Vatican to Hear Debate About Psychotropic Meds for Children

Kermit Cole
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Robert Whitaker, Irving Kirsch, Joanna Moncrieff, Pat Bracken, Giovanni Fava, Jaakko Seikkula and others are to participate in a June 14-15 conference, hosted by the Vatican, that will examine the evidence for (and against) the rise of psychiatric medication and fall of psychosocial treatment for children.

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Press release for the June 13 press conference associated with the event:

Leading Experts to Speak at Vatican about the Controversy of Children and Psychotropics

Psychiatric medications have emerged as a first line of treatment for youth emotional and behavioral problems. Concurrently, the use of psychosocial intervention has fallen. An upcoming June 14-15 conference at the Vatican examines this trend—making accurate information available in an area typically shrouded in industry marketing—and asks, “Are the rising global prescription rates justified by the clinical trial evidence?” An interdisciplinary team of the world’s leading authorities, including award winning journalist Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic), acclaimed Harvard psychologist Irving Kirsch (The Emperor’s New Drugs), and renowned psychiatrists Sami Timimi, Giovanni Fava, Joanna Moncrieff, and Pat Bracken will examine and debate the controversy about the safety and effectiveness of psychotropics and other treatments, and conclude that based on the evidence, psychosocial options should be the first choice.

The following speakers, a multidisciplinary, multinational team of 4 psychiatrists, 4 psychologists, 1 social worker, 1 family therapist, and 1 journalist, will be available for interviews on a special media day, June 13 at the Hotel Columbus (via della Conciliazione 33, Roma, 06-686 5435) as well as throughout the conference:

Dr. David Antonuccio: Psychologist, Professor Emeritus, author of “Psychotherapy vs. Medication for Depression,” and recipient of the Bud Ogel Award for Distinguished Achievement

Dr. Pat Bracken: Psychiatrist, author of Postpsychiatry: Mental Health in a Postmodern World.

Dr. David Cohen: Clinical Social Worker, Professor, author of Mad Science and Your Drug May Be Your Problem, recent Fulbright-Tocqueville Chair to France

Dr. Barry Duncan: Psychologist, author of What’s Right With You, creator of a US designated evidence based intervention, and featured in award winning film, Comfortably Numb

Dr. Giovanni Fava: Psychiatrist, author of several important articles regarding long term effects of SSRIs, and is Editor-in-Chief of the high impact journal, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

Dr. Irving Kirsch: Psychologist, Harvard Professor, and author of The Emperor’s New Drugs whose work was recently highlighted on “60 minutes”

Dr. Joanna Moncrieff: Psychiatrist, author of The Myth of the Chemical Cure, often featured on BBC radio, television, and website: http//news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8138893.stm

Dr. Jaakko Seikula: Psychologist, author of Dialogical Meetings in Social Networks, and developer of the “Open Dialogue” approach which treats person with psychosis with less medication and hospitalization

Dr. Jacqueline Sparks: Family Therapist, Professor, and author of “Pediatric Antipsychotics: A Call for Ethical Care”

Dr. Sami Timimi: Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Professor, author of Naughty Boys, and opinion leader in children’s mental health whose work has been featured on the BBC.

Mr. Robert Whitaker: Journalist, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, which won the 2010 Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Association award for best investigative journalism, book category, of that year.

Contact Marcia Barbacki to schedule interviews by calling (561) 389-7363, or at [email protected].  Alternative contact: Dr. Barry Duncan at [email protected] or (561) 561-3640

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

82 COMMENTS

  1. Am I sure that mainstream psychiatry will shrug this off as yet another anti-psychiatry tirade, evidenced by the fact that none of the speakers are defenders of the faith.

    I refer them to this quote from the press release:

    “An upcoming June 14-15 conference at the Vatican examines this trend—making accurate information available in an area typically shrouded in industry marketing—”

  2. Of course, I am fascinated by the fact that this will take place in the Vatican. How did this come about? Is there someone in the Catholic hierarchy who is sympathetic to our cause?

    The Vatican is definitely not a place you just rent for your event, so the venue, as I am sure everyone knows, is very significant.

    Great thanks to whoever arranged this.

    • @Darby Penney

      Outstanding point. Brilliant. “leading experts” That says it all.

      These “leading experts” will no doubt report back to us breathlessly about their triumphs when they get back.

      We need to remember our place as far as they are concerned is to be cheerleaders and acolytes, buy their books and be greatful…

      If they were real allies they wouldn’t dream of going without survivors….if they were on our side they would demand that as a condition of going…

      That probably seems harsh but it’s the truth really…I haven’t anything about this except here so I suppose their might be going to be a token role. Someone pushed forward with a misery memoir to slake the palate of people who revel in hearing about others torment at a safe distance….

      • Of course you are being harsh, but that is so “you” that it hardly surprising anymore :D.

        These people have put their reputations on the line to help those like us while you and I write anonymously. Note that the easy thing to do for them, and their livelihoods, would have been to be part of the status quo, the “establishment” so to speak. Instead they are challenging it at great personal cost.

        This is a great step. And it’s the kind of thing that I would love to see MIA doing more, not less. Engaging all sectors of society on this matter, regardless of politics, religion, etc. Fighting psychiatric abuse is universal and I am happy that MIA sees it that way too.

  3. This is great news!

    Pope John Paul, II visited a hospital called New Hope several years ago, and the Pontifical Council for the Family made a statement about the need to look at nutritional deficiencies and immunological reactions to food and the environment. –

    http://nhfi.org/

    New Hope using an orthomolecular approach.

    Most of us would disagree with the term “chemical imbalance”, but the idea of looking for other *root causes* seems to me to make sense, especially when it comes to children. –

    http://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com/root-causes-of-mental-illness/

    We should be looking at not only the least restrictive environments, but the most inclusive… and on the medical-side of things – the least harmful and most effective.

    Duane

    • Robert Whitaker,

      Would you please consider bringing these points to the meeting in Vatican City?

      Pope John Paul II had an appreciation for non-drug approaches for children that needs to be passed along.

      Pope Francis seems to have empathy for those who are disabled, and would surely appreciate the opportunity to *prevent* disability (psychiatric drugs with children).

      Thank you,

      Duane

    • Terrific news indeed. Unless my numbers are wrong, there are over 1.3 Billion people who consider themselves Catholic.

      By all means, this foot in the door will get major coverage in All the major media.

      The left can ignore the Gosnell murder trial, but they won’t Dare turn their backs on the Vatican.

      And since So much of Psychiatry/Psychology comes from Humanism, That’s not likely to play at all well with the Vatican.

      http://www.americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III

      “Good Without A God”, right on the title bar.

      While one conference isn’t going to fix everything, this will get the ball rolling.

      Wouldn’t you love to see the Pope – on Prime Time – condemn the practice of elevating Atheism to a degree course in Medicine?

      • “Wouldn’t you love to see the Pope – on Prime Time – condemn the practice of elevating Atheism to a degree course in Medicine?”

        That’s well said and in my opinion true. The Church (generally — always some exceptions) has progressively abdicated its role and responsibilities as it pertains to problems of living over the last 100 years. Counseling the flock on the challenges of living a Christian life has always been the purview of the Church and, for the members of their congregation, an incredible help. Telling members of the congregation that the Church can’t help with their problems anymore and directing them to the atheism of Psychiatry is…well, not good.

        Time will tell the impact of this meeting, but I like that a discussion is happening.

  4. As a Christian, I pray that God helps us.

    Convincing the Vatican that psychiatry is a fraudulent endeavor would make our cause advance a great deal, way more than convincing the NRA of the same.

    I am sure you guys will do a great job but just in case you need some unsolicited hints. The Vatican came under great deal of pressure when the pedophilia scandal was uncovered. I supported those attacking the Vatican then because it is inconceivable for me that so much abuse could have happened for so long with the Vatican covering up. However, one of the excuses provided by the Vatican to defend itself, if such a defense is even possible, is that when the bulk of these abuses happened (60s, 70s and 80s) they just limited themselves to follow “psychiatry’s advise” at the time on how to deal with pedophiles: send them to psychiatric counseling. So this fact can be definitely exploited to make sure the Vatican understands that psychiatry is not their friend.

        • Actually I am waiting on updates, they’ve got Whitaker, Moncrieff, Kirsch, Seikkula (the Open Dialogue man), etc, together in Vatican. What? Why have they all gone to Vatican? Well, obviously there’s a conference, but it’s not easy to get any important name like them to a single conference. How have they gathered all of them in that single place? Did pope personally invite them? OK, I admit that Healy is missing. And some other people.

          But anyway, the post just says that there’s a conference in Vatican but it doesn’t say what the conference is about and who has called it. It doesn’t make it divine if it’s in Vatican. Are they preaching to priests or is it scientific conference, what are they doing there?

          • But in any case, from a broader perspective, I guess it’s a good thing that these people go there and talk about these issues. Most of the general public haven’t ever heard of any of these names.

  5. I would like to see Pope Francis make issue an encyclical on this topic.

    IMO, the subject of mind-altering drugs for children warrants such a statement for several reasons:

    1) Psychotropic drugs are not safe for children, and they deserve protection

    2) These drugs cause disability with long-term use

    3) These drugs are used by force

    4) Mind-altering drugs affect the journey of the human soul here on this earth, in ways that are profound – bringing the matter into the realm of ‘Natural Law’ – the right of the individual (and parents of children) to exercise ‘freedom of conscience’ (and ‘freedom of religion’, for Catholics) and *not* be forced to give their child such a drug.

    An encyclical would give Roman Catholic families in this country the tool needed to *reject* a conventional psychiatric approach for a child in lieu of *safer* and more *effective* treatments, using the constitutional right of ‘freedom of religion*.

    Duane

  6. This is fascinating. I too am concerned about the lack of inclusion of someone to speak from the point of view of lived experience. I am also surprised that the Vatican is involved – maybe more things are possible than cynics would imagine with a new Pope who would wash the feet of a Muslim woman.

    I was thrilled with the chance to watch the presentations from the recent conference in Sweden, and I can’t wait to hear from this group of writers whose work I have devoured and admired.The least that will happen is that we’ll get updates on their work – which is great in itself; the prospects for reaching more people worldwide through the Catholic Church are a potential huge upside.

  7. Hmmm…a little clarity about this would be nice.

    My guess is that this is one of those TED.com talks/conference.

    Like this one http://www.news.va/en/news/tedx-conference-coming-to-vatican

    Hotel Columbus via della Conciliazione 33 is just outside Vatican City. “TEDxViaDella Conciliazione has been organized by a group of lay people in Roman academia.”

    OK so the Popes probably not going to be there but it is what it is and hopefully it will serve a purpose….

    If this is what it is they can all stroll down for an ice cream afterwards from one of those vans thats always parked at the entrance to St. Peters square. 🙂

  8. After reading some of the comments here I’ve started to think about how this would likely alter the future.

    First of all, religion is historically the nemesis of science. To have the vatican show opposition to psychiatric practices would only superficially support the “scientific merit” psychiatry and it’s practices, possibly garnering them even more legal support than they’ve already had up to now.

    Lastly, and possibly the only athiest here, I want to just remind you that “God” exists in your minds, you can not prove his existence to anyone, and many billions of people have suffered needlessly from the wars, genocides and prejudices brought about by religion. Just keep that in mind before getting too fervent with your faith.

    • Does a former atheist count as atheist :D?

      The statement that “nemesis of science” is not historically correct, at least in a Christian context. In fact, some of the greatest minds that have ever populated the planet were Christians of different denominations,

      – Copernicus

      – Galileo (despite his issues with the Vatican, he remained a devout Catholic until the end of his life)

      – Isaac Newton

      – Leibniz

      – Gauss

      – Cauchy

      – James Maxwell

      – Michael Faraday

      – Erwin Schrödinger

      – John von Neumann (this one became a believer towards the end of his life but he still counts)

      – Kurt Godel

      For more recent examples: Francis Collins (current director of the NIH), Donald Knuth known as a “computer God” http://tech.mit.edu/V119/N51/knuthtlin.51f.html, Richard Smalley (Nobel Prize winner), Allan Sandage (kind of a “God” in cosmology). And so on. Try to build our current understanding of science without those!

          • But cannotsay, you are ignoring how the church’s have attacked science throughout history. From burning down research libraries, to torturing “heretics” (people trying to educate humanity about science) or even the modern day attack on public education e.g. evolution, prayer in schools, etc.

            It doesn’t matter if a handful of scientists throughout time were christians or not, what matters is that various christian churches throughout history have waged wars against science because they feared it may contradict their beliefs.

          • Re: Faith and Science

            “The scientist’s condition as a sentinel in the modern world, as one who is the first to glimpse the enormous complexity together with the marvellous harmony of reality, makes him a privileged witness of the plausibility of religion, a man capable of showing how the admission of transcendence, far from harming the autonomy and the ends of research, rather stimulates it to continually surpass itself in an experience of self-transcendence which reveals the human mystery.” – Pope John Paul II

          • Duane,

            You are welcome. I was an atheist once and I know of its darkness. I also know why I became one, so to get out of the woods, I had to come to terms with many things, one of them was the lie of incompatibility science/faith. There were other issues that bothered me as well, such as the problem of evil but I eventually came to terms with those as well.

            God Bless!

      • Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12)

        They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

        The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 13:5)

        “Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. (Ezekiel 9:5)

        And of course the followers of this religion insist that they must own firearms…

  9. JeffreyC,

    I am answering here for lack of space above.

    Several points,

    1- Christianity is bigger than the Catholic Church. People sometimes forget that there is a very strong case that can be made that scientific revolution that happened in Europe during the XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, and early XX-th centuries grew out of the Protestant Reformation. It is not available anymore in youtube, but this BBC documentary makes the case very convincingly http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008098s . I encourage anybody interested in the topic to watch it.

    2- Even in a Catholic context, the Office of the Inquisition does not exist anymore. Furthermore, the Catholic Church has apologized several times for its dark past http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0003/12/sm.06.html . Let’s not forget that for all its evilness, the Inquisition killed only a few thousand. All innocent, but to put things in perspective, atheist regimes like Stalin’s USSR or Mai’s China have killed millions of people in the name of atheism. Richard Dawkins, who obviously is not an expert in philosophy but who was the poster child of New Atheism, usually complains that the comparison is unfair, that atheism had nothing to do with Stalin’s crimes. But that flies on the evidence that religious men and women were slaughtered by Communist regimes, including Stalin’s, because of their religious beliefs alone. So at the very minimum you have to concede that hatred of religion is, quantitatively speaking, worse in terms of innocent killings than the Inquisition ever was. Now, note that I am not mentioning Islam here. Islam is a complete different beast altogether. I don’t buy the argument either that all religions are or were created equal. They are not. Bill Maher made this point very graphically by saying in his HBO program that while in America it is perfectly possible to poke fun at Christians and Mormons, to the point that “The Book of Mormon” is one of the most successful Broadway shows, a show with the title “The Book of Koran” that would make fun of Muslims would not be possible in America because of the fear of violence. So, no, not all religions were created equal and yes, there are atheistic regimes whose hatred for religion is more murderous than any Christian Church has ever been.

    3- I haven’t mentioned those people just to provide anecdotal evidence. In science, not all scientists were created equal. There are those whose insight and contributions were/are of such a great magnitude that they change their respective fields for centuries to come. People like Newton, Gauss, Maxwell, Faraday, Schrödinger or Godel are those kind of people. We would still be pretty much in the Middle Ages without their contributions. Nor these are people who were “just the product of their times”. Schrödinger and Godel lived in a time of rampant atheism yet their contributions to quantum physics and mathematics changed both fields forever. We, sadly, don’t have people like these two anymore. So the idea that science and faith are not compatible flies on the evidence of the best scientists who ever lived being believers. Actually, historically speaking, I can even make the case that the notion of incompatibility science/faith, which is pushed by many of today’s academics, is responsible for the sad state of affairs when it comes to lack of scientific breakthroughs. If somebody like Newton or Godel had been told that to be able to do science they would have needed to renounce their Christian faith, from all we know about them, it would have been science’s loss, not Christianity’s.

    Christianity brought us the best scientists of the planet. Sure, as any human endeavor that mixes with politics and power it also brought us a lot of bad things, but they pale in comparison with the crimes that atheistic regimes are responsible for. Take China for instance. Since atheism is the official policy of its government, performing abortions in 6, 7, 8 even 9 month babies because they happen to be “girls” or because the parents already have a child is perfectly legal and, such in the case of the second child, performed in the name of the “common good”. I am grateful that our constitution has freedom of religion in the first amendment.

    • That post is so full of self serving rationalizations that I wouldn’t even know where to start.

      But honestly, the Chinese government performs abortions because they are athiests? And, of course, athiests must hate babies.

      If you lived in a country half the size of the U.S. and it had 4 billion people stuffed shoulder-to-shoulder in it and natural resources had run out and there was no place left to funnel the sewage too and people WERE STILL TRYING TO HAVE BABIES, what would you do? Let the people kill themselves off by increasing the population to a ridiculous ten billion?

      • I take the challenge. Tell me where you see rationalizations. Don’t use that excuse to hide from the debate. I stand by everything I said there.

        On the Chinese policy with regards to abortion, of course faith matters. If you see a fetus as a fellow human being, especially those in their 6-th month of life and after, created in the image of God vs a “number” in a set of 4 billion “animated pieces of meat” – borrowed from former fellow atheist and now fellow believer AN Wilson http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1169145/Religion-hatred-Why-longer-cowed-secular-zealots.html -, your entire approach to the issue would be different.

        Please, accept my challenge and tell me which one of these statements is wrong,

        1- If we were to get rid of each and every scientist alive or who has ever been alive who also was a Christian, we would still be in the Middle Ages in our scientific knowledge (probably earlier because there was science performed by Christians during that time although of a lesser quality). This fact disproves the notion that science and Christianity are incompatible.

        2- In the name of hatred of religion, Christianity in particular, Stalin slaughtered more innocent people, by several orders of magnitude, than the Inquisition in its entire history.

        3- Belief in God impacts one’s worldview in very important ways, particularly when it comes to ethics. It is not the same to see your fellow humans as brothers and sisters created in the image of a God to whom you are bound by a universal, God given moral law vs seeing them as “animated pieces of meat” to whom you apply artificial ethics that have no reason of being other than “convention” -ie laws-, “evolution” -ie utilitarianism- or whatever. Convention can be changed as in “slaughtering millions of people in the name of Communism” is perfectly moral, vs “slaughtering millions of fellow human beings for ideological reasons” is immoral and so on.

        • “On the Chinese policy with regards to abortion, of course faith matters. If you see a fetus as a fellow human being, especially those in their 6-th month of life and after, created in the image of God vs a “number” in a set of 4 billion “animated pieces of meat” ”

          “3- Belief in God impacts one’s worldview in very important ways, particularly when it comes to ethics. ‘

          And so this is why Ted Nugent and Ann Coulter can go to the major media and advocate that our government nuke iraq and suffer no consequences to their careers, even though their entire audience and support comes from the christian community?

          Oh, that’s right. They’re sand people. Religion has been and still is the #1 cause of prejudice and hate. It boggles my mind how often I hear christians talk out of one side of their mouth about creating a world of peace, then from the other about how this or that group of people need their asses kicked.

          Religion exists for two reasons. 1: To soothe the fear of death and 2: To justify hate and violence. There are no other real purposes for it.

          And I don’t need to argue you. If you want, I could just start copying and pasting thousands, or if I get obsessed with it, tens of thousands of quotes from christians on the internet that contradict you. I spend a lot time on the internet, have heard so much hate and advocation for violence that you would be arguing yourself into oblivion to try to convince anybody that religion is not a major source of hate, prejudice and violence in the world.

        • “Neither Ted Nugent nor Ann Coulter are the standard bearers of Christianity. ”

          Considering the fact that ALL of their money and support comes from the christian community, what you say can not possibly be true.

          For instance, if somebody whose profession was working for a political group went on T.V. and said something that went against that groups opinions, he would no longer have a career. Ted Nugent and Ann Coulter are still finding work just fine.

        • My grandfather was an athiest his entire life. He considered everyone to be his brothers and sisters and treated them accordingly. He was kinder and more compassionate that many Christians that I’ve had to deal with through the years. He was a good man and accomplished a lot of good in this world while he was here. Yuo don’t have to be a Chrisitan to live an ethical and moral life dedicated to the good for others.

    • What you’re doing in these rationalizing attempts bothers me because it’s the same thing that the psychiatric community does. Whenever the fact arises that they are harming millions of people, including millions of children, with no real medical need to do so, they start rationalizing. Spinning logical arguments with made up or misleading evidence. It’s natural for people to want to feel good not only about themselves but also what they feel apart of.

      This is where you’ve completely missed the bus on athiesm. Atheism is not a religion. It is not something you’re apart of when you are on and no longer are when you’re not. There are no beliefs, no scripture, no churches, nothing at all. Nothing that anybody has ever done or ever does can be blamed on athiesm. All athiests are individuals, their behavior guided only by their individual personalities, not by scriptures and churches.

      This is where religion is remarkably different. Religion has been teaching people for generations how to view the world, including others, and how to think about things.

      I cant help but to wonder what you meant by how you had to struggle with the acceptance of evil before you could convert to christianity. What does that mean? The popular christian belief that some people — E.G. gays, athiests, muslims, go back in time 50 years and jews, black people, etc — are inherently evil and must burn in hell?

      • “Atheism is not a religion”

        I never said such a thing. But there are political ideologies that have atheism as central to their proposition, such as Communism. To deny that is to deny history. So if you are going to judge the message of Jesus by the mistakes of organized religion, it is complete fair game to judge atheism by what atheists politically organized did BECAUSE they were, among other things, atheists. Ie, because in their worldview, fear of an afterlife is not a factor. In this regard, people forget that the atheistic nature of the USSR was one of the reasons why nuclear deterrence worked with them -or the Chinese- but it is unlikely to work with Iran. When in your worldview all that matters is this material world, you have a vested interest to not screw this world. Same thing if you are a Christian and what you do in this world matters in a way that slaughtering millions of innocents only guarantees you a ticket hell. Now, Islam is different. In Islamic theology, slaughtering infidels might give you, under the right circumstances, a ticket to heaven. So these things matter. Atheism was a core factor of Communism that cannot, in all intellectual honesty, be decoupled of Communism itself.

        With respect to the issue of evil, no, my point is that I had to accept the fact that evil exists in a world created by an all loving God. Why, if God is good, does evil happen. I must admit that I don’t have a full answer since while I can understand why evil exists when caused by other human beings (people have free will), there is still the untold suffering that comes from say an earthquake. As Tim Keller says, just because I don’t see the point, it doesn’t mean that there might not be a point, but that’s again part of the mystery.

          • ” So if you are going to judge the message of Jesus by the mistakes of organized religion, it is complete fair game to judge atheism by what atheists politically organized did BECAUSE they were, among other things, atheists. ”

            And here we go, part of the hypocrisy I was already talking about. Defending christianity for bringing peace and love to the Earth, considering a world without christianity to be evil and chaos, but then you people go and advocate for your “right” to own lethal weapons so that you may one day have the opportunity to kill somebody.

          • Oops. wrong quote.

            ” Although Sam Harris supports the second amendment. This is an aside just to show how appealing the second amendment argument is” belonged above:

            “And here we go, part of the hypocrisy I was already talking about. Defending christianity for bringing peace and love to the Earth, considering a world without christianity to be evil and chaos, but then you people go and advocate for your “right” to own lethal weapons so that you may one day have the opportunity to kill somebody.”

            What edited to the edit-for-5-minutes thing?

          • “Many atheists have been compared to religious fundamentalists with their own atheist fundamentalist dogma religion”

            First of all, neither of those three words can even possibly be used to describe athiesm without being in error of their very definitions.

            Fundamentalism: Fundamentalism is the demand for a strict adherence to specific theological doctrines

            Athiesm is anti-theism.

            Dogma: Dogma is the official system of belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization.

            Atheism has no system of beliefs or doctrines.

            Religion: Religion is an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values

            Athiesm is completely unorganized, has no collection of beliefs, and of course there is no spirituality.

          • JeffreyC,

            Christianity and the second amendment are two decoupled issues. “Give God’s what is God’s and Caesar’s what is Caesar’s”. I don’t see the contradiction anywhere. You are making an strawman here (in fact most criticism coming from New Atheism towards Christianity is towards “strawman Christianity”, really”).

        • ” So if you are going to judge the message of Jesus by the mistakes of organized religion, it is complete fair game to judge atheism by what atheists politically organized did BECAUSE they were, among other things, atheists. ”

          Well first of all “the message of jesus” is in fact a mistake, or at least a product, of organized religion. The story, or “teachings” just simply don’t exist without them. And second of all, athiesm is simply the lack of belief in a deity. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics at all. There are in fact athiests, such as Penn Gillette, who are hardcore conservative libertarian capitalists. There are some who are socialists, anarchists, progressives, moderates, liberals, etc.

          Unlike with religion, there are no scriptures — or should I say interpretations of scripture — to tell people what opinions to hold. If somebody who is a part of a religion does something, it is perfectly reasonable to suspect that the religion had something to do with it, since religious people try to live their lives FOLLOWING THE TEACHINGS of their religion.

          When an atheist does something, there is really no reason to blame atheism. Atheism doesn’t have scripture, people don’t wake up everybody and read some how-to-be-an-athiest book and then decide that they should go kill some babies today. I really don’t think you understand what athiesm is, or that you’re refusing to really think about the significance difference between it — which is simply a non-belief for a deity –, which a religion, which is essential a form of personality and behavior government.

          • You keep repeating this mantra that “when an atheist does something, there is really no reason to blame atheism” and keep forgetting that for an ideology like Communism, atheism, ie materialism, is central http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism_in_the_Soviet_Union “The Soviet Union was the first state to have, as an ideological objective, the elimination of religion and its replacement with universal atheism. The communist regime confiscated religious property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in schools”.

            You want to judge billions of Christians by what a few of them have done in the context of the Inquisition but then you want to escape the argument that an atheistic worldview pushed Stalin to slaughter millions of innocents. Stalin could not have killed those people if he had feared God, he killed those people BECAUSE he did not believe in God. It’s not even a hard argument to make: if you are going to judge a whole religion by what a few followers of Jesus did, then you have to be open to the criticism that atheism, all atheists, can be judged by what a few individuals did because they shared the same worldview of materialism. Now, if you don’t accept that, then you have to accept that you cannot judge Christianity and all believers because of what a few who shared the same worldview did.

          • “The Soviet Union was the first state to have, as an ideological objective, the elimination of religion and its replacement with universal atheism. The communist regime confiscated religious property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in schools”.

            But where in the atheist doctrine did it tell them to do this? War against religion has been going on forever, usually as one religion against another, but in that case it was no religion vs religion.

            The fact that some people keep finding a need to combat religion, whether they be an atheism or another religion (holy wars) does not tell you anything except that religion persecutes people who do not conform to it, thus it’s perfectly understandable to see throughout history that religions get attacked.

            Tell me, when Muslims attacked the world trade center, was that because of atheism?

          • “where in the atheist doctrine did it tell them to do this”

            Where in the Jesus message is there a sanctioning of the Inquisition? Nowhere. You keep missing the point. Atheism is a worldview. The lack of scripture is irrelevant. True atheists are bound by a belief, a POSITIVE affirmation, that the material world is all that there is. And that worldview can be twisted to make them Stalins; more easily than twisting Jesus’ message, which was explicitly anti violence. When the founder of the religion tells you that killing other God’s children is bad, that you need to love the enemy, you need to be very creative to justify the Inquisition. However, when you do not believe that there are any consequences to the slaughtering of other people, all it takes for you to do that is to have the will to do it, as Stalin did.

            With respect to Islam, 9/11 you’ll have to ask a Muslim. As I said, I don’t believe all religions were created equal. I think that Christianity is the true religion (even though Christians are themselves divided in denominations) while Islam is not.

    • The Inquisition murdered more than just a few thousand people. Even one person is too much. The work of the Inquisition was put to the use of attacking women and heretics were taken care of along the way. The Roman Church put to death hundreds of thousands of wise women all across Europe, mainly because the wise women gave the Church competition in the area of leadership in the community. The Church’s stand against women, which it still carries out today in multiple forms goes back to the very beginnings of Christianity when Church Fathers wrote things like, “Man is sinful from the waist down but woman is sinful in her entire body.” Another Church Father wrote that women were “born over the sewer and were nothing but pus bags of sin.” Wonderful teachings. The Roman Church can apologize all it wants to but it doesn’t count for much when it continues to carry out things against women today.

      • Actually it didn’t. I’ll publish a link to a rigorous study done on the matter by the most prestigious historian on the Inquisition that speaks of ~ 5000 I believe. The bad propaganda the Inquisition had with respect to its killings was part of Protestant led Catholic bashing. I have to go now.

        • Duane;

          Exactly! We’re seeing here a completely Counterproductive descent into Church and Christian Bashing.

          We’ve dragged out the Spanish Inquisition.

          What’s next? When do we get to blaming Jesus himself for Godfrey’s sack of Jerusalem in the 1st Crusade?

          Are going to have to read through recitations of the excesses of Pope Rodrigo Borgia?

          The Vatican CAN do an enormous amount of the heavy lifting of the Arclights needed to be turned onto Psychiatric Abuses and one side of this discussion is busy shooting the messenger rather than helping that messenger deliver the message.

          The Problem is the Psychiatric drugging of children.

          Are we or are we Not Agreed that it needs to be stopped?

          If we are agreed that it must be stopped, then pushing away an ally with the clout of the Vatican (for whatever reasons) is Counterproductive.

          To those reveling in Bashing the Church: Get some perspective. Such outrage Here, makes as little sense as demonizing Churchill for allying himself with Stalin to defeat Hitler.

          IF, the Church Bashers here want to hate Christianity itself, much less the Church, then hate it all day and hate it hard. It’s your time, but let’s Try to remember what’s at stake is More important than individual preferences, be they Pro Christian or Anti Christian.

          Can we please take a time out to consider a Legal Point, Please?

          1st Amendment

          “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

          Diagnosis itself is ILLEGAL, under the Highest Law in the US.

          One Cannot be condemned for thought or mood crimes.

          “Congress shall make NO laws, respecting an establishment of religion.”

          That includes authorizing Government to Pay for it pro, or con. It means, Hands Off.

          Congress can Not spend public monies through CMS/Medicare/Medicaid to either support or quash Beliefs. Period. Not One Dime.

          2.2 Billion people identify themselves as Christians: a Third of the world’s population.

          (sarcasm On) Let’s tell them that we despise them through ridiculing them. That will have them flocking by the millions to hear what we have to say, with Their open minds. (sarcasm Off)

          (Sorry Duane, but Christian Bashing is ridiculous. If we can enlist the aid of a Pope, we’ve won the ears of the World.)

          • dbunker,

            Thank you for the consistency when it comes to constitutional rights.

            I agree.
            This is a first amendment issue.
            And Vatican is in the position to deliver a strong message to the world (Catholics and non-Catholics, both).

            Natural law applies to *all* people. This forms the foundation of the Constitution (as well as the catechism of the Church).

            Duane

      • From The Guardian, arguably not a newspaper sympathetic to the Catholic Church http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/jun/16/artsandhumanities.internationaleducationnews . Henry Kamen, the one I claimed to be one of the world experts on the matter, gives an estimate of around 2000 (source http://www.amazon.com/Whats-So-Great-about-Christianity/dp/1414326017 ). So the actual number is in the low single digits. As I said, all the deaths were unfair and unjustified. But if we are going to judge all of Christianity because of them, saying that atheism is murderous because of what Stalin did is equally valid. I don’t buy the central thesis of the argument, namely, I do not think you can judge all the members of Christianity because of the deaths caused by the Inquisition or the crusades, so I don’t claim either that atheism is murderous, rather, my claim is that any world view can be twisted to cause evil.

  10. I am very pleased to read that this illustrious group of experts will be meeting at the Vatican to discuss such critical topics and enlightening all the more people about the huge harm done by biopsychiatry to children, toddlers and babies no less after destroying countless teens and adults.

    One thing that bothers me greatly as time has gone on is people, experts, articles and in general stressing the horror of children being forced on lethal psych drugs especially neuroleptics often claim these drugs are for adults. This implies that these are good, helpful drugs for adults, but become a real problem when used on children when the opposite is true.

    I realize that the horrors of subjecting children, toddlers and even babies in utero make one want to focus on this massive evil, but misleading people to believe these toxic drugs are just fine for the parents, relatives and other adults in childrens’ lives is very dangerous, misleading and harmful while throwing the adult and teen victims of psychiatry under the bus! I also feel total disgust when I read that the effects of neuroleptics on such children and toddlers is unknown when such effects are all too well known with all the tragic early deaths like those of Rebecca Riley and many teens/adults on these lethal drugs.

    I hope I won’t be misunderstood here in that I realize harming children is seen as more serious than harming adults. Why should we accept anyone being harmed by a group of so called experts known for their pathological lying, total lack of conscience and ethics and sadistic impulses? But, the implication of many articles about child psych drugging is that these poisons are just fine for adults, but it’s horrible to use these strong adult drugs on children. This is a big fat lie and horribly misleading to all!

    Many drugs or medicines used by adults like aspirin and cough medicine are also given to children in smaller does or different versions that can be safe and helpful if used as directed, so misleading people to think poison neuroleptics are just fine and dandy for adults gives the impression that the same thing in a child’s version will be just fine for children too!! Also, the horrible effects on the baby in the womb when women take toxic psych drugs is well known too with many birth defects.

    I hope I am making myself clear in that I think articles about the harm being done to children with these toxic drugs should START with or at least include all the harm done to adults and then lead into the horror that these lethal drugs known to cause early death by about 25 years in adults are now being given to children and teens with far worse consequences. Such young people on these toxic drugs become obese, diabetic, have heart attacks, high cholesterol, die even younger and suffer many other diseases that used to be unheard of at such early ages.

    It seems to me that the downward spiral described by Robert Whitaker in his books and articles that occurs in adults on the toxic biopsychiatry regimen could only be far worse when children are subjected to it as with the infamous case of Rebecca Riley.

    Therefore, I believe that it is crucial to include ALL people being harmed by toxic psychiatry including babies to the elderly so that everyone can understand the horrific, life destroying impact of the fraudulent deadly pseudoscience of biopsychiatry for the entire human race. The brain damaging effects of such barbaric torture treatments like ECT should also be included in human rights protests of these crimes against humanity.

    I think it would be all the more impressive to show that here is what these horrible stigmas and torture treatments have done to adults and now they are doing this to children and toddlers no less with even more disastrous results!!

    I hope I am making myself clear here without appearing I’m not concerned enough about the psychiatric predation on children when the opposite is true. I just think exposing the whole nightmare has more impact on the fact that the world is now preying on children to expand its market of destroying countless lives for global insatiable greed, power and status by the current robber baron billionaire 1% power elite!

  11. Hi Donna,

    Not to worry as your point is totally clear. And I also agree that it is too bad that the dangers of psychotropic meds and adults aren’t being discussed also.

    Having worked for a Catholic organization and witnessing first hand the great emphasis on the protection of children for obvious reasons, I am assuming (perhaps wrongfully) that the reason this seminar is about children because it sticks to that theme. No matter what, I hope there is a follow up report as to exactly what transpired.

    • AA,

      I hope Vatican takes time to hear from *adults* as well. If not this meeting, hopefully very soon. Because *forced* treatment is a real violation of the human soul – a spiritual issue that needs to be addressed by not only the Catholic Church but other faith groups as well.

      I may be naive, but I honestly believe that if more clergy – rabbis, ministers, priests, clerics really *knew* of the dangers of these drugs, there would be an effort to provide more safe places for non-drug treatment.

      I think most clergy either don’t know, or have been taught the conventional approach works best. They need more information.

      Duane

      • I agree. The denomination that I’m slightly affiliated wiht has a national committee on mental health. However, the people who are on the committee at my local level only spout the rhetoric of the system and sound very much like NAMI in their “people need to take their meds” business. There are one or two individuals who actually mention the arrogance and paternalism of the psychiatrists that they’ve had to deal with, but then they go right back to supporting the meds business. I’ve thought about trying to work with them but they seem so united in their taking meds stuff that I threw my hands up in the air and turned my back on them.

        We need some kind of educational program of our own with credible people which could approach different church communities to offer information from our side of the fence in the debate. But no one in my city wants to do anything like that. The local gay organization for LGBT youth has an outreach program that’s done very successful work in the school system of my state. Why can’t we put together a credible outreach program geared towards church communities?

  12. It was implied to me by a Methodist minister that the reason the religions support the psychiatric industry is because of a “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” The two original educated professions, of course, being religion and medicine. And the dirty little secret is that if a pastor wants to cover up a sin, or a doctor wants to cover up malpractice, you put a person on psychiatric drugs, then ship them off to the psychiatric industry to label and make mentally ill with their drugs.

    Unfortunately, I dealt with an ex-pastor who denied my innocent daughter a baptism, at the exact moment the second plane hit the second World Trade Center building on 9.11.2001. Never forget! And a paranoid PCP, she was paranoid I’d sue do to a “bad fix” on a broken bone, at which I eventually learned from reading my medical records, because her husband was the “attending physician.”

    I was made sick in the exact same way, as all the children now diagnosed as bipolar, were. I was put on an antidepressant (“safe smoking cessation drug”), suffered mild possible hypomania, which was then misdiagnosed as bipolar (according to the DSM-IV-TR, since it specifically states that if an episode of hypomania is drug induced that a diagnosis of bipolar is incorrect). Apparently Dr. Biederman didn’t know the rules written in his own DSM, when he suggested the childhood bipolar disorder to explain the mania caused by the antidepressants.

    It breaks my heart doctors are now making children sick for profit. And now that we all live in the Information Age, I don’t think it’s wise to use this “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” any longer.

    I pray religions are able to learn this also. The head of my former mainstream religion has been colluding to cover up my ex-pastor’s sin, due to his desire to not “pay me,” for eight years now. I did forward notification of this meeting in the Vatican onto him. I hope the Pope is able to acknowledge that making people sick for profit is no longer wise.