sâmbătă, 9 martie 2013

Orthodoxy in Virgin Mary's flower garden.

Since I write every day in my native language about atheism and religion worldwide, I thought it might be a good idea to write a few articles about Romanian Orthodoxy and atheism in English, for whomever it might concern.
Romania is a little  Eastern European country, part of the former Communist Bloc, one that has not yet recovered from the “miracles” of the communist reign, and one of the few orthodox countries, next to Russia, Moldavia, Greece, Bulgaria and a few others. I could not yet decide which one has destroyed our people more: the “communist period”, or the medieval cult of Orthodoxy, with its absurd claims, anti-humanism, discrimination policies and cupidity.  The religious nationalists call it “Virgin Mary’s flower garden”, because they want to feel special, elected by God and boast about the beauty of the country and the grip religion has on it, all in one name.

Even though we are not a particularly rich country, I can describe it as “decent”, if we talk about lifestyle and technology: we still have a great deal of areas not yet destroyed by man, one of the biggest populations of grey wolf in Europe and a beautiful and unique Delta on the river Danube. Cities are fairly modern and you could probably not distinguish between a city household in Romania and one in whatever other country. And, specifically, we love the Internet. 

What sets us back a whole lot (20+ years) compared to our European neighbors is our apparent incapacity of doing legit business, of electing leaders that are not crooked and of telling the clergy to please lay off our purses, go their way and take their medieval morals with them. Almost all of the population declares themselves as religious and the Orthodox Church claims some 87% of the population, based on a 2002 census.  This apparently allows the Orthodox Church to claim we are an “orthodox country” (even though the Constitution begs to differ), mix itself in the affairs of the state, influence laws and take public funding for granted.

Since the 1989 Revolution, the Church managed to introduce Orthodoxy as a confessional class in schools, taught  from kindergarten till the end of high school, and we only recently managed to make it an “opt out” class. The State pays quite a big deal of our tax money to pay for the clergy’s salaries, restoration and building of churches and parish houses, Religion teachers, manuals, Church personnel and “social work”. Yes, the churches’ “social work” is sponsored by the state. More than that, in the latter years the Orthodox Church tried to get control over ALL the orphanages, ALL the social help centers and ALL the nursing homes. They called it a “church-state partnership”. The state was supposed to give all the money, and the church was supposed to “administer it”, and we would speculate that they would probably do that by firing all the personnel, putting theology graduates with no medical, sociological or administrative education instead and spreading dogma to whomever came under their influence.

Seeing the Orthodox clergy parade with their expensive cars and wearing expensive accessories (gold watches and whatnot) makes us question their piety and need for spiritual wealth in the detriment of materialistic needs. This is made worse by the fact that that salaries and pensions are dropping, and poor people (who most have state pensions) are not properly taken care of.

In the last few years Atheists and Non-religious people, and even the well-intended, honest Christians have begun to declare themselves fed up with the church’s abuse of power, shameless mercantilism, intolerance and political involvement. Stories we used to tell over a beer out with friends started to make headlines and televisions started to report on cases of sheer lack of empathy or humanism in the church, like priests refusing to accept the burial of people in the Orthodox graveyards without the payment of the exorbitant sums they ask for, priests performing “faith healing” or exorcisms, some ending with the death  of the subject, drug dealing priests, homosexual relations with underage kids and money scams involving the church businesses.
It’s no surprise that the Church has named the attempt to verify their incomes and the legal prosecution of law-bending priests to be “a war on Orthodoxy”, conducted by the Atheists and Secularists. Even worse, because of this war the church is under a fierce attack: they are not allowed hate speech and discrimination against national, religious and sexual minorities, and what is a church if it’s not allowed to be as judgmental and discriminating as it pleases?

But now we are here. We started to work on informing the public. We started to form groups and we fight against the legal injustices. And, step by step, we are wining: we are constantly cutting slices off the monstrous influence this medieval dogma has on our minds, educational system, laws and tax money. And it is not too soon either.

This is the first of a series of articles about religion and atheism in "Virgin Mary’s flower garden”. I have my mind set on writing one every Saturday, and I would very much appreciate it if you would voice out any lack of clarity on my behalf. The situation here is very familiar to me, so if there are any questions I will gladly answer them (either by comment or a new article).

3 comentarii:

  1. Prea multa politica, nu se admite nici un merit comunistilor care au modernizat asa cum s-au priceput tara. Au scos biserica din scoala, sau mai bine scris au scos scoala primara din biserica!

    Pare o lunga plangere pentru ceea ce suntem. Suntem ceea ce suntem si nu vad de ce i-ar interesa pe straini refularile noastre.

    Practic la paragraful I si II as schimba multe, inclusiv ca RO e mica, sau e saraca. Nu suntem nici mai ... nici foarte foarte .. fata de ceilalti. Analiza ta in aceasta directie nu numai ca nu suna bine. As descrie RO ca o tara europeana cu particularitati pe care le-as enumera. Dar nu in rau, nu ca o plangere strainatatii pentru ceea ce suntem, sau pentru neputintele noastre, care ne apartin 100%.

  2. Acest comentariu a fost eliminat de autor.

  3. Communist have the same perspective as you about the religion. Are you a communist?
    Can you get into more details about some subjects of major interest for the internet community, for example about Romanian boobs?