Can One Act Of Evil Kill The "Season Of Sharing"?
(CNN) -- A [former] Catholic priest, facing criminal charges and a lawsuit alleging that he sexually abused a teenage boy, is now charged with attempting to hire someone to kill the youth, authorities said Tuesday.
It's enough to make you lose all faith in humanity.
Christmas Season has settled upon us, feverishly puking its guts out
into the aisles of WalMart and Walgreens, Saks and Macy's. The
Christian Right is gearing up for its annual "War on Christmas": The
Catholic League's Bill Donohue has shipped 50 Holy Nativity scenes to
every state capitol with the hopes of snagging at least a dozen or so
"atheist states" that might refuse to display them alongside "holiday
trees." Retailers are hopeful but nervous: the great economic barometer
of Christmass Season ales might not show signs of recovery.
the War in Afghanistan drones on; Uganda keeps up its witch-hunting of
homosexuals; cholera snakes its way from Haiti to the U.S.; France and
Germany prepare for terrorism; President Obama tries to garner good
will from foreign countries, while battling a disgruntled and polarized
homeland; the Vatican allows for condoms as use for protection against
HIV - twenty years after their use was proved to be effective.
a beautiful picture, to be sure, but the glimmer of hope that contains
the essence of humanity, that trite-but-necessary, warm-and-fuzzy
feeling of comfort the season always manages to bring us will be there,
This year, I'm not so sure.
[Rev. John M.] Fiala, 52, of Dallas, was out on bond on other sexual assault charges involving the youth, now 18, when he allegedly attempted to negotiate the boy's murder, said Tom Rhodes, the teen's attorney. He was arrested last week after he offered an undercover agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety $5,000 to kill the teen, according to department spokeswoman Lisa Block.
"This guy," Edwards County Sheriff Don Letsinger said, "is an evil man."
I've been writing about the extreme hypocrisy of the Christian Right
for years, some things never cease to amaze and terrify me: the calumny
of clergy like "Bishop" Eddie Long, the stupidity of proselytizers like
Lou Engel, or the viciousness of people like the American Family
Association's Bryan Fischer. Yet as frustrating as these self-righteous
idiots may be, I have always been able to maintain a basic faith in
however, might change: the machinations of Reverend John Fiala and his
ilk have become so blatant, so intense this past week, that I have
trouble seeing any spark of humanity at the end of this dark, dark
CONSIDER THESE ASPECTS OF EVIL:
SEX and GREED
Indicted: Pastor Johnny William "Bill" Cabe,
of Rock Hill, South Carolina, on felony charges of sexual abuse of an
11-year-old boy. "Pastor Bill" had already served seven years in prison
for conning $8 million from his congregation's "investors." (While
guarding their money, somebody forgot to guard their kid.)
SARAH PALIN'S ALASKA
Guilty: Pastor Carl Ekamrank,
of a Moravian Church (Alaska) of one count of second-degree sexual
abuse of a 12-year-old girl. This plea, however, enabled him to reduce
the counts from five down to one. He faces five years in prison with
ten years probation. (Is sexual abuse now doled out in degrees?)
FUN AND GAMES
Convicted: Former coach of Riverside Christian School (Lost Creek, KY), Dennis Jackson,
of nine counts of sexual abuse against a number of boys 11-years-old
and older. Jackson, by the way, committed the crimes while he was in
his sixties. (Proves he hadn't lost his athletic charm.)
Sentenced: Pastor Marcus Ondiegi of Nyakwatha,
Kenya, sentenced to 50 years in prison for repeatedly raping an
11-year-old orphan and infecting her with HIV. Ondiegi had told the
girl's grandmother that he needed to pray over the girl to ward off
"bad spirits." He raped her for six consecutive days until she escaped.
(His conviction, however, put him in "bad spirits.")
TELEVANGELICAL BUSINESS AS USUAL
Sentenced: Pastor Samuel Salanky of Bethany Mission Center (NYC) to 57 months in prison plus restitution for conning "investors" out of approximately $3 million. Salanky was a televangelist who broadcast a program on a Gospel network. (The program was broadcast in the Far East - obviously not too far for him to get caught.)
SMOTHERING WITH LOVE
Appeal filed: Pastor Matt Baker
of Crossroads Baptist Church (Waco, TX). Baker was found guilty of
murdering his wife (administering sedatives, suffocating her with a
pillow) and is currently serving a sentence of 65 years. (What the hell
is this guy appealing?)
UNDER GOD'S ROOF
Convicted: Former Pastor Marvin James Lowe
of Arbeka Indian Baptist Church (Weleetka, OK) on six misdemeanor
counts of domestic abuse. He was originally charge with six counts of
sexual abuse of girls under 14 in his church. (He knew somebody who
Spreading The Love
Charged: Former Pastor David Love of New Hope Baptist Church (Independence, MO), with the first-degree murder of his insurance agent Randy Stone, who was the husband of Love's lover, Teresa Stone. He topped the crime by giving the eulogy at his victim's funeral. (A rather twisted take on "Double Indemnity," but Teresa Stone doesn't look as good as Barbara Stanwyck.)
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Sentenced: Pastor Steven G. Welty of
Glory House Fellowship (Sequim, WA) to 26-1/2 years to life. Pastor
Welty was convicted of six counts of child rape, six counts of child
molestation and six counts of incest occurring with the same girl from
the time she was 4-years-old until she was 11. (He may have been sorry
during those seven years, but relatives are always the last to know.)
Crawling Back To That Spark Of Humanity
my asides were flippant: the human mind provides safeguards against
acute depression. The fact is the list of crimes was longer than I had
ever imagined: besides these cases, dozens more were reported - ALL
WITHIN THE LAST TWO WEEKS. So while "Silent Night" was droning on
during the morning's grocery shopping, I was dealing with hypocrisy
overload. "There must be some good ones out there" was trying to tap
into my brain, but it was far too numb. Hours later, I'm still trying
to fathom it all.
there are good-spirited people out there. But they're not to be found
on our screens or heard through our airwaves. They're not to be found
attending Values Voter Summits. They're not to be found bloviating over
microphones during rallies to "protect" marriage. They're not to be
found praying in front of the Capitol, beseeching God to make us a
Christian-Only Nation. They're not to be found preaching "love the
sinner, hate the sin."
the people with that spark of humanity, that basic goodness, cannot be
found even amongst the rabble preaching about it. It can simply be
found in the person standing next to you on the bus. In the person in
front of you in the check-out line at the grocery. In the person you
call brother, sister, son, daughter, husband, wife, lover, partner, or
friend. In you.I guess the thing I hate most
about the crimes committed by the "Reverend" John Fialas, the Bryan
Fischers and the Lou Engles of our world is that they make it harder and harder
to discover the spark of humanity in everyone else. They're piling up,
like some godawful pile of hypocritical manure.
Yes, the pile of hypocrisy is getting bigger and bigger and the needle of humanity is getting smaller. It's there, of course, and there's the entire Christmas season to find it.