November 16, 2010

We Just Don’t Get It.

We just don’t get it.  There was an interesting article posted recently in USA Today, “Can you be 'entitled' to bigotry? Some pol[l]s(?), advocates say yes.”  

The pundits in the last election spent a lot of time and money in efforts to rile voters up over their opponent’s faith or lack there of. I am disheartened to see that some of us fell for this sleazy ploy.  I think someone’s religious views should be the very last thing that is pertinent to whether they receive our vote.   Why is it at the top of most people’s lists?  What I think is important, are their qualifications for the office and do they have a plan that makes sense for improving or maintaining our way of life.  Who cares if they are Christian, Muslim, Jew, or Atheist?  This is irrelevant.   I could care less if Christine O’Donnell is a witch.  I am certain she would not show up to work one day in the Senate with an Ouija board and a bag full of eye of newt.  What dissuaded me was her lack of experience, skills, and any solid plan to get this country back on the right course.

Religion is very divisive and caustic issue even at the best of times.  It should play no part in the secular nation that the American founding fathers created back in 1787 when they ratified the Constitution and was further affirmed it as such with the adoption of the 1st amendment as written by James Madison. 

Many modern western societies, England, France, Canada, Germany, and others would never interject religion into their election process.  To do so is a taboo.  If any politician professed his faith in his campaign he would be dismissed as a loon in those places unlike the US.  Their view is one’s religions orientation is a private matter and as such is kept that way because of an understanding that religion is a toxic subject and puerile subject.  To espouse one’s religion is one sure way to have your chances of election smashed on the rocky reef of the electorate oversees.

Unfortunately, America has become a nation of religious bigots as of late, much to my dismay.  I would like to think we are better than that.  America is tearing itself apart over what I perceive as growing religious intolerance.  New York is having paroxysm over an Islamic center near ground zero, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Tennessee hinted that Islam is not a real religion but a cult, Nikki Haley who was running for office in South Carolina was attacked on her Sikh background and Senator Kay Hagan was falsely accused of not being a Christian in phony ads.  All of these actions were designed to drive a wedge between people of faith and their communities and government.  I feel things have gone too far and we should rein in some of this faith based hate before it is too late.

So while it is true that Americans will never forget 9/11, as well they should not; It should not be for reasons of revenge, but to prove the point that religions are not divinely inspired but manufactured by man and therefore subject to his weaknesses; greed, power, and manipulation just to name a few. 

Just so you don’t miss understand me.  I have no beef with anyone if they want to practice their faith.  I like to pretend there is a Santa Clause during Christmas, it makes the season that much more fun for my kids.  It only concerns me when a belief begins to oppress me and harms my hometown, my country, my family.  It is not enough for most to practice their religion among themselves or like minded individuals.  It has become apparent that religion has presented itself, in my point of view, as a “my way or the highway” mentality.  It screams that if you do not believe as “I” do then you will be oppressed and/or punished.  Many religions offer eternal peace and love which is attractive but on the flip side they also offer eternal fire and damnation after they murder or restrict your freedoms.

So next time your at the polls, set aside your bigotry and vote on a candidates qualifications and plan to make your life better, safer, more prosperous.

Lewis Black on Politics and Religion

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