Denver Archbishop Calls SCOTUS Decision ‘Wrong’

In a July 1 opinion piece in First Things, Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput wrote that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the California video game violence law (Brown v. EMA) is "wrong," and will add "poison" the country’s future.

Chaput also wrote that the court’s ruling "extends and elevates the individual’s right to free expression – or in this case, a corporation’s right to make a healthy profit – at the expense of family sovereignty, the natural rights of parents and the intent of the Constitution’s authors."

Chaput went on to write that the ruling overlooked the government’s duty to protect "human dignity and the common good."

"A law which respects mothers and fathers trying to make good choices for their family does just that," he wrote.

Of course parents don’t need the government to hand-hold when making decisions about what is right and wrong for their children. They do this every day without the government’s help.

Archbishop Chaput did write in his opinion piece that he does not think video games are "bad." But he added that allowing minors access to violent video games without parental consent violates natural law and parents’ rights.

This is a common argument for proponents of the failed California law, because they believe that children now have magical access to mature rated games. This is absolutely not true thanks to retail enforcement of the ESRB ratings system and I.D. checks for purchasers.

While Archbishop Chaput acknowledged that the court’s backing of defining what lawmakers can and cannot ban is important, he added that the court acted "prematurely" in striking down the law, and made "a serious mistake in too quickly lumping violent video games under the same protections given Grimm’s Fairy Tales or network TV."

The rest of the article praises Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinion on the case, and mistakenly continues to omit the safeguards already in place to deal with children trying to purchase mature content without a parent.

The Archbishop of Denver then cited the 1999 Columbine shooting as "indirect but brutally real proof" of his point. Clearly a red herring since no proof has ever been provided in that case that video games were the cause. He was Archbishop of Denver when the shootings occurred, and said he still remembers visiting with families of victims and "trying to make sense of the violence to the wider community."

Chaput is no stranger to hating on video games; he addressed a special session of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation two weeks after the 1999 shootings, saying then that violence found in video games had a "direct impact on youth and is among the roots of real-life violence."

"Common sense tells us that the violence of our music, our video games, our films, and our television has to go somewhere," he said at the 1999 session. "It goes straight into the hearts of our children to bear fruit in ways we can’t imagine – until something like (the Columbine shootings) happens."

Given his opinions then, should we expect him to say anything different now?

Source: CNA

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  1. CyberSkull says:

    Never mind that his church’s history is replete with both sex scandals and violence worse than any game.

  2. sqlrob says:

    And that book is also associated with increased hostility in studies. Want to regulate games using the studies out there? Your book gets regulated too.


  3. hellfire7885 says:

    I apologize for that. I didn’t know that they didn’t endorse it and in cases were against it. I’m sorry.

  4. Sporge says:

    Not having the law does nothing to a parents right to restrict.  They still can restrict, as they have been.  No need to spend more tax dollars on something that parents should be watching.

    The largest source of kids playing the games some parents don’t want their kids playing isn’t going to be their own kids sneaking the games into the living room.  It will be friends of the kids who’s parents are fine with them playing it.  Thats how I played the mature games when younger anyway lol

  5. gellymatos says:

    Someone didn’t do their research. The catholic church doesn’t support or in any way endorse the Left Behind series. Hell, some consider it anti-catholic, though I skeptical as to that claim. The views on rapture in that book aren’t in anyway catholic. So, yeah, you pulled your claim from where?



    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  6. gellymatos says:

    I’d say great analogy, except the apostles that have existed never was really a major controversy for christians, if never one at all.



    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  7. gellymatos says:

    Oh, where to start. First, the institution itself was not responsible for rape. Individual priest certainly, then bishops and those within the individual dioceses then move and cover up to protect their own diocese. 

    Now, as to indoctrination, spare us the "indoctrination" bull. Rhetoric with no substance. How is is "indoctrination"? Nothing but the use of a word for it’s prejortive suggestions. Every single one of the things you attached to "HELL" was incorrect. 

    You know what pisses me off to no end? Some incompetent who loves to hold contempt for others but has nothing to back it up. No different from the homophobes really.


    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  8. Kajex says:

    Yeah- you’d think he’d be down with killing demons in the name of god as opposed to killing people in the name of god.

  9. hellfire7885 says:

    Thank you. *bows*


    Seriously though, the one thing that is consistently ignored about Doom is that the marine is on God’s side. You are not a demon killing humans, you are a human killing demons to prevent the conquering of earth.

    I mean, if it was jsut satanic imagery, why haven’t they gone after the Painkiller series?

  10. Kajex says:

    Religion is like the Telephone-Game of Ideas- at some point, someone will add an extra apostle, named Purple Monkey Dishwasher.

  11. hellfire7885 says:

    I see he still hasn’t let go that Doom wasn’t banned. Is he butthurt that one fictional marine would do what God hasn’t done?

  12. Kal says:

    You know, all I really have to say to this guy is, "The Supreme Court disagrees. Are thou agitated?"

  13. Monte says:

    Wow, what utter and complete generalization. Y’know the only thing i hate more than when a religious offical pops into these conflicts is THESE kinds of generalizing anti-religion comments that pop up as a responce. A flat out condemtion of all christians and chatholics regardless of indiviual thoughts and beliefs. An archbishop has spoken out against games, but instead of actually looking to see his indivudal thoughts and beliefs lets just ASSUME that he thinks all non-christians are going to hell! Might as well accuse him of molesting children too.

    Really when you make these kinds of flat out generalizing hateful comments you just expose how very little you know about the VAST variation of beliefs of religious followers; there are many religious followers that carry on more liberal and progressive beliefs. Hell if you raise your children to have this same level of hate for all christians, letting them believe these raw generalizations, then you would guilty of commiting the same evils you accuse the christians

  14. Craig R. says:

    Really? You think calling out the Catholic church for what it truly is is as ‘sickening and abusive’ as what priests of the Catholic church actually did?

    You might want to get your priorities in order.

  15. Mad_Scientist says:

    It’s not really a per-sect thing either, there are plenty of people who belong to the same denomination that behave rather differently from each other.

    It’s really a more per-person thing.

  16. Neeneko says:

    I see this as a per-sect things.. some denominations I would actually describe their indoctornation as child abuse.. others I see no problem with.

  17. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Subjecting children to this indoctrination is abuse. period.  It pisses me off to no end to see kids being injected with a lifetime of mental damage by religion, and then these assholes turn around and pretend that THEY are the ones looking out for the well-being of kids.  Grrrr.

    And the alternative is what? 12 years of indoctrination by the most liberal of activists in the nation? To claim that religion is child abuse would also mean that any attempt to tell children how to believe is abuse. So the entire education system is abuse of children. To tell children that their religious views do not belong in a civilized society is abuse. To tell children that their faith is misguided is abuse.

    You don’t need religion to mentally or emotional or even physically and sexually abuse children. All you need is people who want to indoctirnate children with their agenda. Frankly, your view on religion is as sickening and abusive as you claim religion to be.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  18. Zerodash says:

    Christians, especially Catholics have NOTHING to say about the rights and safety of children. How dare this guy even say anything like this in the name of children and families.  This is an institution responsible for the rape of children which covers up the crimes and moves clergy (whom children are taught to trust and revere) around to hide them which provides these rapists with more fresh meat.

    This is an institution that indoctrinates children with magical thinking that instills the fear of eternal torture for having normal human thoughts and urges.  Feeling attracted to the opposite sex? HELL!  Attracted to the same sex? HELL!  Did you masturbate? HELL!  Do you question the inerrancy of scripture? HELL!  And so on and so fourth.

    Subjecting children to this indoctrination is abuse. period.  It pisses me off to no end to see kids being injected with a lifetime of mental damage by religion, and then these assholes turn around and pretend that THEY are the ones looking out for the well-being of kids.  Grrrr. 

  19. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Ironic coming from a person whose holy book endorses violence, homicide, genocide, racism, slavery, homophobia, incest, death penalty and superstition.

    And more ironic because all the bullshit the catholic does since the beggining of time.

  20. Cronniss says:

    "Common sense…"


    Well, several hundred years ago "Common Sense" told us that the Earth was the center of the universe.

    Up until a couple of hundred years ago, "Common Sense" told us that the Earth was flat.

    The church held these beliefs so dear to themselves that it was considered heresy to contradict them; so much so that people were (at times) imprisoned, tortured and executed when arguing against them.

    The Archbishop should wait until "tomorrow" for what we learn that "Common Sense" has told us that is also wrong. 

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." – Benjamin Franklin

    Ruger is coming out with a new and intimidating pistol in honor of Senators and Congressmen. It will be named "The Politician."  It won’t work and you can’t fire it.

  21. Neeneko says:

     Pity common sense has no scientific basis.  Then again, we are not talking about an institution known for its love of science….

  22. Non-entity says:

    "Common sense tells us that the violence of our music, our video games, our films, and our television has to go somewhere"

    So violence acts like energy in thermodynamics, in that it always has to go somewhere?  That should open up some wide-ranging scientific inquiries. 

  23. gellymatos says:

    So, that’s a no on the source then?


    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  24. Neeneko says:

    And yet when she got sick, nothing but the best treatment money could buy awaited her….

  25. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Actually, he is right. Mother Teresa denied medical services to dying people because she believed that suffering get people closer to god. She was a monster.

  26. Vake Xeacons says:

    Attacking them like they’re the evil doers in our country makes us no better than they are.

  27. Kajex says:

    "I respect you- so I’m going to take away your right to make choices for yourself and your family, and make those choices for you, instead. Because I respect you."

  28. greevar says:

    "A law which respects mothers and fathers trying to make good choices for their family does just that,"

    It seems to me that the law they struck down would actually take the choice away from the parents and decides for them what content is appropriate for their children. I’m an expecting father myself and I’ll be damned if the government is going to decide for me what content is good or bad for my child. I’ll make that determination on my own. If you can read, you can determine what games are right for your kids.


    "Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

  29. ecco6t9 says:

    That’s the thing that scares other countries, is that we here have a real first amendment others(including our allies) do not.

    You can be arrested and charged with hate speech just for using a bad or bigoted word. Hell England even banned talk show host Michael Savage from entering their country for words taken out of context! Granted I do not always agree with him but I’ll stand by him on this to protect my freedom of speech.

  30. Vake Xeacons says:

    "Common sense tells us that the violence of our music, our video games, our films, and our television has to go somewhere," he said at the 1999 session. "It goes straight into the hearts of our children to bear fruit in ways we can’t imagine – until something like (the Columbine shootings) happens."

    Which is why he supports the law against games but doesn’t go after any other medium. A common argument that walks without talk.

  31. Conejo says:

    Scalia is now officially my third favorite judge of all times. (just behind Judge Fudge and the GTO)

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  32. Mad_Scientist says:

    I think Scalia’s comments on Thomas’s opinion sum up the whole "parental authority" argument’s flaws the best.

    "Most of [Thomas’s] dissent is devoted to the proposition that parents have traditionally had the power to control what their children hear and say. This is true enough. And it perhaps follows from this that the state has the power to enforce parental prohibitions—to require, for example, that the promoters of a rock concert exclude those minors whose parents have advised the promoters that their children are forbidden to attend. But it does not follow that the state has the power to prevent children from hearing or saying anything without their parents’ prior consent. The latter would mean, for example, that it could be made criminal to admit persons under 18 to a political rally without their parents’ prior written consent—even a political rally in support of laws against corporal punishment of children, or laws in favor of greater rights for minors. And what is good for First Amendment rights of speech must be good for First Amendment rights of religion as well: It could be made criminal to admit a person under 18 to church, or to give a person under 18 a religious tract, without his parents’ prior consent. Our point is not, as JUSTICE THOMAS believes, post, at 16, n. 2, merely that such laws are “undesirable.” They are obviously an infringement upon the religious freedom of young people and those who wish to proselytize young people. Such laws do not enforce parental authority over children’s speech and religion; they impose governmental authority, subject only to a parental veto."

    And that is another reason why I love Scalia.

    I bolded a part I find particularly interesting. The assumption of many supporters of these laws is that every single parent in the world has decided that every single M-rated game is wrong for their children, and doesn’t want any store in the world to sell any of them to their kids. But that is not true, and there are parents who think that some M-rated games are fine for their kids and teens. This law does not support their authority: it directly contradicts it.

  33. RedMage says:

    Are we really still trying to tie the Columbine shooters to video games?  Way to profiteer off the deaths of fifteen people, you parasite. 

  34. robbway says:

    If the Archbishop actually read the opinion or followed the case, this was a victory for what he calls "family sovereignty."  His statements show clear ignorance of the Constitution and the case itself.  It appears that he made his opinion based on a headline.

  35. Conejo says:

    The church hates the constitution, why would he bother paying attention to it?

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  36. Magic says:

    What scares me is, whatever people think of the USA and its government, that certain other countries don’t have a constitution that protects freedom of speech in the same way.  How would you defend against this without the First Amendment? Certain Western countries have an equivalent (At least, I think the UK does…), but look at the countries that simply ban violent games out of sheer moral panic, like this bishop would probably do had he the power. Imagine if they extended it to everything they found questionable? It does seem an exaggeration but the SCOTUS result did mention how far you could go with banning anything that’s obscenely violent for the sake of protecting children – from Looney Tunes to Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the line is far from clear.

    That’s really daunting to say the least and would certainly lead to quite a different society.

    I suppose some places already do such – look at (as an example I can quickly recall) metal music in the Middle East. In Sam Dunn’s "Global Metal" there’s a Slayer fan who was arrested for wearing a t-shirt of the band after returning from one of their concerts, apparently it was deemed "un-Islamic". Not that I wish to de-rail this into a religious discussion, but, again, how do you argue against that? The authorities err on the side of caution and honestly think they’re protecting people from evil, but in effect they’re taking away people’s freedom.

  37. Neeneko says:

    It isn’t murder as long as you get new converts and increase your powerbase.

    Crow, kill enough people in horrible ways while converting others and you might even get sainthood.  Just look at Mother Teresa… one of the greatest monsters of her century but her very name is synonymous with ‘good’.

  38. josh111888 says:

    The Catholic church murders people every day.  He shouldn’t be complaining about fake violence.

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