My remarks after reading the Tony Cochran’s newest post-prison writing, Hypocrisy; Or, Reflections with Susie Simpson, Managing Chaplain, HMP/YOI ISIS (Yes, read it first!)
Most monotheist religions very quickly find affinity with authoritarian secular power. Today we are bombarded with examples concerning Islam, the rise of puritan Protestantism in the US, never-ceased attempts to embed “christian values” into constitutional order in Poland or silent but adamant alliance between the Orthodox Church and the state in Russia or Greece.
Church of England has even clearer pedigree. It was actually invented as a state church, due to strictly personal problem of Henry VIII. Church of England, supposedly much less authoritarian than the Roman or Orthodox one, still exercises full if soft power over its members (and, mind it here, potential members, somehow available for conversion). And that attracts and promotes specific personalities.
Contemporary prisons, well oiled machines of dominance,are not the places where you may expect mutinous functionaries — the screening and internal control are too elaborated. Continue reading The Cross and the Sword