This blog is continued from last week.. If you haven't read 'Belief' the link is listed below;
It's a huge market place. Religion is big business in America.
Why did I choose this aspect of religion as the first to pursue? Well, I live in America. I pay taxes. I'm not religious. I don't go to church. I don't pray. I accept no gifts-food, housing or otherwise- from either the church or the state. I've discovered that, while churches often feed the poor, there is a price-one's soul, if there is such a thing-and the food is usually awful. Little concern about food value. Canned stuff and the cheapest quality, often donated and usually offered on Holidays and in community centers, large feeding stations-table after table after table- for anyone who might get there, and served up by sanctimonious volunteers.
Also, churches have a habit of taking care of their own. I live in a Mormon rich community-meaning there are a lot of them-and after Iniki an outsider, a neighbor, was not made welcome at their tables. At least I wasn't. I went seeking a water supply for my animals and, in the process, was in several kitchens with gas stoves producing quantities of aromatic coffee and bacon and eggs of which I was not offered a cup or invited to share or even helped with the original request as to where to find water.
The Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the fourth richest religion in the country. At the turn of the 21st century, its assets were estimated to be over $30 billion dollars. You'd think then, wouldn't you, believers might share a cup of coffee with a neighbor in need?
But the biggest Financial Power on earth is, of course, the Catholic Church.
The Vatican has large investments in the Morgan bank, The Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank in New York, the Bankers Trust Company in America. It owns billions of shares in Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, TWA and more. It probably ranks second only to the US in total purchase. It's the biggest corporation in America. Their assets and real estate holdings exceed those of Standard Oil, AT&T and U,S. Steel combined. It's treasury of gold is worth several billion dollars. It is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. Its investments control the Federal Reserve. The pope, as the ruler, is the richest individual of the twentieth century.
With this vast sum of money it could create sustainable programs to end famine on earth. They have the power to oppose wars. They have the power to create an Eco-friendly planet. Why don't they? Well, money is power and wars make the rich richer and hungry people are good religious fodder.
Further in America they own about $50 Billion in visible property holdings and about $507 Billion in hidden property holdings. Yet they have a strategy of deliberately sacrificing key services to the most disadvantage and poor of western communities.
To be continued...