Saturday, December 30

First Freedom First: Worship...or Not.

“Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of the earth, more than half of our neighbors believe that the entire cosmos was created six thousand years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue.”

"Speaking to a small group of supporters in 1999, Bush reportedly said, 'I believe God wants me to be president.' Believing that God has delivered you unto the presidency really seems to entail the belief that you cannot make any catastrophic mistakes while in office."- Sam Harris

"Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia. (All the Jefferson quotes at that link highly recommended.)

_____________________________________

Freedom of Religion has allowed Christianity to flourish in this country. It's sad that a small group of zealots think that is not enough, that if the government and public sphere does not "acknowledge" God in a prescribed way, something's wrong.

And again with the science thing: Christians around the world, and particularly in this country, need to learn the definition of one simple word:

ALLEGORY.

The idea that a story written by ancient people featuring a talking snake means that God himself requires us to LIE about the age of say, The Grand Canyon, is so pathetic as to make our religion a public laughingstock.

The focus on "worship...or not" at the First Freedom First website has to do with NOT the public display of religiousity by elected officials. Believe me, Sam Harris and company will have to hold their noses when Obama gives his acceptance speech in Denver two summers from now. But there is too much pressure from inside the political power structure itself to make everyone join the theist party.

As Garry Wills, a devout Christian (though because he's Catholic some Jesus lovers probably think he's headed for hell) has pointed out in his book, "What Jesus Meant," Jesus did not trust the political world to further his mission for him. In a wonderful NYT op-ed (and yes, it's worth reading the whole thing, several times) Wills says,

It was blasphemous to say, as the deputy under secretary of defense, Lt. Gen. William Boykin, repeatedly did, that God made George Bush president in 2000, when a majority of Americans did not vote for him. It would not remove the blasphemy for Democrats to imply that God wants Bush not to be president. Jesus should not be recruited as a campaign aide. To trivialize the mystery of Jesus is not to serve the Gospels.


The flip side of this coin comes from First Freedom First:

Our private choice to worship, or not, must be protected when we go to work and to school and when we participate in our communities. It is never up to politicians or public officials to coerce us into supporting religious expressions in which we do not believe.


[Flying Spaghetti Monster adherents are also welcome to chime in at BG.]

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:29 PM

    We have been witness to boots grinding out an empire
    For the flabby bellies in their Lexington Executive Chairs
    And their chubby, insolent little nuclear diet-boned families
    And pair of table-scrap nourished, incorrigibly impish lapdogs.

    These heirs to rich deserts poured by a deprived and slaving flesh
    Have we the inheritors of tomorrow looking on, seeing naught,
    Feeling nothing but the destitute staring back at us in the mirror,
    Seeing in our eyes things we’d not tell our closest, dearest friends.

    Democracy's body is before us, slumped over like a one-armed whore,
    Our eyes are as wide as virginity, and they, the CEOs, looking smirked,
    Satisfied of profits, cackle at the shivering, homeless, irrelevant urchins
    Under the ghostly sky slapping against the bleeding rump of the future.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the negative effects of religion on the world are over-rated. People don't kill for God, they kill to get rich or defend their homes.

    By justifying their evil actions as the will of an invisible cloud-being, they vindicate themselves before the rest of society.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous4:05 PM

    I agree with Paul. No truly religious person kills in anyone's name. It's an excuse for some other nefarious purpose. Usually for power.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Blue Gal, best wishes for the final moments of this year, and much merriment, great joy and great cheer to see in the incoming Year

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mickey Finn2:17 AM

    Whew! You threw down, girl!

    ReplyDelete
  6. >No truly religious person kills in anyone's name

    Really? how can you say this. Religious nut cases have been killing folks in gods name since religion was invented. You can certainly say that they weren't true believers or "True Christians"(tm) but you are wrong, many of them were very devout.
    They just happened to believe in the bits of their holy scripture that you don't.

    When the bible says, "Thou Shalt not suffer a witch to live" it means one thing. You should kill withces. You may choose to ignore it because you are a reasonable and sane person. But thats YOU choosing to ignore part of YOUR holy text. More honest believers won't do so, even if it doesn't make them arseholes.

    Liberal believers are intellectually dishonest, picking and choosing the aspects of their religion they like based on the moral values of the society they live in. Fundamentalists, although very annoying at least try to believe the whole thing.

    Atheists of course realise that if your moral values (which determine what bits of your religion to believe) come from society and not from the book itself, then why bother with the book at all.

    But to the main post. Religion and politics only ever ends in tears. Lets hope that whoever the next president is (obamaobamaobamaobama) that he uses religion as at most a window dressing and bases his policies upon fact, evidence and reason.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Anonymous said:
    "I agree with Paul. No truly religious person kills in anyone's name"

    No true scotsman logical fallacy:

    Argument: "No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."
    Reply: "But my uncle Angus, who is a Scotsman, likes sugar with his porridge."
    Rebuttal: "Aye, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge."

    ReplyDelete

I really look forward to hearing what you have to say. I do moderate comments, but non-spam comments will take less than 24 hours to appear... Thanks!