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A Holy Week of Horrors in Review

April 4, 2010

Easter 2010 is about to dawn in my time zone. As I sat down at my computer, I was tempted to write that Jesus would be turning over in his grave if he had one. Forgive me; it’s been that kind of week.

The ancient church entrusted to St. Peter and his heirs has been descending into a swirling funnel of infamy, censure, and ultimate irrelevance in what used to be known as Western Christendom. The accusations of pedophilia and cover-ups have simply caused the Roman Catholic establishment to stonewall more obstinately and batten down its hatches until the storm blows over.

I’ve got news: this storm will take a while to blow over. The church that finally emerges from the wreckage might be a shadow of its former self, reduced to proselytizing in Africa and the jungles of the Amazon — unless a reformist faction can emerge and grab the reins from the disgraced establishment. We might be witnessing the first resignation of a Pope since the Renaissance.

Elsewhere, a U.S. court of appeals commanded Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania, to pay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, the sum of $16,510.80 to cover the church’s court costs. If you haven’t already heard the story, be sure you’re sitting down: Snyder, whose son was killed in Iraq, had sued the church for picketing his son’s funeral with placards proclaiming “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” (The church believes that the U.S. is evil for tolerating homosexuality; therefore, anyone who defends the U.S. deserves to die. Neat logic.)

A lower court had originally awarded Snyder $3 million for his suffering at the hands of the church, but the court of appeals overturned the earlier decision and ordered the bereaved father to pay up. The  new ruling had the rare effect of uniting both the right and the left in outrage. Righty pundit Bill O’Reilly has offered to cover Snyder’s bill, and the case will go to the Supreme Court this fall.

In Massachusetts, nine high school students were arrested and charged with felonies for systematically bullying a fellow student until she committed suicide. It’s about time bullies had their day in court, but of course the girl’s parents won’t ever see their daughter alive again.

A militant Christian militia group calling itself Hutaree was rounded up in Michigan (or at least we can hope). Members of the group were allegedly planning to kill police officers and battle the Antichrist.

Another wingnut organization known as Guardians of the Free Republic, intent on dismantling the U.S. government, sent letters to at least 30 governors ordering them to resign within three days. (Maybe they didn’t know that state governments have nothing to do with the federal government.) 

In a Moscow subway, two teenage Muslim girls blew themselves up along with a few dozen innocent Muscovites. The suicide bombers hailed from one of those indistinguishable breakaway tribal regions in the northern Caucasus.

The news wasn’t all horrific: Newark, New Jersey, marked its first murder-free month since 1966. Praise the Lord.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2010 11:59 pm

    “Horrible world events, making New Jersey look good since 2010!” Well… never thought I certainly never thought I’d say that. What a week, me, siding with Fox over a US court. Why does that surprise me more than crazy religious nonsense? hmm… o_o

  2. April 5, 2010 11:42 am

    That’s putting a positive spin on it, TK! You don’t have to be a conservative wingnut to protest that court’s decision on the Snyder/Westboro case. I think conservatives were offended because the church was defaming a soldier, and liberals were offended because the church was defaming gays. Moderates should be offended because the church was a disgrace to Christianity and took extreme license with freedom of speech.

  3. Hallie permalink
    April 5, 2010 11:52 am

    I was reading a column by Leonard Pitts this morning (a guy I rarely agree with), who said on this subject: “when all these ‘Christians’ land in hell, they are going to knock the bottom out of it.”

    I would hope this type of thinking is the exception rather than the rule. But, last night I was reading a story about the earthquake in Mexico. Someone had written in comment section, the quake is proof that Jesus lives (especially since the quake happened on Easter), and went on to quote a bunch of bible verse about the earth opening up and swallowing the “evil-doers.” I was disheartened to see that this post had ~1200 thumbs up and only ~600 thumbs down. Seriously, this thought process makes God seem like a terroristic douche…

    There doesn’t seem to be a place for me: an abortion apathetic, gay marriage supporting, fiscal conservative, pragmatic philistine, in the US political spectrum.

    • April 6, 2010 2:46 pm

      Hallie: Don’t worry; the U.S. is still safe for philistines. I worry about the wingnuts reinforcing one another’s insanity to the point where they actually attempt a rebellion. Maybe the U.S. is just too big and diverse to be a single country.

      I was reading today that there’s actually an international movement to establish a separate gay republic… they didn’t specify where. Guatemala? Manitoba? Rhode Island? Maybe right-wing Christians need their own turf, too. Liberals can have the SF Bay area, Massachusetts and Minnesota. The Confederacy should have been a separate country all along. I guess moderates can keep New Jersey.

  4. valdobiade permalink
    April 5, 2010 12:30 pm

    Rick wrote: “The news wasn’t all horrific: Newark, New Jersey, marked its first murder-free month since 1966. Praise the Lord.”

    Somebody said that people were so happy that they started shooting randomly… I think it was Jon Stewart who said that… it figures 🙂

  5. Priscilla permalink
    April 5, 2010 6:50 pm

    Hallie, I “feel your pain”! I would describe my views in a similar manner…that is, if I were as articulate as you are 😉

    And thank you for the term “abortion apathetic”- I never know quite how to answer when I am asked if I am “pro-choice” or “pro-life” (well, duh, of course I am both!) but “abortion apathetic” is a good one. Generally, a politician’s position on abortion does not matter one whit to me, or affect at all whether or not I will vote for him/her, and I struggle to understand why there are so many single issue voters whose single issue is abortion. And it was interesting, in a sad way, to watch Bart Stupak, the erstwhile “defender of life,” during the healthcare debate, effectively use the abortion issue as a bargaining chip.

    As far as this religion thing goes, I am somewhat non-plussed. Extremism is out there, but most religious folks – even evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics! – are as appalled by this sort of thing as every other normal decent person. I see the news value in these stories, I just don’t like to see every Christian church tarred with the same brush.

    • April 6, 2010 2:47 pm

      You’re sounding more and more like an extreme moderate, Priscilla. And I mean that as a good thing. 😉

  6. April 6, 2010 2:01 pm

    Just to make matters worse, look at this:

    I can’t actual tell if this is fake, but I’m afraid it’s serious. If so, then it is the source of internet stupidity, the “holy Grail” of Fail. If you had any lingering doubts about God, kiss ’em goodbye, cause this is un-freaking-real.

    • April 6, 2010 2:50 pm

      Good grief, that site is so warped that it’s hilarious. It almost sounds as if it was written by the staff of The Onion, but these people are serious! I’d like to bookmark it, but I’m afraid that I’ll die in the meantime and someone will find it on my computer.

  7. April 6, 2010 3:32 pm

    It has to be satire. But even then I’ve met people who _do_ “think” like that.

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