Life Will Answer – The Book: Do Unto Others? Pt 2

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Earlier this year 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.

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 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 religions offer. Given the several thousand religions claiming followers, it’s absurd for any collection of humans to insist that their Deity tells them It is the One and Only. Several thousand of Its peers take issue with that.

I don’t pretend to be a religious scholar to any measurable degree. 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.

So in conjunction with that work, I’d like to offer some observations on related issues of the day by following up with some additional thoughts on last week’s post.

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The recent Supreme Court decision in the controversial Hobby Lobby case is yet another example (on a list much too long as is) of the fluidity (read: hypocrisy) evident in applying the law in matters brought by Christian fundamentalists insisting that their religious beliefs must be imposed on others and by whatever integrity-free methods they can conjure up.

That so many of us are now subjected to a ruling borne more of ignorance and arrogance than respect for Constitutional principles turns this laughable farce into a disturbing indication of the idiocy we’re all going to pay for unless more of us speak up and call out the hypocrisy and lies [among other less-than-noble tactics] being used by the fearful and paranoid to promote their agenda.

It is peculiar, even absurd, to suppose that the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended to ensure that inanimate entities created for the economic advantage of their owners be guaranteed this same right to search for truth and meaning….Wrapping this attempt to create a privileged legal category for corporate entities in the cloak of religious freedom demeans that freedom and those who cherish it. [1]

To think that the extent of this ruling begins and ends with the specific facts of that case is delusional. As the author of the above quote added in his excellent article:

What court is wise enough to determine whether a corporation claiming to operate according to religious scruples is resisting a law for economic or ideological reasons? What conviction, no matter how baseless, cannot be wrapped in the protective cloak of faith?

This comment, noted in a related article and referenced in last week’s post as well, should give every rational, thinking person who is otherwise genuinely supportive of the Constitutional right of religious freedom more than a moment’s pause:

[S]ome people in the faith community have taken a shortsighted approach to religious freedom over the last few years in an attempt to turn the First Amendment into an opt-out from any public policy with which they do not agree. This misguided approach has been used as a battering ram against marriage equality, tax law and — in this case — the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. [2]

We have a system of democracy and governing—messy and too-often senseless as it may be—which has managed our society well for a few hundred years now. But as the quote above points out, too many fearful, paranoid, and poorly-informed citizens—duly stirred and shaken by leaders whose promotion of self-serving interests has found a home in those very same people, are urging policies they are unable to implement by the same processes the rest of us abide by—controversy and disagreements notwithstanding.

More of us need to start paying attention and using the tools of democracy to wall off these deluded and extra-constitutional efforts before we’ve all fallen too far down the slippery slope of having to kowtow to the religious fictions of those who can’t be bothered to think for themselves and recognize both the consequences of their own actions and the limited benefits accruing to a limited few who continue to manipulate them in whatever way works best on a daily basis.

The latter author offers up some points to ponder on that note. That the talking heads continue to urge their misguided supporters to simply scoff at these notions is both expected and a sure sign that they care not one little bit about who is harmed in their steadfast march to cultural, economic, and political power and the benefits accruing to them and them alone.

I likewise referenced portions of this next quote last week, but it demands emphasis so that we’re clearer as to what is at stake:

What happens when the rights traditionally reserved for individuals are extended to corporations? Left up to the religious whims of employers and private individuals, the civil rights advancements for racial and religious minorities, women and the LGBT community will most certainly be eviscerated. Private establishments could be granted the right to refuse service to customers who have been divorced or have had abortions, who commit adultery or fail to live up to a limitless number of potential religious standards. Nearly any business regulation could be challenged on religious grounds, and judges will be forced to make ecclesiastical evaluations or allow our entire legal code to crumble.

For those disingenuous spokesmen and spokeswomen, where is evidence-based certainty that those concerns have no basis in fact? What line was drawn by the witless Supreme Court Justices assuring us all that the next fundamentalist knucklehead with a bone to pick about life in the 21st Century won’t succeed in an attempt to extend the Hobby Lobby line a bit further, paving the way for even more senseless, anything-but-Christian policies and rulings?

For everyone’s sake—rather than just for the limited succor extended in this case to appease a narrow-minded, dangerous segment of our nation—we ought to be not just asking that question. The more important and enduring responsibility is to come up with better answers than what a handful of Justices firmly entrenched in 17th Century thinking and with decidedly different notions of “justice” have imposed on all of us.

~ My Photo: sunrise at Long Beach, Rockport, MA – 08.22.05

Sources:

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harry-knox/hobby-lobbys-argument-should-alarm-people-of-faith_b_5023202.html; Hobby Lobby’s Argument Should Alarm People of Faith by Harry Knox, with Jill C. Morrison – 03.24.14
[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-dr-c-welton-gaddy/conservative-religious-freedom_b_5022431.html; A Truly Conservative View of Religious Freedom by Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy – 03.25.14