Take the Catholic Church, for example. Last May we heard how children sent to institutions in Ireland were abused from the 1930's up until the 1990's. Yesterday a report was published on the Catholic paedophiles that rampaged through the priesthood with impunity between 1960 and 1990. Similar reports have been published in the US, Australia, Austria, France, Poland and Canada.
It makes me want to vomit with rage. This is what power does. It corrupts. It always corrupts. We humans are not fit to have excessive amounts of power and influence, and yet it continues and we see it time and time again.
Islam is the same but worse because it's in the fanatically violent phase that reminds me of the Catholic Church's fanatically violent phase, the Crusades. If they aren't threatening to blow us all up, they are surreptitiously taking over tolerant western societies with their high birth rates and slippery slope demands.
Last night I caught an excellent programme on BBC4, the History of Christianity with Diarmaid MacCulloch, a History professor at Oxford University. He'd arrived at the period of the Reformation when Calvin, Luther et al were promoting an alternative protestantism to the illogical and money-grabbing Catholic Church. It was a fascinating look at how protestantism took hold in northern Europe and how Catholicism reacted by gaining new adherents (and lots of wealth...) in the New World, sending Christopher Columbus there with missionaries.
One of the most interesting points of the programme was that both Catholicism and the new Protestants had no interest in progress (neither does Islam), and it's in the next programme that we discover how it was the American Evangelist Protestants who made America the progressive successful nation that it is today.
The programme has been made with the Open University, and they've set up an online survey to find out what it means to be a British Christian in the 21st century. It's an interesting survey, and gives space for you to write what you think are the most important values for the 21st century. I took the survey and wrote
- being free to think critically
- accepting that men and women are different but equal
- progress is a force for good
- learn the lessons of history - appeasement leads to power-grabbing
- rejecting of totalitarianism both political and religious
- human rights should favour victims of violence, not the violent
- political correctness should not be an excuse to offend the majority of a tolerant society
Remember the words of Lord Acton: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". That includes religious power.