Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A warning to the conservative Christian movement…

A warning to the conservative Christian movement…

There is a growing number of Americans who believe that faith should dictate law. They believe that the Judeo-Christian ethic should be the guiding principle in the American legal system. Long has the argument existed that the Founding Fathers of the United States did not want church and state to overlap. These religious zealots claim that the framers had not intended to have a government devoid of religious influence, but rather a state that respected the rights of all to worship freely. These are the same people who take strict constructionist views on most other issues. Nothing could be more hypocritical. They can never cite specific writings that indicate this intention. The fact that this philosophy is omitted from the Constitution and Bill of Rights makes it glaringly obvious that the Framers did not intend to force their personal beliefs on anyone. In fact, many of the first settlers in the area that was to become America were fleeing religious persecution in their home countries. Does it not speak to reason that they would want to avoid a repeat of that failed European model that they fled?

At the same time as this religious movement grows in both numbers and power, there is another even larger movement of Americans who are really uncomfortable with the role of religion, especially other people’s religions, in the everyday affairs of Americans. The problem with this “great silent majority” as Richard Nixon used to call them, is that they are not very organized and not particularly politically motivated. But that could change quite rapidly if the religious crusaders continue to try to push the envelope ever further to the right.

This great silent majority is not made up of God hating atheists! It is made up of a wide variety of people, much like the religious right. There are people who don’t believe in God, as well as those who are spiritual without subscribing to any particular faith. Then there are those who are religious but do not regularly attend church services. The last group is the most perplexing to the religious fanatics; they are the people who worship on a regular basis. They are the people who sit next to the bible thumpers each week in church. The difference is these religious folks are uncomfortable with making their religious beliefs the norm in this country. They are people who believe unwaveringly in their particular God but do not feel it is their place to push their beliefs on others. They respect that there is diversity in belief. Not like the evangelical Christians in Philadelphia which actively try to convert Jews. That is despicable, as is most all missionary activity.

There was a letter to the editor in a recent edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:

Atheists cannot take God out of our nation

In the beginning, something or someone created this universe and gave it existence. Whatever it was, we called it God. There were no people then, so there were no churches, no religion, only God. Then it is understood that God is not a member of any church or religion.

Our founding fathers believed in and recognized this creator when they formed our nation, a republic of "we the people," that there is a higher power and authority than our elected leaders. A spirituality that is uncorruptable and immutable on justice for our nation.

One would think, "what a wonderful concept." Our President Bush must be accountable to this higher authority. However, presently in our courts, a religious group of atheists is trying to remove God from our nation's pledge. While it might be possible to eliminate churches and religion (manmade), it is impossible to eliminate God (spiritual).

Atheists, whose religion denies God, cannot deny existence. Not only do they want to emasculate our nation, they want to take the heart out of it.

Our courts, ironically, acknowledge a higher authority. They should reject this attack on our pledge.

Ken Chang
Kaneohe

Can you believe this caveman? I mean, I respect everyone’s right to worship in whatever way they see fit (as long as it doesn’t infringe on me), but this stooge hammered out an angry letter filled with fiction and figured no one would notice it. Well, I did. Let’s deconstruct, because this is a fairly good representation of a fanatically religious person’s argument.

In the first paragraph Mr. Chang attempts to explain the “Big Bang” Theory in religious terms. As an agnostic I must acknowledge that this theory is a possibility. I have not the proof to dis-prove it, so I will concede that. But Ken throws out a great big gigantic “WE”. Who is the “we” of which he speaks? Atheists would reject this theory. Granted they are a vast minority in this country, but should we force them to live in a country that embraces a theory contrary to theirs when it is not necessary to its basic functioning? Is that how we should treat theological minorities? What about the many religious sects that believe differently?

In the second paragraph Mr. Chang proves my initial point with the Founding Fathers argument. Hey Kenny, can we get a citation for your representation of their beliefs. I have read the Federalist Papers and see no evidence that Madison, Hamilton, and Co. had any intention of including a Judeo-Christian philosophy in the central legal underpinnings of this country.

In the rest of his letter, Kenny-Boy blithers about being held accountable to a higher power, etc. Fine, if Mr. Bush wants to view the world that way, that is great for him, but I do not. It is the stated policy in many school districts that all children stand and recite the Pledge. I would never force my child to recite it, ever. Not just because I don’t think they should have to bear false witness, but also because I deplore the “Hitler Youthesque” manner in which children must pledge allegiance to our nation. If my child wants to hate this country, that is their right. When we make the Pledge truly voluntary then I will be okay with whatever content. What if a stated Satanist’s child wanted to say “…one Nation, under Satan…” Would that be acceptable? I think so.

The religious right is on a crusade, not unlike the Crusades undertaken to control Jerusalem. These are to control America. I envision a country where their rights are respected and revered, but not at the expense of everyone else. Not in my country. Over my dead body! They can have my country when they “pry it out of my cold dead hands!”

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree! Why do religious zealots think that they have some sort of mandate to force their nonsensical ideas on the rest of humanity? I am a human being, too. I have the same rights as they do. If I want to believe something different than they do, what concern is it of theirs? I don't try to force them to believe as I do, and I expect the same courtesy. On the other hand, if they want a fight, I'm ready willing and able to accomodate them.

Anonymous said...

Because it is their "religious duty" to do so according to people I know. They believe that it's their role in life to make believers out of us. I truely think they believe it is the price they have to pay to get to heaven. Jesse Ventura is right - religion is for the weak minded.

gracie said...

hmmm. interesting topic for discussion...

although i am certainly of the mind that religion and politics shouldn't ever mix i understand [completely playing devil's advocate, as usual) how in the minds of these more-than-holly types the connect is logical. we live within a society whose set of laws, and with that the legal system, are intended as a starting point from which to live life as an upstanding citizen - don't steal, don't hit, don't kill. the similarities between our laws and the 'rules' of many religions are similar, hence the connect. you mention something about christian ethic being a quasi-guide to the legal system, it's easy to see how these religious zealots who are so consumed by the word of their God feel it necessary to spread the word and use it at the guide for world affairs etc.

i am religious. I have my faith and i know what i believe. that said i also have the ability to see that my God belongs nowhere near my prime minister. goverment has mandate over too many individuals who (most likely) don't share my view of religion. i wouldn't ever want to push my beliefs upon anybody and similarily would hate to have someone else's pushed on me.

gracie