Cardinal Pell, Abortion and Christian Hypocrisy
By Dominic Causley Todd
I am going to begin this by saying that I don’t claim to be any sort of moral authority, in fact it would be a stretch for me to say that I am even a good person. But that’s the point. You don’t need to be a saint to tell right from wrong in certain situations. Unfortunately, this last week or so has been a socio-political shitshow that has seen an infinite amount of bullshit rammed down our throats regarding some of these situations.
This is not a piece about why abortion should be legalised. This is a piece about why religious institutions should hold no arguments based on moral authority. This is a piece written by someone who is sick and tired of being lectured on what is right and wrong by corrupt, cruel, fraudulent and baseless individuals and groups. Because from the Israel Folau fiasco, to the abortion bill, and Cardinal Pell (and this is just in the last few weeks) all the religious right has been able to do is prove that they are the skid marks of humanity and have no right to hold the moral high-ground over literally anyone.
On Wednesday Cardinal Pell had his appeal of his child sexual abuse conviction squashed and the paedophile’s six-year sentence stands. The Catholic Church and certain public figures are still staunch supporters of this scum. I’m not going to lie. The moment the charges were brought forth against him I was convinced he was guilty, despite being a firm believer in due process. I was convinced for a few reasons, first being that I believe people should be heard and believed when they come forward with rape allegations, and secondly this type of thing has been rampant in the Catholic church since forever. The justice system has been convicting priests of sex crimes for decades and you’re going to tell me that the man who rose all the way to the top didn’t know about what was going on at every single level within the organisation? Whilst I think he definitely needs to be put away for longer, I am glad that he was convicted.
What I am not happy about is that the people who are trying to protect this rapist, and have been for years, are saying it is immoral to have an abortion. For some reason the people who defend a man that rapes children are able to have a public platform and say that having an abortion is unethical. How are we ok with this as a society? We have two former Prime Ministers who still say that Cardinal Pell is a top bloke. How are we ok trusting an organisation that was run by a convicted paedophile? How is it ok to listen to these people whinge about their religious freedoms being imposed upon whilst they literally destroy lives? If you are friends with someone who is suspected of terrorism, everything you do is monitored and will sure as hell get brought up if you ever want to hold a public position. But if you’re a character witness for a convicted child rapist you get to have your own radio or TV show and can write columns in our most popular newspapers on whatever moral issues you want. That is where our values lie as a society. You should be disgusted by that.
Pell was molesting children from at least the 1990s. The victims have said that they are still struggling with their trauma and trying to move on. That was almost three decades ago and these people are still suffering. That’s just Pell by the way, not to mention the countless others in the Church who have been found guilty of decimating lives and communities. And these are the people that get up and say that having an abortion is murder and will ruin a child’s life. I’m not sure about you but this institution does not get to have a say about the well being of children. Oh, and whilst we are on the topic of destroying childhood, this discussion is framed completely around the actions of them ruining children’s lives through sexually assaulting them, not their history of separating them from their families and cultures and every other atrocity they’ve committed in their long history as the paragons of morality.
All I see in the stance by the religious right against abortion is malice. There is a consistent theme here with what I’ve talked about so far regarding the actions of The Church: the survivors (especially of sexual assault)almost always lose and are targeted by the Church and its supporters. These are the people going around blaming women for getting assaulted at university parties because they were drunk, these are the people who believe that if a woman is raped and falls pregnant she shouldn’t be able to terminate that pregnancy, and these are the people who don’t see anything wrong with raping children. In all of these views that the Church propose, the victims of sexual assault lose out. Not only is that chilling and horrific but it is also a large part of the reason so few people report this heinous act. Because if you come out against someone assaulting you one of the most powerful social forces in the country will blame you for it. I’m not sure about you but I’m quite sure that generally the moral side in terms of sexual assault is the one the victim is on, not the perpetrator.
I see these people flocking to the defence of what they see as the real victims in these issues: Cardinal Pell, Alan Jones, Rape Culture, a bunch of unborn cells, and Israel Folau. That is who they defend, not the children raped by Pell, not the communities and individuals attacked by Jones, not the countless victims of a rape culture they perpetuate, not the children of disadvantaged mothers who can’t provide a life worth living for their child, and not the hundreds of queer youth who kill themselves every year. That is warped and revolting. Most things in this world aren’t black and white but this is about as close as it gets. None of this should be socially acceptable and yet for some reason they have a platform and we’re required to listen to them as much, if not more, than the people directly affected by their hateful rhetoric and actions.
Don’t get me wrong, I love free speech, and I believe in religious freedoms, I think that there needs to be an open discussion around every public issue. However, I do not think that paedophiles, rapists and those who associate with and/or support them should have a say in literally any matter. And I most certainly think they should not be allowed to make arguments from any sort of moral position. And yet here we are, letting these people and these organisations who defile people’s bodies and ruin their lives tell women what they can and cannot do with their own.
In any of the Church’s political stances it and its advocates will all come out screaming “think of the children!” We are seeing it now regarding abortion and we saw it last year with the marriage equality vote. They come out and make their opponents seem as if they are trying to corrupt children, take their innocence and, in the case of abortion, murder them. They believe that they have a monopoly on right and wrong, especially when it comes to sexual and family matters. I’m not here to convince you that being anti-abortion is inherently wrong and misogynistic. I just want to say that if you are on the “Pro-Life” side of the debate, look who you’re getting into bed with, because I personally don’t like sharing mine with rapists.