KILL YOUR MASTERS
There is so much animosity right now towards refugees and immigrants from countries with high populations of Muslim people. While many who are in favor of the ban will tell you that there is an incredibly high probability of an attack from a refugee or immigrant (despite evidence to the contrary) they will also tell you that proven terrorists like Dylann Roof, Timothy McVeigh or Adam Lanza are “lone gunman” or “do not represent us.”
That is often the excuse of many apologists. “Sorry that this happened, but he doesn’t represent us.”
I was raised in a Catholic family in Ohio. Most of my uncles, aunts, cousins, my parents and myself had all attended Catholic school at some point in our lives. Church on the weekends with my mother was routine for me.
My mother could never afford private Catholic school for me as a young child. I liked the Catholic school uniforms because it made you look like a rich kid — something I always wanted to be. It wasn’t until I was a Freshman that we could afford the school and even then, I went for just one year to Central Catholic High School.
Looking back on what I know now, I thank God for the inability to be in that environment as a child because of what could have happened to me.
I was a “bad kid.” I hardly paid attention in class, was more concerned with what was happening outside than inside the classroom and disruptive at times. It started around 4th grade and continued until Sophomore year of high school.
The worst years were 7th and 8th grade though.
Myself, Joe Rodriguez and Brian Price were all cut ups in class. The only difference being, those guys knew when to stop and to do their homework. I never did.
We used to sit together in lunch everyday. We would make fun of everyone and everything, including the staff — most notably the Dean of Students, Dennis Gray.
Mr. Gray used to stalk the lunchroom. He was the disciplinarian of the school. He was very “tough minded” and minced very few words about how he felt towards you. That made me want to agitate him even more.
Brian and I used to do especially screwed up things to Mr. Gray. We’d whip skittles across the lunch room at him. I used to swear at him when he wasn’t looking. Brian and I both took cream cheese and spread it around our lips like it was something pornographic and then call him over to the table just to fuck with him. We had no idea what we were really doing.
One time I was swearing at him when he had his back turned. He turned around and caught me. He grabbed me by the arm and dragged me across the cafeteria and threw me against the wall. I was going to be expelled he told me.
“That’s it you little faggot. You are done for now you piece of trash. Wait here until after lunch and then we are headed to my office.”
I didn’t stay. When the bell rang, I ran. He must have forgotten that it happened because he never mentioned it again. I was always getting in trouble and was later almost expelled by Mr. Gray until my stepfather convinced him otherwise.
Dennis Gray was known for being a disciplinarian because of his background as a former priest in the Toledo Archdiocese. He taught at Central Catholic High School during the 80’s and had left the priesthood to become some form of administrator in the public sector. No one knew why he left the church and he had never said.
That’s because Dennis Gray was a pedophile.
Father Dennis Gray used to drive teenage boys to a cottage he co-owned on Crystal Lake, Michigan just 60 miles north of Toledo. While there, he would ply the boys with beer and liquor to get them drunk and then take advantage of them. At least a dozen men have filed a lawsuit against Dennis Gray and the Toledo Archdiocese, alleging the abuse. In a letter to one of his victims in 1995, the Catholic Church said that Father Gray had admitted to these acts.
He used to punish “bad behaving” altar boys at Central by sodomizing them and forcing oral sex on them. One victim tells a tale of being raped on a Sunday morning right before Father Gray gave a sermon to his family in their living room.
One man who was a victim of Dennis Gray is a Toledo firefighter, Tony Comes. He is the subject of the Oscar nominated documentary “Twist Of Faith.” Mr. Comes had buried the abuse he received at the hands of Father Gray during the 80’s.
Mr. Comes had married and had two children in the late 90’s. He had moved on with his life, despite the abuse, and still attended church. His wife converted to Catholicism at his request. In the early 2000’s he just bought a very nice home in the Toledo suburb of Maumee only to learn that Father Gray owned a home 5 doors down.
Not only was this pedophile free, he was living next door.
The film follows Mr. Comes discovery of Dennis Gray’s location and the feelings he had buried deep to forget. In coming to grips with his emotional abuse he almost loses his marriage. He has to tell his 9 year old daughter that he was raped and that the man who did it lived down the street.
All of this is terrible. There are numerous abuses that have been documented in the aforementioned film. But what is worse, to me, is the categorical failure of the institutions that allowed this to happen: The Catholic Church and the Toledo Police Department.
Since the 1950’s, Anthony Bosch, a Catholic and Chief of Police had an unwritten rule that anyone who arrested a Catholic priest in Toledo would be fired. In some rare cases that actually resulted in charges against priests, authorities blocked the release of files to the public. In other cases, priests were transferred to different churches or sent away for “treatment.” This unwritten policy had lasted until Bosch’s death in the early 80’s.
The Rev. Robert Lamantia, who oversaw the transfer of a priest who was suspected of abusing a boy, said church officials knew police would not investigate any of the allegations. There had never been an arrest of a priest until 1984, when one of them was caught receiving oral sex from a young boy in a Southwyck Mall bathroom.
That was one incident. Just one. Can you imagine how much was covered up in that 30+ years?
Joe Mahr, of the Toledo Blade, conducted an investigation in the early 2000’s that alleges as many as 10 priests were either not charged or received special treatment from the Toledo Police Department due to the standing of the priests within the community. It was also due to the prominence of their Chief, Bosch, within the community as well.
Not only were the heads of a religion allowing this to happen but so were the very people we paid to protect us.
The Toledo incidents were numerous and many more came to light nationally in cities of heavy Catholic influence such as Boston and Chicago. But ask any Catholic, as Mr. Comes asked his mother, why people still cling to these beliefs and they will tell you it is a religion of peace, despite the evidence to the contrary.
To date there have been 3400+ cases of abuse at the hands of Catholic Priests that we know of. Less people died in 9/11 than were abused by Catholic Priests.
But what about all the “good” the church does?
When Mr. Comes and the other victims of abuse filed a lawsuit against the church, the church paid out a little over $50K. They were lied to about the value of the church, by the church, citing “mental reservation” – an old Catholic rule that allows priests to lie in the interests of the church. Because it is more important to them that the church be protected than it’s flock.
The Catholic Church, and the Toledo Archdiocese in particular, are worth tens of millions.
I personally gave up on Catholicism and Christianity in my late teens and early twenties. Despite the upbringing, my mother always encouraged me to read up on various religions and philosophies. I have found enlightenment in education and a broader understanding of science and history versus a theology predicated on guilt, abuse and slavery of the soul.
I have known many a good Christian person but they are usually kind people who only bring up the positive aspects of life and never quote scripture in condemnation — unlike the fire and brimstone I was presented with as a youth.
Many of the saber rattling war mongers of the George W. Bush years did so under the guise of “Evangelicalism.” We needed to “liberate” Iraq, remember? We had to bring “democracy” to the Middle East. All that “crusading” lead to the creation of ISIL and eventually the conflict in Syria. And now those refugees that we do not accept out of fear of their religion are dying to actually participate in a “Christian democracy” yet a lot of Christians won’t let them in.
But what should I expect from these hypocrites?
You can ask Dennis Gray. He was never charged by the police and the Catholic Church settled his case for him. He has since relocated to Perrysburg, Ohio and is looking to join a church there. In his deposition the prosecuting attorney asked Gray if he really believed in Hell.
“It is a state of being, not an actual place.” he muttered.
That is a convenient answer for someone who committed a crime. And that is all any religion is if you let it be: a convenience when it serves them best.
Mr. Comes confronted his family and friends about their reluctance to support him during his anguish with the church. He was being torn apart by his inner conflict. He lost weight, couldn’t eat and was missing his signature humor. It only took a lack of reason and understanding of scientific rationale for me to abandon the church. Maybe because he is a better man than me, Mr. Comes has tried to live through the pain and remain devoted to his faith.
And what do his family and friends say about the abuse he received from Father Gray?
“Sorry that this happened to you, but he doesn’t represent us.”