23 March 2009

CHRISTIANS BEHAVING BADLY #8 power over victims

In my attempt to show that being
religious is not a guarantee of moral
behavior, this post is a part of my
series of reports featuring the bad
behavior of religious people, past
or present....

Look for other posts showing the
bad behavior perpetrated by members
of other religious groups.


A 9-year-old Brazilian girl was raped by her step-father when she was six. The abuse continued for three years while her rapist also abused her mentally disabled 14-year-old sister.
When the 9-year-old girl became pregnant with twins, medical authorities decided that the life of the 80-pound girl was at risk. Thus the pregnancy was terminated at 15 weeks. In Brazil abortion is legal in cases of rape or to save the life of the mother, so the girl was eligible for a legal abortion on both counts.
"She’s very small. Her uterus does not have the capacity to hold one baby, let alone two," said Fatima Maia, director of the teaching hospital where the therapeutic abortion was performed.
Nonetheless, the Catholic Church excommunicated the mother and the members of the medical team who carried out the abortion. Archbishop Sobrinho defended the action and when asked why the 23-year-old stepfather was not excommunicated, said: “He committed an extremely serious crime. But that crime, according to canon law, is not punished with automatic excommunication. Human law has no value...”
Carla Batista, with a Recife women's group said, "This case is extremely important, because it... brings to the forefront the debate on the importance of having a state that acts in a truly secular fashion... The Church’s attitude was to be expected, because it does not pay the slightest attention to women, never considers the underlying drama behind each case... It defends ‘life’ as a matter of dogma, but does not take into account the real lives of people."
The government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva introduced its first bill on abortion in 2005, but failed to win strong support. Positive stances have been taken by Lula, a Catholic, and by Health Minister José Gomes Temporão, both of whom... condemned the position taken by the Church in the case of the girl who was raped by her stepfather. The president said, “As a Christian and a Catholic, I deeply regret that a bishop has had such conservative behavior… In this case, medicine is more right than the Church.” Will his statements result in his excommunication, too?
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Catholic church's Congregation for Bishops, stated that the twins the girl had been carrying had a right to live. The Pope supported Archbishop Sobrinho’s excommunications decision.
Austin Cline* asks: "Who still believes that the Catholic position here is to 'protect' children rather than to protect male control of female bodies?"
It seems the church is more interested in power than in the well being of a 9-year-old girl.

I first learned of this story from a report on Hen Buddhism

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