I've lived in Orange County, CA for more than 30 years. I can remember when Robert Schuller kicked families out of their homes and claimed them under "eminent domain" laws to build his new megachurch, the Crystal Cathedral. He then created such masterpieces as The Glory of Christmas and The Glory of Easter in which he recruited volunteers to put the thing together and sold very expensive tickets. These megaplays were executed using many actors and live animals and having attended one many years ago, I can personally say it was amazing. (I didn't attend as a believer, any more than saying "Hi" to the mall Santa Claus makes me a believer in a real elf who delivers toys on Christmas eve.)

Rev. Schuller was not very popular among many residents of Orange County. Now, apparently God cares very little about Crystal Cathedral employees. They are laying off for the first time in 50 years. Read the article HERE.

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Comment by Shine on January 31, 2010 at 10:14pm
My aunt is a nun at the Sisters of St. Joseph convent in Orange County, and my grandmother is passing her remaining years at the convent as well. As my grandmother's health has been declining in recent years, I try to make it for a visit at least twice a year. On a recent trip a couple years ago, my aunt took me to see the Crystal Cathedral. At the time, I was just a lapsed Catholic and was not really studied on the hugely detrimental effect of religion in America, largely perpetrated by greedy enterprises like this.

My aunt has been in the convent since she was fourteen in the late 1950s; accordingly, she is one of the most mild-mannered, even-tempered people whom you could ever meet. But the Crystal Cathedral provoked the closest thing that I have ever seen to venomous wrath in her. The amount of money entrenched in that place is just sickening. (Of course, the Vatican is no better.)
Comment by girlatheist on January 31, 2010 at 11:04pm
My son was born at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. I got to know some of the nuns when I was employed there during nursing school. For the most part, they were very nice people.

And yes, Religion = quest for money since the whole thing began. Power, control and money.
Comment by Shine on February 1, 2010 at 12:56pm
Girlatheist, I have always had mixed feelings everytime I visit the convent. All through my childhood, I was a rather apathetic Catholic as I pantomimed the sacraments in an effort to appease my family. I always knew that there was something fundamentally flawed with the entire thing, but I never really cared enough to overtly protest. Although I would read about the hypocrisy of the wealthy Vatican, my personal experiences with clergy were primarily my aunt and her fellow sisters. As you mentioned, these woman are some of the sweetest people that you will ever meet, and marked by a profoundly innocent benevolence. The sisters have the best intentions, and they genuinely believe that their actions are positive.

But does this innocenct belief excuse their participation in an organization that promotes irrationality, superstition, and bigotry? As I have become increasingly aware of the serious harm to society inflicted by religion, I find it very difficult to reconcile my feelings towards the convent. On the one hand, I am surrounded by these wonderful women that I have known since childhood who have earnestly dedicated their lives in what they believe to be a positive, beneficial endeavor. On the other hand, I am incredulous that they have dedicated to their entire lives to an organization fraught with greed, hypocrisy, and corruption.

I guess I just wonder at what point it is appropriate to direct anger at the organization or the individual.

(Sorry for the derailment, by the way.)
Comment by girlatheist on February 1, 2010 at 10:30pm
I totally agree with you, Shine. I am frequently gobsmacked and obtunded when confronted by an otherwise intelligent, kind, decent person who has their priorities so screwed up as to commit themselves and their entire lives to some made up .... religion.

I guess all we can do is stand up and be counted among the reasonable and rational.

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