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Evil In The Name Of God
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Is Christianity A Dying Religion?

By James Donahue

The gross misdeeds by numerous characters supposedly representing the Christian church have given that belief system a black eye in world opinion. The Christians are fighting back with a tenacity that has not been seen since the days of the Salem witch trials. And the incredulous behavior of many of their best known spokespersons has cast yet another dark stain over that religious faith.

When does anyone remember a Pope coming under as fierce an assault as Pope Benedict XVI because of a newly revealed case of child sex abuse in his former German Diocese? It appears that as the former archbishop of the Munich and Freising diocese, Joseph Ratzinger, may have covered-up a pedophilia scandal among the German clergy. Even the pope’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, may have been involved in this mess.

To make things worse, even new reports of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Ireland and other parts of Europe are making the news.

Indeed, Catholic priests everywhere have been embroiled in allegations of pedophilia for years. And all of this has been eroding the influence the church, the Pope and his army of robed archbishops, bishops and priests have had on followers everywhere. That the men and women who go into the catholic ministry as priests and nuns are sworn to a life of celibacy and denial is, in itself, an unnatural act that lacks scriptural support.

The fact that American troops are conducting unnecessary wars against Moslem fighters in Iraq in the Bush-generated “War against Terrorism,” and the way we have used killed and maimed innocent civilians in our bombing attacks is despicable. It gives the appearance of a continuation of that old war between Christians and Moslems that began with the Crusades. The Iraq war was unprovoked and the Afghanistan conflict, which began as a fight to hit back at Al-Qaeda radicals that staged the 9-11 assault on the United States, has evolved into a war against the local Taliban guerillas.

In the United States, the battle over Health Care took an unexpected wrong turn into hard-line Christian generated belief systems that threatened to wreck any chance of getting a desperately needed reform bill approved and operating.

The issue of abortion was stirred up by Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak, who claimed to have a coalition of Democratic legislators standing with him to force an amendment that would prohibit all insurance payments for abortions. If the Stupak amendment had been allowed to stand, it would have succeeded in striking down the Supreme Court’s controversial 1973 decision that legalized abortions.

The Stupak Amendment was designed to deny abortions for all but the wealthy that could pay for the procedure out of their own pockets. This is a hot-button issue that has been splitting fundamental Christian believers, who perceive the destruction of a fetus in early term stages, as murder, and women’s rights advocates who argue that the fetus does not become a person until the third trimester of a pregnancy. The amendment would prohibit women from aborting physically malformed fetuses, or children born to victims of rape or incest.

Stupak’s leadership in the anti-abortion fight has drawn yet more attention to the infamous C-Street House in Washington D.C. That building has been discovered to be a headquarters for a fundamental Christian block of ultra-right-wing conservative Senators and Congressmen who have been operating secretly in Washington for some time. Stupak lived at C-Street but recently moved out because of the publicity.

Other occupants of C-Street have included Senator John Ensign, and former Congressmen Mark Sanford and Chip Pickering, all of whom were exposed for carrying on extramarital affairs. The publicity that put the building in the limelight also exposed the fact that the place is registered as a church even though it serves as a rooming house for Christian legislators. A group of ministers have asked the IRS to investigate the C-Street registration which gives the owners of the building tax-free status.

Stories like these, and the movement among ultra conservatives under the Bush Administration which was packed with declared Bible-thumping power figures who openly committed crimes of unprecedented levels. Their assaults were not only leveled against the Constitution and the American people, but involved the ravaging of government coffers and the mass murder of innocent people of Iraq and Afghanistan. What went on in those years in the name of God turned a lot of people against the church.

Among the more outspoken critics has been popular comedian Bill Maher who stabs as the ridiculous stories promoted by the Christian faith during his Real Time cable television shows. Maher also tears into religious belief systems as the narrator in the Larry Charles documentary Religulous.

In other recent news events, a far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education voted to alter high school textbooks so that they promote conservative Christian ideals and even liberal racial and political concepts in the books, thus setting the stage for a brainwashing of millions of children for the next decade. If allowed to stand the new round of textbooks would force teachers to promote a Judeo-Christian influence of the nation’s founding fathers, describe the U.S. government as a republic instead of the democracy that it has become, and twist the historical record with more half-truths than already exist.

The Texas board’s decision could have a nation-wide impact on students because most school textbooks are currently published in Texas. A final decision is expected in May. But that may not be the end of it. Court battles over the Texas decision are expected and they could rage on for years. A lot of young Americans are no longer influenced by the ultra conservative Christian dogma and are not going to be happy about having this kind of propaganda pounded into the heads of their children.

Finally, there is a growing battle over printing the words “In God We Trust” on our nation’s money, and the insertion of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. While federal courts have waivered over such wordage, suggesting that the phrases invoke patriotism rather than religious faith, atheists are not taking this lightly.

They have been fighting the “under God” insertion in the pledge ever since Congress voted to add those two words in 1954.

The atheists appear to be outnumbered in this fight, however. While there is a distinct decline in Christian believers, per-capita, most Americans when polled say they believe in God or a Creator. Thus they have little quarrel in saying they can trust in this supreme power, whatever people choose to call it.