Saturday, March 24, 2012

Henk and Organized Religion

Henk Heithuis 
The picture above shows Henk Heithuis, a young Dutch man in his early twenties. Henk was born in 1936 and was as a child - for unknown reasons - left in the care of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands. While living in a boarding home run by the Church Henk was sexually abused by at least two priests. In 1956 Henk, then 20 years old, reported the molestation to the Dutch police and the priests were convicted for having abused him.

Unluckily for Henk though he would remain in the loving care of the Church until he reached the age of majority in the Netherlands, which at that time was 21. 

The Church sent him to a Catholic psychiatric hospital where he, as court documents confirm, later the same year was castrated “as a treatment for homosexuality and also as a punishment for those who accused clergy of sexual abuse,”

Henk Heithuis was later killed in a car accident in 1958 at the age of 22.

Joep Dohmen, the investigative journalist at the Dutch newspaper The NRC Handelsblad.who uncovered the case, also found evidence that at least nine more young men had been castrated. "These cases are anonymous and can no longer be traced," Dohmen said. "There will be many more. But the question is whether those boys, now old men, will want to tell their story."

Henk, second from left
When my buddy Apmel Goosson first directed my attention to this story (The Telegraph; Dutch Roman Catholic Church "castrated at least 10 boys") I was totally shocked and could not believe it was possible. I felt sick to my stomach by the brutality and the inhumane actions of something that should be - and asserts itself as being - a protection for the weak in a not always kind world. As I thought more about it I became more and more enraged about the profound stupidity, heteronormativity and systematic homophobia that these actions are a symptom of. 

However the Roman Catholic Church is not alone in the total misuse of the trust given to them, the same goes for almost any organized religion. The fault lies not with the original prophets (Jesus, Mohammed etc). but in the way their teachings have been abused by interpretation by their followers and the organizational builders.

In order to grow strong, powerful, influential and rich every religious organisation of any size has always teemed up with the civilian authority. They have become their willing mouthpieces and propaganda machines with a joint mission; To keep the people in line.

Organized religions have always lent themselves to be well organized hate groups working viciously with excluding, condemning, repressing, persecuting or keeping in check
  • the heathens or non-believers (Jews, Christians/Muslims, or believers in any other faiths except "the one true faith") which could be slaughtered, slaved or used like cattle if they did not convert to "the one true faith"
  • the savages or other cultures (Jews again of course, Romanies, Africans, Asians, Native people all over the world), see above
  • the poor and disenfranchised, should know their place, shut up, work hard and breed many children - rewards for being good and faithful would be collected in the hereafter/heaven/paradise, "you will get pie in the sky when you die", "72 virgins in paradise"
  • the women, "women are dirty when they menstruate and have given birth", "women are dumb and cannot think properly or be relied upon to take care of themselves, they must be taken care of by their fathers, husbands or brothers", "women cannot be clergy" etc. etc. see above 
  • the sexual "deviants", i.e. non-heterosexual, "just don´t do it" or "you are better off dead"
  • etc. etc.
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Ugh, rereading what I have written so far I feel like a poorer variation of Karl Marx with his "Religion is the opium of the people". I will leave it anyway.

Believe me, I am not a communist and have nothing against religion in itself, just the hierarchical superstructure it gets when it gets organized and misinterpreted by the followers of the original prophets.

Organized religion - of any creed, although I am mainly thinking of Christianity and Islam - are the longest lasting, most widespread, most powerful and most vicious hate groups in our world.

Most mainstream Lutheran Churches seem to have backed off a little, but the Roman Catholic Church and the growing Pentecostal movement with its subsidiaries (among other Word of Life) seem to be still going strong in excluding anyone they do not consider worthy or wholesome or complying to their heteronormative belief system.

Henk to me represents one of the untold, unseen and unknown victims of the power mongering, money-grabbing and repressive forces that are unleashed by these organisations.

2 comments :

  1. Very well spoken. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you've said. And when the story about Henk and many others came out, I was appalled, but sadly not at all surprised. Who knows what other digusting things have been done by "The Church" in the past, beside the known offences (i.e. genocide, murder, corruption etc in the name of faith).

    It sickens me to the core.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks buddy, good to know you understood me. I was afraid it was too much of a rant ;)

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