Catholic Church Attempting to Silence Sex Abuse Victims and Their Defenders
Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.
The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the litigation. But the group has been subpoenaed five times in recent months in Kansas City and St. Louis, and its national director, David Clohessy, was questioned by a battery of lawyers for more than six hours this year. A judge in Kansas City ruled that the network must comply because it “almost certainly” had information relevant to the case.
The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades. “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.”
Lawyers for the church and priests say they cannot comment because of a judge’s order. But William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”
Ten victims’ advocacy groups filed a supporting brief arguing that the subpoena was unconstitutional. The Missouri Press Association also filed a supporting brief.
The sex abuse cases are damaging the church reputation and turning away individuals from the church. It is no wonder that the church wants to silence those working to help prosecute those who abuse children.
Atheist Banner to Fly Over Super Bowl
On February 5th, Superbowl Sunday, American Atheists will be flying a banner over Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana that will read, “Football beats church anytime – atheists.org.”
The banner will be flying between 9:30 to 11:30am, traditional church service time. American Atheists President, David Silverman explains:
“Viewers will not be in church because they place the Superbowl over church, and we wholeheartedly agree. We invite everyone to enjoy the game, and to rest assured that there is no god who cares who attends or who wins.”
“We’d also like to send a special nod to all the atheists, closeted and outed, who are actually attending the game, which statistically speaking will be more than all the Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, combined, and doubled. There will be a lot of atheists in Indianapolis on Sunday, and we hope every one of them comes to the Reason Rally on March 24 and our National Convention which follows.”
No man with any sense of humor ever founded a religion.
--Robert G. Ingersoll - American political and atheist crusader; the most famous atheist of his day. Known as “the Pagan prophet.” Son of a minister. “When arrested under the Comstock laws, Ingersoll argued in his defense that the Bible is full of sexually explicit passages, so it, too, should be barred from the mail system.” (via helvetebrann)