Our Constitution granted each and every one of us the freedom to believe or not believe as we decide. That protection applies to all of us. When one group has decided by some form of spiritual osmosis that their version of the unverifiable and occasionally insane has been decreed to be the new Law, and thus their political mission is to ensure that is so, then it is up to the rest of us to put that crazy back where it belongs: away from public influence.
FACT-FREE MARCHING ORDERS
Social conservatism has been the organizing principle of the Christian right for many decades….
[R]eligious freedom is enshrined in our Constitution, right there in the First Amendment. But now the religious right is using this concept to argue that the state cannot require people of faith to follow laws they assert are contrary to their religious beliefs….
But that’s not what religious conservatives really want, is it? It’s not enough that their religion proscribes their participation in these ‘anti-life acts’ [i.e., same-sex marriage, abortion rights advocacy] and doesn’t allow them to bless gay marriage. Their religion tells them the rest of us, who may have different religious values and philosophical beliefs about these issues, are not allowed to participate in them. Evidently, religious liberty is a one way street — or, more accurately, their way or the highway.
Oddly, not many leaders of the Christian Right are speaking out against the crude incivility and authoritarianism of Donald Trump, so apparently it’s only gay people wanting to buy some flowers that threatens the republic.
And is it just me, or do far too many of those same individuals seem particularly judgmental and narrow-minded? If there is in fact some collection of Deities, what conclusions might They be drawing from such behaviors?
Defunding an organization so as to deny healthcare to women, for example, is an acceptable moral choice because … uh, it violates the extremist, narrow-minded, paranoid ramblings of others?
History has buried millions of bodies in this fruitless and absolutely insane quest to prove others wrong about the Deity they worship. If One does exist, It must be terribly disappointed by the incredible stupidity, extremism, narrow-mindedness, and irrationally judgmental behaviors routinely demonstrated by Its inferior creations—up to and including today.
The assaults on common sense and the gymnastic contortions required to justify beliefs and behaviors suggest that an updated Checklist of Do’s and Don’ts might be in order. Soon would be good.
Religious Right organizations have long equated criticism with persecution, and portrayed legal and political defeats as attacks on Christianity and religious freedom. Efforts to frame opposition to reproductive choice and LGBT equality as religious liberty issues picked up steam with the issuing of the Manhattan Declaration in 2009. This manifesto, co-authored by right-wing Catholic intellectual Robert George, pledged that its signers would refuse to ‘bend’ to ‘any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.’ Since then, Religious Right groups, their allies at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and allied politicians have increasingly framed their opposition to marriage equality, nondiscrimination laws, reproductive choice, and the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act as questions of religious liberty.
Of course, this kind of logic inevitably starts to crumble when people who don’t share the conservative Christian religion start pushing back and arguing that their right to their own private beliefs should not be infringed by being made to pray to someone else’s god in school, being taught Bible stories in biology class, or being forced to check with the boss first before you pick up your prescription medications after hours. The solution, increasingly, it to outright argue that non-believers or people of different faiths have beliefs that are simply less worthy of basic protections for religious freedom, much less the hyper-charged “religious freedom” of imposing your faith on others, the kind of ‘religious freedom’ conservative Christians believe they’re entitled to.
So we must all contend with the consequences flowing from this as yet and probably forever irreconcilable conflict. None of the various and competing groups of believers seem to recognize the sincerity or depth of belief and commitment which any of the others harbor about their own Deity of Choice and/or their associated tenets. That doesn’t help alleviate some of the tensions….
Has it ever occurred to the faithful that the only tangible result from the near-endless religious wars in which mankind has developed expertise is more of the same? If a Deity possessed of presumably Deity-Like traits does in fact exist, all evidence in fact to the contrary notwithstanding, wouldn’t It be a bit smarter than to have developed a system and a core of devoted followers who seem incapable of doing anything more than diminishing their own potential while simultaneously giving their Chosen Supreme Being a very bad reputation as a fear-mongering, rather mean-spirited and not particularly compassionate One?
If these pronouncements and commands are in fact the messages which some Deity has decreed must be shared with mankind, then perhaps a new Deity ought to whipped up for mass consumption. Quickly.
NOTE: No posts next week – Happy Thanksgiving!
~ My Photo: The Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay, CA © 09.15.04
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In 2014, I published an eBook entitled Life Will Answer. It’s an exploration of life, religion, and the tenuous connection one has with the other—at least as has been defined to date by the various theologies of past and present-day believers.
I don’t pretend to be a religious scholar. I am at best a casual observer of some religion-based behaviors, but given that I have also authored a book discussing those matters, perhaps that makes me more than a casual observer.
A fundamental point of the book is that Life has been established to honor and answer the choices each and all of us make—whatever they are and however they may be judged by the standards and guidelines we as a society have established. I do not accept the notion that there is a God or another Deity of choice offering wildly arbitrary thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs, or that this Deity has edicts we’re free to abide by or not (although if we don’t there will be hell to pay).
I wrote that book on the premise that there is more to this life than the narrow-minded, conflicting, and occasionally dangerous notions various religions offer. Given the large number of them each claiming passionate followers, it’s absurd for any collection of humans to insist that their Deity assures them It is the One and Only. Countless Peers and their own loyal adherents take issue with that.
Every day we are witness to the absurdities—and too often, the atrocities—committed in the name of some Deity or another by adherents convinced that they and they alone are privy to the guidance and dictates of that One and Only. There is little room, if any, for reason, logic, or rational thought. The absence of an intelligent component guiding their beliefs and conduct—replaced as it as by fears and justifications untethered from reality—carries its own set of consequences.
Are we really to believe that we’re all commanded or obliged to above all else obey and honor and worship one Supreme Being [among many]? How stultifying! This Magnificence is so needy and weak that It needs us to do things to satisfy It? Hello!? How did It manage to survive all those billions of years without us?!
Magical thinking is not a shield to the inevitable harm which results when irrational and mindless behaviors collide with reason and fact. We have some choices to make, and a future to concern ourselves with.
Re-establishing this blog is my own contribution to wiser problem-solving than what seems to be the norm. Too many are in position where their delusions carry heavy and needless consequences to all of us.