Is This What Separates Church and State?

The blogosphere has been been active the past couple days over the TSA’s hiring of a former Catholic priest, Thomas Harkins, who was removed from ministry due to sex abuse allegations.  Harkins now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport, according to a recent report from CBS Philly.

Harkins was a Catholic priest until 2002 in the Diocese of Camden, where he was eventually defrocked due to two findings of child molestation.  A third woman has since begun another lawsuit.  One has to wonder if this would have received more media coverage nationally if it had been boys Harkins had molested.  The media narrative a decade ago made it seem like a Roman collar was the equivalent of a NAMBLA membership card.

While it should be noted Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager – Baggage,” meaning he deals mainly with luggage instead of passengers, having someone with his baggage in a position of authority should be one of concern.  As Karen Polesir of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) pointed out, “Sure, that’s his title.  That doesn’t mean that’s where he stays, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fill other roles when necessary.”

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