Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Religious revolution?

According to this article, Romania's 1989 revolution was actually a Christian one and not a political one. This came from the mouth of one Rev Peter Dugulescu who it says here led a prayer service in Timisoara on December 22nd which was the culmination of a week of protest. Now, according to people I have spoken to, the churches provided an important meeting place and in that sense they were a central part of the revolution. Also, the protests in Timisoara that kicked everything off, were sparked by the government's decision to silence a Hungarian Reformat priest László Tőkés, who spoke out against the system, by evicting him and subsequently attacking him physically.

But to claim that this was some kind of religious revolution misses the point quite spectacularly. I have no reason to doubt the Reverend Dugulescu when he says that he led this 100,000 strong prayer service, although this fairly exhaustive Wikipedia article, doesn't see fit to mention it. However, when he says things like "America is straying from its Christian heritage and inviting punishment unless its people come back to God" it's clear he's a couple of hassocks short of a pew. Whatever his status and his heroism in 1989, sounding off that the USA should become more fervently Christian (more!) is frankly terrifying. Bloody nutter.


Anonymous said...

Please clarify.

Whatever his status and his heroism in 1989, sounding off that the USA should become more fervently Christian (more!) is frankly terrifying. Bloody nutter.

You mean to say the US of A should become less religious? If so, why?

Andy said...

Yes (or at the very least not more). I think one of the most frightening things in the modern world is the rise of religious fundamentalism - and in the US the christian fundamentalists wield a terrifying amount of power - in a country which is by far and away the most powerful in the world.

I agree with the US's desire to seperate church and state, and it's obviously (to me at least) preferable to state religions (such as in the UK and Romania to name two). But in general I think most European countries have a much healthier attitude towards religion than the US. (ie people should be free to worship or not to worship in whatever way they see fit, but religion shouldn't infest the politicial debate as it does in the US)

Anonymous said...

I'm not entirely surprised by this. I saw plenty of articles in Croatia which explained why the Serb-Croat war was Catholic Croatia throwing off evil Orthodox oppression. I guess it just provides a handy selling point for the church.

As far as the US thang goes, in my experience of it the higher level of religious involvement in society has some good aspects - community based support groups and the like - but more bad ones, such as some outrageous pollution of education and toleration of extreme violence aimed at "unbelievers" - abortion clinic workers for instance. It's also quite easy to be ostracised in many small US communities if you're not "decent and god-fearing". It was the reason many Americans I've worked with around the world gave for wishing to live outside their home town and even country.

Anonymous said...

Left a present for you on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Looks Europe could use a little more faith...LOL.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attending religious services may enrich the soul, but it also fattens the wallet, according to research released on Tuesday.

"Doubling the frequency of attendance leads to a 9.1 percent increase in household income, or a rise of 5.5 percent as a fraction of the poverty scale," Jonathan Gruber of the economics department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote in his study.

"Those with more faith may be less 'stressed out' about daily problems that impede success in the labor market and the marriage market, and therefore are more successful," Gruber wrote in the study, which was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Living in a community with complementary ethnic groups that share the same religion increases the frequency of going to a house of worship, he said in the paper titled "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?"

Such visits correlate to higher levels of education and income, lower levels of welfare receipt and disability, higher levels of marriage and lower levels of divorce, the study said.

Gruber says he focused on non-Hispanic whites aged 25 or older because "there is very strong evidence of racial segregation in church-going, so that the density of Hispanics or non-whites in a religion in some area is not likely to be relevant for the religious participation of whites in that area."

Gruber divided the individuals into seven groups: Catholics, Jews, Liberal Protestants, Moderate Protestants, Conservative Protestants, other and none.

kruse_s said...

Hey Andy,

It's Steve from the IDLTm Barcelona. I agree with you. What's even worse is when you let a very stupid christian fundamentalist child play with very dangerous toys.

Wasn't it Wittgenstein who said that if you want to know if a man is religious don't ask him, observe him?

So if George Bush asked the question 'am I religious' what would our answer be?

Anonymous said...

Just a note - Romania does not have a state religion - it is officially secular just like the United States. Unfortunately, just like in other Western countries, there has recently been a rise of the religious right, though not to as significant extent as in the US, Australia, Poland, etc.

The fact that the Orthodox church (which, personally, I find quite unlikeable) is quite influential, and claims that "we are the national church of Romania" (which is false) doesn't make it official. And hopefully it stays that way. Or otherwise we'll get to a re-ban on abortion and homosexuality (by the way - isn't it amazing that in Ireland abortion is *still* banned?)

As to the actual post - the claims this bishop or whatever made are not really true at all. The Romanian Revolution may have been a "stolen" one (i.e. neo-Communists ruled until 1996) but it definitely wasn't a religious one. This is just another attempt by the Orthodox church to gain recognition.

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that being a born-again Christian (Read: 'stupid christian fundamentalist') is held against Dubya.

But totally ignored with respect to people like Bono, Jimmy Carter, Bob Dylan, Tom Hanks ad infinitum...


Anonymous said...

More here:


Fucking stupid Christian Fundamentalists, the entire lot of 'em.


Lefty hypocrisy tastes so good. Can't get enough of it.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever met Peter Dugulescu before you dared to call him 'bloody nutter'?

He was a man whose faith and integrity not many people are able to immitate in this world.

I happen to have been arrested in Timisoara during the revolution of '89 and was an eye witness to all the events which took place that week; and I agree with the late Peter Dugulescu on all his points about the Romanian Revolution.

My question is: were you there?