Is Religion Becoming a Form of Mind Control?

Los Angeles Religion & Spirituality Examiner

October 25, 2008

It really scares me to see how religion appears to becoming more & more a form of mind control of people. Growing up Catholic, I was taught that I had a “free will.” Yet a great deal of what I was taught did not teach me to think for myself, but instead to just “do what I was told” by those in authority—nuns, priests & the hierarchy of the Catholic Church—mind control.

Under the Constitution, we are given the right to do our own thinking, to have freedom of religion & most importantly to have separation of church & state. However more & more religious leaders are telling their “followers” how to vote. I just watched a documentary, “Friends of God”. Jerry Falwell tells the students at Liberty University “that the school can’t tell people how to vote, but I can” to thunderous applause. The pastor of Wasilla, AK Assembly of God told his congregation in 2004 that people who voted for John Kerry would “burn in hell.” Catholic bishops in “swing states” such as Pennsylvania, Ohio & Colorado have publicly denounced pro-choice candidates in this election. They say “vote your conscience” which would be free will but they are leading them to only vote for “pro-life” candidates. They are really not allowing their congregations to really make their own decisions as they are emotionally manipulating them through guilt, a form of mind control.

What is most ironic about the whole “pro-life” vs. “pro-choice” argument that continues to be a wedge issue that divides us politically & does not allow for rational thinking is that the issue is not an issue. Both parties use it as a way to keep their members “in line”, just as churches use it as a way to keep their members “in line”. A president cannot “overturn” Roe vs. Wade himself. Has the number of abortions been reduced in the past eight years? Even if the president did manage to appoint Supreme Court Justices who did overturn it, the decision on abortion would go back to the states. John McCain even said so himself when he was recently on “The View.” So the issue is a non-issue, just a distraction from real issues.

Abortion should be a private decision made by the woman herself. I don’t feel that any man, including me, should have any say in what women do with their bodies. We have no idea of what they are going through when they make that choice. I’ve heard the comedian Wanda Sykes point out that women “don’t go get an abortion because it’s fun”. Those who want to bury their heads in the sand & return to the “good old days” when abortion was illegal, should watch Demi Moore get an illegal abortion in “If These Walls Could Talk”. This movie accurately depicts what those “good old days” were really like for women. It is truly the most horrifying thing I have ever seen. My yoga teacher has a bumper sticker that says “Keep abortion safe, legal & rare.” You can’t argue with that position in my book. I think it is a wonderful thing for compassionate pro-lifers to assist women in need of support during an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy who are morally opposed to abortion & want other options, just as long as that is the woman’s choice. What good does bombing abortion clinics do? It only creates more anger & separation. The focus should be on dealing realistically with the problem at inception—sexual education, birth control & reducing unwanted pregnancy. Those are the real issues. If they were addressed, fewer women would have to make such a difficult choice.

Given the Catholic Church’s horrific track record with the clergy sexual abuse crisis, they can no longer claim to hold a position of “moral authority” on anything. How can they argue that they are trying to keep a baby safe, when they don’t believe in keeping young children safe from pedophile & ephebophile priests? Bishop Donald Trautman of the Erie Diocese made national news this spring when he declined to attend the graduation at Mercyhurst College in Erie, because they had allowed Hillary Clinton to speak there during the Democratic primaries. This is especially hypocritical given that it has come to light in recent years that many priests have paid for the abortions of young girls & women they have sexually abused, all the while preaching "abstinence & pro-life." Religious leaders are not supposed to be entering into the political fray. Trautman’s actions allow for no intelligent discourse among people & only leads to separation & divisiveness, not “Christian” ideals in my view. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church must first clean up their own back yard, as must other fundamentalist Christian groups (e.g. Ted Haggard) that don’t allow their member to think for themselves. If you are just following rules, how are you growing spiritually?


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