Thursday, June 21, 2012

Religion and capitalism

On more than one occasion, we have heard that we write rather a lot about the Catholic Church and why, particularly myself, who came up in a Protestant Irish household, doesn't write more about the Protestant churches. One reason I do not is I was born in the South of Ireland where the Protestant churches are and have been for my life time minuscule and with little influence. It has been the Catholic church which has been the major force. In the North the Protestant churches are more dominant though they are split into numerous factions. In the North too the Catholic church is very powerful controlling its own schools and getting finances from the state for these and keeping the schooling segregated and helping keep the population and the working class segregated/divided. Imagine if here in the US schooling was segregated, or "officially" segregated.  This is what is the case in the North of Ireland and this is due to the Catholic church. As the Jesuits said,  "give us the boy and we will give you the man." Not the girl note. She did not count. They want to indoctrinate the children. My anger is also having to do with the recent exposure of the epidemic of child abuse in the Catholic church which does seem to be much worse in the Catholic church with its celibacy male undemocratic anti-women policies. 

In a socialist discussion forum I'm on we were talking recently about the great Irish writer, James Joyce and my experience of the Catholic church in that regard. I emigrated to Canada when I was 20. I was working in a mine in Northern Ontario. A young man from Quebec who was working there for the summer to make some money, said to me; "Well what do you think of Joyce then." I looked at him. And said: "Who is Joyce?" That was the first time I heard of Joyce. I was humiliated. The Catholic Church had banned all mention of his name in Ireland. I had to learn of him from a young man from Quebec in Northern Canada.

On another point. I think I should give more emphasis to speaking to those who do not feel they can leave the Catholic church and other churches and speak to them in relation to at least organizing inside these to change their policies not only in relation to religious ideas, anti-women etc. but also their very clear and conscious pro-capitalist policies. The Catholic church is the dominant church of capitalism and uses its resources to prop up that system; as we have said many times on this blog, it is the only church with its own state which means it has diplomatic relations in every nation it has a presence as well as the UN. I think I should give more emphasis in my writings which would connect with the "Nuns on the Bus" people here in the US, the people who were in the Liberation theology in the past. While of course also remaining unconditional in explaining my position as an atheist. The blackmail and pressure to keep quiet when we are atheists is enormous. Looking at us as if we are, as one friend says "from another planet" is also a form of intimidation though from a different source. But intimidation nonetheless and I think people have to called on it.

When I went to speak to the prelates in Dublin airport the other day i was thinking of that intimidation and the need to play my part in standing against it. Here were people who were leaders of an major pro capitalist organization, unelected, anti women, people who were and are covering up an epidemic of child abuse and serial rapists. Yet there they were sitting in their dresses lounging in a hotel foyer unnaccosted. One of the reasons is they still intimidate. They still insist on being called father. I refuse to do this.  I am glad to see that very few priests walk around Ireland anymore with their collars on. The collar is also a source of intimidation. One of the reasons there are less priests openly wearing their dog collars as they are called is that there is too much hostility to priests from too many people on the streets. i am glad of this; it is a good thing.

I know religion is a sensitive topic but I do believe we have to insist in taking it up and especially in explaining the role of the Catholic church as the church of capitalism. Look at the role it played when Stalinism collapsed in steering these countries balk towards capitalism and preventing them moving to democratic socialist societies.

No comments: