Beatitudes and commandments, meet Madison Avenue; pedophiles still peek over the event horizon of the soul in the age of GoDaddy ads.

I have as much authority as the pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it.
- George Carlin

The following appears courtesy UK times Online:

“I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives.

I also acknowledge with you the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of victims, the purification of the Church and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people. I express my gratitude for the efforts being made to address this problem responsibly, and I ask all of you to show your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests.”

- Pope Benedict XVI

As an example of critical proclamations made by an endless chain of self-serving appointed apologetes sitting in the papal capacity, this little statement by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI doesn't quite stand out as a world-changer, but the crystal-clear message he sends is, at best, typical and disturbing: “we remain above any sort of insult from those outside our walls, not only because we carry a deeper message and utmost ecclesiastical importance compared to those who insult us, but because we have big time God-cred the likes of which you simpleminded, sinning little fuckers will never have.”

All this I glean from one little segment of his speech: he discusses the “...shame and humiliation all of us have suffered...”

To which I might reply, with much due disrespect: “you, sir, didn't suffer shit-all, nor did your stable of sex offenders, other than a confidence problem and a PR mess. On the other hand, I understand that sodomy performed on very young children is quite shameful and humiliating, not to mention painful, and the litany of other sex crimes perpetrated by agents of the Church, by The Church, in view of The Church, and under the protection of The Church, are likely equally shameful and humiliating to the victims. They scream, Bennie. They beg for it to stop. They kill themselves years later, knowing in that dead spot your faith leaves in their own souls God wasn't home all those days they were abused. They suffered shame and humiliation, Bennie.

As for you? I say you and your flock live in a pretty fucked up place in your heads to take this so lightly.”

And, I'll throw in for good measure: “by the way, nice job, Bennie, doing all you are doing to correct this.”

Yeah, right. Burying the issue in the term “homosexuality” – even when the victims are eleven year old girls – was brilliant on-point marketing, since the faith's followers hear the word “fag” and run screaming from the horrors of another droll, daily reality and tithe harder than ever to stamp out the scourge. Relocation of priests has always been a good measure as well, since we all know a change in scenery can instantly heal sexual predators of their sick perversion, and really; how can priests gain access to young children when they've burned through the supply or trusting parents at home?

I intentionally overlook the numbers and the environmental factors behind this lunacy-couched-in-divinity – facts and figures about the deeper issues vary, but it would be a fair argument to state the percentage of sexual offenders in the population of the church's priesthood is at the very least equal to the percentage of same in the general population of the unwashed heathens they look down upon. And also a there is the obvious statement that not all Catholic priests are scumbag sex offenders, but an unsurprising number of scumbag sex offenders are Catholic priests.

Looking at this environmentally depends upon where you look from. At one instance of the negative view: a frail man, afflicted with the horrors that are this life, seeking the succor and solace of scriptures and theological study, the life of a committed holy man. Relieve him by dictum of the burden of all sexual contact. Statistically you will create – no matter how you try not to – a sexually frustrated and potentially dangerous man every now and again, as we've already discussed that these men exist in all walks of life. Another view: priests are just a bunch of screwed up men lacking a natural ability to cope with reality, out looking for answers. Note: men generally need to fuck things, because they are supposed to by design. Plug them into the dysfunctional, male-dominant culture based upon the pious and rigorous worship of a nasty-tempered, imaginary deity, and you breed some men who want to fuck all the wrong things, which is made wrong-er by the fact these are supposed to be holy people, which proves nothing is really holy, and we digress ad infinitum.

Insert your view here. It really doesn't matter for the sake of this article. Bennie simply makes clear a fact which seems to be gaining press of late simply by dint of it's putrid nature – everyone hates child abusers – and agelessness: I find Sinead O'Connor about as interesting as a bag of week-old groceries as an artist, but in the end she really became famous for publicly accusing The Church of sexual abuse in her home country. Eighteen. Years. Ago. Issue didn't pop up yesterday, now did it? It's been at the very least a side joke since I was a kid, and I am a lot closer to fifty than forty. How long before that, we all might wonder?

And it sure as hell isn't getting any better. Bennie, the current man on the street in papal regalia, has thrown down not an apology, but a nastygram to his followers: “Pray. Fuck you, but pray. Not just for you. For us. When you pray, you talk to The Man, and that means you aren't talking to or about us, which is good because we can't deflect this shit, as usual. You matter, sure, because you make us wealthy and powerful. But never forget: we matter more.”

Apology is not apostasy, but something had to be said, and who expected His Holiness to come out swinging the ax at the necks of the guilty? “Guilty as sin” isn't a non-sectarian pejorative statement, it's an axiom this time. When God is riding pillion on your fame, rather then the inverse, healing the worst possible wounds is just a well-run ad campaign away.

Hey, read any good books lately?

O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.
- Psalm 109

In so many ways, atheists have it made. The above passage is a perfect example of this; a psalm, set upon the fears of man seeking the countenance of a protector in a time when enemies loom near. Atheists, not caring much at all about psalms, usually just say “fuck off, dude” and either start a fight or walk away.

The congregation of the Dove World Outreach Center must be very familiar with this psalm lately, but even if not girded by the bright and shiny augury of it's power and connection to the very lord almighty himself, they have decided to take a stance against their enemy and teach the world a powerful lesson. In a statement issued their web site, They are going to publicly burn the Koran in an effort to “raise awareness and warn.”

The website spews plenty more dogmatic lunacy amid the typically vomit-inducing self righteous masturbation found in a fringe church's mission statements, claiming “We are using this act to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful,” and my favorite: “To warn of danger and harm is a loving act. God is love and truth. If you know the truth it can set you free. The world is in bondage to the massive grip of the lies of Islam.”

And my favorite: “We love, as God loves, all the people in the world and we want them to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

In so many words: “my crazy-ass God and religion is better than your crazy-ass God and religion, so nyah nyah nyah.”

Skipping gaily along with, rather than tripping over, this putrid fear-based pride is the least sin these cheese-headed wingnuts are executing here in such grand Westboro Baptist fashion. They are at the very least luridly simmering in an oily pool of hypocrisy designed and reserved throughout eons of history to be suffered only by the finest, crudest ilk of religious zealot; a creature far more foul and terrifying than any racists, a murderers, or politicians portrayed as the pinnacle if evil these days.

This fear- and gospel-fueled bitch-slap of a lesser religious caste of heathens, disbelievers, and blasphemers represents a star example of the very thing it seeks to stamp out, of course. It's not a new battle, and when you fight the good fight to stake claim in a particular brand of Jesus, sometimes you have to summon the best fucked-up elliptical logic you can in order to win: Dove World Outreach is stating: “we hate your hate, but we don't hate you. Meanwhile, we'll spew our hate and fight your hate with our hate and when we win and destroy all your hate you will come over to our side and you shall love our hate, as it is the one true hate, in Jesus' name, Amen. Oh, or maybe you'll just have to burn in hell for all eternity, fucker. Your call.”

Islam is the world's second major religion by participant, and most people don't pay a lot of attention to the details. There are Sunni and Shia and a lot of other bracts and offshoots and odd variants, though I suspect fewer than Christianity, which claims African Independent Churches (AICs), the Aglipayan Church, Amish, Anglicans, Armenian Apostolic, Assemblies of God; Baptists, Calvary Chapel, Catholics, Christadelphians, Christian Science, the Community of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("Mormons"), Coptic Christians, Eastern Orthodox churches, Ethiopian Orthodox, Evangelicals, Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah's Witnesses, Lutherans,Methodists, Monophysites, Nestorians, the New Apostolic Church, Pentecostals, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians, Seventh-Day Adventists, Shakers, Stone-Campbell churches (Disciples of Christ; Churches of Christ; the "Christian Church and Churches of Christ"; the International Church of Christ); Uniate churches, United Church of Christ/Congregationalists, the Unity Church, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Vineyard churches, and about a zillion others too vague, specialized, and eventually too bizarre to mention.

Under the coverlet of each of these Christian subsets are worried little strays and wildcards: Westboro Baptist, not entirely embraced by those of Baptist faith but Baptists nonetheless, is a good example, as are these pinheads at the Dove World Outreach Center. Not a big bunch of people, comparatively, and when you look at it closely they aren't any bigger, say, than the Taliban; their equally crazy nemesis, buried in their own blanket of “Islam” and a large dose of ignorance, making them all liars, thieves, hooligans to the likes of post 911 God-fearing crazy people.

And yet those hooligans, the Little Sect of Islam That Could, flew a couple airplanes into buildings in New York a while ago, proving once again that not all pious extremist religious assholes aren't terrorists, but it seems more and more that most terrorists are pious extremist religious assholes.

Small batch religion is scary shit, but it's just a small batch, so we really don't have a standoff the magnitude of, say the cold war, with Russia and America. The two biggest players in the global game just peered at each other from the camera portals of U2 aircraft at 70,000 feet and the windows of glittering silver Bear bombers with their big red stars like mesmerizing wounds in the side of the fuselage, lumbering past the DEW line to get chased around by F-15's two or three times a week, nuclear bombs standing by.

God's great UFC broadcast, the battle of the one true religion, the teaching of the truth, is a small sideshow this time. In practice, it portrays a David Vs. Goliath stance, this happy book burning party they've planned in Florida. Same outcome is likely too: the Little Church That Could Hate will burn many copies of The Koran, an affront to every Muslim on the planet, then stand back with their arms folded, surveying their fine work, and say “we did this for love.” Muslims on the whole, one can be certain, will view this act with a less-than-cheery sensibilities, with likely reactions varying from protests featuring their favorite “death to the American Satan!” to Bible burning parties, to “yeah, that was pretty stupid that whole Koran burning thing,” and only one result will come of it, the same that always has and always will:

Proof, yet again, that when religions perform their logic and spiritual alchemy and turn love into hate, it is the synergistic creation and re-creation of hate itself, and though both sides claim victory, in the end all we get is a lot more hate, and everyone loses.

And it's always started over a book.