When is a religion actually a religion--posted by Tony Garcia on 8/03/2006
What makes a "religion" a religion? Why do I ask? This guy's defense for his crimes is, well, it is part of his "sacred religious rituals".
Admitted pedophile Phillip Distasio offered a bizarre defense Wednesday to 74 charges of rape, drugs and pandering obscenity to minors.No. It is not that we do not believe a child can CONSENT to sex. It is that we do not trust their cognition on such matters. It is that we do not believe they are capable of making responsible decisions.
Distasio, 34, told a Cuyahoga County judge that his Rocky River apartment was a religious sanctuary where engaging in sex with boys and smoking marijuana were considered sacred rituals and are protected under civil rights laws.
"I'm a pedophile. I've been a pedophile for 20 years," Distasio said during a pretrial hearing in Common Pleas Court. "The only reason I'm charged with rape is that no one believes a child can consent to sex. The role of my ministry is to get these cases out of the courtrooms."
In fact, it is also partially based on the idea that there are not "rights" for children. They are not adults and do not get "rights". They are protected under "potential rights" (and not in the bastardized sense that pro-abortionists state).
"Rights" come hand in hand with "responsibilities" and "obligations" toward society. Since we do not hold children to be able to be either "responsible" or "obligated" to society we can not afford them "rights". However, because they will potentially get those rights they are protected under the most basic rights. This is the reason children cannot enter contracts. This is the premise the wipes clean a juvenile's criminal record.
Now understanding that distinction in society's trust of children's ability to make decisions you should understand why Distasio is completely off base in his quote, "The only reason I'm charged with rape is that no one believes a child can consent to sex".
The next parameter in that statement is the abdication of his own responsibility to 'right' and 'wrong'. He is choosing 'wrong' (which is rape, sex w/ a minor, etc.) but then putting the onus of the decision making process on the children. This is the same as the "hot" teachers that have sex with their students. There people defend the teachers by saying, "the students enjoyed/wanted it". But they are the children and not expected to make those decisions. The adult is expected to make those decisions.
Judge Kathleen Sutula warned Distasio, a self-appointed friar who compares himself to St. Francis and St. Ignatius, to confine his arguments to secular laws at his trial, scheduled to begin Sept. 11.I am glad to see that the judge recognizes Distasio's right to 'challenge the law'. That IS everyone's right. Most people tend to miss the fact that to challenge the law you must suffer the consequences of the law until the law is overturned.
"If you want to challenge the law, that's your right to do so," Sutula said. "But we're going to follow the laws of Ohio in this courtroom."
Police arrested Distasio in September on charges he molested two disabled boys he was tutoring at his home and of raping seven other autistic children at a Cleveland school for special-needs students. All but one of the boys was under 13, which carries a mandatory life-in-prison sentence if he is convicted.Vigilantism has hardly seemed more called for than here.
Police found journals at Distasio's Wooster Road apartment in which he described his activities, plus child pornography and videotapes of him engaged in sex with boys.
Distasio tried unsuccessfully in June to fire his court-appointed lawyer, Thomas Shaughnessy, who refused to go along with his religious-freedom defense.A lawyer who has some morals? The world truly is coming to an end!
"Not all pedophilia is bad, and sex [with boys] can be healthy," Distasio said. "It's an argument that I'm willing to make, but my attorney is not."I'm trying to keep it clean here, so what really is there to say about that?
Hey, Distasio...ALL pedophilia is bad. ALL sex with boys is unhealthy. At least wait until they are adults. At least stay away from the disabled, autistic and special needs people. "Pervert" is not harsh enough. Pond scum? Something else...a little help here.
Here is why I ask someone to articulate the moment a "religion" becomes a religion. A religion is granted certain freedoms for their practices. If noone can articulate how a "religion" becomes a religion then eventually there will no way to tell someone their "church" is not protected. Why does this exercise in semantics matter? Because without a clear articulation, well, read this first.
In motions filed with Sutula, Distasio accused prosecutors of threatening to dismantle his church, which he calls Arcadian Fields Ministries.Without a clear articulation insanity like this eventually will be legally legitimate and "churches" like this will eventually get protection for their practices, rituals, etc.
He described his apartment as a sanctuary, a place of worship, and a safe alternative to prison for a congregation of social dissidents.
Distasio said he and his congregation consider the justice system to be corrupt and addicted to punishment, and should be abandoned.
He complained to Sutula that prosecutors are preventing him from writing to his "congregants" and of calling them as defense witnesses because they are among the victims in the case.