Pope Benedict XVI

Keith writes:

Sorry your man didn’t get elected pope, but I think this is definitely a step in the right direction for the catholic church. The greatest danger facing Christianity in America and most of the civilized world is not persecution but influence of the so-called “secular progressives”, those people who do not believe in the bible and think the church should change what it believes to match what society believes.

I don’t know if there are really ANY dangers facing Christianity in American today except that most so-called Christians don’t practice what they preach. Hypocrisy undermines every belief system in the end, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a historical precedent with greater hypocrisy than a nation whose religion considers its most pestilential greedheads virtuous.

The main issues constantly brought up are abortion,
birth control, homosexuality, priest celibacy, and women priests. As I said in my previous email, I disagree that there is no scriptural basis for the lack of women priests (I think 1 Timothy says that there should not be women priests) and priest celibacy (again according to 1 Timothy I believe priest celibacy is specifically prohibited).

Quoting the Bible doesn’t mean much to me—after all, the Old Testament permits human sacrifice while the New Testament quotes Jesus’ admonition that only the sinless may pass punishment and we ignore both—but the Christianists should at least get their Scriptures right. In fact, that quote in Timothy doesn’t say anything about women priests and you have to stretch absurdly far to even see the relationship between the two topics.

About homosexuality the bible is clear again and again, there is no debate on the bibles stand on homosexuality. The church should not accept openly homosexual priests any more then it should accept priests who openly use illegal drugs, engage in adultery, or any other behavior which brings discredit about their office. It is not that homosexuality is any better or any worse than other sins, but it is still a sin, and a congregation should not openly tolerate a priest who is living in sin.

Tell you what: I’ll tell all my gay friends that they’re sinners when you tell all your rich friends that they’re sinners. While there is one fairly obscure Old Testament citation about homosexuality, Jesus repeatedly says that those who seek material wealth are scum and doomed to eternal hellfire. Oh, and while we’re at it: the Old Testament also prohibits onanism, a.k.a. ejaculating for purposes other than procreation. So hold it in, horny Christianist soldiers.

On birth control, this is a touchy issue. Until such
time as it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt when life begins (I don’t think this will ever be possible but who knows) then I am going to assume, based on scripture (I forget the exact reference but it talks about God knowing and forming you in the womb), that life begins at the instant of conception. Because I believe this I cannot condone the use of any birth control measure that allows the egg to be fertilized but does not allow the fertilized egg to implant in the uterine walls and fully develop. Abortion obviously falls into this category but so does the so called abortion pill, the Inter-uterine device (IUD) and even the progesterone only pill (note, this is different from the normal “pill” which is actually a combination of progesterone and estrogen). Other methods such as the combination pill which works by preventing ovulation, or the so-called barrier methods such as condoms, diaphragms, etc, etc, are perfectly acceptable because they function by preventing fertilization.

I assume you’ll let the new Pope know that condoms are A-OK, then. There are lots of Africans who’ll be happy to know that.

I applaud the catholic church for standing up for what is right and for electing a pope who will (hopefully) stand for the things of God without caving in to public opinion.

Of course, Catholicism is notable for its willingness to adapt to changing times (albeit a few centuries late). We’ll have women priests sooner than you think—as the early church did for centuries.

Frequent correspondent Fred says:

Everytime you call Reagan evil you…. oh why bother? You’re not going to change my mind on him and I’m not going to change yours.

Reagan admitted that his invasion of Grenada was done for purely geopolitical purposes, to flex muscle in a proxy war against the Soviet Union, and that the country was no threat to the US or its allies. So he ordered US troops to kill people anyway. That makes him an evil murdering motherfucker. And if murdering people doesn’t make you evil, what does?

On the new Pope bveing a Nazi…. while I’m not wild about the choice I find it very funny how liberals, who hate being labeled and repuduged themselves, are always among the first to fling out unfounded and largely unfair accusations without a shred of proof or a hint of compassion.

Compassion? Fuck that. Germans like him had a choice—they could have fled and joined the partisans. Many did; teenagers were the base of the resistance throughout Europe. In the New York Times a puff piece notes that he joined the Nazi party for careerist reasons. I don’t doubt that it was difficult to do the right thing back then and I’m not saying those who didn’t should be pilloried for life, but forgiveness shouldn’t extend to elevating such colossal sinners to the papacy.

Yes, Ratzinger/Benedict is a conservative hard-liner, but then so was John Paul II. If you don’t believe me, as the huge number of priests he had removed from teaching posts around the world for prewaching about boirth control, abortion, gay issues, and the like. Benedict, who is 78 after all, won’t be around as long as JP II, but he’ll likely be no better or worse either.

Who knows? He may turn out fine. Right now we’re all guessing based on past behavior that may or may not translate to future actions.

Media Labels

Andy writes:

“Controversial cartoonist Ted Rall,” I never thought about it but I guess that is pretty silly. Still there are plenty of liberals and conservatives alike who enjoy wrapping themselves in the word controversial or radical. Wasn’t it Goldwater with that extremism quote. That’s sort of the same thing. Maybe the media should say: America’s BS detector Ted Rall, or hard-hitting editorial cartoonist Ted Rall, HAHA, the vultures will use that… when pigs fly.
Question: did any of the conservatives who responded to your column address you as “Controversial Cartoonist Ted Rall” as in “Dear Controversial Cartoonists Ted Rall?” I suppose that would be a bit of an improvement over, “Dear Homophobic Curse Word.”

No, but a bunch of liberals did. There are some funny conservatives out there, but by and large humor belongs to the left.

Lying Cops

Dave writes:

Thanks for the great column. As a footnote to your expose on police misconduct, let the record state that NO ONE OF IMPORTANCE was held accountable for the Los Angeles Rampart scandal. Only a couple of grunts received minor punishments. Most charges were quietly dismissed. As a reference:
http://www.laweekly.com/ink/printme.php?eid=40403
and
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/lapd/later/outcome.html
LAPD continues to be one of the least looked after and unaccountable police forces in the country.

Lovely.

Sherri about Tulia, a topic I omitted from my column because it’s so extreme. I chose to focus on the incredibly common phenomenon of prevaricating policemen:

I agree with you about problems with the police. Yes, I am a generally a big supporter of law and order, but I think recent, serious cases of police misconduct point to a need for renewed vigilance by good people in communities throughout the country.
I am also surprised you didn’t mention the false drug arrests in Tulia and Dallas, Texas.
First, there was the infamous Tulia sting of 1997 where a large number of the town’s black population were rounded up and arrested in an early morning raid that netted ZERO drugs and ZERO evidence of drug dealing. Yet, incredibly, on the testimony of an undercover officer with no corroborating evidence like written notes or surveillance tapes, a Tulia jury found many guilty and sentenced them to lengthy prison terms. It was only overturned after a concerted grassroots effort forced the hand of the Lieutenant Governor – and that was after four years in jail for some! A subsequent inquiry found the undercover officer to be untrustworthy and charges were eventually dismissed against the defendants. Essentially, this undercover officer fabricated evidence to justify his job. And a racist town like Tulia was only too willing to help.
Second, Dallas is still reeling from false drug charges made a couple of years ago against another minority group, Mexican immigrants. Incredibly, drug specimens offered as evidence turned out to be a harmless substance. It was all a scam with many officers sacrificing the reputations and livelihoods of innocent men — not to mention their personal integrity — to fatten their arrest records.
I don’t have all the fact at my fingertips, but suffice to say, Texas has had some glaring example of police misconduct. The guy involved with the Tulia sting, Tom Coleman, was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 1997. And even though he eventually fell from grace, I don’t think this award has ever been publicly retracted.

Dan writes:

Simply a superb article on cops lying. What is so invidious about this issue is how cops’ testimony is weighed in court. Judges give more credence to the testimony of cops than they do other witnesses, and especially more compared to the testimony of defendants. ‘scuse me, but I could have sworn the reason we have a judicial branch is to provide the citizenry some buffer from the executive branch. All too often, judges see cops routinely in their courtrooms and so become buddies with them. This makes it awkward to reprimand them or call them liars or anything else. What can we as the citizenry do? Cops have a vested interest in seeing people convicted. They think of themselves as the good guys and the rest of us as either bad guys or potentially bad guys.
In there somewhere, there has to be a mention of the IQ of cops, which is not high on average. What happens when a cop stops someone more intelligent than them? They get all self-conscious and go into their power trip – evidence your examples of jaywalking and speeding. They’ll lie so fast and so often that it becomes routine.

All sad. All true.

John Bolton

Lucas asks:

Why haven’t you stated your opinion (or danced around this issue like in your eminent domain article 😉 just kiddin) on the whole Bolton for UN Ambassador deal? Unimportant? There’s gotta be something to say on this topic!

I did at least one cartoon about the Bush Administration’s habit of appointing extremely unsuitable candidates for sensitive posts and kind of figured that Bolton was covered by it. Also, I’m not sure whether it’s that big a deal that we’re sending an asshole to insult the UN. After all, US policy has long been so unilateralist that even the most diplomatic choice wouldn’t be able to make friends abroad.

But while we’re here: Bolton is not only an appalling choice for UN ambassador, he is clearly in inferior intellect who should never have been elevated to any position of responsibility in government or business. The man is a fucking moron who holds opinions that collapse upon the slightest rapid-fire inspection. The fact that he is a mean moron merely adds to the lunacy.

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