Who Still Thinks the Church Has Any Moral Credibility?

Now that a Catholic group has argued in court that a fetus isn’t a person — a belief that contradicts their own stated beliefs but could help them win a lawsuit — we get another chance to see Catholic hypocrisy in action.

Yesterday, the New York TimesFrank Bruni weighed in on the “convenient morality” of the Church:

… the church has simultaneously reserved the right to behave just like any other institution, leaning on legal technicalities, smearing victims and demonstrating no more compassion than a tobacco company might show…

They do things erratically, that’s for sure. From my extensive reporting on the sexual abuse crisis in the 1990s, I don’t recall any great push to excommunicate priests who forced themselves on kids. But when Sister Margaret McBride, in 2009, was part of a Phoenix hospital’s decision to abort an 11-week-old fetus inside a 27-year-old woman whose life was gravely endangered by the pregnancy, she indeed suffered excommunication (later reversed).

So a fetus matters more than the ravaged psyche of a raped adolescent? And Sister McBride deserved harsher rebuke than a rapist? It’s hard not to conclude that a church run by men shows them more mercy than it does women (or, for that matter, children).

And it’s hard to keep track: just when is the church of this world, and when not? It inserts itself into political debates, trying to shape legislation to its ethics. But it also demands exemption: from taxes, from accountability, from health care directives.

Simply put, the Church has lost its credibility. I know this isn’t exactly news to any of you, but religious leaders still believe they represent moral authority in the world and criticize those of us who don’t believe in God for having no moral compass. Between the rape scandals, the anti-gay bigotry, the anti-condom stance in AIDS-ravaged countries, the fight against women’s health care, and everything 1Flesh stands for, you have to wonder if the Church is capable of doing anything right.

I love this comment on the NYT site:

Bill & Melinda Gates along with Warren Buffet have done more in Africa in ten years than the church accomplished in one hundred years.

(Thanks to Robert for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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