In God’s Country, That Is, The USA
Things haven’t changed much in some ways… we should turn our gaze not to notional “sinners” outside us, but rather to our own very real shortcomings and failings, and try to remedy THEM…
Only between 1.5 and 4 percent of Americans admit to so-called “hard atheism”, the conviction that no higher power exists. However, a much larger share of the American public (19 percent) spurns organised religion in favour of a non-defined scepticism about faith. This group, sometimes collectively labelled the “Nones”, is growing faster than any religious faith in the USA. About two-thirds of Nones say they are former believers; 24 percent are lapsed Catholics and 29 percent once identified with other Christian denominations. …
It’s primarily a backlash against the religious Right, say political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell. In their book, American Grace, they argue that the religious Right’s politicisation of faith in the 1990s turned younger socially-liberal Christians away from churches, even as conservatives became more zealous. The churches’ Old Testament condemnation of homosexuals, premarital sex, contraception, and abortion turned off the dropouts. The Catholic Church‘s sex scandals also prompted millions to equate religion with moralistic hypocrisy. Putnam and Campbell wrote, “While the Republican base has become ever more committed to mixing religion and politics, the rest of the country has been moving in the opposite direction”. As society becomes more secular, researchers say, doubters are more confident about identifying themselves as non-believers. Author Diana Butler Bass said, “The collapse of institutional religion in the first 10 years of this century [has] freed so many people to say they don’t really care”.
Now, let’s look at a possible reason. Read this. Here’s some of the guts of that:
The Catholic Church is up in arms over President Obama’s upcoming rule requiring “Catholic institutions” to provide free contraceptive coverage in their healthcare plans. That’s hogwash because the institutions themselves aren’t Catholic. They’re business entities, not living humans with brains, and, as such, can hold no religious belief. They aren’t Catholic institutions. They’re institutions run by Catholic people.
The Catholic Church is really objecting to Catholic executives being unable to impose their dogma on others. Question: Whose religion prevails if the employee’s religion requires sexual acts? The CNN report also mentions the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) releasing a document called Our First, Most Cherished Freedom that repeats the claim that religious liberty is under attack. Unless “freedom to impose your religious will on others who do not want it” is the definition of religious liberty, it isn’t under attack at all.
Let’s not put too fine a face upon this. The Catholic Church is upset that it can’t ram its beliefs down the throats of employees of Catholic institutions, people who may NOT be Catholics. This isn’t about religious freedom at all… it’s about the Catholic Church being above the law. Look at how they dealt with their paedophilia scandals. That certainly doesn’t raise one’s confidence in their credibility, does it? The Catholic hierarchy REFUSED to deal with the scandal until they were dragged kicking and screaming into court. Indeed, the current ranting about “religious freedom” is an attempt to divert people’s attention from the rather sorry state of the Catholic Church in the USA. The only thing that saved their gnarly arse from penury is that there’s no “Catholic Church in the USA, Incorporated” registered as a legal entity in any US state. Legally, nothing exists above the individual diocese in the Catholic Church. Therefore, no court can recover damages from any body higher than that.
Here’s something for Orthodox to think about. Legally, “umbrella” corporations DO exist, such as the “Orthodox Church in America” and the “Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’ (to name two). This means that a court CAN assess recovery for damages against a national body, as it’s a “legal person” with “legal existence”. The “Catholic Church in the USA” certainly has an existence in actual, objective, and existential terms, but it has no legal embodiment, ergo, no one can make claims against it. So far, we’ve “dodged the bullet”… I think that’s ending. I’d watch the Storheim case in Canada carefully.
Why is atheism rising? One reason is that we’ve failed the test, as far as character, honesty, and honour goes. Another is that we’ve allowed the “loudest” faction to grab the wheel, making it appear as though the Church is more in favour of the Radical Right agenda than it actually is. Lastly, we’re allowing mewling infants to speak for us; putting us in the same boat as such Sects as White Evangelicals, Mormons, Moonies, and Pentecostalists, just because they’re part of the American Right.
The Church is the Big Tent… it isn’t Gideon’s Band… it isn’t the Little Flock. Christ came for all us sinful-ginfuls, and the conventional goodthinkers of his time saw to it that He was tacked to a cross to die slowly, painfully, and horribly. Today’s “Christians” would do likewise, to speak bluntly. That’s why atheism’s on the march. We’ve not lived up to our profession of faith. Why should anyone put credence in those who demand freedom for themselves, but deny it to others? I’m not alone in wondering that…
Thursday 19 April 2012