It is always unsettling - and a bit sad - to see an icon fall. Our society so badly needs its heroes and icons, and when one's feet of clay are finally exposed, a lot of people are often terribly disappointed.
But some icons need to be exposed, because the things they represent are so sordid and harmful to society, yet have been touted as being good.
Mother Teresa is one such icon.
Her public figure has always been a saintly one, so loving, so giving, the head of an order (which she established) devoted to caring for the poverty stricken in need of medical attention, and possessing over 400 missions around the world. Such goodness, such devotion to poverty, she was depicted as living as poorly as her charges.
Christopher Hitchens exposed her for what she really was - a hollow figure, callously sequestering millions of donated dollars, refusing to provide the medication and care her charges so badly needed, she essentially forced them into the suffering she felt was so central to her public faith. But when she needed care, she got it at an American hospital. One of the best, at that! Flew first class, was feted by the high and mighty. Especially by dictators and warlords, who lavished her with donations, which she gladly took and often funneled directly to the Vatican.
And talking about her public faith; privately, she agonized over a disbelief she admitted in letters and private writings, one which could never be made public. In reality, she admitted she never heard Jesus or God speak to her, and wondered if they even existed.
Now, in a peer reviewed study, two Canadian researchers have revealed new information, corroborating Hitchens completely, and totally exposing the raw truth of her perfidy at allowing a media campaign which twisted her into a public saint.
What is worse is that the Roman Catholic Church not only allowed that campaign, but probably orchestrated it in a callous and deliberate attempt to create another saint. A figure meant to illustrate and illuminate the church's dogma of poverty and suffering, which it claims brings its adherents closer to God.
A dogma which, in actuality, simply controls its members by helping them to be happy in their poverty, fooling them into complacence and compliance.
When I write about harm from religion, this is what I am talking about. Policies and actions which take a true shameful condition of millions of people around the world - one which could be alleviated - and turns it into a control measure to avoid those unhappy people from upsetting the current political order.
While the current Pope talks about how terrible secular capitalists are about hoarding money and perpetuating poverty by paying poverty level wages, the organization of which he is the absolute monarch is busy propagandizing those unhappy poverty stricken millions into believing that their plight is a blessed one to be embraced instead of improved upon.
In the meantime, the world marches on, pouring billions and billions of monetary units around the world into military capabilities with which to grind those unhappy millions into human paste.
Thank you, Mother Teresa. On behalf of a frustrated world population which yearns for a world at peace, thank you for helping to perpetuate a world at war. A world which encourages poverty and suffering.
Like you did.