Joseph Rowntree was an English Quaker philanthropist (and chocolatier) who set up the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to fight social ills such as slavery and the opium trade. So it might come as quite a shock to him to find out that his Foundation has found a new scourge upon the planet:
A poll by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation uncovered a widespread belief that faith - not just in its extreme form - was intolerant, irrational and used to justify persecution.And really, it's not too hard to fathom why. The Pope, in his recent tour of the United States, was supposed to confront the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Church. But, in typical fashion, he just ended up passing the buck (h/t to Crime & Federalism):
Pollsters asked 3,500 people what they considered to be the worst blights on modern society, updating a list drawn up by Rowntree, a Quaker, 104 years ago.
The responses may well have dismayed him. The researchers found that the 'dominant opinion' was that religion was a 'social evil'.
Many participants said religion divided society, fuelled intolerance and spawned 'irrational'educational and other policies.
In a speech delivered after evening prayer, the pontiff berated the bishops for their poor handling of a scandal surrounding sexual abuse of children in the church.Shorter version - blame society. Which is funny, because society wasn't the multinational organization that shifted abusive priests around like some sort of ecclesiastic shell game. It wasn't society that operated a cover up worthy of the largest crime families (or Republican presidential administrations). Hell, if there's one thing society is big on punishing severely, it's child rape!
But he urged efforts 'to address the sin of abuse within the wider context of sexual mores" as well as a reassessment of "the values underpinning society.'
'What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?' the pontiff said on the first full day of his US visit.
'Children deserve to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships. They should be spared the degrading manifestations and the crude manipulation of sexuality so prevalent today.'
Geez, maybe South Park had it right after all.