It's a troubling time for people of faith--and everyone else...
At this year’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump announced plans to join with his close pal Jesus to fight abortion…and also to “abolish civil rights” (yes, he really said that—apparently a dispute with his own teleprompter). This, unfortunately, helped obscure other religion-based news that was far more important:
Southern Baptists: we learned that they’ve spent two decades covering up widespread sexual abuse among their leaders. By the numbers, more than 700 victims (mostly children) have been violated by 380 different spiritual mentors—and these are the numbers of those convicted, not merely accused. The association of Baptist churches knew about this back in 2006…but decided it couldn’t keep a master list of those falling far short of doing God’s work. Subsequently, some three dozen of these known child molesters were simply allowed to leave town…and go to work at otherer Southern Baptist churches in other states.
Catholics: apparently, despite all the recent work done to dry clean and mend its soiled robes, Catholicism is not going to let anyone steal its thunder when it comes to holy sexual abuse. The Pope himself now admits than an order of nuns in France was subjected to “sexual slavery” at their hands of priests--and that similar crimes have existed in churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In some cases, nuns were either forced to have abortions…or booted from the church to raise children who were never again connected with their holy fathers.
Muslims: OK, we know who the real bad guys of religion are--because Mr. Trump tells us. His Department of Homeland Security just finished a draft report urging extended surveillance of suspect Sunni Muslims entering the U.S. Trump has stated (and tweeted) that three-quarters of terrorist attacks in America were authored by people born elsewhere. But as John Adams said, the facts are stubborn things. The control group Trump cited consists of two dozen attacks of varying severity committed over a 15-year period. This stands feebly against the totality of what’s actually happening. U.S. attorneys have indicted more than 1,400 domesticterrorists—and the FBI currently has 1,000 active investigations of white terror groups. (New indictments were returned against 44 white supremacists in Arkansas on Tuesday).
This may outrage you—but there’s a silver lining in these celestial clouds. Because underlying our knowledge of all this is a common denominator—excellence in journalism. This is an essential need of democracy and can be found on many different levels. Consider that these three stories were authored by (in order): the medium-sized Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News, working in collaboration; the nearly obscure, Vatican-sanctioned Women Church World; and the powerhouse Washington Post. Journalism matters on all levels. Without diligent reporters, do these stories ever see the light of day?