By: Nathanael

Does application of the law now automatically depend on one’s relative public stature and power? Has there ever really been equal application of the law? 

Minor public figures usually suffer far more strict enforcement of the nation’s laws and statutes. One example was the arrest in Jacksonville, Florida of the well-known Independent Baptist pastor, Bob Gray, on May 19, 2006. He was arrested in at least 2 cases (potentially many more) of sexual molestation of elementary school girls at his local church decades back. In 1992 Mr. Gray left the country for Germany supposedly to do missionary work.  

Only since his arrest has it been revealed that Bob Gray had been “disciplined” in 1992 and 1997 for his sexual abuse problem by local church leaders. Why did these pastors fail to immediately report Bob Gray’s crimes? If Independent Baptist pastors commit crimes against children, then the church members must present them fully accountable to God and the law or then we are hypocrites and liars. Those in church authority who provide cover for these predators must be held accountable as well. Biblical Fundamentalists cannot avoid the sexual abuse problem in its ranks.  

Another relative small fry who has drawn major league attention is the fugitive polygamist, Warren Jeffs, of the Fundamentalist LDS Church (a derivative of the Mormons). Mr. Jeffs was recently added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Besides having multiple wives, the Deseret Morning News reported on May 07, 2006 the following alleged crimes of Jeffs: 

On Saturday, the FBI raised the reward for information leading to Jeffs' arrest to $100,000.

Jeffs was charged in St. George last month with rape as an accomplice, a first-degree felony. He is accused of forcing a teenage girl into a polygamous marriage with an older man. When she asked to leave the marriage, prosecutors say Jeffs threatened her with religious damnation.

In Mohave County, Ariz., Jeffs is facing sexual misconduct charges stemming from a child bride marriage. Federal prosecutors in Utah and Arizona have filed charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution against Jeffs. 

The abuse cases from Roman Catholic circles continue unabated. For example:  

Four say ex-priest abused them - Lake Forest parish: Lawsuit alleges he preyed on altar boys  - By Eric Herman, 06/14/06 

CHICAGO — The Archdiocese of Chicago ignored repeated warnings that the Rev. Robert Mayer was abusing children, moving him between parishes where he molested children for years, a new lawsuit alleges. 

Nuns on the Run? New Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits Filed Against Nuns

By Jim Kouri, 06/14/05 

Two new lawsuits have been filed against the Franciscan Sisters Order, which is headquartered in Rochester, MN. The lawsuits, filed in Olmsted County, stem from the sexual abuse of two girls by Sister Benen Kent. Last year, another lawsuit was filed against the Order by a California woman who was also abused by Sister Benen Kent. 

Excellent chronicles of the ongoing abuse problem by Roman Catholic priests and the intentional cover-ups by RC bishops can be found at:

In comparison to the appropriate pursuit of Mr. Gray and Mr. Jeffs there is considerable difference in the way RC authorities are able to internally handle abuse cases. Does law enforcement operate under different “rules” in the pursuit of the RC priests and the RC hierarchy who have covered up these crimes? Why is it that no American RC bishops have yet to be prosecuted?  

Some questions will likely arise in considering the following news items. 

Benedict XVI Named as a Defendant in an American Lawsuit 09/07/2005 

There is a recent follow-up to the lawsuit against Pope Benedict XVI accusing him of covering up the sexual abuse of three children in Houston, Texas. Representatives of the Pope asked President George Bush to confirm that Benedict XVI benefits from juridical immunity as the Head-of-State of the Vatican. If immunity is granted, the Pope is exempt from liability as a defendant.            

US says Pope immune from clergy abuse lawsuit 09/20/2005 

[JURIST] The US government has argued in a court filing that Pope Benedict XVI [official profile] has immunity as the head of the Vatican state [official website] and that a lawsuit against him should be dismissed. The lawsuit pending in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas charges the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his role as head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [official website; Wikipedia backgrounder] with covering up clergy sex abuse [JURIST news archive], including that of a seminarian at a Houston church in the mid-1990s. 

Vatican Enjoys Foreign Immunity in Abuse Case  - 10/07/2005 

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A federal judge in Kentucky has ruled that the Holy See is a foreign state that enjoys certain immunity protections, placing restrictions on a lawsuit by three men who allege the Vatican covered up the sexual abuse of children by priests. 

According to a ruling obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Judge John G. Heyburn II of the U.S. District Court in Louisville rejected the victims' argument that the Holy See is an international religious organization and ruled that it is a foreign state subject to provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. 

Federal court rules Vatican has immunity in clergy abuse suit10/09/2005 

[JURIST] The US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky [official website] has ruled that the Holy See [official website] is a foreign state subject to immunity protections of the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act [text], placing limitations on a lawsuit by three men who allege a cover-up by the Vatican to protect priests who sexually abused children. The court dismissed the plaintiffs' argument that the Vatican is an international religious organization. 

Judge dismisses civil suit against Pope, recognizing head of state immunity

[JURIST] A US District Court judge Thursday dismissed a civil suit accusing Pope Benedict XVI [official profile] of conspiring to conceal clergy sex abuse [JURIST news archive], citing the pontiff's immunity as head of the Vatican state [official website]. Judge Lee Rosenthal, of the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, ruled in response to a "Suggestion of Immunity" submitted by the Department of Justice [JURIST report], requesting the Pope be granted immunity because of incompatibility with the "United States' foreign policy interests." 

Judge: Suit against Vatican can proceed06/08/2006 

PORTLAND, Ore. – A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a sex abuse lawsuit against the Vatican can move forward with its claim that the Holy See bears responsibility for a priest who was transferred from city to city even though he was known to be a molester.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman said in his decision that there are exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, under which the Vatican is typically immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.

Rejecting the Vatican's bid to dismiss the case, Mosman ruled that there was enough of a connection between the Vatican and the priest, who died in 1992, for him to be considered a Vatican employee under Oregon law.

Mosman wrote that the Holy See did "not offer evidence to contradict this allegation of its involvement in transferring a known child-molester." 

Vatican appeals ruling in molestation case - 06/09/2006 

The Vatican filed an appeal Thursday to a federal judge's ruling refusing to dismiss a lawsuit that claims the Holy See bears responsibility for a priest who was transferred from city to city even though he was known to be a molester. 

Jeffrey Lena, a Berkeley, Calif., attorney representing the Vatican, said a district court had agreed to send to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals his appeal of a ruling Wednesday that the Vatican may be subject to the lawsuit despite the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act. The act presumes states, including the Vatican, are immune from being sued, but there may be exceptions. 

Are Roman Catholic priests or bishops in America subject to US laws and if not, what is their legal reality?

Are domestic Roman Catholic priests or bishops citizens of the
US or citizens of the Holy See?  

What are the implications that the Roman Catholic organization is not a “religious organization” or a church but an extension of a nation state and possibly a commercial enterprise as well?  

How did Pope Benedict XVI receive sovereign immunity ex post facto for things he did earlier as Cardinal Ratzinger and not as the Pope? 

Given the apparent differences in the Kentucky, Texas and Oregon federal district court cases, it has yet to be determined if the Holy See or the Pope can be successfully sued in an US court. What can be concluded from these court cases is that the Holy See/Roman Catholic organization is uniformly recognized as a foreign nation state and not a church.  

This characteristic could provide an explanation as to why the RC bishops operate differently than Baptist pastors. The American RC bishops may be able to flaunt the domestic laws because they are the equivalent of an ambassador with diplomatic or sovereign immunity until that immunity has been waived.   

There are financial ramifications of the Roman Catholic organization not being a church but a foreign nation state. The tax deductibility of contributions made by individuals is likely no longer a qualified deduction under Title 26, Section 170 of the US Code. Correspondingly, the RC nation state could be viewed as a commercial enterprise and its collected revenue would no longer be tax-exempt. Just wondering … what would be the effective date for calculating the amount of back taxes owed by the RC organization and individuals if charitable contributions made to that foreign nation state were to be disallowed?  

There are direct political ramifications of the Roman Catholic organization not being a church but a nation state. A conflict of interest and allegiance exists if someone is a member of the RC organization and is a public officeholder in the US. Case in point is the Supreme Court, where five of the nine justices belong to the RC organization - Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia. Is it really possibly for someone to take the oath of office to uphold and protect the Constitution (having supposedly met certain American citizenship requirements) and also be a citizen of … let’s say Germany and subject to the laws and instruction of that foreign nation state?  

In view of the continuing RC child molestation problem, its declaration of being a nation state or kingdom, its claim to be the true universal “church” and the Pope supposedly being the Vicar of Christ, does the Bible speak to any of this?  

Luke 4:1-13 (New American Standard Bible)

The Temptation of Jesus

 1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness

 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.

 3 And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."

 4 And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.'"

 5 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

 6 And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

 7 "Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours."

 8 Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"

 9 And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;

 10 for it is written,

 11 and,

 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"

 13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.  

Mark 9:41-43 (New American Standard Bible)

41 "For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.

 42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.

 43 "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,

Hopefully we will at least be moved to demand from the politicians and the pulpit clear uniformity in bringing to justice all who have committed crimes and those who provided cover, regardless of who is involved.

The Kingdom of Jesus Christ is not found in the rulers, powers and nation states of this world. The true Church of Jesus Christ does not run from its sin but recognizes its fallen nature and mortifies the flesh. The Body of Christ seeks His forgiveness and turns from their evil ways.  

Mark 8:34-38 (New American Standard Bible)

34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

 35 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.

 36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

 37 "For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

 38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

"Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Nathanael is a self-employed engineer and lives in metropolitan area of Dallas, Texas. He had only ever been a life long registered Republican but changed to the Constitution Party in May of 2004. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Nathanael can be reached at

Published in the June 26, 2006 issue of  Ether Zone.
Copyright 1997 - 2006 Ether Zone.

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