Sunday, June 27, 2010

See if you can spot the pattern here

You'd think, under the circumstances, neither the Catholic Church nor BP would be eager to invite comparisons of its own behavior with the other's. And yet:

Item #1:

The chairman of a House panel investigating the Gulf oil spill said Friday that BP won't let members talk to several employees who may have critical information about what led to the catastrophe.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., told The Associated Press that BP PLC has cited its own investigation as its reason for denying access to the employees. […]

"They have been slow in bringing forth documents and witnesses we want to talk to," Stupak said of BP.

Item #2:

Pope Benedict XVI lashed out Sunday at what he called the "deplorable" raids carried out by Belgian police who detained bishops, confiscated computers, opened a crypt and took church documents as part of an investigation into priestly sex abuse.

Benedict made a rare personal entry into the escalating diplomatic dispute with Belgium, issuing a message of solidarity to the head of the Belgian bishops' conference and other bishops who were detained in the June 24 raid.

He said justice must take its course, but also asserted the right of the Catholic Church to investigate clerical abuse alongside civil law enforcement authorities.

The traditional "above-the-law" strategy has worked largely without a hitch for so long, but this is something different.

The parallel is with the creationists who, having largely lost the battle to drive mainstream evolutionary theory out of classrooms and textbooks, fell back on the strategy of pressing so-called creation science as evolutionary theory's co-equal (they're both "just theories," after all).  True, the teaching and study of biology and natural history will become complicated and confused as a result, but that's just an unlucky side effect for which the creationists will shed a bitter tear.

Same here.  Neither BP nor the the Pope is denying in principle the right of law enforcement authorities to investigate wrongdoing (however harsh and unfair such allegations may seem in the current case). They're just insisting that their own investigations have at least as much authority and right to proceed as civil law enforcement investigation.  Even if -- oh, heaven forfend -- their own "investigations" might have the effect (wholly unwanted, naturally) of undermining or compromising any investigation by law enforcement authorities.


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