I'm starting it. Who's with me?
I'd like to deflect all those accusations by Republicans that Obama is waging a war on religion. I'm the one who's doing that, so send all your queries to me.
Every day I wage my silent, thankless battle about the spreading idiocy of religion of all denominations in public and political life, where it has no place.
For instance, it was rather amazing to see a panel convened by Sean Hannity asking 20 clergymen of different religions how they feel about female contraception. What do you know? They all have extremely strong feelings against it! They get to opine and decide, without consulting women, whether women should have access to contraception. This is the height of reason and fairness. There was not one woman in the panel. An Anita Bryant conservative witch would have come in handy, but not even. This is what religion does: it writes a blank check for self-righteousness, downright imbecility and barbarism and people just go ahead and cash it. Then they pat themselves in the back, to boot.
Let me put it this way: I hate religion. I hate what it does to people.
Faith is another matter. You want to believe in an afterlife, heaven and hell, God, limbo, nirvana, by all means; it's your right, knock yourself out. I read Astrology Zone religiously every month. We all need that old black magic somehow.
But why do we all have to believe in God? And if we don't, why are we perceived as morally deficient? Why do men get to decide that women should sit at the back of a bus, or not play sports or drive, or not have a right to decide what to do with their own reproductive systems? Because this is abuse of power and only something as irrational as religion can warrant such a thing.
I would argue that, more often than not, those of us who hold reason in higher esteem than faith are far more ethical than those who shelter their morally revolting attitudes behind the front of religion. Church going and breast beating and following irrelevant stone age laws, or in the case of fundamentalists, deeply distorted, maniacal interpretations of religion, give people a pass from true piety, true charity, true love and true morality.
It makes no sense to decry the termination of an embryo as against the sanctity of human life, and at the same time cheer every time someone is fried in the electric chair. It makes no sense to believe in a guy who said you should love thy neighbor and then demonize and persecute gays, or people from other religions, subjugate women and keep the poor and the gullible in ignorance and darkness.
When it was invented thousands of years ago, religion was useful as a civilizing tool. In those days it was linked to the seasons and the tides and the movements of the sky. It helped people understand their place on Earth and in the universe. It helped create relatively functional societies. It laid down some necessary laws (like "thou shalt not kill", something it has not heeded itself). It also encouraged artistic expression. Fine. But it becomes dangerous the moment it acquires political or economic power, which is when it starts acting like a bully.
If it is as pure and lofty as it claims to be, why should organized religion concentrate wealth, or dictate policies? It should aid the poor, comfort the needy and be an individual source of solace, not be a stick with which to control and abuse people and cheat them out of their money and their human rights.