the long view
between these two worlds:
Today is a wonderful Friday, because I’m not at work and I have time to write and read and do things!
- I got up,
- put on legitimate pants (I’m thinking about making that a habit,)
- ate a piece of leftover pizza,
- downed my seasonal-change cocktail of vitamins, Tylenol® Sinus, and allergy pill;
- put on coffee,
- shaved my whiskers,
- paid some bills,
- and did a little of the Facebook thing.
Now on to some real blogging.
How do you feel when someone tries to push their values on you? Does that stick in your craw, or what? I know it does mine. Speaking of the Facebook thing, I was answering comments (that’s often all I do — only occasionally do I share relevant posts or update my status) when I happened to notice this little tidbit in my news feed:
There’s this Senator in Arizona who suggested that the law should mandate weekly church attendance!
Yay! (blows a raspberry)
Now, I hope you are all aware that I almost never talk religion or drop the “G-word”, but let’s discuss this. Put aside for a moment the absolute certainty that no such law would ever see the light of day due to the fact that this is a flagrant violation of the American ideals of religious freedom and the separation of church and state; in fact, I think every politician in their right mind knows that this is a non-starter.
Forget that the whole idea would be unworkable due to matters of logistics: how do you account for attendance? How do you enforce it? How do you define a religion? Wouldn’t you have to make room for atheists who would rather meet at the library, the bar, or the bowling alley to get their church cards signed? At that point, the whole thing falls apart. It becomes a waste of time and money — yet another drain on the intrepid taxpayer.
Putting all that aside, this idea that we should be obliged by law to attend church is like a series of slaps to the face, because coupled with her idea that this would lead to a moral rebirth it suggests that without religion we are amoral. It equates all of us — every citizen of the United States of America — with violent, antisocial criminals. It suggests that all of us need to be rehabilitated in some way, as though religion can program us to be something the government considers acceptable (here’s a crazy idea – let’s make a food pyramid . . . but for religiosity! That sounds awesome!) What’s not ironic here is that this idea comes up alongside nostalgic commentary about times when people kept their guns out in plain sight in unlocked cars, thus linking the imagery of guns to religion, and the compulsion thereto.
–> Let’s not forget that religion was more than just window-dressing for a vast majority of wars worldwide prior to the 20th century; it was a pretext for empire-building, meaning that religion has always been the standard tool for conquest on every scale.
— > Let’s not forget that religion often limits freedom on a much larger scale than laws do, to a point where most people find it impossible to take it seriously in modern society — not that they don’t try. Were that possible, we would likely have more clergy than soldiers.
–> Let’s not forget that the most zealous advocates of major faiths tend to be the most hypocritical. Killing in the name of love? That’s not a song, folks; that’s a historically world-shaping paradigm.
–> Let’s not forget that reason and science have founded an age where people can think for themselves, can sort out right and wrong without the threat of eternal damnation hanging over their heads — who wants that kind of stress anyway?
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to slam religion or church attendance. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to find community with like-minded individuals who share faith with you. What really rankles me is when someone talks about shoving that down everyone’s throat with legislation. I live by a code, and one principle I live by is that I don’t oppress people with my own ideas. Like anyone, I am glad to put my ideas and opinions out there — but to try and force agreement? That’s a poor way to treat others, especially in such an open society. It’s never worked for me and I hate to see it in action because it is oppression.
Somewhere in the middle ground between pure anarchy and the iron fist of a totalitarian state there exists a spot of perfect balance, where the clockwork of society ticks in perfect synchrony; I think if power-players on the extremes would stop arguing about where that point should be, those of us who would like to live our own lives in peace would be much better off!
To those people who like to step on others in order to reach higher, be forewarned: if I see that happening, I will take that as a sign from above to come over and knock you down.
Take that and stick it in your law books.
Now this is something I can get behind –> 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Universal Unitarianism by Galen Guengerich