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Richard Dawkins defends ‘mild pedophilia’: Teacher putting hands down my shorts didn’t do ‘lasting harm’

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Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins refused to condemn sexual abuse he admitted to having suffered as a child in an interview with The Times magazine of England, Religion News Service reported on Tuesday.

While he told the Times that an unidentified schoolmaster “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts” when he was a child, he argued that he did not think the abuse — which he referred to as a “mild touching up” — against himself and other children in his class “did any of us lasting harm.”

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“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,” Dawkins was quoted as saying. “Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”

Dawkins’ remarks were quickly criticized by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, (NSPCC) a British organization that works with children either at risk of being abused or survivors of abuse.

“Mr. Dawkins seems to think that because a crime was committed a long time ago we should judge it in a different way,” NSPCC child protection director David Watt told RNS. “But we know that the victims of sexual abuse suffer the same effects whether it was 50 years ago or yesterday.”

Peter Saunders, founder of another British survivors’ advocacy group, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, challenged Dawkins’ attempt to draw a distinction between forms of abuse.

“Abuse in all its forms has always been wrong,” Sanders told The Times. “Evil is evil and we have to challenge it whenever and wherever it occurs.”

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In April 2013, Dawkins, an outspoken atheist, accused parents who forced their children to accept their religious beliefs of being abusers, and has also compared being raised as a Catholic to sexual abuse. He continued to defend his arguments on his personal Twitter account Tuesday, writing, “Is anyone seriously denying that raping an 8-year-old to death is worse than putting a hand inside a child’s clothes? Are you that ABSOLUTE? [sic]

[h/t Salon]

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2020 Election

‘Rich people have profited enough’: New poll shows two-thirds of Americans support wealth tax to combat inequality

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Support for a wealth tax to combat persistent inequality in the U.S. is growing, according to a new poll released Wednesday by TheHill/HarrisX which found that just over two-thirds of Americans favor a tax on the wealthiest households.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents—including majorities of Democrats and Independents—said there should be a wealth tax on billionaires, as Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have proposed.

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Jay-Z files second civil lawsuit against Mississippi prison for ‘barbaric’ treatment of inmates

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Alleging "barbaric" conditions, rapper and record executive Jay-Z has filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections on behalf of 152 inmates, The Guardian reports.

The lawsuit states that Parchman prison is responsible for "abhorrent conditions, abuse and constant violence, inadequate health care and mental health care, and overuse of isolation," adding that "the people confined at Parchman live a miserable and hopeless existence confronted daily by imminent risk of substantial harm in violation of their rights under the US Constitution."

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Scottish lawmaker: Reasonable grounds to suspect Trump or his associates ‘have been involved in serious crime’

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A Member of the Scottish Parliament is asking his fellow ministers to investigate President Donald Trump’s deals through which he acquired his properties in Scotland, including Trump’s two multi-million dollar losing golf courses. President Trump prizes his Turnberry, Scotland  resort, but reports that the American president is using the U.S. federal government to help keep it afloat have dogged him.

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