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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

6 responses to “Secular reasoning applied to Catholic culture”

  1. Barry

    I think there are many factors in some turning away from organized religion, not the least of which is the workdwide sex abuse scandals and their coverups.  Many are fed up by various religions trying to use government power to force their views on everyone, whether alcohol sales or Sunday closings (they mostly lost those) rules on same-sex marriage, divorce, end-of-life decisions, birth control and abortion, evolution and more. 
    Also, in the 24 hour continuous news cycle we hear more frequently about the flagrant hypocrisy of some tele-evangelists and many people have caught on to the fraud in the business model of give-me-your-money-now-and-you-will-be-rewarded-after-you-die.  Further, jihadism whereby those acting in the name of religion deliberately kill innocent civilians as they shout God is Great leaves a bad taste for all religion, especially considering the conflicts in Syria, Kashmir, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan etc.  Judiasm too is tainted by ultra-orthodox who try to force women out of the public sphere or the “settlers” claiming God gave them Palestinian land.  No wonder so many recoil.

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  2. leftyrite

    Too many Rick Santorums in the sanctum santorum?

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  3. John McGrath

    The real problem for Catholic authorities/authoritarians (take your preference) is their notion and interpretation of Natural Law. The interpretations put the theory of natural law in direct opposition to the theory of natural Rights, as articulated in various Declarations of Human Rights.
    The Catholic Church claims that there is a Natural Law which dictates absolutely the correct moral behavior for opening being, of all religions or no religion, of all nations. The Catholic Church also holds that the Pope is the final and supreme interpreter of Natural Law. See the problem here? The theory of Natural Law makes the pope supreme over all nations and religions. Natural Rights would say that a a woman is sovereign over her own body, and that the fetus, because it lives in and depends on the mother’s body, is not an infant but a fetus, a potential human being, a potential infant, but not an infant. But the church’s theory of natural law would for some reason make the life of the fetus of greater value than the life of the woman in whom the fetus lives. The church wants to dictate its view to all. the same on contraceptives.
    Yet, in its claim to be the supreme judge of human morality, the church has proven, throughout the world, that its bishops are failures at moral reasoning and decision making in their cover up of the priests’ sexual exploitation of children and rape of innocents. What kind of training did they get in moral reasoning? It was certainly deficient, yet they want to dictate morality to everyone else.

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  4. cailin rua

    I found this a few weeks ago:

    I am not an adoring fan of Zizek.  I am pretty sure about that.  I also have very big problems with Lacan and his neo-Freudian, phallocentric analysis but anyone who knows anything about Catholicism or any of the other Abrahamic orthodoxies understands the role of paternalism in them all.  Zizek’s essay is a little hard to follow.  I don’t follow his conclusions about Jung, either, but his examination of the elusiveness of of the origins of temporal authority is very incisive.

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  5. leftyrite

    People live and die by their religions. From the slight to the greatest extent, millions of people have seen this particular star.
    Sectarians will always be hiding in the bushes or striding onto the parade grounds. Serbia. Kosovo. Thank you, No.
    Open up a dialogue with any useful people. It’s quite clear that, while we have problems global, we need solutions local.
    Check out the real estate problems in China; check out the love for power, particularly internal combustion, throughout Asia and Africa.
    Providence is a little gem.
    Make it Florence.
    Welcome in the Renaissance of the Enlightenment.
    Let’s keep the best of what we have and improve upon it, together, as much as our natures will allow.

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  6. leftyrite

    …all of the rest, Inshallah, is just Commentary.

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