From today’s Times:
Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish officials in New York are mounting an intense lobbying effort to block a bill before the State Legislature that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of children.[….]
“We believe this bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church,” said Dennis Poust, spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, a group representing the bishops of the state’s eight dioceses. He said that Cardinal Egan and Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn visited Albany this week to voice their opposition, and that a statewide network of Catholic parishioners had bombarded lawmakers via e-mail.
But while the Catholic Church is leading the opposition, in recent months a loose coalition of disparate groups has also joined the effort. They include leaders of the Hasidic and Sephardic Jewish institutions in Brooklyn, which could face equally costly abuse claims. The New York Civil Liberties Union and the criminal defense bar oppose lifting statutes of limitation as unfair to the accused, who must defend themselves against claims of transgressions decades old.
Seriously, what is it with religion and sexual abuse?
There are plenty of private groups out there that deal with children all the time — schools, the boy scouts, sports programs, summer camps: why is it that of these, the only groups with an overriding fear of this bill are religious groups?
This is not meant as a Hitch-style anti-religion slam (I think it’s completely unfair that Catholic priests, many of whom are the most decent people you would ever want to meet, are all seen as pedophiles by many). I’d just like to know an explanation.