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Author Topic: Racist Priest from St. Vladimir  (Read 5823 times) Average Rating: 0
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Aklie Semaet
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« on: January 21, 2005, 12:08:28 PM »

The only reason that I found this article is because it was posted on a secular African American website. As such I can sarcastically say that it is a very wonderful and warm welcome to African Americans to join Orthodoxy ::)GǪ.But then thank God for the Holy Ethiopian Orthodox Church which was building, thriving and teaching Orthodoxy already for for centuries before Christianity occupied even a single brain cell on the minds of this guys ancestors.

Of course I don’t believe his excuse, he has been an American priest for 55 years living through the civil rights movement and all.

Akliele-Semaet

http://www.wnbc.com/news/4110754/detail.html

EWING, N.J. -- An 82-year-old white man who is a pastor left messages at three Trenton-area black churches calling Martin Luther King Day an "N" holiday.

The Rev. Paul Shafran asked for forgiveness at a news conference held by black ministers to denounce the messages Wednesday.

The pastor emeritus of Saint Vladimir Orthodox Church said he acted out of foolishness and without malice. Shafran could not explain why he made the calls on Monday.

Shafran told the ministers he did not realize the "N" word was offensive.

More than a dozen black ministers prayed with Shafran and asked god to bless him.

Police have charged the retired minister with harassment and bias intimidation.

-¬ 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2005, 12:22:46 PM »

Does anyone know if this priest is part of a real Orthodox Church (e.g. SCOBA parish, ROCOR, JP, etc.)?  It sounds like this guy could be suffering from Alzheimers, Dementia or something.  No priest in their right mind would do this.
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2005, 12:30:05 PM »

It's really strange, a jurisdiction (OCA) who has at least 1 African American priest (Fr. Moses Berry) obviously wouldn't approve of such an action.  I think the priest acted on his own.  This is not a normal action for a priest, though some priests have prejudices, the Orthodox church in no way would support such behavior.  It mentioned that he is 82 years old, with no offense meant towards old people everywhere, might this have something to do with it?
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2005, 12:43:54 PM »

Sounds as if the priest was, er, sampling the sacramental wine...

What in the world is "harassment and bias intimidation"? Sounds Orwellian

Bad press to be sure; what are WE to do about it?

And we old folks are not offended, embarrassed maybe, but not offended.

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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2005, 12:52:29 PM »

This article illustrates in more detail what apparently happened and what seems to be an appropriate Christian response on the part of the offender and the offended:

Healing the hurt


The priest in question is a retired priest of the OCA.
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2005, 01:17:26 PM »


What in the world is "harassment and bias intimidation"? Sounds Orwellian


On the contrary, I think that terminology is quite appropriate. The man left messages on people's answering machnes using racist epithets, clearly indicitive of a bias. Such messages also constitute harassment. What's not to get?
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2005, 01:26:55 PM »

After reading the more detailed article, I must say I am glad that the guilty party had the decency of standing up and admiting that he did it. 
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2005, 01:29:11 PM »



On the contrary, I think that terminology is quite appropriate.  The man left messages on people's answering machnes using racist epithets, clearly indicitive of a bias.  Such messages also constitute harassment.  What's not to get?

Come on...why does a bias, even ones so bigoted, HAVE to be criminalized? The sin alone is not enough?  "Hate crime" - a redundancy.
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2005, 01:45:25 PM »



Come on...why does a bias, even ones so bigoted, HAVE to be criminalized? The sin alone is not enough? "Hate crime" - a redundancy.

It is a crime because it is harassment. He was not talking that way in his own private space but called several Black churches (other peoples space) saying and leaving derogatory messages. Under most state penal codes that alone is a crime (like bad neighbors call your house and leave bad messages, etc.) Since the man not only did that but made it into a racial attack saying things like “happy nigger day,” complaining about the fact that MLK is an official holiday, and ranting on about “chickens and watermelons” then it becomes a hate crime. Example: slapping someone is battery. But slapping someone deliberately because of race, ethnicity, national origin, etc. then becomes a hate crime.

I am actually more concerned about his long term affect as a priest. It is hard not to wonder how many African Americans in 55 years did not visit his Church a second or third time and hence did not become Orthodox because of his implicit (now explicit) attitude. That is where the damage was done.
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2005, 01:53:36 PM »

It's a truly unfortunate event. It certainly doesnt seem like something any priest who is acting in "his right mind" would do. Im assuming he feels as bad about it now as anyone.

I dont think that it gives the Orthodox Church a bad reputation, though. I doubt the vast majority of black Americans have any idea that such a Church exists and if they ever attended a service, it would appear very alien to them.

We have one black family in my home parish in Pennsylvania. They joined after leaving another Orthodox Church, and the one son has begun bringing his wife and children to services. I've often wondered what must go through his wife and young children's minds during services.

As many of you probably know, African-Americans are often very religious, but come from a very different tradition - Baptist, etc.

----

and concerning the hate crime thing...Im a fairly conservative fellow, but it seems to me that verbal or written racial epithets are designed to intimidate or even terrorize. If someone vandalizes your car, they have committed a random destrutive act. But if someone rights "Go Home Jew" on it, then they have done a bit more than vandalize your car. They have sent a deliberate message. That is why sometimes, additional penalties are perhaps in order. Just my opinion.
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2005, 01:57:19 PM »

I can agree with your damage assessment, Aklie; but this hate crime stuff is just PC run amok.

I grew up in a region of the country where I endured this type of offense from so-called WASPS, RCs, AND Afro-Americans - once rising to an actual assault - all over my ethnicity and religion. Last thing I would have done is run to a prosecutor for legal redress if such existed then.
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2005, 02:18:05 PM »

Aklie and ProdigalSon, your assessments concerning the hate crime thing are pretty much what I was thinking.

Come on...why does a bias, even ones so bigoted, HAVE to be criminalized? The sin alone is not enough? "Hate crime" - a redundancy.

As Aklie said, bias itself is not criminalized. Acting upon that bias is. Harassment, murder, or any other crime with racial overtones should be considered in a special category, especially given the history of racism in this country. It is potentially more destructive because it can lead to bigger things.

Case in point: Besonhurst. I lived in the NY/NJ area at the time this incident (and its aftermath) went down.

Maybe you didn't see the need to run to a prosecutetor for legal redress, but others, especially those who know how these things can be a powder keg if left unchecked, might, and it is their right to do so. The fact of the matter is that a lynching perpetrated by the Klan carries more explosive potential than a random guy getting jumped in a bar fight. This isn't "PC", its practicality.
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2005, 02:22:12 PM »


Whatever floats your boat...
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2005, 02:29:02 PM »

It's a truly unfortunate event. It certainly doesnt seem like something any priest who is acting in "his right mind" would do. Im assuming he feels as bad about it now as anyone.

I dont think that it gives the Orthodox Church a bad reputation, though. I doubt the vast majority of black Americans have any idea that such a Church exists and if they ever attended a service, it would appear very alien to them.

We have one black family in my home parish in Pennsylvania. They joined after leaving another Orthodox Church, and the one son has begun bringing his wife and children to services. I've often wondered what must go through his wife and young children's minds during services.

As many of you probably know, African-Americans are often very religious, but come from a very different tradition - Baptist, etc.


I hope you are right that this will not give the Church a bad reputation.  Frankly, as a person with a "foot in both worlds" so to speak (African American and Orthodox) I think that his public repentence will go a long way.

You make a good point that the Church might seem alien to African Americans (and others with a Western religious background as well), but that is all the more reason that we should be as welcoming as possible to any potential converts who wish to come home to the Church.  I pray, along with Aklie, that no one was turned off from Orthodoxy because of this man while he was a priest.  (Although he himself said he got along well with his Black parishoners).
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2005, 02:35:46 PM »

Whatever floats your boat...

That's a little played out, buddy.  Here are some better ones:

*Whatever blows your hair back
*Whatever gets you through the night
*Whatever lights your candle
*Whatever blows your skirt up

Have fun, and stay creative!  Grin
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2005, 02:43:24 PM »



That's a little played out, buddy. Here are some better ones:

*Whatever blows your hair back
*Whatever gets you through the night
*Whatever lights your candle
*Whatever blows your skirt up

Have fun, and stay creative! Grin

If I have any hair left, If I didn't have insomnia, If I didn't use electricity, If I wore a kilt...

Message received  Wink
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2005, 02:49:15 PM »

LOL!!!! Cheesy

Ari! I could hug you man! Finally, someone on these boards who has a sense of humor!!! Grin

Oh, and I guess I should mention that I don't have a real boat, but I was so inspired by your post I may go out and rent a tub toy! Wink
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2005, 02:53:29 PM »

GRIN  Grin

If we ever thaw out here again, you can visit and wife and I will take you windsurfing (cheap boats)

Must go out and chip ice off of back deck now ...brrrrrrrrr
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2005, 02:56:11 PM »


Have fun man (yeah right, fun chipping ice!).  Hope the wife has some hot chocolate waiting for you when you get back! Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2005, 02:57:56 PM »

I agree with Aristokles, it's PC Run amok.
Down with PC, Down with PC!!! Cheesy

Fotios


Aklie and ProdigalSon, your assessments concerning the hate crime thing are pretty much what I was thinking.



As Aklie said, bias itself is not criminalized.  Acting upon that bias is.  Harassment, murder, or any other crime with racial overtones should be considered in a special category, especially given the history of racism in this country.  It is potentially more destructive because it can lead to bigger things. 

Case in point: Besonhurst.  I lived in the NY/NJ area at the time this incident (and its aftermath) went down.

Maybe you didn't see the need to run to a prosecutetor for legal redress, but others, especially those who know how these things can be a powder keg if left unchecked, might, and it is their right to do so.  The fact of the matter is that a lynching perpetrated by the Klan carries more explosive potential than a random guy getting jumped in a bar fight.  This isn't "PC", its practicality. 
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« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2005, 03:04:32 PM »

I agree with Aristokles, it's PC Run amok.
Down with PC, Down with PC!!!

Hey Fotios....You down with Ol' PC? Yeah, you know me!!! It's a joke son, a joke! Get it? *Forghorn Leghorn*

But seriously, it seems like the PC running amok today is your Personal Computer! Why did you throw my quote in there but not write anything under it?

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« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2005, 03:39:16 PM »

Look Up
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« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2005, 03:42:12 PM »

Antonious,

What happened in Bensonhurst? My uncle lives there, but I haven't heard any news from there lately.

In Christ,
Anthony
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« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2005, 03:45:43 PM »

sdcheung - Oh, that was supposed to be the response? You posted the response above the quote....Good for you, defying convention like that! Wink

Tony - Back around 1989 (or maybe 1990? I think it was '89...) this Caucasian girl in Bensonhurst was planning on throwing a party, and the guest list included some Black and Puerto Rican guys. Some of the local boys decided they didn't like that, so they went cruising the street looking for "Black guys".

This kid named Yusuf Hawkins came into the neighborhood with about three of his friends in response to a used car add. The Caucasian kids thought they were there for the party, and about a dozen of them attacked the Black kids with baseball bats. Yusuf was beaten to death, and some of the other kids were injured. Many of the people in the neighborhood took a "Shouldn't have been there in the first place. We don't want them in our neighborhood" attitude and tried to dig around and find irrelevant details of Yusuf's background, uncovering the fact that he had used drugs in the past. In response, Black community leaders organized a march right through Bensonhurst, and were met with a lot of people holding up signs with racial slurs and throwing fruit, etc. The cops were on hand to hold them back from greater violence though.

It ended up sparking a lot of racial fights throughout NY/NJ, including one in my high school. I'm sure your uncle remembers it if he lived there back then, or heard about it if he moved in later.
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« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2005, 04:07:55 PM »

Hate crimes legislation is absurd. If I kill someone in first-degree murder I probably hated them.  It doesn't matter if I hated them because they are black, a woman, my ex-wife, rich, a Jew, or whatever. Murder is murder.

Writing "go home Jew" on someone's car is harassment/intimidation/stalking and can be punished as such.

Hate crimes legislation is already being used in Canada and Sweden to punish people who preach against homosexuality. Next it will be used to punish those who proselytize non-Christians. Just wait.

Anastasios
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« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2005, 04:19:58 PM »

Hate crimes legislation is absurd. If I kill someone in first-degree murder I probably hated them. It doesn't matter if I hated them because they are black, a woman, my ex-wife, rich, a Jew, or whatever. Murder is murder.

Writing "go home Jew" on someone's car is harassment/intimidation/stalking and can be punished as such.

Hate crimes legislation is already being used in Canada and Sweden to punish people who preach against homosexuality. Next it will be used to punish those who proselytize non-Christians. Just wait.

Anastasios

I disagree, for reasons I have already listed above, but I can see your point. You know how it goes in this country. Sooner or later you'll have things happening like what you described in Canada and Sweden because of the letter of law instead of the
spirit of the law. It'll
get distorted and become a shadow of what it was intended to
be. It's like the Black kid that was locked up down south for
statutory rape when he had consensual sex with a white girl a year and
a half younger than him, and he was just barely 18.
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« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2005, 04:28:11 PM »

AN,

I see your point too.  Despite being a conservative, I am for affirmative action in certain areas.  I don't *mind* racists getting locked up for a few more years but fear the long-term results of the laws and find them somewhat redundant.

Anastasios
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« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2005, 04:44:34 PM »


Frankly Anastasios, people like you and me (and presumably most of the people on this board) whose morality is informed by the Church, and not by secular ideologies, will usually be in an awkward "middle of the road" area.  As Christians, we know that there is no "race" in the eyes of Our Creator, but as inhabitants of this world we know that "race" and therefore "racism" are sociological realities.

An old OCA priest (whom I love very much) used to tell me, "Don't look for justice in this world.  We are all foreigners here.  This is not our Kingdom".  I suspect he is right!
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« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2005, 08:17:19 PM »

Let's just hand out loads of money and "reperations" for past and future wrongs so some people can continue to never work a day in their lives. 

I agree with Demetri here this is way too Orwellian for me.
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« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2005, 08:58:17 PM »

AN,

Quote
An old OCA priest (whom I love very much) used to tell me, "Don't look for justice in this world.  We are all foreigners here.  This is not our Kingdom".  I suspect he is right!

I like that! and it holds a lot of truth. your priest is a wise man Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2005, 09:25:17 PM »

There's alot of senior abuse amongst these posts, I'm calling the ... damn... the hot line as soon as I can remember where it is ... just stop abusing us's.

dementia has nothing on organic... stuff


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« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2005, 09:32:22 PM »

Here, here, brother geezer!
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« Reply #32 on: January 21, 2005, 09:59:22 PM »

Seriously,

I think the priest had a episode, sometimes they are associated with retirement plus some other factors, my mother suffered greatly from dementia and it really is depressing to cope with.

Besides, we need a geezer association here to compete with these youngsters who post 20 + times a day.

james

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« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2005, 11:11:01 PM »



I disagree, for reasons I have already listed above, but I can see your point.  You know how it goes in this country.  Sooner or later you'll have things happening like what you described in Canada and Sweden because of the letter of law instead of the
spirit of the law. It'll
get distorted and become a shadow of what it was intended to
be. It's like the Black kid that was locked up down south for
statutory rape when he had consensual sex with a white girl a year and
a half younger than him, and he was just barely 18.

Antonius,
But you are seeing past what he is saying!  In your example, "Hate Crimes Legislation" won't do anything that normal prosecuting would.  You prosecute the crime.  Violence is violence and murder is murder.  The intent in this case is meaningless.  It won't act as the deterrent that the law proposes to do!  People will still hate because of race, etc.  It's all about education, softening of the heart, etc.
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« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2005, 11:12:01 PM »

Seriously,

I think the priest had a episode, sometimes they are associated with retirement plus some other factors, my mother suffered greatly from dementia and it really is depressing to cope with.

Besides, we need a geezer association here to compete with these youngsters who post 20 + times a day.

james



I tend to agree as well.  It just looks suspicious from a mental health point of view.
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« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2005, 11:24:45 PM »

It is a sad day when one needs to validate his existence, especially when you are nudged out to pasture, retirement is not as easy as many think.

james
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« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2005, 11:35:26 PM »

Simple concept:

An act that breaks the law is a crime.

A crime that has qualitatively special circumstances is another crime.

You have to first break the law in order for their to be a hate crime. Crank calling is against the law. You can get fined for it. Harassment is against the law, that is why there are restraining orders and the like. Crank calling and harassment in a racially derogatory manner is the original crime compounded with the special circumstances of racism. It then becomes a hate crime. But it has to be a crime first.
 
One crime is called extortion, when the mafia does it then it becomes racketeering.

When they burned over 40 Black Churches in the south a couple of years ago that was not just arsonGǪit was not even mass arson. It was a systematic and hateful attempt to intimidate and harm people solely because they are black, it is terrorism out right; an egregious hate crime.

I am not the call the police type myself. If someone has the nerve to talk racism to my face they just get knocked out--KO not PC--end of story. No need to call the cops or be PC.

The priest is not in trouble for being racist; he has a constitutional right to do that he is in trouble for harassment; a crime that was racially motivated and hence a hate crime.
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« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2005, 11:36:24 PM »

Let's just hand out loads of money and "reperations" for past and future wrongs so some people can continue to never work a day in their lives.

I agree with Demetri here this is way too Orwellian for me.

I don't remember reparations being the topic of this thread nor the discussion of it thus far. It has absolutely zero relevance on this subject. Before I assume anything do you want to clarify who you had in mind as being people who "never work a day in their lives" Huh?
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« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2005, 11:44:23 PM »

So the old priest doesn't like brown rice eh??

I like both brown and white  Roll Eyes

Oh yea, I think reperations is a total joke also. Most of the people in this country had nothing to do with slavery. In regards to hate crimes legislation, it can be a good thing I think for people that may target people on purpose for the color of thier skin but I think it would be mainly used to put christians behind bars down the road that may disagree with a certian kind of lifestyle.
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« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2005, 12:07:39 AM »

Reparations again?

Like I mentioned, it is a totally irrelevant topic for this discussion. If it reveals anything it reveals the unexpressed racial antagonisms of people who keep bringing it up (you know, the "oh here is my chance to settle scores with these people" crowd?) . Maybe the same way that the priest used to talk before he exploded and said publicly what had already been in his head privately all this time.

Funny how people are more concerned about PC, reparations, and some dark future dystopia where Christians are oppressed for being against homosexuality than the topic of the thread. What is at issue is what affect this has on the image of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2005, 12:11:17 AM »

Quote
Funny how people are more concerned about PC, reparations, and some dark future dystopia where Christians are oppressed for being against homosexuality than the topic of the thread. What is at issue is what affect this has on the image of Orthodoxy.

That's probably because everyone agrees what he said and did was stupid, wrong, and racist.  Not much to discuss on that point. Plus, we aren't privy to what his superiors are doing to punish him. Perhaps you would like to write to them?

Anastasios
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« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2005, 12:36:19 AM »

I think a mental & physical eval report would be more valuable then discussing a punishment.

Facts please

james
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« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2005, 12:39:46 AM »

Reparations again?

Like I mentioned, it is a totally irrelevant topic for this discussion. If it reveals anything it reveals the unexpressed racial antagonisms of people who keep bringing it up (you know, the "oh here is my chance to settle scores with these people" crowd?) .  Maybe the same way that the priest used to talk before he exploded and said publicly what had already been in his head privately all this time.

Funny how people are more concerned about PC, reparations, and some dark future dystopia where Christians are oppressed for being against homosexuality than the topic of the thread. What is at issue is what affect this has on the image of Orthodoxy.


Hey, I was thinking the same thing.  I swear to God that I am SICK to death with hearing white men complain about reparations and affirmative action.  I know everybody has a right to their opinion and everything but it's so irrelevant to their lives that discussing it (IMHO, of course) is downright ridiculous. 

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« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2005, 12:42:07 AM »

I think a mental & physical eval report would be more valuable then discussing a punishment.

Facts please

james

Good point. I should have said an evaluation and if applicable treatment OR punishment.

Anastasios
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« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2005, 03:00:51 AM »

Quote
Hey, I was thinking the same thing.  I swear to God that I am SICK to death with hearing white men complain about reparations and affirmative action.  I know everybody has a right to their opinion and everything but it's so irrelevant to their lives that discussing it (IMHO, of course) is downright ridiculous. 

Jennifer, what are you talking about lol...Preference by any skin color or ethnicity these days is plain discrimination. Also, it's not just whites complaining about this kind of discrimination but hoards of asians and other races that are left out of the AA racket which is quite selective and cators to only a few groups. One of the local colleges was even in alot of trouble with some asian groups (UC Davis) because they were turning away people of certain asian ethnicities due to the fact that the enlightened smucks that run the college said they were going to turn down applicants because a majority of the students on campus were asian and they were afraid of what it would do to "diversity". I think that is a bunch of garbage and whoever is the most qualified for college or a job deserves that on thier merit. This kind of stuff will continue to divided different groups against each other. America is so mixed these days that I would think it would be impossible to keep playing these race games.
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