THE CREEPING EFFECT OF RELIGION INTO POLITICS
Posted October 18, 2011on:
I am going to address the issue of religion and politics and this is not to be construed as an anti religious rant. Instead I would prefer that it be read as a testament to the meaning of the separation between church and state that allows us to embrace or reject whatever we have come to believe or deny.
Rick Perry is claiming that his religious beliefs are under attack. What is under attack is his insistence on inserting those beliefs into the public realm. A “Christian” pastor speaking on his behalf has deemed Mitt Romney’s faith a “cult”. Herman Cain has accused gays of being “godless”. Michele Bachmann believes that we “can pray away the gay”. Rick Santorum believes that abortion and gay rights are abominations. Sharron Angle believed that bearing a child conceived through rape or incest should be treated as a “blessing”. What makes these people “experts”?
The GOP has created a platform that would extinguish the right to privacy. Where does this discrimination and bigotry spring from? Fundamental intolerant religious beliefs. The suggestion that only a ‘Christian” has the right to the presidency is about as radical a belief as one can find.
Catholics stand by their belief that theirs is “the one true church”. Jews refer to themselves as the “chosen people”. Evangelicals believe that the only way to be “saved” is accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Muslims believe in the right to kill anyone considered an “infidel”. Mormons believe in “prophecies” bestowed on their followers by a Heavenly Father. Hindus believe the cow is “sacred”. Scientologists believe in Xenu or something. Jehovah Witnesses consider blood transfusions to be a sin. Christian Scientists believe that only prayer will cure all ills. In other words, no matter which religion you subscribe to, each has found “the answer” to the interpretation of “god’s will”.
Excommunication and the withholding of sacraments are used as instruments against those who are deemed “heretics”. It’s an either “with us or against us” rule that holds sway over the faithful whose greatest fear is finding themselves on the outside looking in. Or worse yet, finding themselves spending eternity in the bowels of Hell!
What one person believes as a matter of faith is that person’s business. I respect the individual’s right to seek comfort and solace in whatever they deem right for themselves. What I do object to is the suggestion that the inclusion of religious beliefs be shoved into the public sector and determined as “god’s will” that must never be challenged but “obeyed”.
I believe in the right to choose. If that goes against your belief system than you are not compelled by any means to agree with me. I loathe broccoli but I would not enforce a law that bans it from the market. However, there are those who would do just that when it comes to “the right of privacy” that exists between a woman and her doctor. Based exclusively on religious beliefs this is an imposition. These people are insisting that we believe as they do. People are now empowered to practice their religious beliefs in the workplace by the passage of ‘”conscience rules”.
I also believe in gay rights. But there are those who believe that biology plays no role in determining sexuality. They would act to discriminate against this community by creating laws that would ban them from serving the public in all capacities. Referring to LBGT people as “godless abominations” that need to be “educated” is based on religious beliefs taken from the bible and accepted as the word of god.
Though this book contains plenty of contradictions the devout accept each and every word as coming directly “from the source”. Though it encourages a “love for your fellow man”, there seems to be a lack of understanding of how to put this one into practice judging from the chaos that this book has been able to produce by those who claim title to its “interpretation”.
The political arena has been tainted by these so called interpretations. They must remain separate since faith, or the absence of faith, is a guarantee under the Constitution. No one should be forced in accepting a belief in the unknown since it is the unknown itself that remains a mystery.
I suspect any who claim to be in direct communication with the “will of god” and wish to enact this will upon the rest of us. Religious institutions are “corporations” unto themselves if we were being honest with their motivations. Another business devoted to the bottom line.
When politicians wish to sway the public through religious rhetoric is when the pushback begins. The danger is there if not challenged. Looking no further than the events of 9/11, brought about in large measure by irrational religious beliefs, should be enough of a warning to understand the necessity of blending government with religion.
In order to achieve any sense of progress we must remain a secular society that respects all forms of beliefs without honoring one. It is our one guarantee against totalitarianism. The right to think for ourselves.
With all due respect, I am as offended by the need to force religious views down my throat as those who prefer to judge my viewpoint as anti religion. It is not.
Just a practical point of view that suggests that mixing politics with faith discourages both.
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