Saturday, June 7, 2014
"...for good people to do evil..."
Nobel laureate in Physics and atheist, Steven Weinberg, once observed that good people will always do good, and evil people will always do evil. But for good people to do evil, that takes religion.
That's the only possible explanation for the following ongoing atrocious report coming out of Ireland:
800 long-dead babies found in septic tank by home for unwed mothers
The bodies of nearly 800 babies have been found in a septic tank by a home for unwed mothers in a small town in Western Ireland in County Galway.
“The Home”–as it was actually called–housed thousands of so-called “fallen women” and their children from 1925 until it closed in 1961. While the women often left “The Home” after their period of indentured servitude was up, many of the children were not so lucky. This, apparently, is what became of many of them.
The children were not murdered by the Bon Secours nuns whose care they were left in, not deliberately anyway. Documents simply show that these children had a very high infant mortality rate due to malnutrition and neglect, as well as diseases like measles, convulsions, TB, gastroenteritis and pneumonia. This was hardly uncommon for these type of homes, as the infant mortality rrate for “illegitimate children” was nearly 25% during this period. The records show that nearly two babies died a week at “The Home,” and apparently, upon death were thrown in the septic tank rather than buried.
This is the natural outcome for any religion whose emphasis is concentrated on sexual sins and on punishing only women for them. We see this sort of misogynistic hatred in many of the world's major religions, where women are seen as unclean temptresses who, even when raped, are blamed for the shame they bring upon their families, and are often murdered because of that shame.
In Catholic Ireland, a young woman who became pregnant out of wedlock brought shame to her family and village. She was sent to a Catholic home run by nuns where she probably gave birth in terrible pain and suffering after which her baby was taken from her to be cared for by the nuns until it was sold for adoption or died from sickness and thrown into mass grave. She was then indentured to that Christian facility to pay for her sins and sentenced to many years of forced labor as a washer woman or other servile work that those who ran these homes meted out to these young women.
And make no mistake, the goal was to make these young women suffer for, as Andrew Sullivan wrote, "...the crippling, toxic, near-insane fixation on sexual sin as the core ideology at work here. A view of sex that is riddled with shame and disgust, in which simple human nature must be so expelled and exterminated it requires a secret mass grave to keep the lie in place."
From Salon: "Though the full details of what happened to those children may never fully be explained, the strong implication of severe abuse and neglect cannot be ignored. But horrific as the record of deaths is — a rate of at least one every two weeks, for decades — and the cavalier way in which these tiny human beings were disposed of, it would be almost easy to consider these atrocities a thing of the distant past. Speaking on RTE last week, secretary of the Tuam archdiocese Father Fintan Monaghan said, “I suppose we can’t really judge the past from our point of view..."
But judge is exactly what the Catholic Church did to the young unwed mothers who were placed in these homes and condemned for their mistakes. Those young women were judged to be undeserving of compassion and tolerance, and their children were judged to be less than human and treated as such. So, yes, Fr. Monaghan, we really CAN judge the past and the atrocities committed by your organization.
The Tuam historian Catherine Corless discovered the extent of the mass grave when she requested records of children's deaths in the home. The registrar in Galway gave her almost 800. Shocked, she checked 100 of these against graveyard burials, and found only one little boy who had been returned to a family plot. The vast majority of the children's remains, it seemed, were in the septic tank.
Corless and a committee have been working tirelessly to raise money for a memorial that includes a plaque bearing each child's name. For those of you unfamiliar with how, until the 1990s, Ireland dealt with unmarried mothers and their children, here it is: the women were incarcerated in state-funded, church-run institutions called mother and baby homes or Magdalene asylums, where they worked to atone for their sins. Their children were taken from them. According to Corless, death rates for children in the Tuam mother and baby home, and in similar institutions, were four to five times that of the general population.
A health board report from 1944 on the Tuam home describes emaciated, potbellied children, mentally unwell mothers and appalling overcrowding. But, as Corless points out, this was no different to other homes in Ireland. They all had the same mentality: that these women and children should be punished. Ireland knows all this. We know about the abuse women and children suffered at the hands of the clergy, abuse funded by a theocratic Irish state.
Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish calls this a crime against humanity which, so far, seems to be an apt description of what was done to these women and children:
Let us call this what it is: a concentration camp with willful disregard for the survival of its innocent captives, a death camp for a group of people deemed inferior because of the circumstances of their birth. When we talk of mass graves of this kind, we usually refer to Srebrenica or the crimes of Pol Pot. But this was erected in the name of Jesus, and these despicable acts were justified by his alleged teaching.
"...for good people to do evil, that takes religion."