Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Missionary Imposition

I've been watching, with some interest, the increasing placement of 'news' about local Catholic 'community work', especially amongst the Manx Filipino community.
Not a lot of people know this, but last year this island was sent the first Catholic missionary since the time of the Celtic saints. It isn't that the Vatican is concerned for the state of our souls, more that it is worried about missing a gravy train on which other churches were early passengers.
For over a century the island has been adequately served by Anglo-Irish priests, who established churches for a growing Irish community in the late 19th century. It is only fair to note that in doing so they also met head on the racist prejudices of that time against both the Irish and Jewish community, which manifested themselves in everything from petty objections over planning permission through to denial of schooling, housing and social services. From the 1930's until the mid 1980's (when we started to see the arrival of evangelical bigots who couldn't cope with a newly equal Northern Ireland) it seemed that anti-Catholicism was a dead duck.
Since then, apart from the Paisleyites, everyone else got on fine until a newer wave of 'guest workers' from strongly Catholic Eastern European countries, particularly Poland. But while the church made a show of caring about the welfare of Polish workers, the blunt truth was that many were educated young professionals here to escape not just Polish unemployment but the rebirth of the Catholic extreme right, so the last thing they wanted was more interfering priests.
Which made the arrival of Filipino guest workers a relief to such clerics. Here seemed to be more fervent religionists, except that in rejecting the Marcos regime Filipinos also started to take an interest in other brands of Christianity, particularly US televangelism, which meant that while here they were ripe for turning by (ironically enough) Paisley's sectarian chums.
So a battle for souls commenced. Except that, of course, none of these churches is quite as concerned as they say about the minds and bodies of exploited workers and their families.
The real interest is that people who work here to support families 'back home' send back a large percentage of their hard-earned income. Money meant to feed, clothe, educate and provide the medical needs of less fortunate relatives, but which might, with a little misinformation, also be directed toward religious 'charities' which claim to do the same thing, while actually keeping the poor under the thumb of anti-democratic chancers who, from way before the time of theo-fascists like Mother Teresa, always prop up the likes of Marcos.
If you want to get an idea of the problem, try Googling 'Filipino Freethinkers' and seeing their lively and humorous take on such matters. I guarantee you will laugh, but also never again consider the antics of 'religious charities' in the Philippines and their Manx allies quite so innocent or well meaning.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Silly Bankers

In his diaries, the late and gloriously camp Kenneth Williams often used the euphemism 'Having a Barclays' for the act of masturbation, and it seems to me no accident that 'Barclays' or 'banker' continues as handy rhyming slang for a person who is stupid or of low character.
Barclays always was, and still is, an awful bank, and it's a pretty good bet that wherever you find sweatshops, child labour, dodgy arms deals or 21st century slavery you will find a helpful man from that establishment if you look hard enough.
Which makes it even funnier when the PR department for the local Barclays tries to intimate it has a cuddly management who care about the dispossessed of the world and want to make things right. Now, on reading this sledgehammer-subtle piece of hackery (see ) I don't think even for a second Barclays actually gave money to these chancers, but it's doubly funny when the muppets who run the gaff fall for a scam which shouldn't have fooled anybody apart from home-schooled Alabama rednecks. And, of course, triple funny when reading the comments and realising that island educational standards are even lower than Alabama.
Oh, if you don't already know why I'm alternately laughing my socks off and banging my head against a wall in sheer disbelief, just go to .
And believe me, as someone who's monitored this and similar scams since Franklin Graham and his shady peers started thinking them up, the OCC Alert site is remarkably polite.  
When you start to find stories elsewhere of, for example, Franklin Graham trying to persuade George Bush to send bibles instead of aid to saturation-bombed Iraq, or Samaritan's Purse telling victims of a South American disaster that they could only shelter in tents subsidised by US Aid if they attended Baptist services and effectively renounced their Catholic upbringings, then you might see why even the Southern Baptist Convention wants nothing to do with Graham any more.
I would like to believe that in 2014 the island can finally wise up to such nonsense. But reading the inane comments I know that is still far too much to ask.
But I still wish you all the best for 2014, in the hope that at least some of us can both laugh and rise above such idiocy.