CATHOLIC EDUCATION ELECTIONEERING SPURS A BACKLASH


CATHOLIC EDUCATION ELECTIONEERING SPURS A BACKLASH

AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT

SCHOOLS

Press Release 758

CATHOLIC EDUCATION ELECTIONEERING SPURS A BACKLASH

Special Deals with Bishops

Since the 1960s the political tactics of the Catholic education lobby have changed little: Back the winner in a close contest, then claim the ‘Catholic vote made all the difference!

This was the way the DLP worked in the 1950s and 1960s. Until the DOGS entered the political scene and the voting went the other way.

This is also what has happened in the recent Longman and Batman by-elections. The Catholic education authorities assessed which party was likely to win – then entered these by-elections in the final week. In Batman, the Greens had blown themselves apart in wrangling and the Labor candidate was set to win when the Catholic Education Office entered the race with robo calls.

Labor won and Bingo! The Catholic vote made all the difference!

In Longman, Labor held Longman but polls showed it on a knife-edge, with One Nation’s preferences likely to be key to deciding the result.The Liberal candidate told a fib about a service medal, and some One Nation preferences fled to Labor. Then Catholic authorities made made a last ditch intervention in the Longman by-election, telling parents their schools would get another $250 million under Labor.

Labor won and Bingo! The Catholic vote made a difference!

The Catholic Education Offices and the Archbishops want the ‘special deals’ provided Catholic schools since the introduction of State Aid in the 1960s to continue. They want an open door into the public Treasury with no strings attached. They want financial entanglement of Church and State but talk separation of Church and State when it comes to accountability.

Forget any pretence at a ‘Needs’ policy. Catholic schools have been arguing against the coalition’s school funding policy after it was changed to a needs-based model, where funding was taken from richer schools and moved to poorer ones. They have always favoured rich schools over poorer ones.

Forget the fact that public money is being used by the Catholic sector to interfere in the democratic political process.

Forget the plain fact that many schools are ‘overfunded’ and there is minimal accountability.

Forget the fact that Australia does not need Gonski 2.0. It needs a Royal Commission into the rorting of public funds by the private education sector. DOGS believe the antics of the banks and the financial sector pale before those of the private education sector.

Birmingham was starting to realise his unenviable position.

Many of the private schools are being publicly funded up to, and, in many cases beyond the public funding available to the public sector.

It is time Australia got rid of the sectarian, inefficient, uneconomic and privileged funding of the private sector. They are already paid for.

It is a disgrace that our Prime Minister, worried about a few uncertain votes, goes cap in hand to Catholic Archbishops suing for peace and promising OUR taxes willy nilly.

A proud democratic government should tell the private sectarian sector that public money is for public schools only. He who pays the piper must not only call the tune, but be answerable for it.

Yet – Once Again this political tactic has worked. Or Has it?

Prime Minister Turnbull has taken over negotiations with the Archbishops, Bishops and Catholic bureaucrats from Education Minister Birmingham who, to give him credit, was doing something. He was showing some awareness and reacting to complaints of the Auditor Generals about the lack of public accountability with private education funding. Birmingham was actually taking his Ministerial responsibility seriously.

But as the Australian newspaper gives coverage to the Catholic sector entering negotiations for its ‘special deals’ the non-Cathoic private sector have woken up. They might get left behind – again. Yet you discover this , not from the Murdock but from the Fairfax Press.

On 31 July 2018 David Crowe of the Age informs us that a ‘School Funding War has Erupted’ and groups representing 650 private schools across three states have fired off a blistering letter to Mr Turnbull demanding an urgent meeting to ensure he does not strike a “special deal” with Catholic schools to give them an unfair advantage. Non-Catholic private school families are being warned of another damaging “funding war” over education that could lift their fees and close services, in a new challenge to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to rule out a deal that could cost independent schools $1 billion over a decade. Crowe writes:

Parents would react with “dismay and anger” if the government gave in to a political campaign by Catholic schools to extract a special deal, wrote Independent Schools of NSW chief Geoff Newcombe, Independent Schools Victoria chief Michelle Green and Independent Schools of South Australia Carolyn Grantskalns.

“We support more funding for all schools, regardless of sector, as long as there is a level playing field,” they said.

“This recent campaign, however, has used the rhetorical stereotypes of class warfare, impugned the integrity of staff in independent schools, and published ‘hit lists’ of selected independent schools.

“It would be a backward step if, as a result of this political pressure, we return to the funding wars, in which the stereotypes of ‘class warfare’ and ‘hit lists” re-emerge in practical form.”

……Catholic school authorities used a meeting with Education Minister Simon Birmingham on Tuesday to press for a resolution within weeks with a revised formula to increase their funding.

“It was a productive discussion, but it’s now crunch time for some key decisions to put these issues to bed,” said Dallas McInerney, the chief executive of Catholic Schools NSW.

“We’ll meet again within a fortnight to address the outstanding matters that need resolution.

“We’re trying to ensure the government has a fairer funding model in place for all schools.”

The growing dispute centres on a review of the school resourcing funding model by company director Michael Chaney and others, setting the framework for an attempted compromise with Catholic and independent schools.

Fairfax Media understands the independent school sector fears it could lose $1 billion over a decade under some proposals to help the Catholic sector, tilting the playing field in the competition over fees and services.

So much for the undemocratic, selfish, privileged private sector gouging public funds out of an ever shrinking Treasury. As their screaming representatives clash with the Catholic authorities, exploding with fears of falling into a new class of ‘losers’, there is no mention of the vast majority of Australian children enrolled in the public, inclusive, non sectarian schools throughout the nation.

Fairfax provides the following figures.

There are 1730 Catholic schools educating round 760,000 students across the country.

There are 1061 independent schools educating 604,000 students.

There are 6639 public schools with 2.52 million students across the country.

As an afterthought public schools which educate by for the majority of Australian children – got a mention…

AEC president Correna Haythorpe said Mr Turnbull should restore $1.9 billion in funding for public education rather than strike special deals.

“Public schools were victims of savage funding cuts under Gonski 2.0, and they must have their funding restored before Mr Turnbull considers any further special funding deals for private schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

DOGS are not alone. Here are two of the 362 comments on the David Crowe Age article:

Batlow

The solution is simple. Public schools should be funded from the public purse. Private and religious “schools” are organisations which have opted out of the public system.

They can fund their undertaking from their own resources. If private schools cannot sustain themselves financially, they should give up (or “go broke” in business parlance), and let the children return to the normal public education system.

There are many sophisty-based counter arguments, I know; but the debate to keep raging decade after decade, ever weakening our education system. It’s very simple. In Australia education is universal, secular and free. There is not one single good reason why anyone needs to attend any school, other than a public school. Public education is good for Australia.

Just think how much better off Australia would be, if Tony Abbott had attended Chatswood High School instead of a private “school”.

Sterling

My kids go to an independent school (non-denominational) and I do think that students of these schools should be funded. BUT the majority of funds should go to government schools, and private schools should stop investing ridiculous amounts into facilities that are elitist and unnecessary, and then still expect funding. The last thing I want my children to be educated in is the art of snobbery. Private schools need to get a grip!

And this is what Chris Bonner’s reaction:

Catholic school funding: here we go again

I have a great idea to fix the drought. Give farmers drought relief, extend it to better-endowed areas with access to water –and continue it long after the rain returns. The farmers I know would be horrified if this happened.

But when it comes to school funding the Catholic bishops have no such shame. Every attempt to establish needs-based funding is manipulated

to appease the private school sectors-and the resulting distortions become a permanent part of the school landscape.

This pattern is decades-old, beginning around the time needs-based school funding was undermined in the Whitlam years. In the recent two decades both the Howard and Gillard governments went through the motions of needs-based funding,while feather-bedding the non-government sector. It’s on again. Following the recent by-elections -and almost before the tumult and shouting has died down –another government has lent a willing ear to the dubious school funding claims of the Catholic bishops.

According to The Australian, PM Turnbull’s willingness to listen has been hurried along by last weekend’s tilt by the bishops to influence the voters. It raises a host of questions, not least about who paid for their latest electoral foray.The enduring myth about the extra money sought by the bishops is that it is needed to make up the ‘shortfall’ created by the Turnbull Government’s otherwise feeble ‘Gonski 2.0’ equity funding –which included attempts to reduce the impact of previous special deals.

But in the eyes of the bishops, yesterday’s special deals have become today’s and tomorrow’s fixture. There will always be winners and losers if governments are serious about equity funding. Public schools lost –they have to wait for a decade to possibly see greater equity. The Independents are going to lose (and the Catholics gain) if funding needs are calculated –as they should be around parental incomes. And funding should always be adjusted –including being reduced –as the school circumstances change. Welcome to the real world.

It is highly likely that the Catholic schools will get what they want. Labor threw in the towel decades ago; it is surprising that education minister Birmingham has held the line for as long as he has.

What might complicate matters is the rapid intervention of Independent school peak groups, reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on August 1. They declared they supported more funding for all schools, regardless of sector… adding, without any hint of irony, “as long as there is a level playing field”. The recent Catholic campaign, they said:“has used the rhetorical stereotypes of class warfare, impugned the integrity of staff in independent schools, and published ‘hit lists’ of selected independent schools. It would be a backward step if, as a result of this political pressure, we return to the funding wars, in which the stereotypes of ‘class warfare’ and ‘hit lists” re-

emerge in practical form. Heady stuff indeed and not a public schoolie in sight. Perhaps like me they just love to watch!

Amidst all this an interesting perspective on the Catholic campaign seems to have been missed. As always in the past the campaign has highlighted the likelihood of school fees rising and schools closing – 350 schools this time around.

They only had to close schools once (Goulburn 1962) to put the fear of

God -or his earthly underlings -into politicians. But the context in which this all plays out has considerably changed. The financial costs to governments

of Catholic school closures are nowhere near what they would have been in the past. In recurrent funding terms Catholic schools in Australia are already government schools. Most are funded at well over 90% of the public funding going to government schools. Independent schools are fast catching up.

Many could be closed with governments ending up financially ahead.

In completing research for a recent discussion paper, I had a closer look at the relationship between government and Catholic schools in 71 small NSW towns. Funding two competing small schools in each of these towns is very expensive for governments –the recurrent funding costs for all the schools was $330 million in 2016.

On completing a paper ‘merge’ of the schools in each town I discovered that the recurrent cost to governments fell by 10%. Even if remotely equivalent figures could be scaled across Australia the savings to government of a more efficient provision of schools would be substantial. Obviously many factors come to bear on decisions about closing schools, but perhaps those running the current Catholic campaign need to bring themselves up to date with some fiscal realities. Then again, none of this will feature in the ongoing jockeying around school funding. The actors come and go but the script for how it will play out has been around for a long time.

Chris Bonnor is co-author with Jane Caro of “The Stupid Country”

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The Christian lobby is now trying to convince women that abortion causes breast cancer


The Christian lobby is now trying to convince women that abortion causes breast cancer
 Jane Gilmore

Last week the ACL sent out an email inviting people to attend a Melbourne screening of Hush, a documentary described as “a pro-woman perspective on the abortion debate”.

The ACL describes controversial anti-abortion documentary ‘Hush’ as “a pro-woman perspective on the abortion debate”.

Hush has been lauded by anti-abortion and religious groups around the world for its allegedly “balanced” reporting of thoroughly debunked myths – that abortion causes breast cancer, infertility and mental illness.

Perpetuating dangerous and disproved claims about serious medical issues is a definition of “a pro women perspective” I haven’t heard of before, but to be fair, there are many issues pushed out by the ACL that I find difficult to comprehend.

A still from the documentary 'Hush'.
A still from the pseudo-documentary ‘Hush’.  Photo: Hush

Hush props up the allegation of “balance” by claiming the director, Punam Kumar Gill, is pro-choice. Despite this, there are 28 people featured in the film discussing the alleged dangers of abortion, and only two who assert it is a safe procedure.

Whether or not Gill really is pro-choice is irrelevant in the face of the claims made by the documentary, which gives significant weight to assertions by Christian anti-abortion researchers while ignoring overwhelming evidence from the medical profession that there is no reliable link between abortion and breast cancer.

It’s very much akin to the work of anti-vaxers, who cling desperately to risible claims by quack scientists, in the face of irrefutable evidence that they are wrong, because their feelings trump facts.

The film has been described as “a prototype of pseudoscience” by Dr David Grimes, who says he “advised the director in writing in September of 2014 of the poor credentials and discredited science of several anti-abortion activists interviewed for the film.

“She was apparently undeterred in conjuring up a conspiracy,” he says.

The documentary’s website lists a bibliography of the so-called “science” behind the breast cancer claims. The first article shows a possible small increase in the number of young women with breast cancer, but does not posit any possible causes. The second article was eviscerated by Discover Magazine in 2003, which utterly debunked the premise, methodology, results and conclusions of the study. And pointed out that – as Phyllis Wingo, chief of the cancer surveillance branch for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said – even if you accepted their flawed suppositions, “a relative risk of 1.3 – compared with the relative risk of 20 associated with smoking and lung cancer – is usually considered too weak to draw definite conclusions”.

The third link supporting the ludicrous notion that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer was written by Patrick Carroll, an insurance expert with no medical training, who works for the Pension And Population Research Institute, an obscure institution with a single-page website linking only to Carroll’s three papers on breast cancer and abortion.

These studies were used to prove a link that has been investigated and rejected by the National Cancer Institute, the Cancer Council of Australia, the American Cancer Society, and the Australian Medical Association, among many others.

Dr Tony Bartone, Vice-President of the Australian Medical Association, said the assertion is irresponsible. “There is no evidence that abortion is in any way linked to the development or onset of breast cancer.

“A patient suffering from breast cancer has enormous challenges to deal with, and they certainly don’t need this kind of misinformation adding to their already overwhelming worries,” he said.

“Also, patients making informed decisions about terminations do not need to be subjected to this kind of misinformation, which can only create significant and unnecessary further stress when they already have so many  concerns to deal with.”

What’s worse, the screening for which the Australian Christian Lobby was issuing invitations is a fundraiser for Women’s Forum Australia, “an independent women’s think-tank” founded by Melinda Tankard Reist, which claims to advocate for “women’s health and wellbeing”.

Of their 10 published news items, three were anti-abortion, six were about adoption (with a focus against same-sex parents adopting) and one was advocating against surrogacy. Their two events are the Hush screening and a Pregnancy Support Awards for services that persuade women against abortion.

Tankard Reist has long resisted publicly declaring any link to faith-based organisations, but the links between her, the organisations she’s founded, and right-wing Christian groups are difficult to ignore.

While faith is certainly a personal matter that no private individual should ever be obliged to disclose, it is relevant to public advocacy. Women’s Forum Australia has every right to argue against abortion if they choose to, but peddling dangerous misinformation under the guise of “balance” and “science”, and hiding a faith-based agenda behind an alleged concern for women’s health, demands some investigation and response.

ACL’s invitation to the event was forwarded to Fairfax Media and came directly from Dan Flynn, the Victorian Director of ACL. Kristan Dooley, the contact provided on the event information, confirmed to Fairfax Media that the event is a fundraiser for Women’s Forum Australia.

The ACL is very clear on its purpose, as stated on its website it is “seeking to bring a Christian influence to politics”. If the ACL is promoting a fundraiser, it would be unlikely to do so without some faith-based or ideological alignment with the beneficiaries.

Pseudoscience and discredited conspiracy theories do nothing for the anti-abortion cause. Using such things to raise funds for further advocacy is egregiously unethical.

If these are the best arguments they can make for an ideological crusade against a legal medical procedure that saves women’s lives, they desperately need to rethink their strategy.

And in the meantime, Australian women can rest assured that if they require an abortion, the procedure is safe, legal (in most states) and entirely a matter for each individual to decide.

 

Via:- http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/news-and-views/opinion/the-christian-lobby-is-now-trying-to-convince-women-that-abortion-causes-breast-cancer-20161018-gs535e.html

 

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Pro-Choice Movement Takes on Catholic Fascist Theocrats, Women Turn Their Backs on the Catholic Church


Pro-choice movement in Poland is taking on church and state

Why are so many Polish women turning their backs on the Catholic Church?

People protest in Gdansk against Polish government plans to tighten anti-abortion laws. Photograph: Michal Fludra/Gallo Images Poland/Getty ImagesPeople protest in Gdansk against Polish government plans to tighten anti-abortion laws. Photograph: Michal Fludra/Gallo Images Poland/Getty Images

On April 3rd, the Middle Ages engaged in an unusual skirmish with the 21st century in cities across Poland. During Sunday Mass in this overwhelmingly Catholic country, priests read their congregations a letter from the Polish episcopate calling for an unconditional ban on abortion.

Scores of women then walked out in protest, their exodus filmed in famous churches such as St Mary’s Basilica in Gdansk and St Anne’s Church in Warsaw.

Outside, thousands of women gathered on city streets and squares, listening to pro-choice speakers and holding up signs that flashed their opinions: “Hands off my uterus,” “No to torturing women,” “I’ll have a child when I want to.” They brandished coat hangers, an implement of dangerous self- induced abortion first politicised by American feminists in the 1960s.

These actions mark an extraordinary nationwide moment for Polish women and Polish Catholicism. I have been studying Polish culture since the 1980s, when the Catholic Church strived to be the true ally of the working class in a communist state. The 1978 election of a Polish pope, John Paul II, bolstered the rise of Solidarity, an independent trade union that eventually engendered several political parties in post-1989 Poland. The church produced martyrs for the people’s cause.

Compromise

The church wielded even greater authority over Polish society after the fall of communism, though that authority remained deeply patriarchal, with liberty and justice for some, not all. John Paul II stood tough against a corrupt communist system and initiated an important rapprochement between Catholics and Jews, but a campaign for women’s reproductive rights lay beyond his religious belief. This Polish pope subscribed fully to the Catholic doctrine that human life begins at conception. Abortion had been legal in communist Poland. In post-communist Poland, the church helped push through a “compromise” in 1993 – a law that allowed women to have abortions only in the case of rape, incest, severe foetal impairment and risk to the mother’s life.

Poland’s abortion law is one of the most restrictive in the world, yet was not ameliorated even after the country’s admission into the European Union in 2004.

Why, then, have so many Polish women turned their backs on the church in recent weeks? For six months, huge numbers of Poles have taken to the streets, protesting against an ever more repressive government. The conservative Law and Justice party, which won a clear majority in parliament last October, wasted no time pushing its nationalist agenda. It has defied the authority of the extant Polish constitution and the constitutional tribunal, placed a “leftist” public media under government control, distanced itself from the socially liberal policies of the EU and tarnished as traitors those who disagree with its anti-pluralist stance on virtually every issue ranging from sexuality to national self-criticism.

Now members of the Committee in Defence of Democracy, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands, march en masse in Polish cities almost every week, carrying signs and giving speeches.

Anti-abortion protests

Their efforts have provoked opposition, with anti-abortion protests springing up as well. Backed by the church, those protesters have called for a tightening of the abortion laws to allow abortion only when the woman’s life is in danger.

Polish Catholic women did not decide to walk out of church on April 3rd until the episcopate ordered priests to endorse Law and Justice legislation during Mass. The line separating church and state was expediently erased. A supposedly independent lobbying committee, Stop Abortion, collected the 100,000 signatures required to present the abortion ban Bill to parliament; only the church could approve such a Bill; and the all-Catholic Law and Justice party could only obey the church. Lest there be any opposition, the church enlisted its local representatives to tell the faithful how to vote.

This church-party strategy backfired, provoking rather than pre-empting opposition. A non-partisan group, Women for Women, formed on Face- book, gathering 100,000-plus members and organising protests and church walkouts. The opposition has picked up steam and plenty of left-wing political support, generating a new committee, Let’s Save Women, which proposes more radical legislative and educational reform.

Let’s Save Women has three months to collect the 100,000 signatures needed to propose its Bill “in support of women’s rights and informed parenting” – specifically, legalised abortion for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, Poles’ guaranteed access to contraceptives without a prescription, and mandatory sex education in the schools. Supporters of Let’s Save Women insist they will not accept a church-run government – the result being a contentious battle between theocracy and secular democracy in 21st-century Poland.

Beth Holmgren is a professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Duke University

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How Far Right Catholic Fanatics Like Robert Spencer, Manufacture Islamophobic Hoaxes


The far Right, corporatist, religious and political lunatic fringe, has an extensive history of fabricating and manufacturing hoaxes to demonise perceived enemies, or competitors.

Mere reality is insufficient to satiate their lust for unbridled power, sociopathic hatreds and extreme paranoia, so that fantasies and fabrications are routinely manufactured to nourish their pornography of paranoia.

Conspiracism, the manufacture of the ‘demonic other’ and group, cultural ‘scapegoats,’ has persistently played a vital and core role, in far Right propaganda.

The grubby, listed hate preacher, Robert Spencer, adored by neo-Nazis, fascists and Catholic/Christian/Jewish extremists, is an intermediate cog in the larger, manufactured Islamophobia Industry machinery, which has been staple cash cow for far Right religious and politicised extremists, hate mongers and fascists preying and profiteering from real and fabricated cultural tensions.

Whilst innumerable examples could be cited, here’s a recent faux ‘news’ ruse, promulgated by the superstitious, Rightist Catholic fanatical loon, Robert Spencer who deludes that despite his lies, disinformation and deception, he is doing ‘the work of god.’

 

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Daily-Caller-Refugees

Via by Richard Bartholomew

Here’s one I missed from a month ago. From the Daily Caller:

A group of 51 refugees were brutally assaulted outside a night club in Murmansk, Russia, after they groped and molested women at a night club Saturday.

The refugees had previously been ordered to leave Norway for “bad behavior” and tried their luck in Russia. What they didn’t realize when they went out clubbing in Murmansk is that Russians have less tolerance when it comes to sexual assault on local women than other European countries.

…The refugees tried to flee but were quickly captured by the Russians. They then took them out to the street and gave them a beating they will remember. Police arrived to break up the fight but locals report that they threw a few punches at the refugees before arresting 33 of them. Eighteen refugees were in such bad condition they had to be take to the hospital.

As shown above, the story is illustrated with a photograph of a gang of burly men, one of whom has a club, beating up another man, who cowers on the ground.

The source given in the link above is an Italian report from Imola Oggi (without the photo), which in turn cites Fort RussThe Fort Russ article is in English (“translated by Tom Winter”), and states that it “was prepared from material on social network sites.”

However, it followed an earlier report on the same site (“translated by Ollie Richardson”) which has a somewhat different version of the story:

Several refugees from Arab countries were beaten in the middle of the night of Saturday in the city of Polyarnye Zori (Murmansk oblast), reported a FlashNord source in the law enforcement bodies of the region.

The incident occurred in the nightclub Gandvik.

“According to preliminary data, five refugees were beaten in the entertainment establishment. According to witnesses, they behaved insolently and had been pestering local girls,” — said the Agency’s interlocutor.

“Five”. As opposed to “51”. And no reference to any arrests. But there’s more: the original article from FlashNord can be seen here. It was followed up on the same day with a second article, confirming that there may have been a fight outside the nightclub, but that details could not be confirmed from CCTV and it was all over by the time the police arrived.

So, it looks like there was an incident of some kind – but it is far from clear that it was anything more significant than the kind of fight that tends to occur sometimes near venues where young men have been drinking and are perhaps “on the pull”. Were refugees involved? Was the incident provoked by anti-social behaviour towards female clubbers? Nothing in the report confirms any such details (and I can’t find further evidence elsewhere) – and the story of a mass incident involving dozens of arrests appears to have been a fiction.

The photograph used by the Daily Caller doesn’t make much sense: it shows just one man being attacked, and – somewhat crucially – it was taken in middle of the day. The site either didn’t bother – or forgot – to remove the photo’s metadata caption, which identifies it as actually showing Russian Cossacks assaulting a Ukrainian in Sevastopol in 2014. It was published in its correct context in the media at the time (see below).

Did the Daily Caller intend to deceive? Robert Spencer, always eager to spread stories about how Muslims are depraved, appears to have taken it at face value as evidence, as did other right-leaning sites.

Perhaps it was intended merely to be illustrative – but given that the Daily Caller clearly approves of the outcome in their version of the story, such a photo serves to titillate, and perhaps to exhort.

Have we really reached the point where a photo of a bunch thugs beating someone up is to be celebrated because someone has said that it shows a refugee, and has further assured us that the victim did something anti-social and deserves his fate?

Spencer-vs-Mirror

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How the Vatican Manipulates the American Democratic Process


Catholic_spain1
How the Vatican Manipulates the American Democratic Process

Editor’s note: The following has been adapted from Chapter 4 of our chairman Dr. Stephen D. Mumford’s book, American Democracy and the Vatican: Population Growth and National Security (1984). This book is available on Kindle here.

The Abortion Movement

In 1980, Federal Judge John Dooling, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, declared that the Hyde Amendment, which prevented Medicaid payment for abortion, was unconstitutional. (Copies of Judge Dooling’s 328-page decision in McRae vs. HEW are rare. During a recent conversation with the Brooklyn United States District Court, I was told that their copy had disappeared and, for this reason, they were not in a position to reproduce it.) Judge Dooling had spent a year gathering evidence and studying the anti-abortion movement, and his findings showed that the anti-abortion movement was essentially a Roman Catholic movement with a little non-Catholic window dressing.[8] The amendment, says Dooling bluntly, was a ploy by anti-abortion congressmen frustrated in their attempt to pass a constitutional amendment that would override the Supreme Court’s 1973 pro-abortion decision; its purpose was quite simply to circumvent the Court’s ruling and prevent as many abortions as possible. Dooling, a practicing Catholic, makes short shrift of the anti-abortionists’ pretensions to be a spontaneous grass-roots movement that owes its political victories to sheer moral appeal. He confirms that the right-to-life’s main source of energy, organization, and direction has been the Catholic Church, and he describes in detail how the movement uses one-issue voting to put pressure on legislators, candidates, and the party organizations that nominate them—a tactic that gains influence far out of proportion to its numbers. Please see appendix one for excerpts from Judge Dooling’s decision in McRae vs. HEW.

What is most significant in this extract is Judge Dooling’s finding that the anti-abortion movement’s main source of energy, organization, and direction has been the Catholic Church. The bishops’ Pastoral Plan prompted the creation of the Moral Majority. Richard A. Viguerie, a Catholic, is the man most responsible for the development and success of the New Right, and he will be the first to claim that honor. He was also involved in the original discussions that led to the creation of the Moral Majority and, as its fundraiser, can be credited with its financial success. Paul Weyrich, a Catholic, claims credit for originating the idea for the group and the name itself. In their search for an attractive front man for the organization, they chose Jerry Falwell, who, according to intimates, has an insatiable lust for power—and, thus, Moral Majority, Inc., was born.[9]

It is inconceivable that these Catholic laymen were not responding to the bishops’ Pastoral Plan. Much went into avoiding public disclosure of the role of the Catholic Church in the creation of the Moral Majority. Maxine Negri, in “A Well-Planned Conspiracy,” exposed involvement of the Catholic hierarchy in the Moral Majority.[10] Then, the June 21, 1982, issue of U.S. News and World Report noted:

At the heart of Moral Majority is a direct-mail operation…. Membership claims … put the number of Moral Majority’s active supporters at roughly 4 million Roman Catholics, Protestant fundamentalists, and orthodox Jews. The organization says its “hardcore contributors,” numbered at more than 400,000, include a cadre of 80,000 priests, ministers, and rabbis organized into fifty autonomous chapters.

This claim of autonomy should not be taken seriously. What is described here is exactly the organization described in the Pastoral Plan of Action down to the details.

None of us who has ever worked extensively with fundamentalist churches or lived among fundamentalists ever took the claim that the Moral Majority was a fundamentalist organization seriously. One characteristic common among fundamentalists is a keen sense of individualism, and individualists are often fundamentalists because of this trait. There is self-selection. They strongly resist the “herding” that characterizes other major denominations such as the Catholic Church. It is very difficult to organize two or three local fundamentalist churches to carry out even a local short-term civic activity. Organizing much beyond this is inconceivable. In contrast, the Catholic Church, with its keen sense of organization acquired over a two-thousand-year history, found the “organization” of the fundamentalists a relatively simple task by providing with few exceptions the entire organization infrastructure, including the organization of the fifty autonomous state chapters and the organizations in the 435 congressional districts.

The far more experienced and autocratic Catholic Church found the fundamentalists easy prey. They created “leader” Jerry Falwell and they sought out for other visible positions others who also had an insatiable lust for power. These fundamentalists toe the line of the Catholic Church to maintain their newly acquired visibility and their sense of power. And, of course, the purse strings of the Moral Majority are controlled by those who collect the money—represented by Richard Viguerie. As the old adage goes, “he who controls the purse strings, controls the organization.”

The Family-Planning Movement

There is little doubt that virtually all opposition to the family-planning movement is Roman Catholic. The anti-family-planning movement’s main source of energy, organization, and direction clearly has been the Roman Catholic Church. Most people outside the family-planning field are not aware that this anti-family-planning movement continues to score major victories, such as preventing the U.S. sale of Depo-Provera, the birth-control injectable given every three months, a method which all available data indicate is safer than birth control pills. Depo-Provera is used by tens of millions of women around the world and is now approved by over one hundred countries, including most European countries, WHO, and other prestigious groups. Other victories include successfully laying roadblocks that prevent tens of thousands of women from receiving sterilization operations when they want them, roadblocks which result in thousands of unwanted births yearly. Far more important are the successes of the Church in minimizing U.S. assistance to family-planning efforts in developing countries.

Many of these victories for the Church come under the heading “Administrative Areas” in the bishops’ Pastoral Plan of Action. Two recent examples of Catholic Church activity are the mandatory notification of parents of teens who seek contraceptives at federally funded clinics and the banning of federal funds for family-planning clinics which provide abortion.

The ERA Movement

The Equal Rights Amendment died June 30, 1982. I am certain that its failure was the result of the success of the Catholic hierarchy’s bold efforts to defeat it. As with the anti-abortion movement, the main source of energy, organization, and direction of the anti-ERA movement is the Roman Catholic Church.

In June 1978, I received a Planned Parenthood Washington Memo which contained an article entitled “U.S. Bishops Block Pro-ERA Statement.” In part, it read:

The Roman Catholic hierarchy, in early May, refused to permit issuance of a subcommittee’s statement supporting the Equal Rights Amendment, indicating that the fight against legal abortion takes precedence as its preeminent concern.

The pro-ERA statement was supported by the bishops’ six-member Ad Hoc Committee on Women in the Church and Society, which took pains to separate support for ERA from any connotation of accepting abortion. Furthermore, they sought only to issue the statement in their own behalf and had reportedly consulted with the Family Life section of the bishops’ Department of Education, which apparently approved their conclusions “that the ERA will not threaten the stability of marriage in family life.”

According to a report of the National Catholic News Service, acceptance of the statement had been urged by ninety-four employees of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. Catholic Conference, but advance disclosures about the issue also generated heavy mail from the “right to life” groups opposing the ERA. The NCCB’s forty-eight-member administrative board, which sets policy for the 345 U.S. Roman Catholic bishops, rejected the pro-ERA document during an early May meeting in Chicago, contending that it could hurt anti-abortion efforts.

It is now apparent that this move by the bishops was a brilliant ploy. The Church not only evaded taking a positive stand on an important social justice issue which threatens its power but it has worked diligently to defeat the ERA by using the very same political action organization used to combat abortion!

In my home state of North Carolina, one of the last hopes of the ERA movement, we saw statewide polls in May 1982 show that two-thirds of our citizens favored the amendment, and, in June 1982, we saw two-thirds of our lawmakers vote to defeat it. Clearly, a vast superior organization killed the ERA in North Carolina, a finely honed and skillful operation, one two thousand years in the making—the same one continuing to fight legalized abortions in our fair state.

Actions Taken by the Church

What actions has the hierarchy taken to counter the abortion, family-planning, and ERA movements?

In 1980, Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, a Canadian Roman Catholic professor of sociology at the University of Montreal, published a book entitled Papal Power: A Study of Vatican Control Over Lay Catholic Elites.[11] This is a study of the techniques intensively used by the Vatican in many countries to control Catholic laypersons in Italy over the past one hundred years. In 1875, the Vatican created a system of local parish committees of at least five members each, called Catholic Actions. These committees were created to organize laypersons to assist the Vatican in seizing control of local, state, and national political machinery. Over the years, the Church gained considerable experience in organizing these committees and in ensuring obedience and a very high degree of responsiveness to the chain of command by the committees. These committees and their more recent counterpart, civic committees, are highly effective in mobilizing Vatican efforts. Vaillancourt places the role of the committees in proper perspective by discussing

a famous open letter presented to the Pope in 1968 by dissatisfied Catholics from France and elsewhere. The letter severely criticized the Vatican’s excessive attachment to wealth and power, stressing the idea that Church authorities are too repressive and manipulative:

“The whole Church apparatus is organized for control: the Roman Curia controls the bishops, the bishops the clergy, the clergy controls the laity … and the lay Christians control (what an illusion!) mankind. Hence a multiplication of secretaries, commissions, structures, etc., with their programs and rules…. Underhand influences have suffocated the openness which had manifested itself at the lay conference in Rome, a congress which had very little communication with the bishops who were then meeting in a synod.”

After this attack on the abuses of social and legal power by church authorities, the letter goes on to describe three of the favorite techniques of control used by the Vatican: secrecy (there are secret files even against bishops), spying and informing, and repression (used even against some of the most respected theologians).

Secrecy can be classified as either a legal or a social method of control, depending on whether it is used as an administrative-legal procedure or as a simple social defense mechanism. Spying and informing would clearly be instances of social power, since they entail the use of social processes. Finally, repression, as discussed in the open letter, refers to a mixture of legal, coercive, and even remunerative power. Concretely, it includes the habitual recourse by Church officials to excommunications, censures, condemnations, demotions, and the removal or firing of offenders from their ecclesiastical jobs.

In researching Papal Power, Vaillancourt studied Vatican control over lay Catholic elites for years, spending a large part of his time at the Vatican. To effect this control, Vaillancourt has found that the Vatican exercises eight kinds of power—all of which have been used and have proved effective in opposing social issues in the United States.

ECOLOGICAL POWER, based on the physical control of material environmental conditions. An example of this is the use of territory, buildings, or real estate to control people through the domination of their environment.

REMUNERATIVE POWER, based on material or nonmaterial rewards or compensations. An example of this is the way the Pius XII Foundation uses its funds to support some lay activities and not others.

COERCIVE POWER, based on physical or psychic violence. Examples of this are burning at the stake, torture, imprisonment, banishment, blackmail, removal from office, denouncement.

SOCIAL POWER, based on the use of structural-organizational or psycho-sociological mechanisms such as Catholic Action congresses, peer-group pressures, rumors, co-optation, social ostracism, socialization, use of mass media, nepotism, and selective recruitment. An example of social power is “conditioning.” …

LEGAL POWER, juridically founded, or simply based on bureaucratic and administrative norms, procedures, and maneuvers. An example of this is the rule of secrecy which affects, under the pain of “grievous sin,” the affairs of the Secretariate of the Pope and the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church in their relations with Vatican diplomats and other high-ranking prelates. Another example is censorship, through the nihil obstat and imprimatur.

TRADITIONAL POWER, based on the use of traditional symbols, rituals, ideas, and sentiments. The cementing of loyalty through a mass of torch-lit procession during a congress would be an example of this kind of power. Appeals to practices (for example, speaking Latin) and documents popular or prevalent in previous times are also instances of the use of traditional power.

EXPERT POWER, based on professional, technical, or scientific or purely rational arguments. An example of this is the recourse to commissions of experts in theology or the social sciences to bolster one’s position. Pius XII’s speeches to numerous groups on a multitude of topics was also an effort to control through expert power.

CHARISMATIC POWER, based on exemplary or ethical prophecy. Examples of this are calls for social justice and equality (used extensively in recent years) or the giving away of some of the Church’s possessions for certain causes (for example, a ring in a Brazilian slum). In a less prophetic vein, the replacement of personal charisma of office and the routinization of charisma are other examples of the use of this kind of power.

The Vatican with one hundred years of experience in controlling nations through these lay Catholic organizations, has chosen to export this highly developed mechanism for control of lay Catholics and democratic processes to the United States. In 1975, the Church launched its Pastoral Plan of Action. The “committees” discussed in this plan are the same “committees” discussed by Vaillancourt that are used to control lay Catholics and to serve as political machinery. These “committees” which make up anti-abortion organizations are openly being used by the Vatican to manipulate the American democratic process. This includes the Moral Majority organization, as unsuspecting Protestants lend their support. For those who have figured out that they are being used, the lust for power or attention given them is enough to keep them in the fold.

The Pastoral Plan of Action was supposedly initiated by the Vatican because “the will of God and the law of reason” demanded an unrelenting fight against abortion. However, by 1978, it became apparent that the Vatican had simply seized upon a golden opportunity to mobilize Catholic America into a political party using its “right-to-life committees”—including the Moral Majority. Some observers began to recognize that these very same “committees” were being used to fight the other “enemies” of the Catholic Church: the ERA, family planning, the environmental movement, illegal immigration control, and support for the Global 2000 Report. I am now convinced that abortion was simply an excuse to politically mobilize the American Catholic Church and create, de facto, an American Catholic Political Party. The same techniques and tactics developed and used by the Church one hundred years ago to manipulate local, state, and national governments on other continents are exactly the same techniques and tactics seen in America today!

In 1977, victory for the ERA movement seemed almost certain. Few Americans realize the fantastic amount of organization and mobilization of human resources, funds, and commitment it took on the part of the Vatican to turn apparent victory for the ERA into defeat. Phyllis Schlafly, a Catholic, and the “organization” she headed, got more help from the Vatican and the American bishops than most Americans can possibly imagine. Judge Dooling found the anti-abortionists’ claim that they were a grass-roots movement to be spurious; the belief that the anti-ERA forces are also a grass-roots movement is ridiculous.

As serious observers study the opposition to the family-planning movement, the environmental movement, illegal immigration control, and the Global 2000 Report, they recognize just how sophisticated the opposition is—the amount of energy, organization, and direction each has—and that the opposition is all the same people, the same committees.

Conclusion

This is not an abstract theory. Such organization has been effective in Italy and other countries and was described by Vaillancourt before it got underway in earnest in the United States. Until those of us who are concerned about these social justice issues are willing to confront the Catholic hierarchy, there will be no significant advances in these areas of social justice. So long as the Church can act “undercover,” it will continue to be effective in thwarting significant advances. Our willingness to permit the Church to act in secrecy in America vastly enhances its power. It is absolutely essential that our silence be shattered. If not, then no matter which of these causes is “our cause” it’s a lost cause. Just as important, the strength of a threatening Vatican-controlled political party in America will continue to grow. American Catholics who are seriously concerned about social justice must take the pope and the Vatican at their word when they say that they do not intend to change their course. Catholics must be aware that the pope and the Vatican are choosing their social justice issues very selectively. In the 1970s, Cardinal Leo Suenens proposed that the position of pope and the Vatican, as we know it, be eliminated and that four “mini-pope” positions be created; this is consistent with Catholic teachings. He insisted that this is feasible. Perhaps it is time for socially responsible American Catholics to break the American Church away from the control of the Vatican. Otherwise, they as individuals stand to be accused of the same hypocrisy practiced by their Church hierarchy.


[8] D. J. Dooling, decision in McRae vs. HEW, New York: U.S. District Court. See, Appendix 1 for a more complete extract from Judge Dooling’s decision.

[9] P. D. Young, “Richard A. Viguerie: The New Right’s Secret Power Broker,” Penthouse (December 1982), p. 146.

[10] Maxine Negri, “A Well-Planned Conspiracy,” The Humanist (May/June 1982), 42:3:40.

[11] Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, Papal Power: A Study of Vatican Control Over Lay Catholic Elites (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980).

Dr. Stephen Mumford is the founder and President of the North Carolina-based Center for Research on Population and Security. He has his doctorate in Public Health. His principal research interest has been the relationship between world population growth and national and global security. He has been called to provide expert testimony before the U.S. Congress on the implications of world population growth.

Dr. Mumford has decades of international experience in fertility research where he is widely published, and has addressed conferences worldwide on new contraceptive technologies and the stresses to the security of families, societies and nations that are created by continued uncontrolled population growth. Using church policy documents and writings of the Vatican elite, he has introduced research showing the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church as the principal power behind efforts to block the availability of contraceptive services worldwide.

In addition to his books on biomedical and social aspects of family planning, as well as scientific articles in more than a score of journals, Dr. Mumford’s major works include: The Life and Death of NSSM 200: How the Destruction of Political Will Doomed a U.S. Population Policy (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Center for Research on Population and Security, 1996); The Pope and the New Apocalypse: The Holy War Against Family Planning (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Center for Research on Population and Security, 1986); and American Democracy and the Vatican: Population Growth and National Security (Amherst, New York: Humanist Press, 1984).

Professor Milton Siegel, who for 24 years was the Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization, speaks to Dr. Mumford in 1992 to reveal that although there was a consensus that overpopulation was a grave public health threat and would be a major cause of preventable death not too far in the future, the Vatican successfully fought off the incorporation of family planning and birth control into official WHO policy. This video is available for public viewing for the first time. Read the full transcript of the interview here.

The Fascist Vatican

Empire – The Vatican: A Wholly Roman Empire?

 

 

 

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More Corruption! Tony Abbott and Brandis both secretly met with paedophile protector George Pell. Why?


Tony Abbott and Brandis both secretly met with paedophile protector George Pell. Why?

Federal Attorney-General Senator George Brandis QC secretly met with known paedophile protector and alleged paedophile Cardinal George Pell in May this year. It was only reported on Monday (20/7/15) because Brandis has spent the last 3 months trying to conceal it.

It is almost identical to Tony Abbott lying in an interview in 2004 on the ABC’s 7.30 Report about a secret meeting he had with George Pell before the 2004 Federal Election.

George Brandis should have never been anywhere near George Pell for many reasons. Not the least of which is that Pell is a sick and perverted person and a key witness at the $500 million Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

It causes major headaches for a lot of people including Prime Minister Tony Abbott who is also a long-time friend of Cardinal Pell. I find it impossible to believe that George Brandis would have met with Cardinal Pell without Tony Abbott’s knowledge and approval. Be that as it may, Prime Minister Abbott certainly knows about the meeting now and has said nothing which also suggests he has known for a long time.

The problem will not be going away as many sexual abuse victims are very upset about it and George Pell is due to give evidence at the Royal Commission again sometime before Christmas. It is guaranteed that Pell will be asked about the May meeting with Brandis when he is next at the Royal Commission and that will raise further questions for Brandis and Tony Abbott.

Channel Ten Report on Monday 20/7/15  

(Click anywhere on the above video to watch)

Channel 10 have a slightly longer report on their website where at the beginning they talk about Pell being accused of protecting paedophiles and at the end about Brandis’ office “only disclosing the lunch after persistent enquiries from Channel 10″. (Click here to watch)

George Brandis knew he should not be meeting with George Pell

It is not like George Brandis did not know Pell was a witness at the Royal Commission. Pell already gave evidence in March and August last year and was put on notice in May this year that he would be required for further evidence later this year.

Also, when the Royal Commission makes recommendations to the government Brandis will be having a substantial say in what recommendations they will implement. As a QC Brandis is fully aware that he should never have met with George Pell for legal reasons such as perceived bias.

Tony Abbott’s friendship with George Pell and the Liberal Party connection

George Pell Tony Abbott

In September 2013 I wrote the below in an article :

“Tony Abbott and George Pell have a history of working together in politics. Before the 2004 election Tony Abbott gave an infamous interview on the ABC’s Lateline where he was caught lying and deceiving in relation to a meeting with George Pell. A couple of days after the meeting George Pell was a signatory to a letter criticising the Labor Party.” (Click here to read more) Below is the video showing Tony Abbott lying.

(Click anywhere on the above video to watch) (For the longer transcript version click here)

Given Tony Abbott has previous history of telling a lie trying to conceal a meeting with George Pell did he tell George Brandis to try and conceal his meeting with Pell?

Questions that need to be answered regarding the George Brandis / Cardinal George Pell meeting

What does Abbott know about the meeting? What did Brandis say to Pell at the meeting? Did Brandis say to Pell that there is no need for Pell to worry as any negative recommendations by the Royal Commission against Pell and the Church will be swept under the carpet? Did Brandis pass on any messages to Pell from Tony Abbott at the lunch or pass on any message to Tony Abbott from Pell after the lunch?

Give credit where it is due

It must be noted that in September 2014 at the request of the Royal Commission the Federal Government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott extended the Royal Commission for 2 years until 2017. (Click here to read more)

Alleged paedophile George Pell and his support for paedophile priests

Confessed paedophile Gerard Ridsdale and his supporter George Pell go to court

This article is not about George Pell and his recent actions are well-known so I won’t go too in-depth but his background is highly relevant to the article so I will cover a few parts. George Pell supported serial paedophile Gerard Ridsdale even when he was facing criminal charges as the above photo shows.

I wrote an article in March last year regarding Pell’s evidence at the Royal Commission which starts off:

“Cardinal George Pell, who was investigated in 2002 for sexually assaulting a 12 year-old-boy in 1961, gave evidence yesterday (24/3/14) at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It is a bit rich to call what came out of George’s mouth “evidence” given almost every second word would have to classified as perjury.” (Click her to read more)

(Click anywhere on the above video to watch)

Another article I wrote in September 2013 which has a lot of background information is titled Tony Abbott and his friend Cardinal George Pell. Perceived bias for the Royal Commission into child sex abuse (Click here to read)

Is George Brandis a paedophile?

As we now know paedophilia goes to the highest levels of government in England so when members of parliament act as strange and in the circumstances that Brandis has I think it fair to ask the question about them.

One thing that is certain is that Brandis having lunch with Cardinal George Pell has given some credibility to a person who will go down in history as one of the biggest paedophile protectors the world has ever seen. And why Brandis has done that is something he needs to explain to the public.

Brandis is divorced with 2 children and his own sexuality is the subject of rumour or at least that is what the Sydney Morning Herald said in an article in 2013.

“Those who know him well insist occasional gossip about Brandis’s sexuality is baseless.” And “Don Markwell says he and Brandis have discussed sex only once in more than 40 years of friendship.” (Click here to read more)

I would like to know what those rumours are and whether or not a dodgy meeting with Pell is relevant.

The only rumour that I know of is that George Brandis is gay and was caught in bed with another man at university. If that is true who cares and he wouldn’t be the first gay person to get married and have children. But maybe the other rumours are a lot more than that.

Why George Brandis met with Cardinal Pell and why he tried to cover it up is unknown so all we can do is speculate to try to get to the truth and so we should as it is disgusting and needs to be exposed.

There will be suspicion about anyone who meets with George Pell. Even worse if they are the Federal Attorney-General

Everyone knows that the Catholic Church are protecting paedophiles on a huge scale. Now and in the past. I wouldn’t go anywhere near George Pell in a million years unless it was to try to expose his criminal conduct further.

George Brandis as put the credibility of the $500 million tax payer funded Royal Commission in jeopardy.

Time for action

Tony Abbott and Brandis need to come clean now. The longer they wait the worse it will become. The above story is dynamite waiting to go off and it will sometime in the not too distant future I expect.

If this was a court case afoot the first question people would ask is: Has George Brandis and/or Tony Abbott interfered in the administration of justice. The Royal Commission isn’t a court case but it is the next best thing and people will be wondering for a long time if Brandis and/or Abbott have interfered with it. At least until they say what happened at the meeting with Brandis and Pell.

Mad Catholic Monk Tony Abbott & Co; Destroying the “democratic life of this nation”


Speak boldly

Catholic fanatics_n

Written by:

The editorial in the Age today suggests that “the Abbott government is cynically moving to de-legitimise certain institutions that perform vital roles in the democratic life of this nation.”

This latest reprehensible attempt to silence the Human Rights Commission is, as Penny Wong points out, part of a wider pattern of behaviour.

This is a Government that seeks to intimidate people who don’t agree with their policies and to silence independent voices.

Within hours of being sworn in, the Prime Minister’s office issued a press release, announcing three departmental secretaries had had their contracts terminated and the Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson would be stood down next year.

Dr Don Russell lost his job as head of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; Blair Comley was the head of the Resources, Energy and Tourism Department; and Andrew Metcalfe, a former Immigration Department chief, was sacked as head of the Agriculture Department.

AusAID was integrated into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and its director-general Peter Baxter resigned.

“AusAID has been delivering an aid program that eradicates poverty in the world’s poorest communities, while DFAT’s objective is to promote and protect Australia’s national economic and political interests.”

The head of Infrastructure Australia, Michael Deegan, stepped down in February 2014 after he lashed out against the Abbott government for eroding the advisory body’s independence.

Infrastructure Australia disagreed about the priorities being pushed by government.  For example, they had listed Sydney’s WestConnex motorway as an ”early stage” project, despite Premier Barry O’Farrell’s and Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s determination to proceed with the project.

”Grand announcements, ‘funding commitments’, glossy brochures, and project websites do not change the reasons (why some projects had not progressed on his organisation’s priority list.),” Mr Deegan said in an email. ”Many proposals lack merit.”

Infrastructure Australia was required to report to the federal government on how climate change would affect federal infrastructure policy. It was set up to assess infrastructure investments on their productivity merits instead of their vote-buying potential. As climate change could inflict damage worth $9billion annually to Australia’s infrastructure by 2020, it makes sense for our infrastructure advisory body to think about how to bring those costs down.

But the Abbott government expunged this instruction as part of its rewrite of Infrastructure Australia’s mandate. This is despite infrastructure co-ordinator Michael Deegan’s warning that rising sea levels and heat stress are among climate impacts threatening ‘‘a significant proportion of Australia’s existing infrastructure assets … and adaptation will require changes to the scope and mix of infrastructure investment’’.

Mr Deegan also noted that ‘‘a significant proportion of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are associated with the various infrastructure sectors, notably energy and transport’’.

No wonder he had to go, along with the Climate Commission and the Climate Change Authority.

Talking about global warming is a death sentence to funding.

The CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have had their funding slashed with hundreds of jobs lost and research programmes abandoned.  With no Minister for Science to point out the value of research it is seen as an avenue to save money and control the areas being studied.

As a direct consequence of the $111 million budget cut, the organisation will lose 489 researchers and support staff by mid-2015.  Another 300 positions will be cut after an internal restructure. The union estimates CSIRO is set to shrink by about 20 per cent over two years.

In August, management confirmed eight infectious disease researchers at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, the country’s only facility for researching live samples of deadly diseases such as Ebola, would lose their jobs.

Eight staff have left the Aspendale laboratory, which focuses on marine and atmospheric research, since the budget was handed down in May. Those leaving Aspendale include senior scientist Paul Fraser, who has taken a voluntary redundancy. Dr Fraser, head of oceans and atmosphere, has been honoured by NASA and also helped establish one of the world’s two most important climate research centres at Cape Grim in Tasmania.

Water research also appears to have been targeted. The office of water science research and the national water commission will be abolished, while the sustainable rural water use and infrastructure program’s budget has had a $400 million trim.

At CSIRO’s largest Victorian site, in Clayton, 15 staff have left or are in the process of leaving. The laboratory, home to research areas including advanced materials, nanotechnology, energy, mining and minerals work, had already lost staff under Labor’s efficiency drive. Among them was organic chemist San Thang, who was made redundant in September. It came as Dr Thang and two colleagues were nominated as frontrunners for the illustrious Nobel Prize in chemistry. Dr Thang has been made an honorary fellow – an unpaid position allowing him to both continue his work and to supervise PhD students.

In addition to the budget cuts, CSIRO also lost about $4 million indirectly when the government folded the Australian Climate Change Science Program into the new National Environmental Science Program.

A further 175 government bodies were cut in the last MYEFO, building on previous decisions to defund agencies in the 2014-15 budget, “taking the total reduction in the number of government bodies since the election to 251″.

Two groups whose funding ceased were the Biosecurity Advisory Council and the National Biosecurity Committee Stakeholder Engagement Consultative Group.  In light of the recent outbreak of Hepatitis A due to contaminated imported berries one wonders who is advising Barnaby on how to proceed.

Other bodies to be disbanded included the Diabetes Advisory Group and the Alcohol and Drug Council of Australia.  This is unbelievably short term thinking as the cost of these problems to our society are astronomic.

The Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC) Joint Working Group to Provide Advice on Students with Disability was also disbanded which fits in with George Brandis’ decision to replace the Human Rights Commissioner for the Disabled, Graeme Innes, with the IPA’s Tim Wilson – Commissioner for bigots and presumably the “anonymous source” quoted in the government attack on Gillian Triggs.

Reading through the list of bodies that have been axed makes me wonder who the hell is looking after these crucial advisory roles.

The Prime Minister for Women has watered down gender reporting while the Minister Assisting assures us that, whilst she likes women, she also likes men so couldn’t possibly be a feminist – a view shared by the highest placed woman in our government, Julie Bishop, who tells us that “it’s only a downward spiral once you’ve cast yourself as a victim.”

Righto.  Domestic violence, workplace discrimination and sexual harassment are our own fault and we should stop whinging….is that the message?

The Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs promptly cut over half a billion in funding from Indigenous programmes and disbanded the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, replacing them with Gerard Henderson’s son-in-law Warren Mundine.

Speaking of Gerard Henderson, he was appointed Chairman of the panel tasked with awarding the PM’s non-fiction Literary Awards.  He chose to give the history award to “a poorly sourced anti-union tome” which was described as a rudimentary, badly-structured book full of hearsay by another panel member.  But it fed into Abbott’s anti-union agenda.

From the outset, Abbott has spent many millions of dollars in a frenzied attack on unions seeking to demonise and undermine the only group with the power to present a collective voice in bargaining to protect workers’ rights.

In December, the Abbott government reintroduced legislation to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, despite 82% of the sector believing it was important to keep the charity regulator.

ACNC Advisory Board Chair and Productivity Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald said: “…the key beneficiaries of the repeal of the ACNC are really only those organisations who do not want independent public accountability or transparency but which seek to continue to receive large benefits from the Australian community.”

Unsurprisingly, it was George Pell who told Kevin Andrews to get rid of the watchdog.  Scott Morrison appears to have recently backed away from the idea calling it a low priority while he gets his “family package” together.

Huge cuts to the funding of the ABC, questionable board appointments, and threats to journalists that they will be jailed if they report on “special operations”, are all designed to muzzle the watchdogs.

Whether it’s scientists, charities, Aborigines, people with disabilities, refugees, unions, feminists, preventative health groups, Muslims, infrastructure specialists, journalists, public servants, or even colleagues….Abbott does not want to hear from us unless it’s to agree.

Bill Wright, a priest and church historian who was vice-rector at St Patrick’s seminary whilst Tony was there, said many found him “just too formidable to talk to unless to agree; overbearing and opiniated. Tony is inclined to score points, to skate over or hold back any reservations he might have about his case.”

Nothing has changed.

The Abbott government may not want to pay for advice but that sure as hell isn’t going to stop me from giving them some.

May Gillian Trigg’s strength and defiance be an example to us all and may we all raise our collective voices to defend those who this government would mute.

1408

Fanatical Australian Politicians Pushing Catholic Propaganda Into Government Schools


Brian Toohey: Australian schools about to get biblical

Catholic fanatics_n

Australia’s federal government is set to adopt a review of the school curriculum that will severely cut back content about Asia and explicitly celebrate what it calls the nation’s “Judeo-Christian heritage, values and beliefs.”

Following recommendations of a review panel, the government has said it will “properly recognize the impact and significance of Western civilization” in classrooms. The new focus even extends to a proposal to scrap all computer literacy classes.

What do you know?

The changes reflect the views of Education Minister Christopher Pyne, who commissioned the review after the ruling conservative Liberal/National party coalition replaced Labor in 2013. To conduct the review, Pyne chose two academics renowned for ardently supporting Pyne’s overall approach.

Like Pyne, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a devout Catholic who had earlier championed changes to ensure that history classes no longer “underplay” Australia’s Western heritage. The reviewers endorsed Abbott’s claim that it is “impossible” to have a good education without a “serious familiarity” with the Bible. They seemed unaware that many Confucian and Hindu scholars, for example, manage to become reasonably well-educated without even a nodding acquaintance with Christianity’s sacred texts.

There should be no mistaking Abbott’s determination. The High Court, Australia’s supreme legal authority, has twice rejected the constitutional validity of his government’s appointment of Christian chaplains to all government-run schools. But Abbott is pressing ahead with a revised legal tactic, despite some states’ preferences for properly trained, secular counselors.

Looking West

The desire to stress Australia’s Judeo-Christian heritage is particularly difficult to understand in the context of an increasingly diverse, multicultural society. The latest survey shows only 8% of Australians went to church at least once a month in 2011, compared with 36% in 1972. Although many of the initial settlers from Britain and Ireland (including transported convicts) called themselves Christians, Australia chose to establish a secular political system.

Contrary to the views of some conservatives, its laws are not derived from the Bible’s Ten Commandments. Moreover, many observers argue that the inhabitants of today’s turbulent world would benefit from less emphasis on the superiority of a particular religion’s “heritage, values and beliefs.”

The review’s official adviser on the English curriculum is Barry Spurr, a poetry professor of the University of Sydney whose specialization is Blessed Mary imagery in poetry. In line with Spurr’s approach, the review recommends that the curriculum put greater emphasis on the “Western literary cannon, especially poetry,” and much less on Asian and other literary texts in the existing curriculum.

Spurr gained unwanted publicity when the University of Sydney suspended him in October after the online site New Matilda revealed elements of allegedly “racist and sexist” emails he had sent. Despite what others saw as a repugnant tone, Spurr said he was being “whimsical” and claimed his email account had been hacked.

What is not in dispute is that Spurr’s written advice to the review said he could find no good examples of Asian writing. The comment is absurd, even leaving aside literary prize winners from Asia, such as India’s Aravind Adiga, author of “The White Tiger,” which won the U.K.’s prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2008. Pyne was forced to distance himself from Spurr’s emails but is still enthusiastic about the curriculum changes.

Words versus action

The new curriculum also favors the traditions of English law that Australia inherited. Few would object to this. But this legacy is currently being eroded by claims of national security risks, something the review fails to acknowledge. Abbott and Pyne have backed the imposition of draconian legal changes in Australia, where detention without charge is allowed in some instances under anti-terrorism legislation. In other cases, the onus of proof has shifted from the prosecution to the defense. Journalists, whistleblowers and others who reveal abuses of power by the intelligence services and police during security operations can now face five to 10 years in jail. A “publication is in the public interest” law that had protected these truth-tellers was abolished in October.

While few Australians want a school system exclusively devoted to serving the economy, the new concepts are so rarefied as to be meaningless for parents, students and policymakers. They endorse the 20th-century British philosopher Michael Oakeshott’s definition of education as an extension of a “conversation [that] began in the primal forests.” Oakeshott went on to say, “It is the ability to participate in this conversation, and not the ability to reason cogently, … or to contrive a better world, which distinguishes the human being from the animal and the civilized man from the barbarian.”

Given the review’s evident contempt for “student-centered” learning, it is not clear how students in Australia (or Asia) could be motivated to participate in this high-minded “conversation,” let alone learn much about how to reason or make discoveries about the world.

Brian Toohey is a Sydney-based commentator on defense, economic and political issues, and was editor of the former National Times. He is co-author of “Oyster: The Story of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.”

The Vatican Occupation of America


How Rome Didn’t Decline and Fall (Yet)

Bill Annett Salem-News.com

The Vatican Occupation of America – A Tragi-Comedy In Three Acts III The Vatican Numbers Game.

Priests give Hitler salute at a Catholic youth rally in the Berlin-Neukolln stadium in August 1933.

 

America, the new Rome

 

(SASKATCHEWAN) – Question: (From the inquisitive student in the back row) “How can the Vatican, which has no defense or military budget of $750 billion (as in the United States), with no army, navy or air force – except for a platoon or so of those Swiss guards carrying pike poles and those funny hats)  manage to control, dictate to and obtain absolute fealty from (including the payment of enormous amounts of money under “concordats”) literally every legitimate (about 178 of them)  “free world” government, not to mention 800 million people around the globe?”

Answer: “An excellent question, back-row student. The answer is by parading itself as the next thing to God. The American model is typical, and one of the most successful. Let us consider the American model. Watch closely.”

In our last class, entitled “Sex And The Single Church,” we were considering “Catholic Education,” which is held high as a beacon and often referred to in hushed tones by distinguished politicians, celebrities and talk-show hosts who are obviously graduands of an excellent Catholic educational institution, along with emotional nostalgia over Knute Rockne, the Gipper himself and the football supremacy of Notre Dame. As a result, the priestly control of education in Catholic America has a subliminal but huge implication for intellectual freedom, that handmaiden of “religious freedom.”

Consider the following catechism, offered up by Dr. Sydney Mumford, as far back as 1984:

  1. The pope is the infallible leader of mankind, and, when he speaks for the Church in matters of faith and morals he, like Caesar’s wife, can neither be wrong nor above reproach.
  • The Virgin Mary returned to the earth six times in 1917 and told three peasant children of Fatima, Portugal, what the Western world should do to avoid destruction by Soviet Russia.
  • It is a grave sin for an American Catholic deliberately to join the Masons or Odd Fellows. (Contrary to popular belief, the Knights of Columbus are not Odd Fellows. They just look like it. – Ed.)
  • No good Catholic may positively and unconditionally approve of the principle of separation of church and state. (Rick Santorum is a good Catholic. -Ed)
  • Thomas Aquinas is the greatest philosopher of all time. (So is Phil Donahue. No relation to Bill Donahue, the soothsayer of the American Catholic League. -Ed.)
  • It is a sin to teach the evolution of man as a whole from animal life. (Although Archbishops may be referred to as “primates.” -Ed.)
  • In general, no Catholic has a moral right to secure a divorce and remarry even if married to a syphilitic, insane or adulterous murderer; and any Catholic who does remarry after such a divorce is guilty of adultery.
  • The Reformation was a backward step in human history, and many of the worst evils of fascism and communism flow from it.
  • It is a grave sin for a Catholic under ordinary circumstance knowingly to own or use a Protestant Bible.
  • The pope is the head of a sovereign temporal state which has coequal rights with that of the government of the United States.
  • The rights of the Church as educator are prior to and superior to the rights of the state as educator, and no government has the legal right to infringe upon this divine prerogative.

Since differences in schools, curriculum and teachers produce differences in behavior, there is a huge implication for science, the study of demographics and population growth and presidential elections. Catholic hospitals, for example, sharply restrict the delivery of family-planning services, to the dismay of any non-Catholic couples who are naïve enough to use these facilities for fertility related services.

With recent advances in medicine that have allowed embryo transfers, test-tube babies, and artificial insemination,  the Church’s negative response runs counter to its pro-life position. The Church claims that such conceptions are against “natural” law, with elaborate theological reasoning, all of which is sheer lunacy.

Instead of armed forces, the Church uses psychic weap­ons, such as the threat of excommunication. Over the centuries, the Church devised an elaborate system of controls that rely upon what amounts to “psychic terrorism” applied to the faithful by celibate moral experts whose sole domain is the adjudication and wrestling to the ground of a Church invention known as “sin.” Sin differs from crime in that for the latter you go to jail, for the former you go to the confessional and donate a little something to the Church, concerning which, all monetary roads lead to Rome and the Vatican Bank.

The distinction between Catholic Church tyranny and that of other historical tyrants is that the former is a tyranny of virtue. Just as American advertising has established the principle that if you lie long and strongly enough, people will buy the lie, the Church line can counter the truth without producing the appearance of a lie. (On Madison Avenue, the message that “saving 15% on your car insurance,” bombarded by an insurance company ad nauseum convinces the buyer, although the fact is  that the company has the most expensive premiums in the industry.)

“Goodness” has allowed the Vatican tyranny to flourish as Christian love  for two thousand years. Oddly, today  only 50 percent of all Catholic Americans polled believe in papal infallibility, but they buy the product anyway. This spread between belief and action has been the historical reason for the Church’s success as a basic profit center, but it also bears the seeds of its undoing.

In practice, American Catholics ignore the wishes of the hierarchy and produce family sizes identical to non-Catholics. They use the same contraceptive methods with the same frequency and are resorting to abortion at the same rate. Even as recently as 1960 Catholics had, on average, one more child than non-Catholics. No longer. Along with a gradual exodus from the Church by all concerned.

As a result, Catholic “religious freedom” must continue to fight a rear-guard action against the encroachment of a more enlightened generation and the advent of the worldwide web, social media and universal communication. Rearguard action has been attempted, such as attempting to encourage greater immigration of people from Catholic nations, such as Latin America, to replace the eroding American family constituency, but the handwriting is increasingly on the wall.

Church reactionaries to the demographic reality of the shrinking Catholic presence in America enlist the ancient cliche, “You should never criticize another man’s religion.” That innocent-sounding doctrine, born in a Protestant America before the arrival of a significant Vatican presence, is full of danger to U.S. security. It ignores the duty of every good citizen to stand for the truth in every field of thought, including the favorite of all righties, national security. It illuminates the central principle that a large part of what the Vatican calls religion is also politics and economics.

Which takes me back to  my Dad and his injunction when I was a little boy that I apologize for bad-mouthing the Church. So here, in these three installments, albeit 75 years later,  I come as close as I can, Dad, to an essay on tolerance.

“We will forgive you,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “if you will forgive us.”

Catholic clergy and Nazi officials, including Joseph Goebbels (far right) and Wilhelm Frick (second from right), give the Nazi salute. Germany, date uncertain. [Photo source, Holocaust Encyclopedia]

Except that in this instance, the “you” in the equation, despite all the Latin mumbling, hasn’t said mea culpa yet.

First published by:

THE CANADIAN SHIELD  April 17,  Volume 3, Issue #18

______________________________________________________

Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post’s history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.

At 18, Bill’s first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army’s CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.

He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.

Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.

You can write to Bill Annett at this address: bilko23@gmail.com

Vatican Facism Catholic Nazism Catholic Nazi Vatican Power Catholic Power vs Democracy Catholic Hitler Catholic Dictators

 

Religious Liberty | Deceptive Code for Oppressing Others


Doctrine of Religious Liberty Can Be Used to Deny the “Liberty of the Enemies of God”
Rachel Tabachnick

“So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.” –Gary NorthThere’s been a lot of talk about “religious liberty” in the last few weeks, so I’m reposting segments of a January article with quotes from Christianity and Civilization, a Christian Reconstructionist journal, also published as part of a multi-volume set of booklets. My original post was part of a series on the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the “Theocratic Libertarianism” promoted by Gary North. In this version of the article I emphasize North’s concept of manipulating the doctrine of religious liberty to advance a theocratic agenda, and the reasons why Theocratic Libertarianism is seductive to corporate interests and think tanks that might not otherwise promote a regressive social agenda or partner with theocrats.

The next article in this series will include other authors from this multi-volume set of 1980s Reconstructionist booklets including Rousas Rushdoony, Pat Robertson, Francis Schaeffer, Joseph Morecraft, Larry Pratt, Paul Weyrich, John W. Whitehead, George Grant, Connie Marshner, Tom Rose, and Peter Lillback. Many of these contributors cannot be dismissed as isolated or fringe.

The late Paul Weyrich is considered the architect of the New Right; Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute is now a regular at Huffington Post; and Peter Lillback, president of Westminster Theological Seminary and founder of the Providence Forum, helped Glenn Beck promote his “social justice is Marxism, not Christianity” argument. Lillback is also author of a book on George Washington that zoomed to #1 bestseller on Amazon after being promoted by Beck.The partnership of corporate interests, right-wing think tanks, and the Religious Right has resulted in sophisticated attacks on secular democracy. The Theocratic Libertarian or biblical economics agenda merges a regressive social agenda with radical free market economics, seductive to both plutocrats and theocrats. North’s writings provide a window into what this brand of religious liberty and justice means. Years of financial support from the plutocratic end of the partnership has helped to sanitize and refine the message, but Christian Reconstructionism, with its biblical capitalism component, has provided the intellectual foundations for today’s Religious Right. The package is currently being marketed to Americans as the ultimate in ” religious liberty.” The quote at the beginning of the article is how North described this religious liberty as being used to bring about theocracy.

Throughout the United States, there is a centralized and well-funded “private school choice” movement to divert public tax dollars to private schools . Many of these schools are using A Beka Books and other fundamentalist texts that teach the same brand of biblical capitalism found in Christian Reconstructionism. As students are removed from the public education system and moved to private religious schools, many will be indoctrinated into the biblical economics worldview. This may help explain why hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent promoting “school reform” designed to shift students to private schools.

The corporate interests and right-wing foundations funding this effort may not be interested in stoning homosexuals, but the anti-labor, anti-regulatory, and anti-tax messages that are presented as part of a biblical worldview and education in these schools is obviously appealing. Previous articles at Talk2action.org have included quotes from these textbooks and information on schools in Pennsylvania, Florida, and other states, using tax dollars to fund scholarships for students in schools using these texts.

Christian Reconstructionism is often described as the movement that wants to execute adulterers, blasphemers, and homosexuals, by stoning. Since this is not likely to happen any time soon, the movement is often dismissed as fringe and inconsequential. The preoccupation with the stoning aspect has obscured the fact that many other foundational components of the movement have been mainstreamed in the Religious Right since the time when Gary North wrote the following words.

As you read the following quotes, consider how much of North’s philosophy is now commonplace, not only in the Christian Right but also in this year’s political campaigns. Also note that the current emphasis on the libertarian part of Theocratic Libertarianism has been developed over the decades since this volume was published and is now expressed in a veiled way that has proved to be appealing to many progressives.

One of the most revealing of Gary North’s writings is in the first volume of the journal Christianity and Civilization, published by the Geneva Divinity School in Spring, 1982. The entire issue was dedicated to a symposium on “The Failure of American Baptist Culture.” This would be the first in a series of booklets published on the failures of the early Religious Right and the need to “reconstruct” the church. Subsequent volumes were titled,

#2 The Theology of Christian Resistance
#3 Tactic of Christian Resistance
#4 Reconstruction of the Christian Church

PhotobucketThe first and fourth volumes were edited by James B. Jordan and the second and third in the series by Gary North. My next article in this series will describe the subsequent volumes and other authors in more detail. The following quotes are from the first volume.According to Jordan,

“The New Christian Right has indicated time and time again, that it does not know what it is doing, and its program is riddled with contradictions.”

The Calvinist contributors to the journal were coming to the rescue to help the New Christian Right find “sure footing” and argued that the movement would have to abandon its “Baptist individualism” and adopt the Christian Reconstructionist’s brand of “full-orbed Biblical and Reformed Theology” in order to survive.The following quotes are from North’s article in the first volume titled “The Intellectual Schizophrenia of the New Christian Right.” North begins by describing the 1980 Religious Roundtable-sponsored event in Washington, D.C., which drew 15,000 people. The “National Affairs Briefing Conference” featured New Christian Right leaders and was keynoted by Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan. North describes it as “watershed moment for American fundamentalism.”

“The rally was a political rally; more precisely, it was a rally for politics as such, and for Christian involvement in politics. It was a break from almost six decades of political inaction on the part of American fundamentalist religious leaders.[p. 2]

North continues,

“Bible principles” is a euphemism for Old Testament law. The leaders of the fundamentalist movement are generally premillennial dispensationalists. Some are believers in a pretribulation “rapture,” meaning that Christians will be secretly “called into the heavens” before the great tribulation of the nation of Israel. Others, a growing minority, are post-tribulationists, who think that Christians will go through the tribulation period before Christ comes to transform Christian believers into sinless, death-free people who will rule the world under Christ’s personal administration for a thousand years. All premillennialists believe that the world will become worse before Christ returns in person to set up his thousand-year reign, so that they have tended in the past to take a dim view of those who preached the moral necessity of social and political action. The campaign of 1980 changed this outlook. Now they are talking about restoring morality to politics by imposing “Bible principles” on the nation. Not Old Testament law exactly, yet “principles” based on Old Testament law. [p. 8]

North explains that the majority of American fundamentalists rejected Old Testament Law as valid because of their Dispensational theology and shunned political participation. He also explains how this began to change after the election of President Jimmy Carter, when the Christian Right was “stung” by the “self-proclaimed born again” Baptist who North described as “handpicked by David Rockefeller and the Trilateral Commission.”North credits Rousas Rushdoony, the founder of Christian Reconstructionism, as laying the foundation for political activism by the New Christian Right.

It was only with the publications written by R.J. Rushdoony, beginning in the early 1960’s, that any theologian began to make a serious, systematic, exegetical attempt to link the Bible to principles of limited civil government and free-market economics. [p. 11]

North then describes a “black-out” of Rushdoony’s work during the 60s and 70s, when he was not able to get his books reviewed in the Westminster Theological Journal with the exception of his Institutes of Biblical Law.

Thus, the fundamentalists have had no intellectual leadership throughout the twentieth century. Only with the revival of interest in creationism, which was made possible by Rushdoony’s support and Presbyterian and Reformed initial investment for The Genesis Flood, did the fundamentalist movement begin to get involved in arguments outside theology narrowly defined. [p. 11]

The 1960 book referred to by North, The Genesis Flood, was authored by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb, and is credited as triggering the modern revival of creationism.

North continues,

In the speakers’ room at the National Affairs Briefing Conference, I spoke with Robert Billings, who had worked with Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority organization. (He was subsequently appointed to a high position in the Department of Education.) We were speaking of the conference, and what a remarkable event it was. We agreed that it was unfortunate that Rushdoony was not speaking. He said, If it weren’t for his books, none of us would be here.” I replied, “Nobody in the audience understands that.” His response: “True, but we do.” [p. 12]

The fundamentalist have picked up the phrase “secular humanism.” They do not know where they found it. It comes from Rushdoony’s writings throughout the 1960s. Rushdoony influenced lawyer John Whitehead, who helped popularize it in a new widely quoted article by Whitehead and former Congressman John Conlan. [p. 14]

Under the heading “State-Financed Education,” North writes,

Fundamentalists are still trying to win their battle for the public schools. Not all of them, perhaps, but enough of them, especially those who lead the creation science movement. In 1982, they were still trying to get the public schools of the state of Arkansas to adopt creationist materials to be taught as part of the schools’ curricula in science. They had already given away the case by arguing only that creationism is a legitimate theory and explanation of the origins of the universe and man, to be taught alongside of evolution. [p. 18]

The government schools are established as a humanist religion aimed at stamping out Christianity. This is what Rushdoony said in his pathbreaking scholarly study, The Messianic Character of American Education (1963) The creationists are still schizophrenic. They do not recognize the mythical nature of the objectivity hypothesis, and therefore they have chosen to do battle in terms of that mythical framework. They therefore have to grant the evolutionists, in advance, equal rights with God’s own revelation of Himself. If they refused to do this, they would have no legal case to get their materials into the public schools. Yet the public schools are a fraud; they are humanist schools that have had as their goal, since the days of Horace Mann, the express goal of wiping out Christianity. [p. 19]

Note that Gary North uses the term “government schools” in place of “public schools,” almost two decades before Dick DeVos recommended using the change as a way to promote school vouchers in his 2002 speechat the Heritage Foundation. Also note that Gary North is a signer of the Alliance for Separation of School and State mandate for the eradication of public schools. Other signers include Rep. Ron Paul and numerous Religious Right and free market think tank leaders, including Ed Crane, co-founder of the Koch-funded Cato Institute. Another little discussed component of the plutocratic and theocratic partnership is the role that Young Earth Creationism is playing politically. For example, if the earth is only a few thousand years old, then energy such as oil, gas, and coal, was formed rapidly and could be described as a renewable resource.North:

What is the proper argument? Simple: there is no neutrality, and since there is no neutrality, the present legal foundation of government-financed education is a fraud. Conclusion: close every government-financed school, tomorrow.Refund the taxes to the taxpayers. Let the taxpayers seek out their own schools for their children at their expense (or from privately financed scholarships or other donations).But the fundamentalist instinctively shy away from such a view. Why? Because they see where it necessarily leads: to a theocracy in which no public funds can be appropriated for anti-Christian activities, or to anarch, where there are no public funds to appropriate. It must lead to God’s civil government or no civil government. In short, it leads to either Rushdoony or Rothbard. Most fundamentalists have never heard of either man, but they instinctively recognize where the abandonment of the myth of neutrality could lead them. [p. 20]

Rothbard in the above quote is Murray Rothbard (1926 – 1995), the Austrian School economist who promoted “anarcho-capitalism.” He was a founder of the Cato Institute, one of several libertarian think tanks funded by Charles Koch. At LewRockwell.com, Rothbard is described as the dean of the Austrian School of economics, the founder of libertarianism, and an exemplar of the Old Right. Another LewRockwell.com articledescribes how Rothbard parted ways with the Cato Institute.North:

The Christians are caught in an intellectual bind. They use the doctrine of religious freedom to defend themselves, yet this involves, necessarily, the right of all other religious groups, including the satanic cults, to set up schools for their children and other people’s children. It means, in short, that Christians windy up giving “equal time” in society to the devil. [pp. 22-23]

In the next section, titled “The Christian School Movement,” North states that it is legitimate as a short term tactic for the movement to use the “doctrine of religious freedom” in order to buy some time. He argued previously that “religious liberty” is a trap because it allows rights to all religions and forms of belief. However, in the short term, it could be used strategically. This is where North makes the statement about religious liberty that I quoted in the beginning of this article, a quote worth repeating.

So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God. Murder, abortion, and pornography will be illegal. God’s law will be enforced. It will take time. A minority religion cannot do this. Theocracy must flow from the heart of a majority of citizens, just as compulsory education came only after most people had their children in schools of some sort. [p.25]

Rushdoony and North wrote extensively about changing the tax structure to align with biblical law. For instance, inheritance taxes would not be allowed. North writes in this article about taxes not exceeding the tithe.

The idea that the state has the right to get inside one’s mind or attempt to do so, is humanistic. It makes the state a pseudo-God. It also drains the resources of the state, which means that the state must collect taxes far above the tithe, yet the state’s taking a tithe was considered an affront to God…. A civil tax of 10% or more of one’s annual increase is satanic. [p.26]

North closes with advice to the New Christian Right on how to get out of the intellectual bind of the “doctrine of religious freedom” by pursuing their own definition of “religious liberty.”

In order to survive the onslaught of the humanists, Christians must oppose the humanists’ version of religious freedom, which is officially grounded in the myth of neutrality, and which is really being used to construct a temple of man, with tax revenues. We must argue that true religious liberty is exclusively for people to obey the social laws of the Bible. [p. 32]

We have to face up to the choice that must be made between God’s law or man’s law. We have to acknowledge the inescapable decision: God’s covenant or natural law? [pp. 37 -38]

North then spells out “The Tactics of Victory” for the New Christian Right.

The taste of political victory is sweet. The New Christian Right has had some victories. They have developed satellite television networks. They have created newsletter and mailing networks. In short, they have the means of achieving victory. What they lack is: 1) eschatological dynamism, 2) a program of social reconstruction, and 3) the willingness to abandon all traces of the myth of neutrality. When the taste of victory finally overcomes a century of pietistic retreat, the humanists will see their civilization salted over; a new society will replace the collapsing social order of today. If the New Christian Right abandons its schizophrenia – eschatological pessimism in the face of victories, antinomianism in the face of the power of biblical law, an outmoded “common ground” philosophy (neutrality doctrine) in the face of a consistent presuppositional biblical philosophy – then the humanists will at last have a real fight on their hands. [39 – 40]

In closing, I would argue that North’s advice has been taken very seriously over the last 30 years by much of the Christian Right, and that Christian Reconstructionism has been at least partially successful in redefining the meaning of “freedom” and “liberty” in a way that has escaped the notice of much of the American public.

Additional Notes:

For more information on the success of Gary North and other Dominionists in drawing large numbers of Charismatics and Pentecostals away from pre-Tribulation eschatology and into Dominionist belief, see Frederick Clarkson series on Theocratic Dominionism including Part Three, No Longer Without Sheep and my previous article The Rise of Charismatic Dominionism. Also see the following articles at Talk2action.org on “Biblical Capitalism” and the role it has played in the current war on unions and federal regulatory policy including:

The War on Unions, Regulatory System, and Social Safety Net – Examples from Fundamentalist Textbooks

Two Decades of Christian Nationalist Education Paved Way for Today’s War on Labor

Biblical Capitalism – The Sacralizing of Political and Economic Issues

Third Reich Christianity | Nazi Germany as Implementation of a Christian Agenda


Third Reich Christianity: Nazi Germany as Implementation of a Christian Agenda

How Was Nazi Germany an Example of Christian Nationalism & Power?

By

The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, by Richard Steigmann-GallThe Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, by Richard Steigmann-Gall

Image Courtesy Pricegrabber.com

Hitler and the Nazis are often cited as an example of the horrible crimes which atheists have committed in the 20th century. They are only assumed to be atheists, though, because people can’t imagine Christians doing such things; in reality, Hitler explicitly appealed to Christianity on a regular basis and this was part of why he was popular. Not every Christian supported the Nazis, of course, but he was most popular with conservative Christians seeking a restoration of traditional values.

In The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945, Richard Steigmann-Gall writes:

In a speech celebrating Germany’s exit from the League of Nations, Hitler again maintained that the Third Reich was actively implementing a Christian agenda: “Along with the fight for a purer morality we have taken upon ourselves the struggle against the decomposition of our religion. We have therefore taken up the struggle against the Godless movement, and not just with a few theoretical declarations; we have stamped it out. And above all we have dragged the priests out of the lowlands of the political party struggle and have brought them back into the church.”

This declaration was quite consistent with Hitler’s speeches earlier in the year and also with the basic attitude he laid out — privately as well as publicly — in the “time of struggle.” Insisting that Nazism as a state would not distinguish between Protestant and Catholic, he recognized only a common supra-Christian faith. True to his promise, Hitler defended Christianity against the “Godless” movement, outlawing the Socialist and the Communist parties very early after the Seizure of Power.

Now, one can argue that Hitler and the Nazis only appealed to Christianity as part of a political ploy — that they emphasized Christianity in public without ever intending to promote Christianity in reality. Such an argument would be accompanied by the claim that the actions of Hitler and the Nazis didn’t reflect “true” Christianity and, therefore, must be attributed to atheism, paganism, or something else.

There are two problems with this. First, there is little to no evidence that Hitler and his top leaders only endorsed Christianity in public and for public consumption. Their private remarks on religion and Christianity were generally the same as their public remarks, but they didn’t hesitate to privately contradict public remarks on other matters, like peace with the Soviet Union. The similarity of their public and private positions on religion and Christianity indicates that they were genuine.

Second, the above argument could be made about any of the crimes committed by Christians over the course of history. It’s ultimately an example of the No True Scotsman fallacy: no true Christian could do such things or advocate such things, therefore they weren’t true Christians and their crimes cannot be attributed to Christianity. This is a fallacious argument because it relies on shifting the definition of “Christian” to match whatever conclusion the person prefers.

The actions of Hitler and the Nazis were about as “Christian” as the actions of people during the Crusades or the Inquisition. There were certainly non-Christian Nazis, and several leading Nazis preferred a neo-pagan theistic religion over Christianity, but the position was never officially endorsed either by the Nazi Party or by Adolf Hitler himself. Indeed, Christian complaints about the paganism of some Nazi leaders were given a sympathetic reception.

Christians may not like acknowledging that Nazi actions might have anything to do with Christianity, but Germany saw itself as a fundamentally Christian nation and millions of Christians in Germany enthusiastically endorsed Hitler and the Nazi Party in part because they saw both as embodiments of both German and Christian ideals. Conservative Christians who wanted a return to traditional values either voted for the Nazis or one of the other right-wing nationalist parties which eventually supported and merged with the Nazis.

Related:- Catholic Hitler. Catholic Fascism. Catholic Nazism. Catholic Nazi Crusade. Catholic Dictators. Christian Right. Christian Fascism.

Neofascism Within the Catholic Church


Opus Dei: Neofascism Within the Catholic Church

by OllieGarkey

What we are seeing today in the fight over birth control is a revival of a very old, and very dangerous kind of Catholicism. It is not one supported or practiced by most Rank and File Catholics. It is a kind of Catholicism which has done irreparable harm. It is a kind of Catholicism unfit for existence in the modern world.

It was the underpinning of the regimes of Mussolini in Italy, The National Catholicism of Francisco Franco, in Spain; The Parti Rexiste in Belgium; The Irish Blueshirts; The Croatian Ustaše, the Nazi puppet government in Croatia, and ultimately, was the kind of Catholicism practiced by the Sainted Josemaría Escrivá, founder of the Catholic order Opus Dei.

That’s where the story begins and ends: Opus Dei.

Spain, The Founding of Opus Dei

Josemaría Escrivá is the best place to start. He was a catholic priest during the Second Spanish Republic, who developed a kind of Catholicism in the late 1920’s which Fascists found very attractive. He rose to prominence and political influence during Franco’s spain. His book describing Opus Dei was first published with an introduction by a Pro-Franco bishop, which contained many statements in support of National Catholicism. Saint Escriva personally preached to Franco during a week-long prayer retreat at Franco’s Palace.

Saint Escriva has been accused by catholic priests who knew him of Holocaust Denial, and many recall statements by Escriva defending Hitler. Saint Escriva has said that hitler couldn’t have killed 6 million Jews, and that “Hitler against the Jews” really meant “Hitler against communism.”

He famously wrote a letter to Franco in the 1950’s saying

Although a stranger to any political activity, I cannot help but rejoice as a priest and Spaniard that the Chief of State’s authoritative voice should proclaim that, “The Spanish nation considers it a badge of honor to accept the law of God according to the one and true doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, inseparable faith of the national conscience which will inspire its legislation.” It is in fidelity to our people’s Catholic tradition that the best guarantee of success in acts of government, the certainty of a just and lasting peace within the national community, as well as the divine blessing for those holding positions of authority, will always be found. I ask God our Lord to bestow upon your Excellency with every sort felicity and impart abundant grace to carry out the grave mission entrusted to you.

None of this is to say that all Catholics supported Franco. Plenty of Catholic bishops and priests opposed him, including bishop Mateo Múgica, and Cardinal Francisco Vidal Y Barraquer. I would also like to point out that neither Vidal Y Barraquer or Mateo Mugica were sainted. They are relatively forgotten. Múgica doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page in English.

You’ll notice that this will become a recurring theme in our history of Opus Dei and Catholicism in Fascist Europe. Those who stood against the tide end up forgotten, while those that supported the brutal regimes end up sainted.

And so courageous men that fought a military dictatorship and died in exile are forgotten while Escriva is the sainted founder of Opus Dei. Racist. Fascist. Holocaust Denier. Despite the fact that we know about his writings, his views, his pretension to political power, and his support of Franco, all of these facts surrounding the man have been referred to as “Black Myths.”  Catholic authorities deny that any of this happened, and call anyone who dares point out indisputable facts “anti-catholic.” Just like those laws about birth control.

Ireland: O’Duffy’s Blue Shirts

But it wasn’t just Spanish Catholics who supported Franco, either. The current Irish Conservative party, Fine Gael, was founded in part by another catholic fanatic, and an admirer of Benito Mussolini. His name was Eoin O’Duffy.

In the Early 1930s, O’Duffy had taken command of a paramilitary organization and reorganized them into what he called the National Guard. They fought running street battles with the IRA for most of the 30s. They were known as the Blueshirts, and were a Fascist organization on par with the UK’s BUF or Mousollini’s Blackshirts. In August of 1933, O’Duffy planned a march on Dublin. The president of the Irish Republic, Eamon De Valera, banned the march, and ordered the military to stop it. He wrote later that at that moment he recalled Mussolini’s march on Rome and expected a coup. Neither he nor his government knew if the military would agree to carry out their commands.

In the end, O’Duffy backed down, eventually uniting his blueshirts with another opposition party to form Fine Gael. The Catholic Church gave quite a lot of support to Francoism and O’Duffy’s political party. Thankfully, the other parties which had joined the Fine Gael coalition wanted little to do with Fascism, and Expelled O’Duffy, who left with a number of his supporters to form an ultra-fascist National Corporatist Party, and his Blueshirts became Greenshirts.

He took his paramilitary forces with him to fight for Franco in the Spanish Civil War. It was a dark day in Irish History when a group of bishops blessed O’Duffy’s Greenshirts who departed from Dun Laoghaire on a German ship, flying the Swastika.

O’Duffy returned to find that his National Corporatist Party had collapsed. O’Duffy was part of a group of IRA extremists who met with the German Abwehr to attempt to set up recruiting for the Russian Front. Thankfully nothing came of it.

O’Duffy’s health failed, and he died in November of 1944. Because of his heroism during the Irish Civil War, when he led an IRA Geurilla group, he was given a state funeral, and a requiem mass was held for him in the Dublin Pro-Cathedral.

Frank Ryan and the 15th International Brigade also traveled to Spain, to fight against Franco and O’Duffy. They were defeated, and Ryan was captured. He escaped to Germany where he operated as double agent under the name Frank Richard, and interfered with German attempts to recruit Irishmen into Hitler’s ranks. He didn’t have to do much interfering, actually, as the German attempts were fairly incompetent. He died in June of 1944, and was buried in Dresden. His remains were returned to Ireland in 1971.

So Frank Ryan, the man who Fought Fascism, lay forgotten in Dresden for thirty years, while the Fascist O’Duffy received a state funeral and requiem mass. Throughout it all, Catholic Priests were expounding on the war with communism, and supporting Franco’s National Catholicism in Spain.

Croatia: Forced Conversions and Genocide under the Ustaše

Not many people know about the Ustaše and its leader, Ante Pavelić. Before 1941, the organization was a radical fascist terrorist group. But when Axis powers invaded, it was given control of Croatia by the Nazis. They shared Hitler’s goal of ethnic cleansing.

Their plan, which they began enacting in 1941, decreed that one third of the Serbs in Croatia would be killed. They specifically targeted the Intelligentsia, all non-catholic religious leaders, all businessmen, all master tradesmen, all figures of cultural importance such as musicians and authors, and anyone else who might have some importance. Another third of the Serbs were to be expelled to aid in ethnic cleansing. The final third would be converted to Catholicism at gunpoint.

The Ustaše were radically catholic, and their leader had personally received a blessing and audience from Pope Pius in Rome just after his ascension to power. Pope Pius wrote of the church’s unique opportunity to reestablish the medieval church/state relationship, and his ministers referred to the ethnic cleansing as Croatia’s “Teething Pains.” The Ustaše’s plan for forced conversions could not have been successful without the participation of Catholic clergy. Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac and other Catholics eventually opposed the regime, but refused to publicly condemn the Ustaše until most of the Serbian Jews were already dead, and supported the forced conversions.

Without the support of the Catholic Church, the Ustaše would never have been able to move from a terrorist organization into an effective government. Indeed, Stepinac had originally welcomed the Ustaše to power, meeting with the leaders even before the surrender and defeat of the lawful Yugoslavian government. The Ustaše’s stated intent to ethnically cleanse Croatia was clear, but the Catholic Church maintained ties with the Ustaše through 1943, when Pope Pius again met with Ante Pavelić. Many catholic clergy directly participated in the extermination and forced conversion. One of the most famous of these was Miroslav Filopovic, a Fransiscan Priest, who ended up as the commandant of a concentration camp. The Croatian Catholic Movement, and Catholic Action, both catholic laity organizations, were mobilized to take part in the Genocide. Stepinac cooperated with all of this.

It was Later in 1943, when the Ustaše had almost completed their plan for the extermination of Serbian Jews, that the Archbishop finally spoke, weakly, against the activities of the Ustaše. The sermons and statements against mass killings did not directly mention the Serbs.

When Tito’s partisans defeated the Ustaše, Stepinac was tried for war crimes. It was portrayed in the west as a show trial, and all of  the Catholics who participated in the trial, including the majority of the jury, were excommunicated by the pope. Stepinac was imprisoned for collaborating with the Ustaše, but was released by the Communist government in an attempt to garner the good will of Croatian Catholics.

Despite the fact that Stepinac gave consistent support to the Ustaše, and the totality of his storied resistance was to ask, pretty please, if they could stop killing people, while allowing his own clergy to participate in the genocide and become the commandants of concentration camps, he is remembered as someone who stood up to the Nazis. He was called a martyr by Pope John Paul II.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center had asked that the Beatification be postponed until a full historical review of Stepinac’s actions could take place, but their request was ignored. The truth is, we just don’t know who Stepinac was, where his loyalties were, or the effect he had on the Serbian holocaust. There are some Croatian Jewish groups who say that Stepinac did in fact help the Jewish population, but those claims are treated with suspicion by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Yad Vashem, both of which consider him to be a Nazi Collaborator. We also know that Tito’s partisans included Serbs who were fairly brutal towards many Catholics in revenge for the genocide. Several hundred priests were killed by the partisans, though many of them were serving with the Ustase as chaplains. I don’t know how many, and sources on what really happened are still difficult to find in English. From my research, he appears to have been a collaborator, and appears to be complicit in Genocide. This may not be the case, but I could not find significant evidence to the contrary, other than a few relatively gutless statements.

So despite the fact that he appears to have done little good, is seen by many Jews as a collaborator and participated in a Fascist government, Stepinac is considered a sainted martyr, while those Catholics who testified to his actions in (an admittedly communist) court, were excommunicated.

I could go on, but this post is already far, far too long. I also planned to discuss the Fanatically Catholic Hungarian Arrow Cross Party, who slaughtered 100,000 Jews while being in power for only three months, sending death squads into nursing homes, hospitals, and ghettos. They received support from some priests for their anti-communist actions, as communism was seen by many Hungarians as a Jewish phenomenon. I already mentioned Belgian Rexism. There are others, too, that I studied in order to write this diary.

The notable exception is Poland, where Catholics were victims, but the Vatican has treated this as the rule, when history seems to say it is the exception. I have intentionally avoided filling this diary with pictures of priests giving the fascist salute, but we’ve all seen those photographs many times, and the information here is already inflammatory enough.

The fact is that most of the fascist parties across continental Europe during included a great many Catholics, who saw Fascism as a way to combat Communism. In many cases the Nazi parties were nothing less than Catholic political parties, supported by the local priesthood, and Pope Pius in Rome. The core ideology that linked Catholicism to Fascism came directly from Franco’s Spain. The same place where  the ideas for Opus Dei were developed and refined.

The truth, it seems, is that the Catholic Church was not superior to any other organization in Fascist Europe. It was not just Churches and Priests that became Fascist, but Businesses, Stores, Schools, Newspapers, Professors, Architects, Scientists, and almost every other institution, profession, or organization. Because that’s what fascism did. It took over everything, absolutely everything, and the Catholic church was no different.

This revisionist history that somehow the church was different from everything else and stood strong against the tide is a lie, plain and simple. It’s wishful thinking.

The good news is that almost all of the radical catholic fascist groups and parties either no longer exist, or have been commuted into relatively harmless “christian democrat” parties, such as Fine Gael in Ireland. They’ve let go of being exclusively Catholic, and are now simply the remains of Anticommunism in Europe. Many of them are about as left wing as the Democratic party. Many Christian Democrat parties have no roots in Catholic Fascism, though they shared its anticommunist goals, such as Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Despite all this progress, there is one Catholic Fascist organization which still survives today:

Opus Dei.

The goal of fascism was to have the state take over every aspect of ordinary life. To live under a fascist state was to be part of the state itself. Family life, social life, and the professional world were all absorbed into state and party identity in fascist societies. The intent, ultimately, was for to make it impossible to have an individual life or identity outside of the context of the state.

This is the case, too, with Saint Escriva’s Opus Dei:

From Wikipedia: Opus Dei emphasises the “universal call to holiness”: the belief that everyone should aspire to be a saint, that sanctity is within the reach of everyone, not just a few special individuals. Opus Dei does not have monks or nuns, and only a minority of its members are part of the priesthood. A related characteristic is Opus Dei’s emphasis on uniting spiritual life with professional, social, and family life. Members of Opus Dei lead ordinary lives, with traditional families and secular careers, and strive to “sanctify ordinary life”.

In the same way that a fascist state sought to unite the state with professional, social, and family life, Opus Dei wishes the church to do the same. The intent is to destroy any sense of individual identity outside of the Catholic Church.

The ideas of this organization are uniquely neofascist, though they seem to have modernized enough to dispense with the ideas of ethnic superiority. It’s no surprise, again, that the Catholic archbishop leading the charge against prophylactics is a leading member of Opus Dei.

Jose Gomez is the Archbishop of Los Angeles, and one of the first Opus Dei leaders to be given a position of significant ecclesiastical authority. In the past few months he has fought for a California Ballot initiative which requires doctors to inform a teenager’s parents if she’s attempting to have an abortion, saying “Who could possibly oppose such a reasonable law?” He has called  birth control Tyranny, and described the church as the last line of defense. He has held a requiem mass for aborted zygotes. And was the key player behind our current storm in a teacup over birth control.

The reason, ultimately, why Archbishop Gomez has been silent on Troy Davis and other issues where the Catholic Church is in agreement with the Democratic party, is that Gomez is completely uninterested in Catholic theology or doing the work of God. What Archbishop Gomez is interested in is exactly what the founder of Opus Dei was interested in: Politcal Power. It’s about controlling rank-and-file Catholics. It’s about exercising political power. It is about once again uniting the power of the Church with the power of the State, as it was in Franco’s Spain.

Update: I have been provided with links showing that I have been somewhat unfair to Gomez. Catholic Bishops have in fact spoken out on the death penalty, Gomez included. H/t to irishwitch and Villanova Rhodes for the catch.

None of this, though it may be inflammatory, is meant to condemn all Catholics, or the whole of the Catholic Church. Indeed, most Catholics aren’t members of Opus Dei. Most Catholics are relatively normal people, who use birth control and aren’t particularly theocratic. Most Catholics are catholic because they don’t want a church as controlling or touchy-feely as a number of protestant denominations. The services are shorter, and there’s a clear set of things you’re supposed to do. They see it as easier. A lot of my catholic family members see the church as a way of relating to god without all the drama of Protestantism. I can respect that.

Catholics have done plenty of good. For every priest who supported the Nazis, there was another who sheltered Jews. The problem is that most of the Bishops who supported fascism and used fascist methods to acquire power ended up being sainted, while the priests and nuns who fought fascism and focused on doing good for their people and communities are much less well-known, and many of them ended up forgotten in unmarked graves.

In the same way, rank-and-file priests and nuns fought the American propaganda machine convincing the public that everyone could easily survive a nuclear war. This action on the part of Catholics did more, in my mind, to prevent Nuclear war than any other action, because it prevented the government from telling a lie that would make a nuclear first-strike politically acceptable. Many of these priests have since left or been forced out of the Church, while the priests and bishops who opposed them have been elevated to positions of power. There are elderly catholic clergy in prison in the US right now for protesting nuclear weapons.

The problem with the Catholic church is that powerful conservatives are being elevated, while priests who simply want to be servants of the human race are being ignored – or worse – prevented from teaching peace and social justice.

The only people who can stop this process are rank-and-file Catholics. And for them, it will be a hard road.

The laity has almost no power within the catholic church, except for one thing. They’re the ones that attend the services, and they’re the ones who tithe. I’m no Catholic, and I wouldn’t know how to go about fighting the authority (which clearly needs to be fought) but I would suggest refusing to Tithe until the Church reverses its current policies.

If I were catholic, I would refuse to give the church a single red cent until:

1. Jose Gomez is removed from power, and Opus Dei is banned from the church as a neofascist organization. 2. The church ceases exclusively right-wing political intervention, and begins living up to its views on the sanctity of life, such as intervening on the part of people like Troy Davis. 3. The church ceases its protection of paedophiles. 4. The church allows priests to marry. 5. The church allows the ordination of women. 6. The church ceases its persecution of LGBTs. 7. The church accepts the necessity of birth control in a world wracked by famine, and localized overpopulation.

The list goes on. Catholics, I can’t make the list for you, and you might disagree with some of the items on this list, and that’s okay. I can’t fight this fight for you. But if you step out and fight the authority, I promise I will have your back. I will write about you and draw attention to your fight. I don’t know if that means anything, and I hope it does.

Because I know something that some progressives refuse to accept: the only cure for right-wing religion, is progressive religion. If we can get the churches of the world focused on curing the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, and visiting and supporting prisoners – you know, “the least of these,” and all that other Jesus Stuff – we’ll be living in a better world. But we have to convince them to stop attacking innocent people first.

So Catholics? Let me know how I can help. Because I see the problem, and can point out the people behind the problem, and I can write about the history of the problem, but only you guys can lead this particular charge.

Historiographical NoteThis is a very difficult topic to write about for a number of reasons. First, the Catholic Church does not want to believe that its members, priests, and bishops were complicit in or integral to the fascist governments and parties of the 1930’s and 40’s. There is also quite a bit of anticatholic pseudohistory written about these issues. The response by catholic scholars is overwhelmingly denialist, and argues that the Catholic church was as much a victim of the times as every other religious organization.

There is a way to sort the fact from fiction, and it’s to examine some very specific sources.

First, reading the writings and letters of priests and others who opposed and were horrified by the Nazis. We find in the writings of nonpolitical or leftwing priests statements of disgust in reference to the actions of right wing Catholics. It is the statements of current, active priests that I find the most trustworthy for the sake of historical argument. The statements you read by Saint Escriva on Hitler are not sourced to a recovering catholic, or someone who left the priesthood, or someone who has an axe to grind, they’re sourced to a Catholic Priest in London who knew him.

Indeed, many of the Catholic critics do not criticize the history, facts, or sources, they criticize the people writing the history. Rather than dispute the history, which is fairly clear, many of the deniers argue that the historians are simply writing a political hatchet work because they hate Catholics and Catholicism.

In my research, I have done my best to avoid sources which might be even slightly biased towards anticatholic pseudohistory, and have instead relied on scholarly works from people who don’t care about catholicism, or on accounts from people who despite their experiences remained Catholic. I think this is the best way to come to a position which can’t be argued away by Catholic Apologists as an anti-catholic assault. One of the best books on the subject is searchable in google books here. Wikipedia links have been provided, but remember to take Wikipedia with a grain of salt, as many of the articles on these subjects are very poorly cited and constructed.

I will reiterate one point about my politics. I am not and never will be Anti-Catholic, though unless there are significant changes in the Church’s theology, I can’t see myself ever agreeing with the Catholic church. I count a great many Catholics among my friends and family. I am and always will be antifascist, and that means opposing Opus Dei and organizations like it with everything I have.

Looney Catholic Fascist Rick Santorum Pledges Use of Politics to Enforce Religious Dogma


Santorum Signs Pledge Defending Christian Influence Over Society

 ‎Today, ‎29 ‎November ‎2011, ‏‎12 hours ago | Zack Ford

Right Wing Watch notes that Rick Santorum is so far the only presidential candidate to sign Open Doors Ministry’s “Pledge for Religious Freedom.” The pledge claims that “religious freedom includes the right to employ religious arguments…when contending for or against laws and policies, such as laws designed to protect the unborn and traditional marriage.”

Likely referencing Catholic Charities’ adoption services, it also demands “the right of individuals and of religious communities not to be forced to participate in, or to forfeit their employment because of refusal to participate in, activities that deeply offend their religious conscience.” It’s no surprise Santorum signed the pledge without hesitation, given he has frequently called for laws to be bound by religious morals, even if people suffer in the Christian tradition.

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Catholic Power vs. American Freedom


Priests giving the Hitler salute at a Catholic youth rally in the Berlin-Neukölln stadium in August 1933.
Catholic priests giving the Hitler salute

Catholic Power vs. American Freedom
by George La Piana & John W. Swomley. edited by Herbert F. Vetter. Published by: Prometheus Books.

The role of Catholicism in American society has long been a matter of some debate. Catholicism developed in a Europe controlled by monarchial, aristocratic, and even dictatorial political systems, and the Roman Catholic Church adopted many of the principles underlying those systems. America, on the other hand, was conceived as a new political experiment where republican and democratic principles would hold sway. How readily can the two vasty different conceptions of power and organization interact?

Sadly, Catholics have experienced a great deal of bigotry in America in connection with the arguable conflict of interest Catholics have been thought to experience – allegiance to the essentially dictatorial power of the pope in Rome vs. allegiance to the democratic system in America. Much of that bigotry was actually fueled by fears of immigration, especially that of Irish and Italian minorities. However, even if the prejudice against Catholicism simply used concerns about the power of the Vatican over Catholic citizens as an excuse for other fears and hatred, those concerns do raise interesting and relevant issues which have been debated by Catholics and non-Catholics alike for many decades.

One of those engaged in these discussions was George La Piana (1878-1971), at one time the John H. Morison Professor of Church History at Harvard Divinity School. Dr. La Piana served as a consultant to Paul Blanshard, authored numerous books on the relations between church and state, and consluted with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter on church-state issues.

In 1949, Dr. La Piana delivered a series of four lectures titled “A Totalitarian Church in a Democratic Society,” designed to address the question: To what extent is Roman Catholic authoritarianism a threat to democracy in the United States? Those four lectures, along with nine new chapters by John Swomley (professor emeritus of Christian social ethics at the St. Paul School of Theology) on more recent developments, are collected together in the book “Catholic Power vs. American Freedom,” edited by Herbert F. Vetter.

This book is not an attack on theism, on religion, on Christianity, or even on Catholicismper se (and certainly not on individual Catholics). Rather, it is a historical and cultural commentary on the ways in which certain aspects of the power structure and dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church have difficulty being compatible with the power structure and ideals of American republican democracy. This doesn’t mean that Catholics cannot be good Americans or that they cannot support democracy. Rather, it means that there is a necessary tension between the two which each person must find ways to resolve in order to remain as true to both as possible.

This shouldn’t really be surprising to anyone. The Roman Catholic Church is not a democratic institution nor does it pretend to be. The Church does not readily accept dissent and disagreement on a wide variety of important issues – fundamental questions of morals and dogma simply are not open to debate. The ideals of American democracy, however, value exactly those principles. Perhaps they are not always honored in reality as well as they should be, but no one gets very far if they try to argue that they should be abandoned.

Unfortunately, the conflict between these antagonistic positions extends beyond the hearts and minds of individual believers. The traditional position of of the Roman Catholic Church, as articulated by Pope Leo XIII before the Second Vatican Council, has been that governments should not only have care for religion, but should also “recognize the true religion professed by the Catholic Church.” What this means, in practice, is that legitimate government must specifically endorse Catholicism and must put Catholic principles and morals into practice through the laws.

Many Catholics accept this call to action and work to have American laws reflect Catholic morals on a wide variety of issues: abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and more. Quite a few non-Catholics have had their healthcare decisions restricted by Catholic doctrines because they had the misfortune to be treated in a Catholic-run hospital, even though it was supported extensively by public money and even when the treatment itself has been paid by the government. Such actions threaten to undermine the principles of a secular, democratic government.

Fortunately, not all Catholics feel this way – as John Swomley writes:

[M]any members… want it to be a servant church rather than a power church seeking control not only over its own members but also nonmembers by seeking control of the government in nations where they reside.

Individual Catholics, particularly those in America, are finding themselves forced to choose between authoritarian Church doctrines and the principles of democracy, choice, and self-rule. They are resisting the imposition of Catholic doctrines by the state. and over time, they may succeed in having democratic ideas further incorporated into Church dogmas. Only time will tell.

Ref: – http://atheism.about.com/library/books/full/aafprCatholicPower.htm

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