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What the church is really worried about: MONEY

I saw this bit on Hullabaloo about Cardinal Dolan going on the O’Reilly factor and making a big to-do about the evils of secularism:

DOLAN: You’re a better historian than I am Bill, you know that every great movement in — in American history has been driven by people of religious conviction. And if we duct tape the churches — I’m just not talking about the Catholic Church — if we duct tape the role of religion and the churches and morally convince people in the marketplace that’s going to lead to a huge deficit a huge void.

And there are many people who want to fill it up, namely a new religion called secularism, ok, which — which would be as doctrinaire and would consider itself as infallible as they caricature the other religions doing.

So to — to see — to see that morally-driven religiously-convinced people want to exercise their political responsibility, I think that is not only at the heart of biblical religion, it is at the heart of American enterprise.

Alright, here it comes.  The Reason Rally seems to have gotten their attention since it was all about secularism.  So now they have to go on the O’Reilly Factor and scare the seniors shitless.  Fear always seems to work with them.  Before you know it, they will start accusing the secularists of granny sacrifices and burying WMDs in the backyard.

I’ve had to tussle with some of you readers about this topic and I just want to say, you guys need to relax.  Religion isn’t going to disappear.  And we secularists aren’t going to make you worship Richard Dawkins.  But evolution can happen to ideas as well as living organisms.  An idea that doesn’t have the right stuff to adapt to its environment will fade away.  I suspect the fading will be gradual but you never know.  There could be a large, precipitous decline followed by a more gentle slope.  I think that’s what going to happen here.  Why a religious person should worry about this is beyond me.  No one is going to tell you to stop going to church.  It’s just that younger people are going to see religion as unnecessary to their lives and morality and maybe even an obstacle to achieving a more equitable society.  Plus, some non-believers are starting to realize that the American secularists might need their own community gathering places.  Sort of like church without God.  That’s coming.  Freethought societies are popping up all over the place, especially in the bible belt.

The internet probably has a lot to do with this.  People can read and when they start to question their faith or think about the logistics of Noah’s Ark, there’s plenty of material out there that will shake them to their core.  More non-believers are made everyday and they are just as moral as any godly person.  Let’s just acknowledge that up front.

But for the church, this is going to be a BIG DEAL.  In Europe, churches already play just a ceremonial role.  People might get their kids baptised there or have their weddings there but they are not regular church goers.  There are also an awful lot of atheists in Europe.  I suspect that’s because if you live where there is a good social safety net, there’s less need to pray for relief.  Also, they’ve been through so many horrific experiences in the 20th century and probably realized that praying was not as effective as the local resistance groups in surviving the worst of them.  So, churches in Europe are getting to be superfluous.  They’re pretty and they’re good tourist attractions but it ain’t like it used to be.

In fact, I would go so far as to draw comparisons between pre-reviolutionary France and 21st century America.  Religious institutions benefit greatly from tax breaks and faith based initiatives.  In the latter case, that’s OUR tax money going into their pockets.  If you’re going to accept help from a church based institution, you’re going to get a sermon.  And some of those sermons have to do with homosexuality, female inferiority and birth control.  Why should we be paying the government to help these churches out?  The first estate has it pretty nice compared to some of the rest of us and they are determined to keep it that way.  The church would very much like to continue to sink its teeth into us.

Trinity Church owns some prime real estate in lower Manhattan worth zillions.  The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (the Jehovah’s Witnesses) owns a good chunk of Brooklyn.  And then there are all the Catholic institutions and hospitals and such.  They have a lot to lose if the country becomes more secular.  And what will happen when Americans finally start demanding that churches stop freeloading on the taxpayer’s largess?  What are their property taxes like?  Hmmmm….

Secularists!  Ooooo, boogie men.  Scary.  Even the ones that are believers.

Religious institutions don’t have a lot of time.  The young are turning away from the beta version of God and looking for a major upgrade.  That’s either going to be a more abstract version of god without all of the scriptural and institutional baggage that goes with it or it’s going to be no god at all.  Churches are going to crank up the fear factor on the O’Reilly Factor as much as they can.  They are preaching to an ever diminishing choir.

We are approaching a crisis.  It’s not about conservatism or liberalism.  It’s about money and a shrinking share of the market. If the Vatican loses the American market, that is a big deal.  If that means the churches have to crush the oppressed citizens of Paris America to maintain their status and privileges, they’ll do it.

23 Responses

  1. As a longtime recovering Catholic, I’ve always believed that the reason for the Vatican’s resistance to birth control is related to nothing other than the desire to have the faithful make Catholic babies. Lots and Lots of Catholic babies to increase the fold.

  2. […] the rest here: What the church is really worried about: MONEY « The Confluence Posted in Church Tags: been-driven, better-historian, church, dolan, duct-tape, great-movement […]

  3. A few thoughts that hopefully will make some kind of sense…

    Many of my good friends are Catholic. It seems to me that only a very small percentage hang on every word of the Pope, i.e. birth control. I also would hate to see things such as the schools and hospitals shut down…a lot of economic loss at the least – not to mention the fact that there needs to be some viable alternatives to public school (for those who can afford it).

    I have always strongly believed that there has to be separation of church and state, and quite honestly I don’t really care about a politician’s spirituality…in a way, it’s nice to think that someone in that position of power actually believes there is something/someone greater than him and I would rather someone like say Obama just come clean with the public as to his spiritual beliefs (none…he only worships himself), but he continues to feel compelled to align himself with religious leaders. So, no tax dollars for the church IMO.

    I also strongly believe in an individual’s right to pursue their idea of spirituality – whatever that is or isn’t.

    Personally, I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church – dad was the preacher. No one has to tell me what kind of hypocrites reside in the “Bible Belt” – I’ve lived it. I converted to Lutheran when I married and brought my children up within that framework. I don’t go to church much anymore, but when I do I focus on the things that bring me peace and comfort…the music, the smiling faces, and the occasionally uplifting sermon. I pray often and I have always been a bit mystified about “atheists” and wondered how they react in a true crisis. I rather like having conversations with God and I definitely believe that our energy lives on in another realm…hopefuly a better one.

    Maybe I’m deluded, but I kind of think that this is pretty much how the majority of people conduct their lives…regardless of what the church, the pope, the president or whoever says.

    • Just like there is a spectrum of sexuality, there is a spectrum of religiosity. Those of us on the non-believer half of the spectrum don’t have any idea what the hell you guys are talking about. We just don’t feel the need for a diety for any reason. Some of us have an abstract view of god but do not think if this diety as personal of requiring any intercessory prayer.
      I think this is a hard thing for believers to accept. I don’t know why. Some people don’t like lobster. Other people can’t imagine life without the possibility of tender chunks of tail dipped in wam buttery goodness. That doesn’t make the lobster apathists bad people. They just get their satisfaction from some other source. Maybe they grind their own flour and bake bread.
      The problem arises when the believers, or those people who *say* they are believers take advantage of group thought about God to insist that the only people who can represent all of us are believers. That leaves the rest of us shut out of government. And when it is so easy to prove that the scriptures are extremely flawed works of historical fiction and not what believers desperately want them to be, the secularists are justified in demanding government by REASON, not the writings of bronze age semi nomadic peoples.
      I’m really puzzled as to why this is so hard to grasp. If you want to believe, go right ahead. Don’t let us stop you. But don’t expect the growing numbers of us to want your religion and personal beliefs and superstitions to run our lives through our government. It’s time to move on from that. Practice you religion in your own time and leave us out of it.
      In the public sphere, treat everyone equally and do what is right, not what is written. In your private life sacrifice as many lambs as you like.

      • While I don’t understand, I do live my life and encourage my children to live theirs exactly as you stated…my spirituality is mine, defined by me and is completely personal to me. I don’t expect anyone else to think, act or feel as I do. My basic point was that I believe most people are like me…they aren’t trying to shove their views down other’s throats. However, there are some mighty vocal (and powerful) folks who do…

        • From what you’ve said here, it sounds like your practice of spirituality is much like mine. I wish I could believe most people are like us, but it’s difficult for me to imagine that because I live in an Appalachian state where pretty much EVERY one seems fiercely, morbidly fundamentalist–like, even the meth-makers and armed robbers, not just the neighbors and co-workers. Where I live is physically beautiful, but DAMN, it’s hard to breathe the psychic air.

          • PS–Tax organized religion, like yesterday!

          • That’s the reason they call it the “Bible Belt”…

          • “PS–Tax organized religion, like yesterday!”

            Yes — retroactively.

            Politicians taking money from lobbyists is bad enough. But we’re letting the churches lobby for laws — and giving them money too!

      • good one R.D. and spot on. 🙂

  4. What better way for some stone age tribal leader make those around him obey than by attributing natural phenomena to some grand deity.

    Food poisoning?

    “Urg died because he didn’t share the results of the hunt with me, god’s representative to this tribe.”

    You get the idea.

    Is there a creator?

    Could be but odds are it ain’t some bearded white guy.

    Funny how the religionists had to make their argument by attributing false quotes supporting Christianity to the Founding Fathers. But then what can you expect from a pack of lying dogs too lazy to make an honest living?


    When I’m on my death bed will I get my Catholicism back?

    Who knows, but for now I’ll try to keep the Golden Rule.

  5. ( Speaking of Money, Here is an article which Lambert Strether brought to Yves Smith’s attention over at NaCap. It is about a more-likely-real reason for Senator Snowe’s sudden dropping out than the high minded reasons cited. The more likely real reason is her husband’s alleged involvement in vast and deep fraud against the federal government and others as a high level executive of a major chain of for-profit “colleges”. (link below.)

    • I taught at one of these places for a few months several years ago. It took me that long to figure out that they were ripping off the students and the tax payers who were guaranteeing their loans. They use boiler room tactics to get people who want to better themselves to sign up and place them in “career tracts” where they can never hope to get a job due to criminal histories or psychological problems. They asked me to teach classes in which I had no professional experience, there was no book and no time to prepare. One of the other teachers in my specialty showed up drunk repeatedly.

      Somebody is making a fortune on these schools and it’s not the teachers.

  6. You have to give the Church credit–they knew what was at stake when they pitched a fit about Gutenberg, and pitched Galileo into jail. I still can’t figure out why they let the Jesuits teach people to think, though.

    The contraception controversy–and the abortion controversy, which is part of it–feels to me like part of a generalized reaction against enormous and likely irreversible change. It’s not just certain Christian sects–much of the world is convulsing over it.

  7. Off topic: BOO to criminals. 👿

    My bank called me today to tell me that my credit card had been compromised, and so they had to cancel it. 😡

    The good news is that at least they think they know who did it, since my card showed an unauthorized charge to International House Of Frickin’ Laser Beams. 😈

    May Haruhi-kami-sama smite him for his impertinence.

  8. While I believe in God, I think I would rather have an moral atheist make the laws of the land than a religious person who thinks his or her religion should be reflected in the nation’s laws.

  9. Nothing to do with god or religion but, we spent the afternoon replacing our toilet tank. The best part (aside from the man-who-can-fix-anything) …. we live just a couple of blocks from a Re-Store. So it didn’t cost a fortune.

  10. I can think of two bumper stickers which could put one in real personal danger from religious road-ragers. Would the risk be worth it?

    Al qaeda is a Faith-Based organization.
    9/11 was a Faith-Based initiative.

  11. I favor a secularist government/culture. If an all-powerful Jehovah or Allah cared what we do in bed, He wouldn’t need to send policemen.

    That said, personally I think there’s another alternative to your
    “more abstract version of god without all of the scriptural and institutional baggage that goes with it or it’s going to be no god at all.”

    No Jehovah or Allah does not mean that we humans are alone, no ‘higher beings’ at all, or no fairies or angels. We chipmunks can take popcorn from the humans, or even be adopted as a pet, without any human really being their All-Powerful Omnipotent Creator or a more abstract version thereof — or any such baggage.

  12. RD, not all missionary work comes with a sermon attached. I know because that’s the kind of missionary work that my church encourages and I participate in. We are also on record as supporting a woman’s right to choose and in opposition to the Catholic and evangelical claim that the birth control mandate is an assault on religious freedom.

    Just because people like Dolan get to spew their garbage on O’Reilly doesn’t mean that he represents all or even most believers in this country.

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