Friday, February 17, 2012

War On Religion

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.


  1. War on religion? Don’t make me laugh. The Republicans and Tea-publicans need a big distraction from the sorry set of presidential candidates that they have fielded. And the churches need a big distraction from all those costly court settlements - a way to rally their dispirited troops, in a a fake “war on religion”. One of the legitimate functions of government is to promote equality and fairness for all, by having everyone play by the same rules. Absolutely NO ONE is coming into our Churches and trying to tell parishioners what to believe...or forcing them to use contraception. BUT If the Bishops (and other denominations) want to start businesses that employ millions of people of varying faiths -or no "faith" at all- THEN they must play by the rules that other workers live by. ..ESPECIALLY if the churches use our tax dollars in the process.  Just because a religious group in America claims to believe something, we cannot excuse them from obeying the law in the PUBLIC arena, based on that belief. They can legally attempt to change the law, not to deny it outright. And if they want to plunge overtly into politics from the pulpit, then they should give up their tax-exempt status. Are they churches, or are they super-pacs? They need to decide- or have the IRS decide for them. Did I miss something, or when it comes to the "sanctity of life", is every single righteous Catholic still a card carrying conscientious objector, still refusing to take up arms,  still totally against the death penalty, and still against contraception and birth-control in all its forms? Oh well, hypocrisy is often at the heart of politics, and politics masquerading as religion even more so. This country is an invigorating mixture of all the diversity that life has to offer, drawing its strength FROM that diversity. But TRUE religious freedom gives everyone the right to make personal decisions, including whether to use birth control, based on our own beliefs and according to what is best for our health and our families. It fiercely protects the rights of all of us to practice our faith. It does not, however, give anyone, including the bishops, the right to impose their beliefs on others and discriminate in the name of religious liberty. People of faith should not let themselves be used as pawns in a fake war “against religion”’. The ONLY war going on here is a war against women and families who want to control their own futures. THAT’S what I call liberty! It’s a war ...a war between the lies about religious liberty, and the truth. Don’t believe the hype -think for yourself! Postcript: An interesting point to consider is this: Mitt Romney tried to score some points by telling us that his dad was born in Mexico. HOWEVER, the REASON for that was that his Mormon Grand-dad LEFT the US in the 1880’s because laws against polygamy were passed in the US (and being a Mormon, his Grand-dad wanted to keep his multiple wives). SO... if we follow the “logic” of the people crying crocodile tears about a non-existent “war on religion”, then the US should have allowed polygamy (and who knows what else) just because a particular religion claimed it as their belief. GIVE ME A BREAK!

  2. Tova in Toronto12:07 PM

    war against religion....hallelooooyah!! Sign me up, I'll be your generalissimo.