Seven hundred and ninety-six bodies, from newborn to three years old, killed because the religious people deemed them irreversibly stained since they were conceived outside of marriage.
I finished reading The Lost Children of Tuam, a 7000-word document about the dead children Ireland wanted to forget, and the Catholic Church helped kill. I was sick to my stomach.
The thought kept rolling around in my brain: religious people can be the most evil of all.
The piece tells the story of the home babies, children born to unwed mothers, a mark of shame indelibly placed on these tiny innocent ones by Roman Catholic theology that ruled Ireland at the time. The shamed pregnant women (one can only presume the sperm donors/rapists/purveyors of incest stayed free to happily impregnate and ruin others) went to the mother and baby home, a forbidding looking place, guarded by nuns, walled-in with glass shards sitting on the walls to prevent escape.
The women gave birth and were sent out, some probably to the equally horrific Magdalen Laundries that essentially imprisoned 30,000 young women in Ireland. The babies, unless adopted out to affluent Americans, otherwise stayed, stayed to starvation, neglect, and death.
The Roman Catholic nuns who “cared” for the children were from the order called “Bon Secours,” French for “Good Help.” They wrapped those diseased little bodies in rags and disposed of them in unused septic tanks.
Seven hundred and ninety-six bodies, from newborn to three years old, killed because the religious people deemed them irreversibly stained since they were conceived outside of marriage. Seven hundred and ninety-six babies, born to misery and then denied even a Christian burial or notice to relatives, themselves uncaring of the fate of these children.
Religious people can be the most evil of all.
Religious People and their Cruelty Remembered
We all know about the immense cruelty of the Muslim extremists.
Now we have the Buddhists in Myanmar working to exterminate the Muslim Rohingya. One snippet:
A pack of soldiers stepped toward a petite young woman with light brown eyes and delicate cheekbones. Her name was Rajuma, and she was standing chest-high in the water, clutching her baby son, while her village in Myanmar burned down behind her.
“You,” the soldiers said, pointing at her.
She squeezed her baby tighter.
In the next violent blur of moments, the soldiers clubbed Rajuma in the face, tore her screaming child out of her arms and hurled him into a fire. She was then dragged into a house and gang-raped.
By the time the day was over, she was running through a field naked and covered in blood. Alone, she had lost her son, her mother, her two sisters and her younger brother, all wiped out in front of her eyes, she says.
Christians supported Adolph Hiter and his plans to exterminate the Jews.
Christians put Donald Trump, an acknowledged serial sexual predator, a racist in word and deed, a man driven by greed and self-aggrandizement, a man who lies so routinely that he no longer can distinguish truth from falsehood, a man who routinely profanes the office of the Presidency, into very nearly unaccountable power.
Religous people can be the most evil of all.
Someday, the world will look at the current Christian obsession to demonize and eliminate those who don’t fit the perfect sexual binary and will recognize yet once more, “Religous people can be the most evil of all.”
Soon, very soon, it is likely that The United Methodist Church will split over this. The people who are so sure they are right, i.e., that all non-binary sexual inclinations and behaviors are evil and cannot possibly be blessed by God, have called upon those of us with a wider approach to leave so they can have their doctrinally and sexually pure place to remain untouched by the world and their certainties unquestioned by others.
They might let us take our pensions with us but we will relinquish our hard-earned ordination credentials. Isn’t that kind?
As I said, “Religous people can be the most evil of all.”
I know. We have the Bible.
Why? What is this about?
I think it stems from the religious insistence that we actually and clearly hear the voice, the words, of God, and can authoritatively pronounce, “This is the Word of the Lord.” It comes from our surety that we can, for all time, give unchangeable answers to any given societal questions. It comes from our hubris at thinking we are the chosen ones to show others the right way to live and to die.
I know my protests sound strange coming from someone who has spent my life serving the church and promoting religious belief, but something has happened to me. Over years of study and service and now retirement, I am discovering that I just don’t know very much about God and I certainly have no business speaking with absolute certainty for the deity.
Yes, I know. We have the Bible. The Bible which has justified genocides, slavery, mass murders, convenient rapes, robbing the poor, enriching the corrupt, and, at least for the last couple of hundred years in the US, oppression of any who are not straight white males.
I love that book. I’ve studied it my entire adult life. I gained expertise as a proof-texter extraordinaire. I’ve hurt people with it. I carry deep personal anguish because of it.
Like some others who have spent their lives in this quest, I am now reaching this point: True religion has little to do with doctrine and carefully defined beliefs and much to do with sacrificial, reconciling love.
- A love that heals and unites.
- A love that overlooks a multitude of sins and seeks to invite goodness and truth.
- A love that cares for the helpless and hopeless and calls on people to do their utmost best.
- A love that leaves condemnation and hell and torment behind and seeks the day when the wolf lies down with the lion.
- A love that embraces the mysteries of the Cosmos and does not fear the unknown and the unknowable.
- A love that courageously stands up to injustice but does not toss others under the bus in the quest to solve one social ill.
- A love that looks at the Holy Scriptures, of whatever faith tradition, and sees them as windows on the soul, ways to aid us as we look for an eternity of hope.
- A love that loves honestly so much that it refuses to pretend that any human being is incapable of deception or downright evil.
I’m tired of religious people being the most evil of all.