As a concerned citizen, my faith was restored because of a recent government stand relating to the protections of children from harms relating to the Tobacco Industry. A federal court judge recently sided with the U.S. government in its civil racketeering suit against the cigarette industry touching on the following points:
1. The Tobacco Industry conspired for decades to deceive the public about the dangers of smoking and now must pay to help smokers kick the habit.
2. The Tobacco Industry has denied committing fraud for many years and said that changes in how cigarettes are sold now make it impossible for them to act fraudulently in the future.
3. The Tobacco Industry was accused of establishing a "gentleman's agreement" in which they agreed not to compete over whose products were the least hazardous to smokers.
4. Government lawyers stated this type of agreement was made by the Tobacco Industry to avoid publicly addressing the harm caused by cigarette smoking and marketing efforts to kids.
5. Civil racketeering laws require a finding that fraud occurred and action must be taken to prevent it from occurring again. Lawyers representing the Tobacco Industry denied all charges.
The U.S. government placed the harm caused by cigarette smoking as a priority in the interests of protecting the health of children. The U.S. government has demanded accountability from a powerful and influential Goliath (aka the Tobacco Industry) and has sent a message to our society, the protections of children is first at all times.
There is no doubt that there will be political back-lash from the government's stand in protecting children from the tobacco industry's subtle attempts; however, we can no longer compromise the health and safety of our children's futures. Thank you to all who fought this long and hard battle.
As a supporter of clergy sex abuse survivors and their families during the past few years, I now realize the similarities between the Tobacco Industry's power and influence in the U.S. and the power and influence of Religious Institutions, especially since the clergy sex abuse crisis erupted in 2002.
After substituting the words "Religious Institutions" in place of the words, "Tobacco Industry", a powerful message about another Goliath in our society is revealed -- please form your own opinions:
1. Religious Institutions have concealed sex abuse crimes committed against children and vulnerable adults for decades, without public disclosure, and now must pay to help victims of sex abuse seek justice and healing.
2. Religious Institutions have denied committing fraud for many years and said that changes in church/religious policies will now make it impossible for sex abuse crimes in the future.
3. Religious Institutions are accused of establishing a "fraternal correction" in which religious leaders supervised one another in matters relating to sexual misconduct, without accountability.
4. Lawyers representing victims of clergy sex abuse stated this type of "fraternal correction" agreement was made to avoid public disclosure relating to failures to report sex abuse crimes committed against children, without corrective action.
5. The lawyers representing Religious Institutions have denied all charges.
As a society, we must continue to work together to place the safety and health of our children at the highest priority. The Tobacco Industry is only one of the Goliaths in the world -- and many will follow. It is time to confront the clergy sex abuse crisis like other Goliaths -- demand accountability for the failures to protect children and vulnerable adults from sex abuses.
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