Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

The Mormons are at it again, baptising Jews from the Holocaust, most notably this past Saturday, when Anne Frank was posthumously given the chance to join Mormonism in the afterlife. While the Mormon heirarchy has once again blamed ‘overzealous’ church underlings, the Jewish community has just about had it with their shenanigans, as well they should – the Mormons vowed in both 1995 and 2010 to stop this practice on Holocaust survivors. Anne herself has allegedly been baptized a few times now, and I assume had it rescinded every time the Mormons were caught out. One would have thought they would have employed a ‘no backsies’ approach to the baptism or rescinding, but that’s just me. Now some may say that if you don’t believe in the baptism, you shouldn’t mind if it happens to people long dead, but for me it’s not the actual act that bothers me – it’s the sentiment behind it.

I have a real issue with religion lately. I think of course before I begin that I should define religion and faith. Faith is inspired by God, and is therefore pure. Religion is created by man, and is therefore is sullied and pompous. The Pope, a guy who was born a regular bloke, is by the decision of a bunch of cardinals and a plume of smoke, now considered to be infallible – the new Christ. Evangelicals consider themselves ‘higher’ than others (including other religions), which is why they HAVE to go to all corners of the world to preach the Good News – they are called by God to convert everyone to their way, the correct way, of thinking. And Mormons, believing all other belief systems to be invalid, have no problem baptising the dead, as they see it as the only way to give their poor souls a chance to convert to the “true” Mormon religion. It’s not even about God anymore, it’s a pissing contest between men.

We have an enormous amount of beliefs/religions in our neighborhood – off the top of my head I can think Muslim, Sikh, Catholic, Church of England, general Protestant, athiest, agnostic, and Hindu. Baby Alex will be taught that all people of all faiths have the potential for good, and should be treated with equal respect. But I find it very difficult to apply that same principle to the leaders of the religions. For instance, I have, by virtue of going to a Catholic school for 12 years, many devout Catholic friends. One of my dear friends, M, is actually studying to become a Benedictine monk, one of the most stringent sects of Catholicism. I adore him; I hate his boss. But when the heads of the Catholic church gets caught with their hands in the Vatican bank, or shuffles paedophile priests from parish to parish, I cannot place those sins on M. He’s just trying to love his God the best he can.

When I meet a Mormon, I don’t scream STOP BAPTISING DEAD JEWS, just as I wouldn’t scream TERRORIST to a random Muslim person. And yet, that’s what religions attempt to do – lambast the other with transgressions while conveniently forgetting their own. I once actually had an American schoolmate parrot to me the old Fox News line: “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.” Considering I now live in a country that for 25 years was held in fear by the Irish Republican Army, a group of white Catholic terrorists, and she herself was a white Catholic with apparently no clue what happened outside her own little world, I found that both exceedingly funny and stomach-churningly sad. The self-enforced ignorance of the atrocities of one’s own belief system is a baffling concept to me. It’s one thing to say “I know that the head of my belief system has historically done some really shitty stuff, but I will work every day to pull my faith out of it’s shame through my good works”. It’s quite another to stick your fingers in your ears and yell “LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU, EVERYONE IS WRONG AND WE ARE RIGHT!”. The old speck of dust/plank of wood in the ol’ eyeball story comes to mind.

I’ve said before that if Alex decides to convert to a different faith, as long as he is respecting others and doing good in the world, I will be okay with it. I know that might seem ridiculous to some, but I’d rather him love his fellow man as an atheist than fall into a religion that pushed hierarchy over selflessness. I want to raise a good kid, not a good Catholic/Lutheran/Evangelical/Druid/Jew/and on and on and on.