Tribal politics

About 10 years or so ago, I would get into shouting arguments (literally) with some devout Catholic friends of mine about the child sex scandals that had plagued the church for years. They fervently contended that the public relations hit the church would endure if they turned in the priests would be worse than denying justice for the child rape survivors. I’m reminded of this by Pope Francis, imperfect as he may be, admitting that the church made “grave errors”. Whoops!

Of course, in virtually any other context, I have no doubt that the Catholic friends I argued with would have no qualms about wanting accused child rapists to face punitive measures or, at the very least, judicial scrutiny.

But, to them, this was about tribal politics; their “team” (the Catholic church) was being attacked by other “teams” (irreligious people, people of other religious faiths, etc.); thus, they needed to stick up for their team regardless of what doing so entailed.

I don’t want to oversimplify or emply “Both Sides!” logic, but this is why Democrats are able to look past Obama’s horrific deportation policy or why Republicans are able to ignore Trump’s philandering. If we admit fault on the part of our “team” then it gives advantage to the other “team,” of course!