Monday, July 2, 2012

Religion's Hostility

Recently the new Archbishop for Baltimore had an op-ed piece in the Baltimore Sun.  It touched on problems with immigration laws in places like Alabama and Arizona criminalizing the compassionate works of the church if their compassion is directed toward illegal immigrants,  but the main thrust of the piece was that churches, and the Catholic Church in particular, are being persecuted by the US Government.  In fact, he went so far as to draw comparison to Christians being killed in Iraq and Nigeria.

Now Archbishop Lori had just enough sense to say that the persecution faced in the US is much less severe than places like that, but he still thinks he's being persecuted in the US.  How?  Why, the requirement that church based organizations that provide services to people who aren't of that particular faith have to provide health care coverage to their employees that provides for services the church might oppose.  In his case, that would be abortion and contraception.

Of course, this would be a moot issue if the GOP had allowed passage of a health care law that provided for a single payer system through the federal government, but instead we have a plan based in Republican principles of promoting private industry, which the GOP opposes mostly because a Democrat lead the charge on its passage.  Now they characterize their own philosophy of just a few years ago as socialism.  But I digress.

Churches complaining about unfair treatment by the various governments of the United States is usually very amusing to me.  Churches are mostly heirarchical organizations that dictate from the top what the followers below are to believe and do in comportment with those beliefes.  Southern Baptists (or whatever new name they're using) and Quakers are among the exceptions, but the Southern Baptists still end up in the same place with a sort of tyranny of the majority that has lead to the expurging of moderate and liberal congregations that haven't fallen into lock step with the conservative majority.

And that's because monotheistic religious organizations are inherently anti-representative.  They enjoy the greatest freedoms in the world here in the US, where no religion is allowed to have supremacy over any other in government, but religions themselves are monarchical or dictatorial.  It's why churches, and the Catholic Church especially so, were supporters of the divine right of kings.  It fit with their philosophy that all came down from the supreme diety, via his representative, the Pope.  The Protestant Reformation brought plenty of conflict between countries where the Protestants became the majority against countries where Catholicism was the majority, but they weren't any better in supporting representative government.

It was the almost pagan Founding Fathers who brought representative government back to the world.  Most of them would be eviscerated as something less than Christian by today's right wing who ignorantly hoist them as some sort of saints who crafted an infallible document, bizarrely making the US Constitution into another book of the Bible.  The irony runs thick.

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