Friday, July 11, 2008

WYD: Why You Don't

The following is the body of an email that I sent to the Editor of the West Australian newspaper. It doesn't seem likely that it will be published, so I include it here. In light of recent (and historical) events, I can only feel that my views on this are reinforced - religion, in its fostering of irrationality; and the organisational constructs which support, nurture, and propagate it; these things are proving within their own patois to be "evil"... they are damaging, on small scale and large. I guess this is, in a way, my personal declaration (and by no means should the reader assume that I'm anti-Catholic. I'm anti-religion/anti-dogma. If anything, this is a declaration of intentions, or perhaps just a first salvo fired):

The Australian and NSW Governments' involvement in World Youth Day is appalling. Providing government (that is to say, tax payers') resources to abet what amounts to the celebration of the continuing influence on children of the world's richest cult is a gross misallocation of those resources.

Raising children to believe that arrant nonsense is truth (just one example is the claim that morality comes from religion) leaves them with poorly developed critical faculties and a dismayingly skewed set of base assumptions upon which to build their understanding of the world. It is a perpetuation of a fabric of falsehood, a shroud woven to conceal the grubby-pawed fumbling for wealth and power that has been the hallmark and legacy of religion throughout history.

Despite its posturing, the Catholic Church has never been a force for good in this world. Its benighted history, replete with atrocity, is more than ample testimony to this. Even putting aside such historical examples as the Inquisition and the Church's support of Hitler and Mussolini, we can look to current examples of manifest foulness and hypocrisy: the Church's actions in Africa in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis (which has served merely to exacerbate it); the ongoing and disingenuous push to canonize Mother Theresa (who glorified and encouraged suffering rather than work to alleviate it); and the signal failure to do anything the restructure the culture of the Church which has been so conducive to sexual predation (apologies don't count – saying sorry without ensuring that what you're apologizing for will not happen again is, once more, disingenuous, and solves nothing).

On that last note: Archbishop Barry Hickey has offered a weaseling sort of apology, a Clayton's Apology if you will, for not acting on complaints that he claimed he hadn't got (which he clearly had) about the leadership of the Bethel community. If we need a stronger example of the hypocrisy of religion, and that these people are peddling snake-oil, we are in dire straits. Surely, the representative and confidant of an omniscient and omnipresent God would have been supernaturally tapped on the shoulder and told something?

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