Monday, May 12, 2003

Faith-based government? Which side of the faith-based government do you fall on? And if you aren't in-step with the leadership's faith, do you feel threatened? I mean, let's say the president is a Southern Baptist and you're Jewish. Southern Baptist aren't particularly fond of your religious views, after all, if Christ isn't at the head of the iconoclastic pack then the Baptists lose their raison d'etre so not believing that Jesus Christ is the one and only "big star" in the heavenly venue would be considered blasphemy, wouldn't it? So under that premise, how would you feel? Would you think your viewpoints would be given equal consideration? Would you believe that your interests would be protected - both political and social interests, OK?
I suggest that government run by religious zealots is a nightmarish vision. Hell, just look at Iran or any Islamic nation run by clerics. It's nuts! The power of life and death are allotted to a 'chosen few' who, allegedly, have God's (or Mohammad's) voice on direct line to their brain - hard-wired, as it were, into their 'special' cerebral cell structure.
I don't think our nation could stomach many public beheadings, hand-choppings or Medieval lashings before outright civil war erupts.
And yet, we sit in our living rooms and see the religious zealots - who first began their campaign for governmental office in earnest with the advent of anti-abortion actions (see: Shotgunning physicians ... ) - claiming more and more of the political landscape, beginning with school boards and city councils, all the way up to the White House.
This religious linkage between politics and social affairs has got to be stopped, and stopped quickly. I predict that, if the current march of religous zealotry into political office is allowed to continue, if the people who vote are ONLY those who've joined PACs that have religious/moral values at the heart of their platforms (though well-cloaked in neutral rhetoric - see "George Bush" presidential campaign 2000) we in this nation are going to see the rise of religious witch hunts again, and yes, I mean that literally. It is not inconceivable that a group of these so-called "Christians" could advance propositions that you or I might think of as backward, cruel or just too invasive into our private lives ("Everyone who doesn't pray at 4 p.m. EST every Wednesday shall be considered a threat to the nation and, as such, shall therefore be put to death in a manner befitting our nasty mood du jour") and actually gain enough votes to make their edicts law.
Sound good? If so, what the hell are you doing here?
If not, I suggest you consider the state of the nation and ask yourself, where in the political landscape do I stand? And I would go further! I would suggest that you look at the candidates who're advanced by any political party, and I mean REALLY LOOK, and TRY to determine if that person has a vision that embraces fairness, a general 'mental balance' that values all sides of an argument, and is someone who truly represents your idea of what the neighborhood, the community, the state and the nation ought to look like in practice.
The founding fathers, that so many of the Christian 'right' like to pretend to understand and prolixly misquote, put in a clause in the Bill of Rights that separated governance from religion for a reason.
I think that reason was, they realized that one's religion is a personal choice and that religion, by its nature, contains the seeds of unrest. Indeed, if one tries shoving a religious doctrine down the throats of thinking people who've made a different choice for spiritual advancement, then the seeds of unrest inevitably sprout weeds of division, resentment and even warfare. Ah yes, religious wars. The good old days relived.
Right now there is a battle of ideas going on in the nation and it's probably the most important battle of wills that this nation has faced since the Civil War. I pray (surprised?) that we can eventually put to rest the notion that a candidate whose religious doctrine, whether we agree or disagree with it, is the foundation of his/her platform for political power, is unsuitable for legislative service, if only for the sake of national stability, though there are dozens of good arguments against such a candidate's rise to political office.
Yea, I know that it's tough to separate the person from his/her religious upbringing and ridiculous to think that someone could achieve complete objectivity. But it's certainly possible to put aside one's personal spiritual path when acting on behalf of a diverse group of people with many divergent views, which, after all, is what politicians are supposed to do. Isn't it?