Posted: Nov 19, 2020 12:36 pm
by Sgt Kelly
In Belgium traditional religion (historically catholicism) is all but dead. Only 53% of Belgians describe themselves as Catholics, down from over 90% in the middle of the last century. The true number is actually much lower if you take into account that most people only say that because they were spoon fed the lie that they were raised with 'Christian values', which in their eyes makes them at least cultural Christians / Catholics. We know of course that there ain't nothing uniquely Christian about Christian values so describing yourself as a cultural Christian is meaningless. This is also reflected in the fact that less than 10% of Belgians attend church. A number which is likely to continue to fall precipitously as it is mostly made up of octogenarians. Many church buildings have already been repurposed, many more are just standing disused.

Notwithstanding these facts, the entire establishment of the Catholic church in this country, including all its material assets and human resources, are paid for and maintained out of the public purse. Priests receive a state salary and a state pension. All religious buildings are owned by the state (a holdover from when Napoleon confiscated them) but given in use to the Catholic church. The state can't do what they want with these buildings, even when they're not being used. The church has to agree to any repurposing.

On top of all this Flanders (60 - 70% of Belgium by population and GDP) has a Catholic school system which is subsidized by the state. I couldn't find any global figures during my lunch break but 70% of the cost of building maintenance being paid for by these subsidies gives a rough idea. Now these schools can't be compared to faith schools as they exist in some other countries. They're not aimed at turning out religious wingnuts. But they are, in my view, instrumental in perpetuating the idea that this country is culturally Catholic and implanting in people the notion that basic humanistic values are somehow Christian in origin.
This state of affairs and the complete and total indifference to it from the entire population has annoyed me to no end for years.

Imagine my joy to learn now that, as a result of the new initiatives to regulate Islamic mosques (in the aftermath of investigations into radicalization), we're going to have the privilege of paying for them and their Imams as well.

They may not be dominating every goddamn aspect of our life anymore, but the fight isn't over and the fact that there are more batshit crazy places shouldn't lead us to be complacent.