Ms. Dominique

Ms. Dominique
Ms. Dominique

Monday, June 16, 2008

Men of God ?

Dallas police described a 56-year-old substitute teacher as incapacitated when they arrested him at a Richardson Independent School District middle school.

According to the police report, Thomas Brownlee had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and alcohol on his breath. In fact, the report stated that Brownlee was "a danger to himself and others."

The substitute teacher was arrested for being drunk in the classroom. Evidently he was sooooo... drunk that the police didn't give him a sobriety test for fear he would fall and hurt himself. The teacher was a minister.

A reporter asked Rev. Brownlee about his car's vanity license plate, "IMBLZT" -- is that supposed to mean "I'm blitzed" (drunk)? No, Brownlee said--he's also a minister, he explained, and to him it means "I'm blessed."
--Dallas Morning News)

Christianity, or any religion for that matter, is not what people think and do. It is the product of an idealized notion of how the universe works. We can talk all we want to about Liturgies, Prayers, Devotions, and Charities, but these are just the end product of a concept. People are devoted to their religions—each one has a specific set of beliefs—and they are willing to make major sacrifices and devote all their personal resources to supporting this concept. And they do this even when the leaders of the church turn out to be abusive thugs, thieves and even child-molesters. For The Religious, the real world is a separate category kept in a seperate mental box, and their life experiences do not connect with The Belief, which is often maintained and upheld in spite of the evidence.

For example, on a daily basis ministers are found to stealing church funds, seducing sons and daughters, manipulating elderly members into giving their life savings to the church, etc, etc, etc. But rarely are these criminals caught and punished by the church. Often it is the intervention of others—meaning non-believers or believers in some other church—who investigate and prosecute criminal acts. I know of several cases where a local minister was caught stealing from the church. In some cases the church asks for the money to be returned, but the thief is never prosecuted—mainly because that would reflect badly on the idealized notion of Christianity. Most church members are willing to “forgive and forget” rather than create a public scandal. The usual excuse is that they do not want to create a “stumbling block” for new recruits—those who are still “weak” in their belief and commitment to the faith. Most congregations are willing to take the long view: that it is better to suck in a batch of new recruits (and their money) rather than punish wrongdoing in the church and risk losing membership. Some churches will put up with ministers who exhibit truly bizarre behavior: drug addiction, addiction to pornography, alcoholism. The Catholic Church protected child molestors for decades, and they even defended them from criminal investigations. And these “men of God” are to be admired and respected?

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