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.
THE PERVERSION OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Although we’re confronted on a regular basis with some variation of the same theme, the following observation is an excellent summary of how religious liberty is being perverted by those adhering to a witch’s brew of unverifiable, self-serving nonsense at the expense of their own faithful followers as well as the rest of us.
It really needs to stop….
On March 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court took up Zubik v. Burwell. Supreme Court justices once again heard from those challenging the employer contraceptive coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. The plaintiffs argue that the law violates their religious freedoms, even though the ACA allows them to avoid actually providing the insurance if they fill out a simple form. Zubik is an example of cynical efforts by extreme conservatives to exploit religion as a smokescreen for policies that discriminate and endanger the rights of Americans everywhere. It is a version of religious freedom that allows certain religious beliefs to trump the rights of others, cause harm, and allow one group to impose their religion on another. This bears little resemblance to the liberty our country’s founders intended.
Religious liberty has always been a core American value, enshrined in the First Amendment and central to maintaining the democratic experiment in our perennially diverse society. But contrary to the intent of the country’s founders, state legislatures across the country are advancing bills that create harmful, imbalanced religious liberty protections for business owners, government officials, and even private parties opposed to national marriage equality, certain health care decisions, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or LGBT, adoption, and more. Conservative congressional lawmakers have pledged their support to the First Amendment Defense Act, or FADA—which would allow marriage equality opponents and those with objections to premarital sex to refuse to follow laws without penalty or intervention from the government. Conservative activists and media figures also continue to advance a ‘war on religion’ narrative to justify resisting civil rights for LGBT Americans and denying women legally mandated health care—while also regularly questioning whether Muslims and other religious minorities deserve religious liberty protections.
Extreme conservatives cannot and should not have the monopoly on defining religious liberty.
Amen to that!
SAYING & DOING NOTHING
Silence or acquiescence to these efforts is nothing but a different way of offering support for these efforts. Before that pattern of behavior continues—by either or both sides of these policy contests—more consideration ought to be offered to the consequences if this pattern continues. What Happens Then?
Given the alleged comfort offered and intended by religious devotion, the perverse use of it to condemn, judge, discriminate, and kill seems to be missing the point of the whole Supreme Loving Whatever. If followers are relying on the commands of a Deity perfectly comfortable with the violence, discrimination, lies, threats, and restrictions Its group seeks to impose over others—ignoring the fact that Competing Deities have Their identical Agenda and Their just-as-loyal followers, setting up an absolutely no win situation—then perhaps we might want to start campaigning soon for a much Better, Wiser, Kinder Supreme Whatever, with a very different set of Rules for us all to abide by.
Sure as hell this path is one with no happy ending: followers relying on nonsense and magic bound to be chagrined when they realize they’ve wasted so much time, energy, and effort over … nothing; or opponents raising the ante at every step in order to combat nonsense.
Of course, if these various Deities are drawing great delight from the foolishness expressed on Their behalfs, then we’ve got even bigger issues to consider….
CONTEMPLATION HAS ADVANTAGES
Are the faithful not smarter than this? If not, can we count on them to figure it out soon?
If they are, then what in the hell are they doing, still obeying idiots spreading nonsense as the gospel truths with guaranteed lose-lose as the outcome?
Harming innocent others because your team happens to be full of nitwit leaders counting on none of you to think at all might justify your effort to hit your own intellectual pause button and ponder this. Do the combatants ever allow themselves to wonder To what end?
How long and how many others must be harmed in this quest to achieve an unattainable, imaginary objective created out of thin air to appease those unwilling to think for themselves, and too fearful to discover that their own capabilities are more than enough to get them through life much more peacefully. Fighting for unverifiable and meaningless objectives having no basis whatsoever in fact merits at least a moment’s worth of contemplation, doesn’t it?
We do have facts for a reason….Might be worth giving them a try for a while. That hard work will pay off much more handsomely than the hard work followers are putting in to pursue nonsense and add countless more victims to the God Wars. By now, the faithful ought to be at least a bit more rational than their efforts suggest.
Win-win is not the worst outcome, after all.
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Note to readers: In addition to my other blogs and writings here [see the Links above] and at Peak Oil Matters, I invite you to enjoy some brief excepts from my eBook political thriller:
The Tretiak Agenda
They began [here] on June 15, and will conclude later this summer
~ My Photo: Key Largo, FL – 02.20.05
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Concerted efforts by Christian Right extremists to weave their highly questionable beliefs into the fabric of public policy must be challenged–vigorously so. The routine demonstrations of hypocrisy which serves to pervert the commonly understood tenets of that faith, and fact-averse denunciations of science or other evidence clearly at odds with the nonsense, imposed anxieties, and promoted fears, have no place in the problem-solving arena of the 21st Century.
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.
I was raised as a Catholic. For eight years in elementary school, and four more in high school, I learned what [mostly] priests and nuns taught me. Several decades ago, I fell madly, deeply in love with a wondrous and dazzling born-again Christian who ultimately broke my heart into a million little pieces. The magic, and sorrow, of youthful thinking. That didn’t prevent me from future relationships with devout but less extreme Catholic women. [Not that I am complaining or offering regrets, since I am married to the best person I’ve ever known!]
So I come to this later stage of my life having had a full dosage of less overt but still impactful indoctrination into the ways of God as defined by more overt Christians. My departure from those experiences has come by way of many life events and a great deal of study and introspection.
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.