Monday, April 28, 2008

On Religion: A Response

I think we could all be happy living side-by-side with believers of every denomination, so long as we all exercise some self-restraint -- especially those in the majority.

When one group decides that they can write laws for all of us based on their religious beliefs, such restraint is missing, and that is where we have been for the past eight years. The separation of church and state that enabled all of us to live in peace was pushed aside by people convinced they had a duty to God to transform America into a Christian nation.

The religious right in this country is as ambitious as the Taliban and the Iranian mullahs. They hope to use the power of government to ensure that evolution is not taught in the schools, that gays may not marry, that abortions are criminalized, and more generally that the laws of this country conform to the divine laws of God as revealed to them in their holy scriptures.

Remember Terry Schiavo? Intelligent design? Faith-based initiatives? How about the scandalous abuse of religious freedom at the Air Force Academy? Here are excerpts from three excellent articles describing the problem of dominionist christianity in the military:

"There's certainly an impression that evangelicals here have that the leadership is kind of on their side. And there's a feeling among people who are atheists or people who are other varieties of Christian that the leadership does not really accept them."
The report said a chaplain who reportedly exhorted cadets in a worship service to tell their classmates to accept Christ or "burn in hell" was merely using language "not uncommon" for his Pentecostal denomination.
“They don’t trust you because they think you are unreliable and might break, since you don’t have God to rely on,” Specialist Hall said of those who proselytize in the military. “The message is, ‘It’s a Christian nation, and you need to recognize that.’ ”
These abuses of power in the military are extreme examples of the lack of restraint being exercised by an ambitious religious majority. In response to the arrogance of these people, and to their attack on our liberties as Americans, some folks naturally have been pushing back, seeking only to preserve an American way of life in which secular affairs of state were conducted without partiality towards one sect.

We need to keep pushing.

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posted at 10:15:00 AM by Neil

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