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   ALERT............................           
"If you want to know what's evil and what's righteous in this world use the compass of liberty and you will know if your judgment, direction and faith is correct"    
                                                                       
Victorious America
THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR THIS CHANGE
   THE CHURCH PART 2

THE CHURCH 

The Church is presented as an essay in 3 parts:
Part One:   Protecting the Faith, the Organization,
                     the People and the Leaders

Part Two:  
Accountability
Part Three:   Making the Change

PART TWO 

ACCOUNTABILITY

While I have mentioned previously that direct accountability to the people is the foundation for democracy it also acts as the universal principle that is essential to protect the individuals rights. Therefore I must repeat again, this principle of accountability is the cornerstone to maintain civility, whether in secular or religious institutions. Furthermore, it rises above both by mutually encompassing them as a universal principle to protect the dignity of the individual. 

You cannot separate the source form the ocean. The source here is the faith, represented by the church and the ocean is the people represented by the worshipers. You cannot say the rights of the people to hold the leaders directly accountable to them is a violation of the source. In actuality, it is simply a violation of the representatives of faith and the universal principles that faith is based on, to protect peoples dignity from corruption. Thus, when this one principle cannot be exercised by the people in an organizations because it is omitted in the by-laws, corruption of its leaders will follow as sure as the tide form the ocean will come in. 

Such an omission of this cornerstone results in an organization losing its credibility. You cannot say you serve God and violate the peoples rights in the same breath. If religious leaders put themselves in a position to avoid being accountable to people, and only to be accountable to God, then what would God the father think of those that violate his children's rights? What would you think as a parent if it happened to your child? Wouldn't you hold those responsible for their actions? Do you think God makes halfwits for parents when it comes to protecting their families?

Recently on Fox News, a reporter questioning a priest on the situation of sexual abuses by priests said he felt funny and guilty for even asking such question to a Bishop, but was compelled to because he has children in Catholic Schools. Now I don't have a problem with Catholic schools because I personally think they are great learning institutions. Yet I do have a problem with this reporter's submissive attitude. I think the article written in "Victorious America" will give a clear example why I think this reporter's response to this bishop was not only inappropriate, but that he was unaware of the potential harm this attitude has had on the victims of abuse and their families.

BOY SCOUTS ANALOGY

We think a simple concept can clearly illustrate this and we can show this by citing a clear example. It must be remembered that this is just an example to clarify a point, a principle.

In the Boy Scouts of America do you think that the responsibilities of the Scoutmaster and the boy scouts are equal? You might say the values of their lives are equal but the parents give their trust to the leaders based on the credibility of the Scout organization.

Now suppose there is a problem of abusive behavior on the part of some local scout leaders that comes to light which affects the well being of the children.  It is not dealt with or addressed by the scout master or his superior. Do you think the parents have a right to complain? Do they have the right to take action and hold that scout leader responsible? Now if people in responsible positions keep ignoring the parents and greet them with such statements as "Get over it", "Nothing ever occurred" and "In any case, you are not perfect yourself!" Do you think any of the parents would listen or accept these outrageous insults or would they take action to remove such people before they destroy the good organization of the scouts and the integrity of its president altogether? 

To create unity by using the great name of an organization to silence and cover-up inappropriate behavior has disastrous results and must never be permitted. Now who is protecting the organization - the negligent leaders, by being irresponsible and covering up and thus causing the ruin of the organization when the truth comes out or the parents who try to keep the organization pure and upright? 

It is the idea in the mind of this reporter and most people that all religious representatives are to be considered sacred and you are offending their respectability in the name of the sacred and even God by asking such questions or holding them to task for such heinous behavior and cover-ups of pedophile priests in this case. All are culpable here. Not to be outraged is an offense to God. Not taking action for the necessary changes, in the strictest sense is a violation of faith.

This myth that religious leaders have special status and why there is such submissiveness of the believers in the face of such indignities is discussed thoroughly in Victorious America. This erroneous taboo of questioning the  authorities in the religious world was the perfect setting where the priests and many bishops used the sacred to hide and cover-up their actions as religious leaders.

BACKGROUND

The reason for this background is to show the commonality of the church's hierarchy with the religious hierarchy of the SGI when dealing with issues concerning the empowerment of the parishioners. This is the key section which explains many things that are essential for change in your institution and the obstacles you may face in your attempt to make change. Within these pages is an endless repository of information for your reference that lead to the isolation of an essential principle that will put to rest all your doubts and fears so you can move together with absolute clarity and resolute faith to make the necessary changes. That is why understanding the background is so important.  It will forge the understanding of how the exclusion of one single principle in another major religious institution cherishing the most noble ideals of faith could arrive at the same exact process in covering up abuses. This background will give you confidence because of the familiarity with your own circumstances. This section provides both the background and uncovers the same senseless rational of another major religious institution that can justify the process used to cover up their abuses. 

Again, this is not meant for you to take up my cause. Rather you should see it as a perfect illumination for you to gain confidence to make the changes in your own institution.

This section provides clarity when reading the essay Victorious America, because you will quickly understand that what was written within her pages was a response to cover-ups of excessive abuses of authorities leading a religious organization and to the discovery of the exclusion of essential principles that would prevent such abuses from occurring.

The essay Victorious America provides an endless resource for establishing a universal guideline to secure and protect what is holy and sacred in religious organizations. What is written in its pages will stand the test of time for it is based on the ultimate principles that give dignity to an individual's life. It transfers the greatest of ideals cherished by all of humanity into the ultimate vehicle for their implementation into institutions that embrace the hopes of all people. Nothing like it before has ever been written, for it connects what all people experience in living to a perfect understanding of what is truly sacred and what is ultimately evil without exception and with perfect clarity.

At the same time if it does not peak your interest, please go to the three documents at the end of this article in section 3. What you will find there is a complete guideline for your understanding and clarity of the situation in the church today. These articles speak for themselves.

While I am a member who is actively protesting my organization's actions, I cannot any longer with a clear conscience support the world wide religious organization, the Buddhist organization called the SGI-USA. It continues to implement procedures which violate the essential fundamental rights of its membership through omission of direct accountability of the leadership to the members. As a result of this omission, they have been able to cover up numerous abusive and unethical actions of their leadership year after year, including that of sexual abuse. As in the church, there was no empowered constituency to hold the leaders accountable, so the abuses went on with innocent people's lives being shattered and individual credibility destroyed by their leaders by virtue of their prestigious positions as unquestioned representatives of the faith. There was no recourse for grievances under the absolute control of the leadership who had the only say in the decision making process. Only the leaders were sanctioned to make decisions about fellow leader's behavior. The membership never had this right. If any questionable behavior was brought up, the leader's decisions were final with no other recourse but to them. 

In the SGI, the leadership still has the unconditional support of the members. They have continued to support them though fear of being cast as traitors and the fear of suffering endless damnation for merely speaking out and holding their leaders accountable. This is a fear cast upon them thought the manipulation of faith and the ideals of the organization. Frankly speaking, the abuse here is more of betrayal of trust that is achieved and enforced thought a tyrannical code of silence based on the sincere commitment of the members to achieve and protect the highest of ideals. Their sincere commitment is accompanied by relinquishing their most noble commitment to themselves and their comrades, their right of inquiry and the right to a credible response from the authorities. 

Now the dam has broken in the church and Catholic people have gained the courage to speak out. They are luckier in that sense than the people in the SGI because the issues are now out in the open and there is a chance for change. I think "Victorious America" is now more suitable for the church to use until the membership of the SGI wakes up by the example of your courageous actions and realize they wont be punished for insisting on change when there are existing conditions that lead to inequities. Either that, or they will be ruined by their own doing in a never ending cycle of denials and cover-ups.

I think for those in the church the agenda for change is just being initiated, so the first steps are very important for they will set the future direction for change. Even though the bishops apologized to the parishioners, the same process remains entrenched and apologies without changes lack compassion and sincerity. For too long the accountability of the Catholic people to the priests acting as representatives of the sacred, has been the determining factor to silence victims of abuse. It is time for a change to make the priests accountable to the people to protect the sacred. The process of recourse for grievances by the parishioners that has been historically controlled by the priests must now be transferred and passed on to the parishioners who should now have the final decision making power in cases of misconduct and excessive abuses of authority.

Finally the door has opened for reformation and now might be the only time that the parishioners of the church can grab the reins to make the changes to protect the church and its teachings. God has always trusted that the people would understand what was written in the scriptures and believed in them. Now it's the priest's turn to trust the people since the people have put unlimited trust in them for centuries. Such a small change to make the priests accountable directly to the people for their indiscretions will not destroy the church but will finally put its house in order. Is it not ironic that it was the freedom of the press, a secular institution to inform the public, that acted as the agent through investigations and editorials to initiate change in the church that otherwise would have probably remained unchanged behind closed doors and cover-ups for years to come? 

Unlike the church, lay people in the SGI are the leaders who have replaced the priest's duties since the high priest excommunicated the entire SGI because they would not remain silent about the sexual escapades and financial infidelity of the priesthood. Nor would they acquiesce to the acceptance of a false doctrine of faith issued by the high priest in order to maintain his absolute power. While this all seems very noble, unfortunately the SGI just picked up where the priests left off.

What is ironic is the SGI has continued in the same tradition as the priests to protect themselves. They fundamentally embrace the same agenda only with a different view of faith, in order to cover up their own escapades thought the lack of direct accountability of the leaders to the people. Unfortunately, it was the same agenda the church hierarchy has been using, and still is, to maintain absolute control in all matters over its parishioners. 

The difference is that the SGI can hide its actions form the eye of public scrutiny, since there are no priests. Thus they can substantiate their claim that the SGI is democratic because it is just the common people who are running the organization. But the reality is they have modified their priestly garb to suits and jeans, and have adopted the same processes of cover-ups and abuses of power as the priests before them who they replaced.  They still maintain absolute control through the denial of this one essential principle to the membership: accountability. No matter who takes the lead in change, if the cornerstone is omitted in the by-laws, the abuses will continue even if the ones who instituted the change are the victims of abuse.

Are all the priests in the church bad people? Of course not. The majority serve with the utmost sincerity but even if a good priest knows there are inequities committed by other priests and covers up for them, then no matter what great deeds he has preformed he is nothing other than a co-conspirator and has broken his pledge to serve and protect his lay people.

It has always been common knowledge as to the goings-on inside the church hushed by both the priests and the lay people as the veil of protection that was woven to cover up such heinous actions. All were kept silent by the fear and shame to speak out, so as not to be shunned from the embrace of the church or thinking that they were somehow insulting God by putting the spotlight on such scandals in his church. This fear and secrecy was induced by the religious influence that the bishops and the priests wielded over the people in the name of protecting the good name of the faith and the institution.

In regards to these issues we have written numerous times to the President of the SGI, Mr. Ikeda reporting such abuses of power in our own organization. We have never personally received a response from him other than a message from his Vice President to say he read our letters. It would be like receiving a letter from a cardinal on behalf of the pope that said, keep praying, have patience,... however the abuses never stopped. Soon I refused to talk to leaders that would cover-up the actions of sexual predators and other abuses of power. This is a portrait of the situation we face. 

People said to me I cannot say that President Ikeda has received these letters. They may be protecting him because of his busy schedule. But many of my associates have received personal letters form him directly. What I know for certain is that sexual exploits happened in the past which were covered up by the leaders. This caused a great deal of turmoil at that time and all the while President Ikeda was informed of the abuses. While the smiles arrived to save the day, the agenda remains the same even today and still such exploits have been going on along with emotional and psychological persecutions of the victims who would speak out and determined not to be brushed aside. All this keeps occurring even thought President Ikeda set a policy for no tolerance for such acts of sexual predators when he was a leader in the youth division some 50 years ago. 

The pope is considered to have unquestioned authority. Likewise few if any members of the SGI have ever disagreed with or disputed President Ikeda or the high priest, before the split. Since their authority and wisdom is considered unconditional and somewhat infallible, those who may have done so have felt the wrath of the leaders and members alike, so to ever disagree with President Ikeda is not only frowned upon in the SGI, but a cause for persecution. While President Ikeda himself says you don't always have to agree with me, in spite of that, he has nevertheless occasionally mentioned that someone like himself will not appear again.

Parallel to your own predicament within the church, it became absolutely necessary to renounce my prior blind allegiance to the SGI, for I could no longer be silent and compliant on certain issues that are presented herein on this site. As people continue to suffer and we are met with unresponsiveness and stonewalling from the entire organization top to bottom on these issues, I remain steadfast in remonstration with the SGI as it now stands, until the necessary changes that we proposed and initiated are made from within to empower the people to oversee the actions of the leaders. I demand accountability to higher standards from an organization that intends to represent such noble ideals as world peace, the dignity of man, democratic ideals, enlightenment and the eternal happiness of all human beings. Until that time I will not be involved.

I doubt that President Ikeda will move to do anything to change matters unless pressure is put on the organization from the outside and for this reason I must say to President Ikeda, I am very disappointed in you! I never would have imaged as sincere members, we would be forced to take such actions. You said that each one of us counted and was infinitely precious and we sincerely believed you. We believed that you cared about each one of our lives individually, that you would protect and defend each one of us. We pledged our total loyalty to you and stood with you and defended you when you mounted such a righteous stand against the arrogance and corruption of the priesthood. What happened along the way, I only hope you can reflect on in all humbleness.

Although President Ikeda often talks about American democracy and a religious organization that belongs to the people where the majority of the membership are in control, the rigid controlling hierarchy has never been changed.  No such reforms to a system of participatory management or empowerment of the membership to oversee the leaders has ever been attempted except by us.  There is just a steady flow of statements and PR issued by leaders asserting their own efforts for a more democratic and open organization to cover up the fact that the present organization is nothing but the model of tyranny and oppression.

In the end you can dress a person up in the finest clothes and makeup, but once the clothes come off and the makeup is removed and everyone stands naked, nothing can be hidden. When you take the clothes and makeup off the SGI and the high priest who excommunicated them, they both share one thing in common: their one agenda to cover-up the lack of anything even remotely resembling a democratic or humanistic institution. In fact, without their clothes one can see through their true view of the people of America. To them American people are like unruly school children who are not ready for freedom, thus a rigid system of authority must be imposed from above. Here the people are considered incapable of understanding the big picture and in essence are considered indigents, the unwashed masses, by the top leaders. So to think that democratic ideals can exist within such conditions is absolutely absurd.

The top leaders operate within a closed system of unchecked authority. They will not permit the members to be empowered to hold them directly accountable. The Representatives Committee proposal that we initiated, to empower the members to participate in the management of the organization, operated without even resorting to the process of voting. Nevertheless, it was forbidden and for the crime of trying to implement it through open discussion, we were demonized for undermining the authority of leaders and breaking the unity of the membership. Furthermore, we were reviled by false malicious rumors being spread that we were conspiring to vote for leaders and start a separate organization while we never intended or proposed anything of that sort. So the cover-ups continue and absolute blind trust is maintained. 

The leadership sets the only acceptable standard for the definition of concepts whether based on reason or not and calls it "dialogue". When we asked a top leader about the meaning of 'direct accountability to the members', he said it only means 'more dialogue' and followed it up by asking who am I to interpret this concept. I am not qualified or certified by the SGI to offer such an opinion.  This actually illustrates the dialogue of tyranny, a deadly flu of an Orwellian strain. You can always recognize them. Dialogue is their official calling. They have even stressed the power of dialogue to negotiate with terrorists and the tyrants of Islamic nations for peace and understanding. They are the 'dialogue people'. It is their greatest public relations stunt. Need I say more! 

They are now using 'democracy' as new public relations tool in an attempt to convince the members and the general public that the organization is becoming mainstream and established in American society. Now if a religious organization claims they have adopted democratic ideals, they first must adopt the fundamental principle of accountability, the cornerstone.  As we have been stating all along, this is the inalienable right of all people in an institution to protect themselves against abuses of authorities though the empowerment of its membership to hold those in responsible positions directly accountable to them. As we have expressed in our mission statement in the Introduction, if you want to find out what a religious or secular organization holds its allegiance to, whether democratic ideals or tyranny, just put the cornerstone to work in question form and insist upon an answer. That will put an end to countless years of research and endless analysis and dialogues to immediately reveal what is really happening there.

The SGI policy remains the same. If there are alleged abuses in the organization, the only recourse available to the members is only though a committee exclusively made up of the leaders with their decision absolute and final and with no other avenue of recourse available to the members. This does not fit the definition of democratic ideals. It's the antithesis, resembling the little red book. If any member disputes this process or questions the leader's decision or if a member may stand up for their fellow lay member because he has found that the leader's decision is unjust, he is ostracized, discredited and demonized while the perpetrators are portrayed as defenders of the faith. Even if it is an issue of sexual abuse. 

This is a mirror of the same process that was used in the church to cover-up abuses up until this point. So by reading Victorious America you can truly understand every aspect of a process that would imprison the people and poison their faith. In doing so, you can spot it when it tries to rears its ugly head and prevent it from infecting your institution ever again even after changes are made. 

The picture you will see when looking at the SGI, are the words "Democratic Ideals" written on the cover of their book to gain support from the American public. But when you open it up, you will find a pair of handcuffs for any seeker who enters into their world of faith, as you leave your fundamental rights behind you at the door. There is no democracy, nor is there any respect for the dignity of the individual without the cornerstone in place.

I have made sure I included this posturing of the SGI herein, so when you go to check out and investigate the SGI you will not be fooled by them or for that matter, any other institutions, secular or religious, no matter how great their vision and words appear. You only have to ask one question: "Are the people in the organization fully empowered to oversee the actions of their leaders and make the final decision concerning abuses of power and is it written in the by-laws or constitution?" In the SGI, they will find every way to avoid this question, and even if you persist, you will not be able to get an answer. 

I also included this background section, so that when you struggle with this issue of your empowerment, make sure that the final decisions must be made by the lay people concerning the abuses within the Catholic Church. When it comes to the matter of giving your full trust to those in positions of authority, issues of abuse of power must be dealt with by you, the people. The authorities are meant to serve you the people, and if you abandon your right to judge and direct those in authority, then nothing will change.

SUMMARY


To sum up, this omission of accountability to the parishioners which is pervasive in both our religious institutions can be clarified in the statement "If we carefully look at the thread that weaves the mosaic of suppression we can clearly see that all the strands carry the same DNA". In this case it's the lack of direct accountability and the empowerment to hold the actions of religious leaders directly accountable to the membership as instituted in the by-laws. This must be injected into both our institutions to save the body from the cancer of suppression.

The problems in the Church and the SGI must be solved not only for the sake of our respective institutions but for evolution of democracy in the free world. The totalitarian nations that prohibit freedom of worship are observing our dilemma with amusement and delight. Moreover they are taking advantage of the current upheaval to further justify their absolute power over the people prohibiting the exercise of their fundamental rights and to freely practice their religious beliefs.

The next part is adapted from an essay from Victorious America from The Remonstration that is modified to focus on church issues and further understanding of this principle. Again thank you for your time and indulgence. I hope we have been helpful to you so you can practice your faith with the full confidence to support your institutions with great pride and confidence. 

I am sure you will find this reading very stimulating and tremendously incisive. What I have written here was inspired by my life-time experience in religious organizations: a passion for the rights of people and my love of liberty. It was written with excruciating diligence. Each sentence being pondered over and over until it was clear to me that it could be understood clearly by all people. Therefore, this site is constantly being edited with the help of more capable people in that area. Thank you for your patience and your input and comments would be helpful as well. Watch for the updates. Victorious America is a perpetual renaissance, a work in progress. 

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VICTORIOUS AMERICA WEB SITE LAUNCHED JULY 4TH, 2000
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