There’s a Facebook page called Women Without Religion which I joined a few weeks ago. Many people in my feed were sharing their memes and posts. Today, they quoted Tom Petty while linking to this article about child sex abuse in the German Catholic Church.
“If I was in a club, and I found out that there had been generations of people abusing children, and then that club was covering that up, I would quit the club. And I wouldn’t give them any more money,”Tom Petty
I commented that I personally felt the analogy in the quote was slightly unfair. I reasoned that for many religious people, to leave their religion would be to isolate themselves completely from their family, friends and community.
This got me banned, y’all.
Below are screenshots of the exchange with the Admin of the page. I’ve transcribed it below, too.
Me: I think the analogy between religion and a club isn’t really fair, when you consider than for a lot of people who were raised religious, it plays a huge part in their life. For many people, turning their back on their religion is to essentially isolate themselves from everybody in their life. I agree that it’s the right thing to do but I don’t think it’s fair to suggest it’s as easy as not going back to your book club, hiking group or D’n’D group.
Women Without Religion (WWR): Fair? Try explaining your notion of fair to all the children that were abused by priests Hayley Stevens. I’m sure that they will be thrilled by your plea for sympathy for the enablers of their abusers. Many people who have ethical principals have left the church very happily. Making excuses for those who haven’t helps no one. It is a club. An invisible friend club that has enabled and still enables sexual predators. If people struggle to pull themselves away from it then they remain enablers.
Me: I didn’t realise opinions weren’t welcome here.
WWR: Opinions of apologists for abusers are not welcome here.
Me: You should mind what you’re accusing people of.
Another person: WWR, how about opinions of victims? I don’t know Hayley so I can’t speak for her, but I don’t see it as apologism, I see it as context.
Me: The admin of this page is conflating priests who sexually abuse children with people who belong to the same religion and holding them equally responsible. That’d be like saying that all atheists are responsible for the sexually predatory behaviour of atheist men like Lawrence Krauss.
WWR: [other persons name] Let me tell you… as the daughter, cousin, aunt and niece of someone who was abused by priests. I don’t give a flying fuck how hard it is for people to stop supporting this pedophile ring. I along with sound family members who were totally immersed in this cult from birth, not knowing anyone that wasn’t part of the cult, leave, never look back and carry on with their lives. Please cease with condenscension [sic]
At this point, all the comments were deleted and bans were issued. What strikes me the most here is that one other person in the thread even claims to have been a victim of the abuse being discussed, but was also shut down by the admin!
I understand that this is an emotional subject for everyone and emotions can run high, but this is no way to conduct discussion about these serious subjects. People are going to have different opinions about these issues, and that’s perfectly fine, but let’s at least have discussions and debates rather than pulling this sort of crap.
To then not listen to the reason behind the opinions you disagree with because you personally had a different experience is surreal and completely lacking in empathy. But why take those things into consideration when it’s easier to preach anger from your moral high-ground, and ban anyone who thinks otherwise? What utterly bizarre behaviour.
I am totally suspicious of people who tar whole groups of people with the same brush. It’s the sort of behaviour which leads to intolerance and prejudice. Maybe give that page a miss, folks…