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17-Year-Old Who Converted from Islam to Christianity, and Ran Away from Home

will stay in Florida temporarily, though perhaps only briefly, and not with the family with which she had been staying:

A Florida judge said Monday that a teenage girl who ran away from her New Albany home over religious beliefs won't immediately be returned to her parents.

The judge ruled that she will stay in Orlando and can have no contact with the Christian pastor's family that she was staying with, Orlando television station WFTV reported.

More:

A judge in Florida said Monday he plans to talk to a judge in Ohio to determine where the case of Rifqa Bary belongs.

Bary, 17, is the religious runaway who in July fled here from her home near Columbus, Ohio, because she believes her Muslim family has to kill her due to her conversion to Christianity.

Authorities in both states say there's no credible threat against the girl. Her parents say they don't want to hurt her....

The judge set mediation between the girl and her parents with attorneys for Oct. 9. He set a pretrial hearing for Oct. 13. If the case is shifted back to Ohio, he said, those dates would be made moot.

Thanks to Religion Clause for the pointer.

Rod Blaine (mail):
> "Authorities in both states say there's no credible threat against the girl. Her parents say they don't want to hurt her..."

And of course, if they did plan to harm her, they'd announce their plans publicly...

Suppose a court or govt agency took cognizance of the higher-than-average (not, of course, universal or even predominant) prevalence of "honor killings" among Muslim families compared to non-Muslim families, of daughters seen to have disgraced their parents' honor by sexual activity or apostasy from Islam.

Would this have Estab Clause repercussions?

I suppose deShaney protects the state from liability if it turns a blind eye.
9.22.2009 10:28pm
Steve:
Would this have Estab Clause repercussions?

I dunno. If there's more domestic violence in black families than in white families, would it be problematic for a court to take race into account in evaluating an allegation of domestic violence?

What's intriguing about this case is that the girl's allegations appear to have been refuted a dozen different ways by the government's investigation, yet there are so many people who just know that her parents absolutely must be fundamentalist Muslim nutjobs. It's the mirror image of the Duke rape case, I suppose.
9.22.2009 10:32pm
Cornellian (mail):
This will rapidly get dismissed for mootness once she drags things out long enough to get to her 18th birthday.
9.22.2009 10:35pm
ArthurKirkland:
If courts take cognizance of systematic harm inflicted on children and associated with particular religions, I don't like some churches' prospects.

Honor killings are outnumbered, what, 1,000-to-one by the organized facilitation and concealment of sexual abuse of children by one prominent church?
9.22.2009 10:36pm
ArthurKirkland:

This will rapidly get dismissed for mootness once she drags things out long enough to get to her 18th birthday.


If "this" means the custody proceeding, I agree, although the parents' rights are being trampled in the process.

If "this" means the criminal charges or civil claims against the adults who hid this child from parents and authorities, I disagree. If the relevant Florida law enforcement officials are too bigoted or incompetent to do their jobs, I hope the parents -- after the custody question is resolved -- push criminal and civil actions all around.
9.22.2009 10:39pm
Rod Blaine (mail):
Indeed. And look at the way Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson were killed by their own dads for publicly disgracing the Southern Baptist religion. Katy Perry is still living under armed guard...
9.22.2009 10:41pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
The Dispatch says that her parents have initiated a) a dependency process against themselves (Protective Services in Ohio - social workers, foster care, supervised visitation, etc. - applies to "abused, neglected or dependent" children - dependent seems to be a catch-all status,) and b) a request to to have their daughter declared "incorrigible" and c) a criminal complaint against the pastor in Florida.

I'm still stuck on "why does anyone think they can make a 17 year old stay with her parents when she doesn't want to" with a hint of "how do you prove or disprove a parent saying they'll kill their kid?" It's a lot of money and time spent on things that will only make people mad.
9.22.2009 11:02pm
Mac (mail):

Honor killings are outnumbered, what, 1,000-to-one by the organized facilitation and concealment of sexual abuse of children by one prominent church?



Gee, Arthur, thanks for bringing that up again. There is one difference though, the children in the Church you mean do live. They don't in honor killings.

Not that I am any happier than you or anyone else re the church in question, mind you.
9.22.2009 11:10pm
Mac (mail):
It is possible the child does truly believe her parents will kill her whether they really would or not. They may have threatened her to make her behave. It is not unknown in the annals of parenting.

My Irish mother threatened it often enough with regard to certain behaviors and I believed her, at least to the point that I did not cross her until I was well out of the house and on my own.
9.22.2009 11:15pm
Mac (mail):

I'm still stuck on "why does anyone think they can make a 17 year old stay with her parents when she doesn't want to" with a hint of "how do you prove or disprove a parent saying they'll kill their kid?" It's a lot of money and time spent on things that will only make people mad.



Sarah, I agree. If she would just have a baby, would she not be declared independentand "head of household? She could certainly get welfare, Medicaid and housing assistance. In some states, at that age and earlier, I believe she could get married, no?

Why is it different, if it is as I assume, because she does not have a baby?
9.22.2009 11:20pm
Steve:
how do you prove or disprove a parent saying they'll kill their kid?

Well, for example, if the daughter says she never let her father see her in her cheerleading uniform because she was terrified of how he might react to her skimpy clothing, and investigators go to her parents' home and find pictures of her in her cheerleading outfit prominently displayed, one might reasonably conclude that she's probably fabricating other parts of the story as well.

Even the usual suspects don't seem to be able to come up with any evidence other than the girl's word and "you know what crazy stuff those Muslims believe." Sure, some Muslims do believe crazy things, and some 17-year old girls lie and manipulate. In this case the actual evidence seems pretty one-sided.
9.22.2009 11:34pm
Ken Arromdee:
It is possible the child does truly believe her parents will kill her whether they really would or not. They may have threatened her to make her behave. It is not unknown in the annals of parenting.

If so, I wonder if they're regretting it now. They threatened to kill her... and she believed them and acted accordingly... and that doesn't necessarily mean obedience.
9.22.2009 11:44pm
SC Public Defender:
She should have fled to SC where a 17 year old cannot be a runaway (absent him/her already being subject to some sort of court order.)
9.22.2009 11:48pm
Mac (mail):

SC Public Defender:
She should have fled to SC where a 17 year old cannot be a runaway (absent him/her already being subject to some sort of court order.)


Maybe you should write to her and save everyone a lot of trouble?


On a more serious note, are there other states with the same or similar laws?
And, as I asked above, if she had a baby would she not be independent?
9.22.2009 11:59pm
yankee (mail):
And, as I asked above, if she had a baby would she not be independent?

In what state does having a baby automatically confer emancipated minor status? I don't think there is one.

Under Florida's emancipated minor statute, she would need to show that she can independently support herself and the baby, which seems unlikely.
9.23.2009 12:13am
Mac (mail):

emancipated minor status?



Thank you, yankee. I have been racking my brain for that term. Now, I can sleep tonight. No kidding.

To my knowledge, she can get welfare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and housing assistance and a lot of other government goodies. She can show she can independently support herself through government assistance. I think, as a former social worker in Missouri, this is pretty true in all states. I never needed to show emancipated minor status to provide all the aforementioned benefits to a minor. Now, that was a long time ago, but I don't think it has changed. Correct me if I am wrong.
9.23.2009 12:35am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
In the mutual hypocrisy department, query how many of the folks denying any serious risk that the parents will actually kill the girl are nevertheless opposed to statutes requiring parental notification prior to performing abortions on minors, on the grounds that those darn fundamentalist Christians might kill or beat their daughter for becoming pregnant.
9.23.2009 12:54am
rc:
ArthurKirkland: "Honor killings are outnumbered, what, 1,000-to-one by .... one prominent church?"

1000:1? Three orders of magnitude? Seriously?

Do you really want to pit the sunlight of western culture against the neck-chopping and honor-killing of backward, mule-cart ideologies?!?

Catholicism comes out like a spring rose... relative to Sudan, Iran, and Afghanistan Islam.

Seriously, Arthur, do you think your feaux-facts will withstand the truth? I'm embarrassed for you. Embarrassed.

Why don't we debate something worthwhile?
9.23.2009 12:55am
Mac (mail):

In the mutual hypocrisy department, query how many of the folks denying any serious risk that the parents will actually kill the girl are nevertheless opposed to statutes requiring parental notification prior to performing abortions on minors, on the grounds that those darn fundamentalist Christians might kill or beat their daughter for becoming pregnant.



PatHMV,

Yeah, that crossed my mind as well. In those cases, there is precious little background checking done to see if it is even remotely likely.
9.23.2009 1:02am
Steve:
Never heard that argument at all, PatHMV. The standard argument against parental notification involves incest. I agree that religious bigotry of any kind has no place in the law.
9.23.2009 1:18am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Don't tell Bill Clinton. He'll send men with machine guns to get her out, court proceedings notwithstanding.
9.23.2009 1:48am
Mac (mail):

Never heard that argument at all, PatHMV. The standard argument against parental notification involves incest. I agree that religious bigotry of any kind has no place in the law.



Steve,

That standard argument is the most ridiculous of all. Schools are required by law to report all abuse, including sexual abuse. The idea that you get the kid an abortion and send her back into the home where incest is occurring is a most heinous act and extremely illegal act.

That the "father" or whomever in the home is covered up for by the school and the incest is allowed to continue and indeed, swept under the rug, so to speak, by the school is so illegal and inhumane, it boggles the mind. I like to think that schools don't really do this. But, I don't know. Schools in California certainly used this argument to defeat the Proposition relating to parental notification. What research is done to even assume it is the father? It could be any number of relatives or others of which the parents are unaware and the child could be too terrified to tell the school. Since they don't go to the parents, who is to know? Hell, it could even be a Catholic priest (and it pains me to say that).

No one who supports that view and the attendant illegality and inhumanity and abdication of legal adult responsibilities and obligations is thinking clearly.

It works when schools campaign for the right to get a kid an abortion without parental consent, but people can't be thinking when they support this, I don't believe. Why all the outcry about the Catholic Church, then? If molestation of a child is fine in one instance, it should be just as a-ok in another. I don't think you really want to use the argument that it's the father so it is OK, do you? There is something particularly heinous when it is the father or another adult male relative. We know the harm this does to a child. Surely you don't condone this?
9.23.2009 2:25am
Linda Mae (mail):
There have been enough honor killings around the world - and in the US and Canada - to make me give the girl one more vote in this situation. I believe the number of known honor killings is to be @ 5,000. Canada - I think - has been 5 or 6 - (ex wife plus 3 daughters) and at least one in NY (He claims that he was "insane" when he beheaded her.) There has even been one in Germany - the husband married a German girl then killed her because she acted more German than a good Moslem should.)

What most of these stories share: the wife or daughter broke with the traditional ways and to save face, needed to be killed by the father or son of the family. In one case in Canada, the brother - egged on by his mom - killed his sister plus her husband (who was also Moslem) because she married someone from a different group. In some cases, the women were warned and could not find help. In other cases, the murder happened without a hint it would. Go to Phylis Chesler of Pajamas Media to read her accounts of honor killings. She has written several articles about them. She teaches at a New York university and also has her own web site. She focuses on women's issues. I think she even wrote something about this case but it would have been a long time ago. I'll have to go back to check.

I think putting the girl into a foster family in another county would be in her best interest. Of course her parents would not state that they intend to kill her. Plus - who knows if the picture of her in her cheer leading uniform was put on the shelf before or after she left.
9.23.2009 2:36am
Mac (mail):


The great sin of the Catholic Church was not so much that it happened, although that was bad enough, but that it was covered up, priests were transferred and the abuse continued with a new set of children. Now, explain to me how school districts covering up child molestation and evidence of incest is any different in any way?

This has cost the Catholic Church millions of dollars, yet you say the logic of getting a child an abortion and covering up incest is the proper role for schools?

Back to the case at hand, I do hope that CPS and the police have investigated this thoroughly. I imagine they have, I hope so. However, sometimes Judges get some strange ideas on their own, without any supporting evidence.
9.23.2009 2:49am
Ricardo (mail):
Can anyone find a reference to an American Muslim murdered within the U.S. for rejecting Islam recently? How many cases of this have there been in the past 10 years? I'm well aware these cases arise in other countries frequently enough and that there have been broader "honor killings" in the U.S. over marital infidelity, but a quick Google search did not turn up any information on cases in the U.S. involving American citizens who had converted from Islam.
9.23.2009 3:01am
Ricardo (mail):
Mac, I don't understand your comments on abortion at all.

Nobody has said that if a girl gets pregnant through incest and if she tells a school employee that the employee should not directly phone the police to report it.

Nobody has said that if the girl tells her regular physician or abortion doctor she is a victim of incest that the doctor should not directly phone the police to report it.

All that anyone has said is that the girl should not be pressured by the law to report her abortion to the man who allegedly raped her. I don't see what mandatory reporting of sexual assaults by schools has to do with this at all.
9.23.2009 3:11am
yankee (mail):
I'm well aware these cases arise in other countries frequently enough and that there have been broader "honor killings" in the U.S. over marital infidelity

Yeah, but when a guy kills his wife for supposed infidelity, we don't call that an "honor killing," we call it "the heat of passion" and treat it as grounds for reduction to manslaughter. (Women kill their husbands for supposed infidelity too but the other way is more common.)
To my knowledge, she can get welfare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and housing assistance and a lot of other government goodies. She can show she can independently support herself through government assistance. I think, as a former social worker in Missouri, this is pretty true in all states. I never needed to show emancipated minor status to provide all the aforementioned benefits to a minor. Now, that was a long time ago, but I don't think it has changed. Correct me if I am wrong.

I don't know if she'd qualify for TANF, etc., but you're right that emancipated minor status is not required for a minor to qualify. And if she does qualify she could use those federal programs as evidence of her ability to support herself in an action to become an emancipated minor. But she is not an emancipated minor and as long as she isn't she's still under the legal authority of her parents.
9.23.2009 3:19am
PlugInMonster:
Reading the CNN story, the case is obviously bullshit. The girl just wants emancipation, there is no threat of an honor killing.
9.23.2009 3:25am
yankee (mail):
In the mutual hypocrisy department, query how many of the folks denying any serious risk that the parents will actually kill the girl

I don't have the foggiest idea whether there's any serious risk that the parents will actually kill the girl. Nobody has presented any actual evidence about the prevalence of "honor killings" of women for conversion among American Muslims (or Muslims anywhere else). And nobody on this board seems to know anything about what parents' religious beliefs are like, except that they practice some variety of Islam. But the "they're Muslims, so we should presume they're likely to kill the girl unless proven otherwise" line of reasoning does not hold water.

Examining the evidence and figuring out what's going on seems like a matter better left to the court than to random internet commenters.
9.23.2009 3:29am
Mac (mail):

All that anyone has said is that the girl should not be pressured by the law to report her abortion to the man who allegedly raped he


Ricardo,

it was the schools in Calif. who used the notion that a girl may get beat up by her father who raped her and made her pregnant if he knew she was pregnant. That, they said, justified not notifying the parents prior to an abortion. Now, I agree it makes no sense, but it was one of their arguments, not mine. I merely pointed out the absolute illegality of their notion. The idea that the school should take it upon themselves to determine the parents reaction to a non-insest cast is just about, but not quite as absurd. If anyone has committed statutory rape, he should be prosecuted. The school colludes to hide the crime. They use the notion that there are all these insane parents out there who would beat the hell out of the kid if they knew she was pregnant. How they know this since they can't very well maintain secrecy and do an investigation, I have no idea. And, I never said the law should inform a rapist of an abortion. But., the argument is that if the girl doesn't get the abortion, she may get beat up by the father, or her parents. Of course, if you prosecute, as should be done, the argument is moot and the pregnancy does not have to be kept from the parents.
9.23.2009 3:42am
Mac (mail):

But she is not an emancipated minor and as long as she isn't she's still under the legal authority of her parents.



Yankev,

But, there is no requirement for the state to determine if she is an emancipated minor or not, prior to giving her housing, etc and behaving as if she is. You may have a case if the parents contested her moving out, I suppose. But, I don't know.
9.23.2009 3:46am
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
. . . but leaving aside the substance of this girl's allegations for a moment, the question remains: What's Florida's dog in this fight, other than that an internet evangelist lured her there? Ohio certainly has what we would generally recognized as a system of civilized Western jurisprudence, and it would seem that ALL the relevant evidence regarding home life and the parents would be in Ohio. Ohio authorities have conducted an investigation, and apparently have not found anything inappropriate to date.
FLORIDA authorities have apparently, it sounds like, found no plausible evidence of risk. So why, other than as a bare exercise of judicial fiat, is Florida holding onto the case?

As Yankee asserts, and Linda Mae proves, there are those who are sold on the "He's a Muslim; Muslims are honor-killers; all her allegations must be true!" line of thinking; it must hold some water among some judges in Florida. Now, how many Muslim families are there in the U.S.? How many of them have some degree of conflict between parents and teen-aged children? Expect to see a stream of disgruntled teenagers in court in Florida soon!
9.23.2009 5:18am
geokstr (mail):

Ricardo:
Can anyone find a reference to an American Muslim murdered within the U.S. for rejecting Islam recently? How many cases of this have there been in the past 10 years?


Amina and Sarah Said were "honor" killed by their father (who is still at large) in Texas for a lot less than apostasy:
Dallas News
9.23.2009 9:12am
ParatrooperJJ:
Keep in mind that Ohio does not let minors have emancipation.
9.23.2009 9:12am
geokstr (mail):
Perhaps a lawyer can answer this for me: What if they send her back to her family and she does get killed? Is there anyone in this legal process that can also be held accountable besides the parents? It would seem that prudence would dictate that this be resolved with the safety of the minor foremost, no?
9.23.2009 9:16am
Been there:
My perspective on this case is a personal one.

My wife converted from Islam to Christianity while in college (before we were married). She went to visit her family in Pakistan to try to heal the rift this caused in her relationship with her family. While she was there, they took away her passport and announced that she would never return to America.

It took the work of an immigration lawyer here in the states, a couple senators who were willing to help, a friendly Pakistani lawyer, and mostly an English missionary who was literally willing to risk his life (he actually was threatened by the police shortly afterwards) to get her out of Pakistan (where a father's rule over his daughter is only superceded by a husband's, and apostates have no rights at all).

In the version of Islam my wife grew up in, male apostates are to be killed, while female apostates can be locked up for life. Naturally, neither of these are really possible in the states, but where is Rifqa's family from originally? Could they force her to go on a "family visit" to the old homeland, where they could deal with the apostate "appropriately"? From my personal experience, I have to say that Rifqa's concern is extremely legitimate, and I would certainly fear for her safety if she were returned to her family.
9.23.2009 9:21am
gasman (mail):
From the article in the Dallas News cited by geokstr

"Why is it every time an Arab father kills a daughter, it's an honor killing?" Islam said. "It didn't have anything to do with that." He declined to answer other questions.

Sure. When an Arab father kills a daughter we must automatically assume that it is for a very good reason, and not on account of any historical and cultural reasons that would otherwise make us feel all squeamish.
Do we all feel better now that we believe he killed them for only the best causes?
9.23.2009 9:47am
geokstr (mail):

gasman:
From the article in the Dallas News cited by geokstr


"Why is it every time an Arab father kills a daughter, it's an honor killing?" Islam said. "It didn't have anything to do with that." He declined to answer other questions.


Sure. When an Arab father kills a daughter we must automatically assume that it is for a very good reason, and not on account of any historical and cultural reasons that would otherwise make us feel all squeamish.
Do we all feel better now that we believe he killed them for only the best causes?

Geez, gasman, I only linked to that particular article because it was the first one in my google search that was a link to a site that all the leftists here wouldn't claim was to be disregarded, ridiculed and reviled because it wasn't objective like the NYT, MSNBC and Markos Malitsos.

Islam is Sarah and Amina's brother, who was instrumental in setting up the sisters to be killed by their father. Since this has happened, he has since fled to Egypt, where he occupies his time issuing email death threats to anyone who writes anything symathetic to his sisters.
9.23.2009 10:26am
geokstr (mail):
Gasman:

Here's an article from just a few days ago where the mother admits it was an honor killing:
Dallas Fort Worth Local News
9.23.2009 10:39am
rmd:

Reading the CNN story, the case is obviously bullshit. The girl just wants emancipation, there is no threat of an honor killing.

OK, thanks for clearing that up for us. "Next case!"
9.23.2009 10:48am
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
Gasman:

How about if we assume that if someone with a history of violent controlling spousal abuse and child abuse kills his daughters, it's because he's an evil sociopathic criminal, regardless of what he says is his religion? How about if we assume that if an angry controlling husband kills his wife because he thinks she his wife is cheating on him and wants a divorce, it's a domestic violence homicide, regardless of the religion of the perp.?

There's now a non-trivial Muslim population in the U.S., and it's not my impression that their average crime rate, or rate of committing any particular crime, is significantly different from the population as a whole. Anyone have stats otherwise?


Remember, apparently Phillip Garrido has been purporting to be devoutly Christian since before he went to prison in the '70's. It was in fact his passing out of religious tracts at U.C. Berkeley that brought him to the attention of the authorities (thank God for those religion-hostile Berkeley folks!) I suspect a quick review of the perps in child-molestation-homicide cases in the U.S. will reflect that the majority purport to be Christian, and that some of them offer purportedly religious justifications for what they did.

Is a Florida judge equally likely to start finding that a parental belief in some extreme form of Messianic Christianity poses a significant risk to a child from another state? I'm thinking not....
9.23.2009 11:07am
DennisN (mail):
Cornellian:

This will rapidly get dismissed for mootness once she drags things out long enough to get to her 18th birthday.


This may be the best outcome. Trying to force a willful teenager to live with his/her parents is a waste of energy. If pushed, it is more likely to result in criminality as the household tensions would be more likely to result in an assault. It is also more likely to poison the well of reconciliation.
9.23.2009 11:12am
dangerous lack of something something:
I thought the parental consent to abortion problem was that the parents would force the child to bring the baby to term instead of getting an abortion due to religious reasons, thus not letting the minor make a decision about her body. Not fear for the parents hurting or killing her - I can't think of a single fundie position that goes for that logic in any way. Maybe shoot the boyfriend or force into a -9 months wedding perhaps... I've heard the incest angle but what are really the numbers for that? Does not seem like a very high number.
9.23.2009 11:17am
Randy R. (mail):
rc: "Do you really want to pit the sunlight of western culture against the neck-chopping and honor-killing of backward, mule-cart ideologies?!?"

Ask the people who were sexually abused. I'm sure they have a much different perspective than you do. And furthermore, that's a gross distortion on both sides.

There was a case out west a couple of years ago about a lesbian who was afraid to go back to her family because her brothers and parents threatened to kill her. I can't recall the outcome of the situation, nor can I find much on google.
9.23.2009 11:55am
geokstr (mail):
Randy R:

As one whose sincere concern for the victims of the Catholic clergy molestations is so heart-felt, why is it that you never mention that it is well known and admitted that the Catholic clergy is majority homosexual, and has been so for a long time. But of course, I know why, because it logically follows that the victims, who are all little boys, are being molested only by the minority of adult male priests who are heterosexual. How could anyone think otherwise, right?

Virulent response rant against homophobes in 3...2...1...
9.23.2009 12:19pm
Fat Man (mail):
Before anyone here ventures forth an opinion on this matter, it would be good for you to understand something about the Columbus Ohio police. I have lived in this wretched village for most of my 60+ years, and I am a hard core right wing ultra conservative. That said, please understand that the following is an understatement.

The Columbus Ohio police are the without a doubt the laziest, stupidest, and most incompetent bags of excrement in the USA. They have a union contract that allows the union to run the police department. The Chief is a union/civil service member who cannot be fired, even for gross incompetence and dereliction of duty. The only things the cops are interested in are overtime, benefits, and donuts. The only crimes they are concerned with or attempt to prevent are speeding and driving with an expired license plate sticker.

If the Columbus cops say the girl is in no danger, she better stay on the lam, and learn how to use a gun, because she is a dead woman. If I ever meet her I will hand a couple of Bens and tell her to keep moving.
9.23.2009 1:35pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'who are all little boys'

Not quite all.
9.23.2009 2:48pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Authorities in both states say there's no credible threat against the girl.

If there is a more pure example of P.C. nonsense, I can't think of one right now. Read it closely. "No credible threat." Technically, that is correct. However, anyone with an honest mind knows that she is at risk from anyone in her family/

Then again, it could be me. I could be a bigoted Islamophobe because everyone knows that "honor killings" do not happen in America.
9.23.2009 4:15pm
Randy R. (mail):
geo: "As one whose sincere concern for the victims of the Catholic clergy molestations is so heart-felt, why is it that you never mention that it is well known and admitted that the Catholic clergy is majority homosexual, and has been so for a long time."

Because it isn't true. Certainly, a large percentage of the clergy is gay, but the majority is heterosexual. Furthermore, if you go to the website of SNAP, which is where the survivors formed to deal with these issues you will find that at least half of all victims of sexual abuse by the male clergy were women, not men. They, at least, claim that the problem isn't with gay clergy, the vast majority of whom did not do any harm at all to anyone, but with a small percentage of priest, gay and straight, who were allowed to abuse their victims with the full awareness of bishops. Since I was never abused by a catholic priest, I will take my cues from those who suffered most, on the belief that they probably know more about it than I do.

Gay or straight, if you sexually abuse anyone, you should suffer some degree of punishment. Gay or straight, if you are celebate or at least refrain from any non-consensual sex, you shouldn't have to suffer any punishment and should be able to serve the flock with the full authority of the church.

Happy now?
9.23.2009 4:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
geo: "But of course, I know why, because it logically follows that the victims, who are all little boys, are being molested only by the minority of adult male priests who are heterosexual. How could anyone think otherwise, right? "

3...2...1..
Yes, if you really believe that it was only gay clergy who preyed little boys, then you would be in error. if you continue to believe it despite knowledge the facts, then yes, you would be homophobic, since that can be the only explanation for willfully avoided the truth to fit your preconcieved notions about gay people.
9.23.2009 4:28pm
Mac (mail):

Harry Eagar (mail):
'who are all little boys'

Not quite all.


True, but contrary to information above, about 99%. The majority of Catholic priests are heterosexual. The vast majority of those who abused children are homosexual. Make of it what you will. My issue is the way the Church responded, which was not good.

However, the total number of priests who abused is about 1% or less, to put things in perspective, and that is far less than any other group or the population at large.


Gay or straight, if you sexually abuse anyone, you should suffer some degree of punishment. Gay or straight, if you are celebate or at least refrain from any non-consensual sex, you shouldn't have to suffer any punishment and should be able to serve the flock with the full authority of the church.


No Randy R., you must also refrain from consensual sex as well. Period. Or, leave the priesthood if you can not.

The Church did exactly what you said and did not discriminate. For good or ill it has cost them massive embarrassment in the 80's when a number of priests developed AIDS and died. You had the strange situation of newspapers (the Kansas City Star, for one) faulting the Church for not providing priests information on "safe sex". The press really doesn't get it.

Then, the sex abuse scandal cost the Church millions, which is as it should be. But, it was an abuse primarily by homosexual priests. As to the sexual orientation of those Bishops who covered it up, I don't care to speculate. They are worse than the priests who committed the crime, by far.
9.23.2009 4:49pm
Mac (mail):
From Wikipediablockquote>
Claims on the abuse crisis

According to a study commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,[18] under the auspices of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and an all-lay review board headed by Illinois Appellate Court Justice Anne M. Burke, "81% of the reported victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys." The review board went on to conclude that, "the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior", and in light of this, "the current crisis cannot be addressed without consideration of issues related to homosexuality." One of John Jay's researchers, Louis Schlesinger, argued, however, that the main problem was pedophilia or ephebophilia, not sexual orientation and said that some men who are married to adult women are attracted to adolescent males.



A quick Google returned this. There seems to be a lot of resistance to getting accurate info. re homosexual vs. heterosexual. However, as a Catholic who has followed this for a long time, the homosexual was far more likely to abuse children (males) than heterosexual as you see above. I make no value judgements here. But, we and the Church must deal in facts or be guilty once again of criminality by not addressing the problem at its core.
9.23.2009 5:06pm
pdxnag (mail) (www):
Facts first:

Suppose the Florida judge issues anything resembling a findings of fact where after weighing the credibility of the witnesses that the father did threaten to kill his daughter. The fact of the threat would then be binding on other courts and on any appeals.

(Could a 17 year old seek a restraining order? A guardian ad litem could make the filing. The father could then assert that he never threatened her. Then ultimately, a judge could rule on the fact of the threat itself.)

Then the legal issue:

Does any parent have the freedom to threaten to kill their child and still keep custody?

We need this answer as a baseline before even trying to apply a religious overlay to the consequences the fact of the father making the threat.
9.23.2009 9:51pm
Ricardo (mail):
Amina and Sarah Said were "honor" killed by their father (who is still at large) in Texas for a lot less than apostasy:

In other words, they were not killed for apostasy. I can cite several other cases of the children of Muslims not being murdered for apostasy also. The question was whether there have been any cases in the U.S. involving American citizen children recently. So far, the answer appears to be no. That fact is very relevant to the discussion since there are inevitably comments about a spate of killings of apostates and how the Koran requires the murder of apostates. Among Muslims in the U.S. anyway, I have yet to see any evidence that this happens regularly or that it even happens at all.

Now, in the case you linked to, the daughters previously accused their father of molesting them. The mother swore in an affidavit that the allegations were true. Then the daughters withdrew the allegation saying it was a lie and the charges were dismissed. It also contains this quote, "By most accounts, the family did not regularly attend religious services, or practice daily Muslim prayer." Did you read the article?

Something is definitely off about this story and this family. And a mother who may have lied to support her daughters' withdrawn accusations of child molestation is not in a position to "admit" anything about what the husband did. There is no evidence that religion had anything to do with this. Like many Egyptian immigrants, the father does not appear to have been particularly religious.
9.23.2009 10:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
Mac: "No Randy R., you must also refrain from consensual sex as well. Period. Or, leave the priesthood if you can not."

I agree. The problem is that many priests, gay or straight, are not celebate. Most don't suffer any punishment. Perhaps they should, but that's the reality. That's why I said "at least".

"The Church did exactly what you said and did not discriminate. For good or ill it has cost them massive embarrassment in the 80's when a number of priests developed AIDS and died. You had the strange situation of newspapers (the Kansas City Star, for one) faulting the Church for not providing priests information on "safe sex". The press really doesn't get it."

No, the press was just being realistic. Priests have been violating their celibacy vows from the moment it was introduced. Recall that there are several popes who had illegitimate children. Again, there is the ideal, and there is the reality. It is ridiculous to not recognize reality, and lives are lost because of that.

"Then, the sex abuse scandal cost the Church millions, which is as it should be. But, it was an abuse primarily by homosexual priests." Not exactly. Pedophilia is a problem for which there is not a lot of research, and what research there is doesn't answer a lot of a questions. An adult male who wants to have sex with a young boy isn't really homosexual, any more than an adult male who wants to have sex with a young girl isn't really heterosexual. Or perhaps it is, but a very different form.

I have no interest in defending pedophilia, but I do have a problem when people want to equate pedophilia with homosexuality. The fact remains that gay men actually sexually abuse minors far less than heterosexuals do. The church is a possible exception, and so the church needs to ask itself why, which is something that they continue to refuse to do.

Furthermore, the sexual abuse of priests against nuns is a huge problem, and one that is grossly underreported because of the power difference between the two. Should we conclude then that heterosexual priests are rapists? I wouldn't, because I know that it is still only a small percentage of priests.

Frankly, any institution that has such a long and troubled history of sexual deviance within its ranks ought to wonder why it happens so much.
9.23.2009 11:27pm
Randy R. (mail):
Mac: "There seems to be a lot of resistance to getting accurate info. re homosexual vs. heterosexual. "

I think the problem is that, as Louis Shlesinger noted, we have difficulty merely identifying what pedophilia really is. If a priest is straight, and he sexually abuses a boy, then what is his sexuality? The study you quote makes an assumption that anyone who has any sexual desires towards anyone of any age who is the same gender is automatically a homosexual. That is an assumption unsupported by anything. It may seems logical and correct, but there is very little research done about this issue. So I don't see it as an issue of 'resistence', but rather ignorance.

The only way such a study can conclude the priests were gay is to ask each one of them what their sexual orientation. Obviously , they didn't do that (some of the offending priests were dead or otherwise unavailable).

What really offends people is that the church's response was to target gay priests and say that they are the problem. Obviously, they are not. Pedophili priests are. Most priests who happen to be gay are just a moral and upright as straight priests, and no one should be judged other than by your own behavior. ON that, I hope we agree.
9.23.2009 11:34pm
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
"Suppose the Florida judge issues anything resembling a findings of fact where after weighing the credibility of the witnesses that the father did threaten to kill his daughter. The fact of the threat would then be binding on other courts and on any appeals."

Only, as I understand it, if he had some jurisdiction to be conducting such a hearing.
9.23.2009 11:51pm
geokstr (mail):

Randy R.:

geo: "But of course, I know why, because it logically follows that the victims, who are all little boys, are being molested only by the minority of adult male priests who are heterosexual. How could anyone think otherwise, right? "

3...2...1..
Yes, if you really believe that it was only gay clergy who preyed little boys, then you would be in error. if you continue to believe it despite knowledge the facts, then yes, you would be homophobic, since that can be the only explanation for willfully avoided the truth to fit your preconcieved notions about gay people.

As a matter of fact, I don't believe that all the molestation of boys by priests was done by gay priests, but given that there is a very large minority at least of Catholic priests who are gay would indicate that at least as large a percent of the perpetrators was gay no? Why is that homophobic to come to that conclusion at least? Or are you going to claim that only sick heteros prey on little boys over whom they have a power relationship?

I frankly just get sick of the Catholic bashing (and I'm a atheist), which for you and arthurkirkland seems to be about on a par with your BDR. This post was about Muslim honor killing for apostasy, and all the two of you had to say, was, yeah so what, look at all the sexual abuse from the priests.

But it's one thing to be unhappy about something and at the same time refuse to hold one of your fave groups accountable for much of what they were likely responsible for.
9.24.2009 12:28am
Randy R. (mail):
geokstr: "I don't believe that all the molestation of boys by priests was done by gay priests, but given that there is a very large minority at least of Catholic priests who are gay would indicate that at least as large a percent of the perpetrators was gay no?"

Of course. But that's a far cry from saying that all the victims were 'little boys.'

"Why is that homophobic to come to that conclusion at least?"

I don't know, as I that a) wasn't your initial conclusion, and b) I didn't say that you were homophobic. On the other hand, any person who just makes up crap, like saying that 'a majority' of priests are gay (they are not), for the purpose of smearing gay priests doesn't really mean to play fair, no?

"I frankly just get sick of the Catholic bashing (and I'm a atheist), which for you and arthurkirkland seems to be about on a par with your BDR."

Please identify where I did any Catholic bashing before your comment to me. And BTW, I am a catholic myself.

"This post was about Muslim honor killing for apostasy, and all the two of you had to say, was, yeah so what, look at all the sexual abuse from the priests."

Perhaps Arthur did, but I said nothing of the sort. In fact, I mentioned a case where a lesbian was possibly killed by her muslim family.

"But it's one thing to be unhappy about something and at the same time refuse to hold one of your fave groups accountable for much of what they were likely responsible for."

Really? So all gay people are responsible for the catholic sex abuse scandal? As I said, very clearly and plainly, any priest, gay or straight, who abused anyone should suffer punishment. Is that not clear enough for you? Or perhaps I should write it in capitals. So what are you suggesting, that all gays should be punished for the actions of a few? If that's the case, then surely you striaghts should all be punished for the crimes of the few as well.

I also said that any person who is innocent should not suffer any punishment. I will amend that to say that any innocent person should not suffer guilt by association. Therefore, if a priest rapes a nun, we don't blame all straight priests. If you have a different moral system, please explain it.

The difference is that I believe, as I said above, that each person is responsible for their behavior, but I am not responsible for the behavior of anyone else. Seems rather elementary to me.
9.24.2009 12:48am
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Amazing.

On one hand, the covert actions of a minority of Catholic priests, actions which were illegal under both civil and canon law.

On the other hand, the overt actions of Moslems as mandated in the Hadith (Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57: I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him'), and mandated under "sharia" civil law in Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Qatar, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan and Mauritania.

And there are people who find equivalence between them.

BTW, it is not difficult at all to find respected Moslem clerics who say that apostasy from Islam must be punished by death. For instance, Apostasy in Islam

This isn't something weird that a few extreme Moslems believe; it's an explicit precept which is endorsed by lots of Moslems. It doesn't get tested very often because very few Moslems ever get the opportunity to convert to other religions, and even fewer of those become interested enough in another religion to convert, and even fewer of those are brave enough to risk it.
9.24.2009 3:58am
ReaderY:

> "Authorities in both states say there's no credible threat against the girl. Her parents say they don't want to hurt her..."

And of course, if they did plan to harm her, they'd announce their plans publicly...

Suppose a court or govt agency took cognizance of the higher-than-average (not, of course, universal or even predominant) prevalence of "honor killings" among Muslim families compared to non-Muslim families, of daughters seen to have disgraced their parents' honor by sexual activity or apostasy from Islam.

Would this have Estab Clause repercussions?

I suppose deShaney protects the state from liability if it turns a blind eye.


Would it be any different from a case where a state took cognizance the higher violent crime rate among black people to conclude that the fact that the parents involved were black represented evidence supporting a conclusion that they were abusive?

If so, what's the difference?
9.24.2009 10:16am
Ricardo (mail):
It doesn't get tested very often because very few Moslems ever get the opportunity to convert to other religions, and even fewer of those become interested enough in another religion to convert, and even fewer of those are brave enough to risk it.

Nonsense. Go to Turkey, Egypt or India and you will find many lapsed Muslims who are either atheists in all but name or whose religion is limited to going to the Mosque during major religious holidays. Ataturk himself once said,

"Islam-this theology of an immoral Arab-is a dead thing. Possibly it might have suited tribes in the desert. It is no good for modern, progressive state. God's revelation! There is no God! These are only the chains by which the priests and bad rulers bound the people down. A ruler who needs religion is a weaklings. No weaklings should rule!


Explicitly converting to another faith like Christianity is much rarer. But so what? How many Jews convert to Christianity?

At this point, I have to believe if there was a recent apostate killing in the U.S., someone would have posted the reference by now. Will that stop anyone from saying that the practice is somehow viewed as normal in Islam? Of course not.
9.24.2009 10:29am
Mac (mail):

Furthermore, the sexual abuse of priests against nuns is a huge problem, and one that is grossly underreported because of the power difference between the two. Should we conclude then that heterosexual priests are rapists? I wouldn't, because I know that it is still only a small percentage of priests.

Frankly, any institution that has such a long and troubled history of sexual deviance within its ranks ought to wonder why it happens so much.



Randy R.

As a life-long Catholic, I am not, nor have I ever been aware, that sexual abuse of priests against nuns is a "huge problem". This is the first I ever heard of it. I must say, you don't know many nuns if you believe this. As a group, these are the strongest and most independent women I have ever met and they were that way long before the women's movement.

If anything, these days, Bishops are scared to death of nuns and of crossing them.

As to a long history of sexual deviance, I would say, compared to what? If you mean the other religious ministries, including Jewish, and the general population, I would defy you to prove it.
The percentage of priests involved in this, gay or straight, was extremely small and far less, as a percentage, than any other group.

After Vatican II, there developed a strong sub-culture of homosexuality in the priesthood. It was tolerated and behavior of priest's associated with it, was ignored. By this I mean priests who were openly members of and advocates for NMBLA, for instance, were neither disciplined nor was their behavior even addressed by the Bishops. It was, I am sure a desire by the Church, to not appear to be discriminatory and, part and parcel of the same "See no evil..." and spare the Church embarrassment at all costs mentality that seemed to have infected the hierarchy.


At this point, I have to believe if there was a recent apostate killing in the U.S., someone would have posted the reference by now. Will that stop anyone from saying that the practice is somehow viewed as normal in Islam?


Ricardo, it is in the Koran and is part of Sharia law. First, you would have to know how many Muslims in the US ever converted to another religion in the US and then see how many were killed. For all we know, there may be none. I know that some Muslims who were living in Muslim countries, who have converted have come to the US as they have a much greater chance of continuing to live than they do in Muslim countries. And, a "lapsed Muslim" is a far different thing than a Muslim who has converted.
9.24.2009 2:34pm
Randy R. (mail):
For a summary of several reports of nuns being abused by priests, please click here. For more information, do a google search on nuns abused by priests. It doesn't take long to find it.

"After Vatican II, there developed a strong sub-culture of homosexuality in the priesthood."

There were plenty of gay people in the church well before Vatican II. Nothing much changed in terms of whether gays were a large part of the church or not. There are, however, people who believe that the percentage of gay priests will increase over the next few decades as fewer straight priests enter the seminaries.

"It was tolerated and behavior of priest's associated with it, was ignored. By this I mean priests who were openly members of and advocates for NMBLA, for instance, were neither disciplined nor was their behavior even addressed by the Bishops."

If they remained celebate and didn't abuse anyone, then there is no issue here. If any priest violates their vows of celebacy, gay or straight, they should be disciplined. If they didn't, then your beef is with the church, not with me, or with gays.

" It was, I am sure a desire by the Church, to not appear to be discriminatory and, part and parcel of the same "See no evil..." and spare the Church embarrassment at all costs mentality that seemed to have infected the hierarchy."

And that didn't really work, did it?

"As to a long history of sexual deviance, I would say, compared to what?" Pregnant nuns have been recorded since at least the middle ages. But I'm not interested in getting in a debate about the history of the church. The face remains, as you admit, that there have been serious problems since sexual abuse for at least several decades. I agree, the percentage of offenders is quite small. But nonetheless, proper policies should be drawn up to deal with the problem, not adopt a 'see no evil' policy. They failed to do so, and the blame lies squarely with the church leaders on that. So you see, we actually agree on a lot.

But to circle back to our original point of disagreement, I certainly agree that some gay priests abused people. I also agree that some straight priests abused people. (And of course, some nuns have been accused of sexual abuse as well). But none of these people are evil or abusers *because* they are straight or gay; rather, they are abusers who happen to be either straight or gay. That's a significant difference, and one I hope you can agree on.
9.24.2009 4:19pm
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
Oh, the facts in the underlying case just keep getting more interesting:

Apparently (per updated links from Religion Clause) Rifqa didn't hitchhike herself to the bus station, as she and her "protector" originally claimed, but instead "the man who baptized her in Ohio" drove her to the bus station, whereupon she boarded the bus to Florida, with a ticket under a false name.

Now, any parents of teen-aged girls beginning to get the creeps, here?

Let's see, she comes into contact with Internet evangelist, whom she's never met, who apparently coordinates with guy in Ohio to take her to the bus station, without her parents' knowledge, and put her on a bus to Florida (where I don't believe she had ever been), under a false name, to be received by evangelist guy, whom she's never met, except over the internet. . .

Sounds like Rifqa needed a bit less religion, and a bit more education about how to protect her own safety...
9.24.2009 7:35pm
Mac (mail):
Randy R.,

You did not mention that the alleged abuse of nuns by priests is in Africa. The extent is a matter for debate, from the article you linked to.

You were misleading in not pointing that out before. People who do not have a lengthy relationship with the Church would, of course, think you were talking about the USA.

I said,


"It was tolerated and behavior of priest's associated with it, was ignored. By this I mean priests who were openly members of and advocates for NMBLA, for instance, were neither disciplined nor was their behavior even addressed by the Bishops."


You replied,


If

they remained celebate and didn't abuse anyone, then there is no issue here. If any priest violates their vows of celebacy, gay or straight, they should be disciplined. If they didn't, then your beef is with the church, not with me, or with gays.


You are wrong. It does make a difference as every public action by a Catholic priest reflects on the Church and it is against Church teaching for males to have sex with young male children. I point this out and am not pointing out all of the other prohibitions due to time.

It should be inconceivable that a priest should be a member of NAMBLA and remain a priest. That it happened speaks volumes about the culture of the Church at that time.

I don't have a beef with you. This is a rational discussion and I get no feeling that you are "Catholic bashing". Although, you have been littler selective in your statements

You wrote,




But nonetheless, proper policies should be drawn up to deal with the problem, not adopt a 'see no evil' policy. They failed to do so, and the blame lies squarely with the church leaders on that. So you see, we actually agree on a lot.


You have no idea how much I agree.



But none of these people are evil or abusers *because* they are straight or gay; rather, they are abusers who happen to be either straight or gay. That's a significant difference, and one I hope you can agree on.


Yes and no. I agree completely in theory. But, there were many more gays than straights. The Church would also be remiss if it does not research why and what about the structure of the priesthood and the hierarchy tends to promote homosexual abuse of male children. For instance, I can see that a heterosexual priest is going to have far fewer opportunities as people would quickly grow suspicious of a priest spending time alone with a female child or a grown female for that matter. The opportunities are, or were, far greater for a male priest with male children, thus providing gay priests with more opportunities. And, I do feel there was a culture of homosexuality in the Church after Vatican II and this is important as it gave a veneer of respectability and acceptance to behavior that otherwise would have been condemned (as would priest to woman consensual sex), and this includes consensual priest to priest sex as we saw the consequences of in the 80's.

I hope I am making myself abundantly clear. I agree that they are not abusers because they are straight or gay. But, there were more far more gay than straight abusers (and I gave a potential reason for that above) and the Church better figure out why and how to deal with it.
9.24.2009 10:15pm
Mac (mail):

Now, any parents of teen-aged girls beginning to get the creeps, here?


Yes. I would like to know where you got your information. The journalists are very often wrong about facts and write stories in a way that confirms their bias. That said, yes, it could be creepy. However, that still not mean that her parents are sane. These are two separate issues. More than one kid has had several creepy people in their unfortunate lives.
9.24.2009 10:19pm
Randy R. (mail):
Mac "But, there were many more gays than straights. "

Really? There are many more gay priests that striaght priests? Where do you get your information? Most research I have found is rather inconclusive.

If you are saying that more sex abusers are gay than straight, again, you would only know that if you knew the sexual orientation of the abuser. To my knowledge, there has been little if any research to determine that. If, on the other hand, you are merely assuming that if a man abusing a boy then he must be gay, then you don't know much about the subject of pedophilia. As I mentioned earlier, many pedophiles are actually straight, and married to women (in the greater society).

The subject of pedophilia is a complex one, and one that is actually little researched or understood. Making simplistic assumptions helps no one.

"You did not mention that the alleged abuse of nuns by priests is in Africa."

I linked to just one report. There are others, if you search. In any case, there is one church, and it doens't matter whether abuse occurs in any particular country. I'm sure abuse of nuns is down dramatically in the US in recent times, but to assume it never or rarely happened in the history of the church is naive at best.

The real issue, and the common theme, is that whenever you have a closed and tightly knit society, in which power is vested in just one person or a small circle of people, the potential for all sorts of abuse is great because there is no system of checks and balances or outside review. This is true for many of these cults that pop up in here and there, or where power structure is aligned against the powerless. That's a whole 'nother subject, however.
9.25.2009 12:32am
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
Mac:

I got my info, as noted, from the updated news stories linked from "Religion Clause".
9.25.2009 10:34am

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