The Widdershins


Posted on: October 18, 2011

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.



Pat I am in total Agreement here with you. You are not anti religious but Anti religion in government I see the difference.

The forced insertion of religion into politics is one of the most dangerous things out there. It has always been there, of course. But we are in a whole new ballpark now. It’s a race to who’s the bigger religious fanatic. People like Perry and Palin and Bachmann want to force their brand of Christianity on the rest of us. Not unlike what Osama bin Laden and his ilk want to do with their brand of Islam. Their methods might be – marginally – different. But Perry and Palin and Bachmann are the Christian Taliban. And if they had the power – they would kill for it.

Decades ago JFK stood before a group of ministers to assure them that his Catholic faith would not play a role in the WH. He also assured them that his faith should not be considered a threat as he was able to separate one from the other according to the laws of the Constitution.

It was felt that this more or less ended the issue but apparently not.

Whereas JFK was putting distance between himself and his religious beliefs, today’s politicians are promising to promote their beliefs via legislation which is opening a whole new debate around the same subject.

Mitt Romney if facing almost the same discrimination based on his beliefs and one Christian minister has even gone so far by declaring only a Christian should be elected to the WH.

I personally believe he speaks for many other like minded fundies from a region of the country for whom this stuff matters. Another candidate has stated that he would never appoint a Muslim to serve in his administration.

We are charting some very dangerous grounds when the subject of religion is being tossed around as frequently and as easily in the political arena as has occurred in the past 10 years.

A private issue that should remain as such has become a standard that has been adopted by the GOP and permits the divide in this nation to widen.

The problem with some of these beliefs based on faith is that they completely ignore science.

No scientist or doctor would tell you that a beating heart is a sign of “personhood,” which certainly requires some kind of conscious awareness. No psychologist would tell you that terminating a pregnancy in the first trimester causes greater emotional pain than giving up a child for adoption or going through a pregnancy and bearing a child knowing it is the result of rape or incest. No scientist or doctor would tell you it is safe for a 12-year-old to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth.

Science does not support the notion that homosexuality is a choice. There is a great deal of evidence to show that homosexuality is at least largely genetic and perhaps partly determined in the womb before birth.

In a civilized, rational society, scientific facts should be the basis for decisions that affect vast numbers of people’s lives–not “faith.” That’s obviously why the Constitution provides for freedom of religion. Those who want to determine their own lives according to the “faith,” can do so as long as it doesn’t involve murder, polygamy, discrimination against a group, or some other crime. Those of us who are civilized should also be able to make our own choices, without constantly being assailed by religious fanatics who want to control our lives.

Great post, Pat!

bb: Which is why science must be debunked.

Scientific evaluation is the surest route toward progression. But it interferes with religious teachings that tells us the world was created in 7 days and that mankind multiplied via Adam and Eve. (The result of two people which suggest incest if you follow that reasoning alone!)

It is only through the study of science that we may eventually know the origin of who we are and where we came from and for those who propose otherwise is foolish.

Pat, I have no difficulty believing that Perry, Palin and Bachmann are products of incest!

@6: LOL!

Changing the subject, but here we go again:

I wonder if I should get that hair cut I have scheduled or bother to fill up the gas tank?

[…] hell of a lot of religions out there which are steeped in hypocrisy and cruelty…but after reading Pat Johnson’s post this morning, it made me think about the Catholic Church. I really appreciated Pat’s post…especially […]

@9 Fredster yeah I have a 1/2 tank should get me through till then plenty of food in the larder so all is well!

Well in my days gone there is a motion to “Privatize Bo Diddly Plaza buy our local Community Redevelopment Association (CRA) we intend to fight this. I think a Charter Amendment to designate the Plaza as a Free Speech Space.might be in order and to prevent the city form removing the bathrooms and other community facilities from the park.

On the lighter side donations are pouring in for Occupy Gainesville and the Police CWA and Fire Fighters Union have joined the fight among other! We are also sleeping on the sidewalks with out Police Harassment!

The Occupy Wall Street have a committee now to draw up their list of “requests” (demands) this will still be a slow process to be adopted it looks like a 67% (2/3) majority will be required. still we are now moving in the right direction.

What is silly is that “The Powers that be” know what we want they even know how to give us what is necessary to stop the decline of the American Middle Class. Our Political leaders just don’t have the will or moral backbone to stand up to the 1%that feed them the dollars at the public trough.

Slowly but surely it has reached the Tipping point.

Fuzzy@12: That’s great about the police and firefighters joining!

Check out this piece by Taibbi:

Don’t let anyone co-opt y’all.

We cannot afford to be co-opted…Last Wednesday night we were being pressured by local media for a statement about our group we unanimously voted in General Assembly that the Media’s Deadlines were their problem not ours and went about the business of the Assembly that had nothing to do with any mission statement of release….we are the 99% everyone’s voice can be heard. We want the money out politics we want no more “to big to fail” we want to re-regulate capitalism…we want true Capitalism not Oligarchical Capitalism…We want a more equal distribution of wealth not concentration of wealth….and that is just a beginning!!!

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