Today is Sunday, July 20, 2014.
It’s Sunday and I woke up this morning thinking about the conflict in Gaza and the problems for non-Muslims in Iraq. Then I reflected on the Hobby Lobby decision in this country, and it suddenly dawned on me that religious fanaticism has really taken hold of people’s minds around the world. It seems to me this is a world-wide phenomenon, from African and Russian Christians criminalizing gay people to radical Muslims demanding Christians in Iraq convert or be killed. Our own Supreme Court has sided with fundamentalist Christians who own companies allowing them to discriminate against their employees who don’t follow the bosses’ religious beliefs. There are still recalcitrant efforts on the part of social conservatives to roll back gay marriage and women’s reproductive rights. All of this somehow in the name of God.
I used to not care what religion anyone was, or, indeed, whether they were any kind of believer at all. But it now seems to me that mainstream, normal religious sentiment is dying and being replaced by a virulent form of religiosity that seeks to deny any rights to anyone who doesn’t believe. Now these believers have made it their mission to infiltrate the political process in order to ‘protect’ their chosen life-style as a believer, and literally to hell with everyone else. But they need no protection, in my opinion. They are all still allowed to believe whatever they want. They can all attend any church they want. They can believe in whatever mythology or dogma they want. That right can’t be taken away from them. But it’s really disturbing to me that they don’t want to allow non-believers any rights at all. They seek to enforce their religious beliefs on everyone–they want a Christian nation in the same way the radical Muslims want an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East.
Thankfully, we live in a society that is ruled by Law and thus far, in spite of the Hobby Lobby insanity, we are moving forward into the 21st Century with a general attitude that says everyone has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These radical fundamentalists, however, believe that because we allow women the right to plan their own families and control their own bodies, or gay people to participate fully in the society, that somehow this is an attack on them and their beliefs. In order to protect themselves they feel the need to disallow basic human and civil rights to others in the name of their God. And they are adamant to ‘take back’ America by trying legislation to allow them to discriminate against others if those ‘others’ somehow violate their beliefs. Perhaps they should just put up a sign on their businesses that says ‘Christian-owned, we reserve the right to discriminate against anyone who is different from us, and if you work for us you will have to follow our beliefs.’ It seems the US Supreme Court agrees this is OK (Hobby Lobby decision), and the rest of us would know not to do business there.
Such people are, in my opinion, anti-social and need to be re-educated and rehabilitated in order to live well in this pluralistic society. In no way should their right to religious freedom be abrogated, but if their religious ‘practice’ includes denying the rights of others to live their lives freely and openly, then it is incumbent upon all of us rational, thinking people to fight back against the ignorance and the undemocratic behavior. Religious fanatics have renounced the basic tenant of our Declaration of Independence–that we have a God given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and on our own individual terms. No church can transgress that secular principle without violating the most fundamental idea behind the foundation of the United States.
So as it stands now, I have become rather anti-religion, if religion is going to set itself up above the Law and demand that this country become a theocracy and in the process deny us the right also to be secular or even atheist. I have lost my patience and any respect for such religious people. Does that mean I won’t celebrate Christmas? No…ridiculous. I like Christmas! I don’t care that it’s a Christian holiday. But I will also be looking at the politics of all of this with a very critical eye and I will not hesitate to support any politician who wants to isolate this fundamentalism and neutralize their political influence.