1. Who Is to Blame for the Scandal of Rome’s Priests (OR: What Else Would One Expect?). 2. Where This Is All Heading. 3. “When Ball Becomes Baal”

Who Is to Blame for the Scandal of Rome’s Priests (OR: What Else Would One Expect?)

In the wake of Rome’s sex-abuse scandal the U.S. conference of Catholic bishops undertook an in­vestigation into the allegations against its priests and the irrespon­sible response of its Bishops. The results have recently been pub­lished. According to the study, the bishops concluded that 4,392 priests allegedly have abused more than 10,000 victims over a 50-year time span. [You may be sure this is the most favorable estimation (and spin) possible.]

What is noteworthy is that the study was honest enough to ac­knowledge that the molesting priests were by and large homo­sexual. This is one of the dirty little secrets of the homosexual lifestyle. From the homosexual population come the predators of young teen­age boys. And it has nothing to do with consent. The gay-liberation movement (with its support­ing politicians) has not welcomed such press. The liberal news me­dia has acted equally ignorant that such might be the case. Truth is not what such folks are looking for. Now, however, in response to Rome’s bishops’ study, a book has been written by an openly homo­sexual author, David France. It is entitled Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal. In this book, in a surpris­ing admission, France acknowl­edges that the offending priests were homosexual after all. He had little choice in the matter. He in­terviewed a number of the priests involved, and they all informed him that they were gay. Um-m-m-m…. Imagine that! Now what?

What should not surprise us is where Mr. France has decided to put the blame. It is not on the of­fenders themselves, of course. In an article entitled “‘Homophobia’ Blamed for Priests’ Abuse” (Agape Press), reporters Ed Vitagliono and Sherrie Black inform us just where Mr. France thinks the blame should be. In an interview by a pro-gay magazine, France stated

“[W]e now know from talking to these priests [who molested teenagers]: they’re gay,” France told The Advocate, a magazine tar­geted to the homosexual commu­nity, adding, “And if they were gay men, we should ask ourselves why that was happening. What caused it?”

What is France’s explanation in Our Fathers? “What I argue is that these guys represent homosexual­ity in pure and total repression,” he said. “This is what successful repression looks like: men so alienated from their own sense of self that their sexual expression came out in explosive ways.”

So, it is all due to “homopho­bia.” The “real” offenders are not the priests who did the molesting. Rather, they themselves, like those upon whom they preyed, are to be numbered amongst the victims. The real “perps” are those in soci­ety and church “guilty” of con­demning homosexuality and call­ing such behavior a forbidden thing. This means, of course, that those really to blame for this whole sordid mess are those who had nothing to do with the scandalous behavior and those with whom adolescent boys would be perfectly safe. Why of course! Who else?

Unbelievable! The brazenness and illogicalness of the reasoning leaves one gasping. But we live in an age when such reasoning is more and more considered compel­ling and sound. An intellectual madness rules.

The question that begs to be asked of France and his cronies is, “So what are you implying? If I understand you right, it is this—the desire for adolescent boys is due to the repression of homo­sexual desires. Therefore we should let such men pursue their desires (just be themselves), and, if society and church would simply give these men free rein to pursue their cravings, then suddenly young boys would be safe. In other words, the only way to make sure your adolescent boys are safe from such men, is to let such men loose amongst your adolescent boys.” Amazing. Who has heard of any­thing quite so “insane.” Yet, to­day this makes perfect sense.

Fortunately, not everyone as yet has bought into such “reason­ing.” The article also points out

That explanation is rejected by pro-family groups. “So France’s solution would be for the Catho­lic Church to embrace homosexu­ality and allow practicing homo­sexuals to serve as priests? And then the abuse would stop?” asked Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association. “That’s ridiculous fantasy denied by history and the undercurrents within gay culture. The real solu­tion is to make sure that homo­sexuals aren’t in the priesthood.”

How true. The trouble is, as the article goes on to say, Rome continues to reassign priests charged with such behavior to other parishes “incognito,” and so the cycle continues. Ever true to herself, Rome really admits to very little and essentially changes noth­ing about itself in this area either.

Where This Is All Heading

In the end, what the laws and the judges that are granting the ho­mosexual lifestyle legal protection and recognition are aiming at is no secret. It’s the freedom of the pul­pit. An article entitled “Hate-Crime Law Worries Pastors: Some consider liability insurance to cover pulpit remarks” (Worldnet Daily) makes this very plain.

Pennsylvania (not exactly known as a hotbed for the liberal movement) now has laws against “hate-crimes” on its books. It just recently approved of amendments to these laws that make the inter­pretation of what constitutes a “hate-crime” very broad indeed. As of June, “harassment by com­munication” now constitutes a “hate-crime.” No wonder churches and pastors in the Quaker state are beginning to shake a bit.

A religious liberty group is try­ing to reassure Pennsylvania pas­tors who fear they could face pros­ecution under a new law if they preach against homosexuality.

The Becket Fund for Religious Lib­erty sent a letter to 9,000 houses of worship across the state June 18 after a hate-crimes law was amended to add “sexual orienta­tion” and “gender identity” as mo­tives that trigger heavier penalties for the crimes of “harassment.”

“It is a measure of our times that religious leaders have lately con­sidered taking out liability insurance to cover remarks made from the pulpit,” said Becket Fund President Kevin J. Hasson.

Of particular concern to pastors is the amendment’s expansion of the definition of “harassment” to include “harassment by commu­nication”—which means one could be convicted on the basis of spoken words alone.

“Although legislators expressly disavowed the motive at the time, one might be forgiven the impres­sion that one purpose of this leg­islation was to generate a fear of prosecution among those who would preach and teach in favor of the traditional prohibition on homosexual behavior—a teach­ing so common to so many faiths/’ Hasson noted.

However, the Becket Fund’s let­ter explained to clergy that the new law should not deter them from preaching against homo­sexual conduct.

The group says that although the language of the law appears to cover preaching from the pul­pit, it is unlikely to be applied that way.

The Becket Fund also offered to help ministers threatened with such prosecution. “We will de­fend, free of charge, anything said from the pulpit, conservative or liberal, wisdom or nonsense, so long as it is a religious message given in good faith,” Hasson de­clared.

Will such a law be used against the pulpit, churches, and preach­ers who speak out against homo­sexuality? You had better believe it will. We do not doubt that Mr. Hasson says what he says in good faith. He simply cannot bring him­self to believe anybody would stoop so low as to use this law to charge preachers (who condemned the homosexual lifestyle as dis­pleasing to God) with being guilty of “hate-crimes.” Legislators as­sured him this was not their inten­tion.

Brother Hasson is mistaken. He may be sure that the one main purpose of those promoting the Pennsylvania legislation is exactly “…to generate fear of prosecution among those who would preach and teach in favor of the traditional prohibition on homosexual behav­ior.” Supporters of the gay-move- ment are convinced that the pri­mary generator of hate and preju­dice against homosexuality (by calling it sin and deviant behavior) is the Christian church and its pul­pits. They intend to get at such. This legislation, all pious blandish­ments aside, simply gives them the legal club with which to do it down the road.

And Pennsylvania’s legislation is an indicator of the coming wave.

“When Ball Becomes Baal”

The above heading is within JL quotation marks. I cannot take credit for it. It is another man’s phrase—a certain Jim Elliff, writ­ing an article for the Baptist Press. It is timely. It hits home.

Sports has become much of Christianity’s new “god.” Those of us living in West Michigan can verify that. Last month the Grand Rapids Press ran a three part series on Christians (of the Reformed community in particular) getting more and more involved in Sun­day sports in every way—as fans, as participants, as professionals earning their living [desecrating] the Lord’s Day. The Grand Rapids community has noticed this devel­opment. The Grand Rapids Press thought it high time for the Chris­tian community, its Reformed sec­tion in particular, to explain (and justify) itself after so long having condemned those who played on the Lord’s Day.

The same Christian churches that so recently condemned sports and recreation as a transgression of the Lord’s Holy Day, now have members out there hitting a pitch­ing wedge to the green and trying to leg out a double with the best (worst?) of them. Professing Chris­tians lead the Sunday hit parade. What gives? What changed? The community wonders.

The Christian “apologists” did their best to explain. According to the “apologists,” the new “free­dom” to “violate” the Lord’s Day has to do with Christian maturity, that is, Christians finally growing up and learning not to be so legal­istic, that is, judging others by one’s own personal preference as to what one may or may not do on the Lord’s Day. Spiritual maturity means each has the right to deter­mine for oneself what’s the best use of the Lord’s Day for one’s spiri­tual growth. Some evidently find arguing with an umpire over an­other blown call another step in their spiritual development.

In short, it appears to me what comes to light is a new insight into the Bible, in particular a passage we evidently have misinterpreted for all too long: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, (and spiritually mature), I em­braced with even greater fervor child­ish things and refused to put them away even on the Lord’s Day.” I am sure that is what I Corinthians 13:11 really must have meant to say.

Evidently the Baptist commu­nity where Jim Elliff lives is deal­ing with the same sports craze our Reformed community is dealing with here in West Michigan. He writes as one who knows.

I love to watch my kids play sports. In fact they need to play—some.

But it’s not as easy as handing over 70 bucks and saying, “Sign up Johnny and Susie this year.” Making that decision means that you may be out four to five times each week during the season. Sports soon becomes all about calendarization [sic] and control of your life—especially if you have more than one kid. Perhaps noth­ing outside of a change in your job has so much potential to turn the family schedule upside down.

“This man understands,” you say.

Now comes the part you won’t like: “Behold, I say unto you, you have made sports the household god.” Too strong? Okay, not ev­eryone has done this. But the dei­fication of sports is happening to many.

How does ball become Baal? Answer: When it controls you, and you give it devoted worship.

It is around your god that you or­der your life—and you can al­most never say ‘no’ to it.

Like athlete’s foot on the hygienically challenged teenager, sports has taken over more and more of the life of believers. Al­most overnight we have awakened to the sad fact that, in many com­munities, sports has even usurped the hours believers meet on the Lord’s Day.

All too often members are say­ing to church leaders, “We’ll be gone next Sunday because of the soccer tournament.” In turn, lead­ers are supposed to acquiesce humbly. After all, we can’t afford to appear “legalistic”; everyone knows that the greatest crime a church can commit is to demand something of someone.

You’ll hear, “But the team needs all the players. We can’t let the team down.” It never occurs to them that the church body is be­ing deprived of a necessary body part, or that God is marginalized and disobeyed. We are not to for­sake the assembling of ourselves together, God states in Hebrews 10:25.

Devotion is the operative word. When the team says, “We need you,” we sacrifice to do it. But when it crosses the time allotted to spiritual edification and wor­ship, the Ruler of the universe is often sent to the bench. In the pro­cess, we teach our children that devotion to sports is more impor­tant than both devotion to God and loyalty to our spiritual fam­ily. Have you considered that you may be teaching your kids to wor­ship sports?

Timely.

The Olympics are past, and fall sports loom on the horizon, both school and professional. Has ball become Baal with us? Don’t say it is not there.

And what is happening in our homes on Sundays?

Do we really think watching on our televisions Sammy Sosa take another mighty cut or Phil Mickelson go for another major or the Lions take on the Bears on Sun­day afternoon is any different than watching in the stadium itself? Do we really think one Apostle would join us and commend such “Chris­tianity”?

Come now.

To what extent is ball becom­ing Baal in our family rooms on Sunday afternoons? The angels must weep.