2010-05-24 07:32
Repellant spray offers children protection
Mon, 2010-05-24 20:52
Religion belongs to 20thC - another month another dodgy priest
Why do parents in the 21st Century blindly trust their children to be taught by religious institutions? Children would be safer in a maximum security gaol of convicted prisoners.
How much more evidence of pedophelia and abuse does it take?
Take this current month's display of religious leader immorality exposed, with the following three examples:
"The Catholic Church is accused of bungling sex abuse inquiries, with at least two priests continuing to work despite church investigations into the cases.
A Sydney priest, Finian Egan, was found to have groped two girls over many years in the 1980s, yet he was praised at a public Mass in Carlingford last year for 50 years of service.
A Melbourne priest, Patrick Maye, twice celebrated the annual Mass for Victoria's Irish community, despite being banned from acting as a priest after church investigators found that he had committed serious sexual abuse in 1973 by forcing himself on a 31-year-old woman when she was in a ''vulnerable'' state.
The church also found he groped two sisters in their family home in the 1980s. Father Maye denied the allegations. Victims of both priests went through the church's Towards Healing process, which is supposed to give closure and compensation to victims.
The church inquiry into Father Egan took more than two years, despite victims being told it would take no more than six months. The inquiry and Father Egan's appeal were delayed while he took overseas holidays.
During the appeal, he officiated at a wedding.
Kellie Roche, who was groped by Father Egan while a teenager, said: ''I wonder what the married couple would have felt if they knew.''
Another victim, who does not want her name used, was repeatedly groped by Father Egan when he gave her guitar lessons. She says the church discouraged her from going to police.
Father Egan worked at St Gerard in Carlingford in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His service was honoured last August - after the findings had been made - when he was lead celebrant at a Sunday Mass. A supper was also held in his honour and he was mentioned in the honour roll in the archdiocese's newsletter.
In a statement to the Herald, the Bishop of Broken Bay, David Walker, would only say ''it would not be appropriate to make any response that could jeopardise the balance of trust that is placed in the church's process of healing''.
In 2005 the church forced Father Maye to retire early with his ''canonical faculties'' removed, so he could not act in public as a priest - the most serious church penalty apart from defrocking.
Despite that, Father Maye has for the past two years acted as a priest at the St Patrick's Day Mass, defying the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, who has repeatedly written letters warning him against working as a priest and saying ''any publicity will reflect adversely upon yourself [and] upon the church''.
Archbishop Hart also acknowledged the pain his victims would experience on learning of the priest's actions, but has been unwilling to publicise Father Maye's name to ensure he can't act as a priest.
In February, Father Maye was the ''surprise guest'' at a party for the Sydney bishop David Cremin. The Sydney function was also attended by the Irish ambassador.
In 2004 and 2005, Father Maye continued his work at St Augustine's Primary School in Yarraville, while police and the church investigated abuse claims. The girl he groped in the 1980s said the church should not have allowed this. ''I was feeling sick about the thought of him possibly abusing kids there,'' she said.
The police inquiry did not proceed to court. Father Maye denied the allegations through his lawyers.
One victim said: ''Dealing with the church itself was a hell of a lot more traumatic than dealing with the abuse.''
"There is a wall between me and sex"...Kellie Roche, who says she has put up a facade all her life. The struggle to obtain recognition of their abuse has devastated these women, write Rafael Epstein and Nick McKenzie.
Before the nightmare began, Kellie Roche was a happy 11-year-old. "I remember always being loud but so naive. I was very protected."
But Roche's life was traumatically transformed in 1981 when she was abused by a man she had revered. He was a priest, Father Finian Egan, and the impact never left her.
"I have put up with a facade all my life … there is a wall between me and sex," she says.
Abuse by the Irish-born priest began when she was at St Gerard's in Carlingford in the 1980s. For the girl from a strict Catholic family, the guitar-playing priest was the centre of her world. At youth group meetings, she says, he would "arrange me on his lap and put my arm around his neck so my breasts were in his face''. Then he would put his hand between her legs and, she says, ''I would feel his erection''.
Since 1996 the Catholic community has been dealing with the fallout from abuse through a process called ''Towards Healing''. The Melbourne archdiocese uses a similar system called the ''Melbourne Response''. An independent assessor examines claims of clerical abuse, which helps guide church-paid compensation. Victims who submit to the process sign away any rights to sue.
For Father Egan's other known victim, ''Kathy,'' the process has been devastating. "I believe in God, I just don't believe in the Catholic Church," she says.
In 2008, both women were told their complaints would be resolved within six months. But delays and an appeal meant it took more than two years until their complaints against Father Egan were completed. The compensation claims dragged on into this month.
For Kathy the delays were ''like a sledgehammer … in the chest'' and sent her into a spiral of depression. She'd already suffered many abusive relationships. ''I don't feel worthy because with every guy there is just no trust. You just don't want to live."
She contemplated going to the police but was told that if she did the church process would stop and jeopardise chances of compensation.
In the 1980s, Melbourne woman ''Lucy'' was groped in her family home by a trusted Catholic priest, Father Paddy Maye, a colleague of her father. One night he clutched her thigh while he sat between Lucy and her father. He also groped her sister.
Her experience shows not only that the Towards Healing process is tough on the victim but that the church has little power or determination to enforce its punishments.
What Lucy did not know was that a woman complained that in the 1970s Father Maye had forced himself on her and, she says, had intercourse without consent. As a result of that complaint, Father Maye was forced to retire at the end of 2005 and the Archbishop, Denis Hart, removed Father Maye's right to act in public as a priest. It is the most serious punishment short of defrocking. But Father Maye repeatedly ignored this sanction.
In 2005 the church and the police were looking into Father Maye, yet he continued as parish priest at St Augustine's Primary School, in Melbourne's west.
''I was feeling sick about the thought of him possibly abusing kids there,'' says Lucy. She believes the church should have kept him away from the school as any ''teacher would be" if they were under police investigation. Father Maye was one of the priests at the annual Mass for Melbourne's Irish community for the past two years.
In April, the Archbishop again wrote to the renegade priest, pointing out his conduct had brought great shame on himself and the church and caused significant harm to his victims.
The problem for the church is that few know Father Maye is an illegitimate priest. In February Father Maye was the surprise guest at an 80th birthday in Sydney for senior Sydney Bishop David Cremin. A notable attendee was the Irish ambassador.
Finian Egan was the senior celebrant at a service last year to honour his 50 years of service. The event was advertised in a handful of parishes and held only a few hundred metres from the office of the Bishop of Broken Bay, David Walker, the bishop charged with supervising Father Egan.
As a young girl Kathy received guitar lessons from Father Egan. She says he would slide his hand between her legs and fondle her - and "he always had a hard-on''.
Kathy started harming herself about that time, slamming the shower door on her hand to ensure she could not play guitar. Still, the abuse continued.
For a girl who saw this priest as "God on earth'' the result has been a process of continual self-harm and she has had ''countless'' abusive relationships.
After going through the Towards Healing process, Kathy says she fell into deep depression and did not get out of bed for weeks.
Finally in the middle of last year, Father Egan's appeal was rejected, but the mistreatment from the church continued. In July Kellie and ''Kathy'' received apologies but each received the letter addressed to the other woman. The error cemented their despair.
The church magazine Broken Bay News contains Bishop Walker's monthly editorial. In last November's issue, next to a photo of smiling priests, Father Egan is listed for his 50 years of service.
In the editorial, Bishop Walker writes: ''Those who are called to be followers of Jesus are not always … the most outstanding in the eyes of the world.''
"More accusations against the Church of Scientology have emerged, with new allegations they were involved in covering up the repeated sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl.
A woman told the ABC's Lateline program last night she had been repeatedly molested as a young girl by her stepfather, and that she had been coached by a senior member of the organisation to lie to investigators.
''Between the age of about [seven or eight] to 11 he was molesting me,'' Carmen Rainer told the program.
At 11, she told a friend who was the daughter of the chief executive of Barnardo's, Louise Voigt. Ms Voigt informed Ms Rainer's mother who decided to seek help from the organisation.
But a senior Scientologist from the Sydney branch, Jan Eastgate, allegedly told the mother and daughter to lie to the police and community services about the allegations. ''Just say no, she kept repeating that … don't say yes because otherwise you will be taken away from your parents and you'll never see your family again …,'' Ms Rainer said.
The Scientologists also told Ms Rainer the abuse was her fault. ''They told me it was my fault because I'd been bad in a past life … I believed them, as a child I believed them. I was 11 that's what I knew, I grew up believing what they believed,'' she said.
Ms Eastgate denied the claims, saying the organisation insisted Ms Rainer's stepfather go to the police in 1999. Ms Rainer made a statement 18 months later, and her stepfather pleaded guilty to indecent assault and was given a good behaviour bond, Lateline reported.
Ms Rainer recently made a statement to Balmain police about Ms Eastgate's interference with the police inquiries at the time, which they are now investigating. She was accompanied by the independent senator, Nick Xenophon.
Lateline said the Church of Scientology wrote in a statement the allegations were untrue."
So why are so many parents in the 21st Century blinded by family tradition and trust in religious institutions? Children are so vulnerable. Once abuses at a young age by a trusted adult, children are never the same.
We read of repeated instances every month!
Jonathan (not verified)
Tue, 2010-05-25 21:35
Can we not have such
Sun, 2010-05-30 04:19
Catholic Church may be flawed.. but lets not have a Witch Hunt..
Mon, 2010-05-31 10:51
Never forget the victims and the church complicity