I tell you, my friends that those responsible for the pernicious and
distorted moral views of so called past Christian civilizations are not
of the rank and file but rather of the religious elite. I have become
convinced that the buck must lie with our major Christian denominations,
and primarily their top leaders. And, indeed, it has always been so. As
time and space do not permit within the confines of a newsletter, let us
go no further back than in to God fearing, Victorian Britain. For there
you’ll find entrepreneurs growing rapidly rich through associations with
the slave trade. Indeed, while Negroes are in chattels within stables
outside, the Good Book is opened and family prayers are offered daily.
Indeed, closer to ones home, young children are chained to looms or else
sent in to rat infested collieries without a qualm of conscience. Yet
should any of them utter a blasphemy they would be severely beaten.
Prostitutes were ostracized; flower girls and match sellers were left on
the brink of starvation, while the masses loved to have a weep at some
theatrical melodrama. Horses used for hackney carriages and trams were,
frequently, mercilessly beaten, while cute looking domestic pedigrees
were unhealthily pampered to high heaven.
The young and, frequently, the most generous of girls were the most
vulnerable. In kindness they may well say to some devious character of
a, supposed, higher station: “O’ if you wish! But, Please, be careful
with me. If I were to get pregnant I’d do away with myself!” And the
response from some devious squire’s son might well be: “Indeed? I say,
how aw-fully, aw-fully considerate of you!”
I have certainly not forgotten how my Dad was turned off from
religion as a youth. “You must go to Church Robert!” his Mum would say.
“The Vicar notices that you have been absent; and he says that no good
will come from it!” However, my Dad knew of a worse tearaway than
himself within the close-knit village. He said it was the Squire’s son.
Well, that may well have been the case. However, Sunday worship never
began until the Squire and his family drove up in their carriage.
Carpeting was laid out for them on several occasions. They had their own
side chapel near the altar; and – what is more – they had vested
interests in a colliery where young children and barebacked women had
once worked. Yet the Vicar who strongly denounced the so-called evils of
indolence, alcoholism and a rising trade unionism, never touched on the
appalling working conditions of the time. It was said: ‘he knew on which
side of his bread the butter was spread’!
Go on to Alas! Our Moral Priorities
Have Hardly Changed Today
Return to Summer 2005 Issue