The Abuses of Organized Religion

The Southern Baptists make up the largest protestant denomination in the US.

And in 2019, the Houston Chronicle revealed that its 47,000 affiliated churches faced 380 accusations of sexual abuse.  Plus, remember Tammy-Faye and Jim Bakker and 21-year old church secretary, Jessica Hahn? Jerry and Becky Falwell and the pool boy?

And then there are the continuing scandals involving the Catholic Church around the world! In the UK, the Church of England allowed sexual child abusers to hide for decades. Many studies document the many other abuses of organized religion.

Interesting statistics from The Economist: 

  • Southern Baptist membership peaked at 16.3 million in 2006
  • Membership today – 13.7 million
  • In 2006, 25% of Americans were white evangelicals, today that percentage has fallen to 14%
  • Membership has declined most in the 18-29 year old age group

Political Potency

Still white evangelicals remain politically potent! The holier-than-thou represent a Republican Party plurality, and are the US’s most powerful special interest group. This group has invested heavily in winning the abortion battle and the culture wars. But with declining membership,  how long will they keep winning?

Also, it seems perverse that an institution whose white male leadership has a history of the sexual abuse of women, led the campaign against abortion. I have to wonder how many abortions the abusive pastors and elders have paid for! I guess they have a formula:

  • Coerce
  • Abuse
  • Deny, deny, deny
  • Pay for abortions to get rid of the evidence
  • Hide
  • And then, in private,  fall on their knees to beg forgiveness! 

We’re living in a period awash in cruelty — not only with abuse scandals, but also with mass shootings, political barbarism and the atrocities in Ukraine. How much will the pummelling act of experiencing the news these days lead to empathy erosion? Where will the forces of re-humanization come from? Apparently not from our religious elites.

David Brooks, New York Times, “The Southern Baptist Moral Breakdown”, May 26,2022 

The Abuses of Organized Religion

The abuses of organized religion are not the exclusive territory of Christian denominations or of the United States. It is a global problem. However, the political potency of the US evangelical movement underlines its hypocritical self-righteousness.

Indeed, where will you spend eternity?

We Should Know Better

August 26, 2023

I know! I am going to sound like a grumpy old man. Maybe that is because I am. I have been scratching my head in wonderment at the Taylor Swift phenomena. Is she an Incredible song writer, composer, and performer? I really don’t know! A discussion for another time? But probably not. At my age […]

Not in My Back Yard

August 4, 2023

Don’t build it! At least, Not In My Back Yard ! I acted as an advisor  in the sale of a beautifully natural, 14-acre urban waterfront estate. Existing zoning allowed for the development of 30 to 35 single-family homes, which after road dedication would leave very little green space. I did not think that was […]

Glasgow – That Dear Green Place

July 31, 2023

We were visiting Glasgow (literally that Dear Green Place in Gaelic) to see where my father was born, grew up, and went to University. Fortunately for me, my cousin John from Australia had just visited and had met with historians, Bruce Downie  and Norry Wilson.  So,  we too arranged to meet them in the Govanhill […]

Vienna on Top Again

June 25, 2023

Vienna on top again. This week both Monocle Magazine and The Economist unveiled their quality of life / most liveable city indexes. There are differences in the way each publication sets its index. So it is even more impressive that once again, Vienna tops both lists. I am a bit lazy today so rather than […]

Large interior courtyards

From Hot Bedding to Superblocks

June 20, 2023

Many Viennese went from hot bedding to superblocks overnight. Could they even imagine  an apartment complex 1000 metres long built along two streets with even more massive landscaped courtyards? Could they conceive of 1400 apartment units built to house 5000 people on 56,000 square metres or 38 acres of land.  Or a vertical build-out that […]

Vienna – the World’s Most Livable City

June 16, 2023

Vienna had been a poor city even before the First World War. “Normal” housing arrangements  meant six to eight people sharing one room and a kitchen. Then, in early 1919, just after the Armistice,  the cost of living tripled in two months. Bed lodgers could no longer afford their 8-hours a day in a shared […]