“Religious Liberty”: The Scourge

“God? . . . who the hell is He? . . . Why confuse the issue
by dragging in a superfluous entity? Occam’s razor. Beyond
atheism, nontheism. I am not an atheist but an
eartheist. Be true to the earth.”
(Edward Abbey; Desert Solitaire, 1968)

I honestly don’t recall how long ago it was that I first read Abbey’s little masterpiece, “Desert Solitaire” — had to be somewhere within the last five decades, though, based on the book’s publication date. No matter. By the time I read it, I was already an atheist. Have since converted to a ‘nontheist’ and an ‘eartheist,’ however, thanks to Abbey’s clarification of concept. “Conversion” is also, I think, the word used in religious circles to describe what they consider to be ‘appropriate’ changes in religious belief. I presume, therefore, that my “conversion” from routine atheism to nontheism/eartheism is a consequence of the merger of commons sense with Religious Liberty, and is, therefore, one of those “unalienable rights” which we all share. Right?

Unlike a great many folks, however, I have no “faith,” no “belief,” no religious “practice” whatsoever; I consider “God” to be nothing more than an ancient myth, a ‘creation’ of the human mind to help explain the unknown, perhaps also as a useful means of controlling the minds and actions of the masses. I see no need in any of that; I’ve long felt that science and a cognitive mind should be sufficient to explain the origin(s) of everything that exists, if not today then surely by tomorrow maybe, or next week/year, etc. But none of that contributes to any sort of intolerance toward any and all who choose to believe differently. I will not tread on anyone’s belief(s) that differ from mine, nor will I ever make an effort to impose my “beliefs” on others. Belief should always be personal, never mandated. By anyone, by any entity. Period.

I’m constantly puzzled, however, by the fact that so many of the God-Religion inclined do not think (much less act) that same way. Intrusion with the intent to impose, to convert, or simply to induce fear has seemingly become a religious “standard” these days, and religious labels don’t seem to offer any significant differences, at least amongst the fundamentalists and their comrades. Islam (Shia, Wahhabi, Sunni), Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, et al.) — many participants are wonderfully tolerant, but far too many are the exact opposite. “Religious Liberty” has become a catch-phrase used by many to explain their intolerance for, essentially, any and all beliefs/attitudes/practices which differ from their own. Religious liberty is presumed to, in effect, allow any “believer” the right to impose, even discriminate, against any and all non-believers, and any subterfuge including lies, fear, and even induced hatred is considered legitimate under the wide umbrella of religious freedom. Why is that? Why should such practices be tolerated by/in a civil society?

Here are a handful of examples of such, each randomly  gathered in just the last day or two, that amply demonstrate — to my mind, at least — the absolute fallacy implicit in “Religious Liberty”:

1. Rev. John Hagee on how God will hold people accountable if they don’t vote for Donald Trump

“I’m going to vote for the candidate that’s going to make the U.S. military great. I’m going to vote for the party that is going to solve the immigration problem, not the one that has created the immigration problem. I’m going to support the party that brings jobs back from China … I’m not going to vote for the party that has betrayed Israel for the past seven years.”

He’s not demanding that everyone vote as he intends, but most likely that’s only because he knows he can’t. He knows he can, however, use fear and lies to convince those who respond to such that they’d better do as he says or face God’s retribution.

2. Trunews Host Rick Wiles: Obama And Satan Will ‘Rape Your Children’

“We’re living in a funhouse. In a house of horrors. The president — the fake president, he’s a fake president, he’s not a legitimate American president, he’s a fake and he’s been allowed to do these wicked things for eight years because there’s been no resistance to him, and now he’s going for it, he’s got the pedal to the metal. He’s coming into the schools to rape your children. Let’s be honest about it. Satan wants to rape your children. I’m telling you, there’s going to be confrontation in the country. There will be a group of people who just say, ‘This is it, I’m done, at this point, we resist and we’re pushing back.’”

I guess if one lives only on lies, they might as well be really big ones, since folks who believe such nonsense have no limits on the nonsense they’re inclined to believe — and then impose on everyone else because as we all know, LGBT people do NOT share the “Liberty” the rest of “us” are blessed with! God said!

3. American Family Association host Sandy Rios explains how the Lesbian Hillary Clinton embraces every sexual deviancy imaginable

“Hillary Clinton embraces every sexual deviancy you can imagine,” she said, before once again suggesting that the former secretary of state is a lesbian because “there have been more than rumors swirling about her own sexual proclivities since before she became first lady.”

“She’s an advocate of gay marriage, and I mean a strong advocate. She’s been endorsed by every radical homosexual activist group in the country, all the major ones, Human Rights Campaign and others, especially in New York. She gets that endorsement for a reason, you know, she gets it for a reason.”

Lies and accusations seem to have no limits whatsoever when directed at LGBT people, and/or anyone who publicly supports their implicit right to live as they wish.

4. Far-Right Pundit Steve Quayle notes that ‘God is using Donald Trump’ to ‘show the political sins of this country’

Steve Quayle declared that God is using Trump to reveal the sins of America, and that the Bible may even speak about the business mogul when it mentions the word “trumpet.”

“I believe God is using Donald Trump, whether you like him or hate him, I believe God is using him to trumpet the nature of what America believes and, in essence, we believe a lie,” he said. “‘Trump’ [sic] is in two times in the New Testament, ‘the last trump [sic] of God.’ The thing that’s fascinating for me is that God has used him as a prosecuting attorney to show the political sins of this country.”

Makes perfect sense, if you don’t think about it. Good reason to vote for Trump though, right? Right.

5. Then there’s Rep. Steve King R-IA) on school prayer

“Well, I was sitting [as] a freshman in high school when Murray vs. Curlett came down that ordered that there be no more prayer in the public schools. And I thought then, that was 1963, and I thought then, how are they going to stop us from praying in our schools? They could tape our mouths shut, that doesn’t do it. The only way they could stop us would be to empty the schools out. And in my mind’s eye, I can still see the images that were conjured up: two U.S. Army personnel standing there guarding the doors that were chained shut on our high school. … It was the image that came to mind, the only way to stop us from praying in public schools was to empty the schools out and guard them so we couldn’t sneak in and pray.”

Seems to me that no one has EVER said students are not allowed to pray in public schools. They can, in fact, pray whenever they wish to so long as they do it in silence and don’t disturb anyone in the process. The only restriction the law mandates is that prayer of any kind can not be imposed on the entire student body, a mandate that allows each and every student to worship (or not) as he or she wishes, not as any particular school administrator or teacher might prefer.

6. Finally, there’s this one. Rand Paul has a great idea, a clever way to halt once and for all the ‘right’ of a woman to enjoy any level of reproductive freedom. Paul’s plan: FETAL PERSONHOOD by Congressional mandate.

Here are some excerpts from Paul’s email on the matter:

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling forced abortion-on-demand down our nation’s throat. . . .

The time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over.

Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it. . . .

A Life at Conception Act declares unborn children “persons” as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection.

This is the one thing the Supreme Court admitted in Roe v. Wade that would cause the case for legal abortion to “collapse.” . . .

If you and other pro-life activists pour on enough pressure, pro-lifers can force politicians from both parties who were elected on pro-life platforms to make good on their promises and ultimately win passage of this bill.

But even if a Life at Conception Act doesn’t pass immediately, the public attention will send another crew of radical abortionists down to defeat in the 2016 elections.

No need to ‘grovel before the Supreme Court,’ in other words, since the fourteenth amendment legitimizes the concept of legislating ‘personhood’ to the fertilized egg [despite the fact that the cited fourteenth amendment begins with the words “All persons BORN . . . in the United States” — emphasis mine]. No more abortion, and probably no more birth control. Got to protect the fetus. Period. Of course, after the child is born, well, then to hell with health care, food, shelter, all that stuff. Some kids will be OK because their parents are well-off, but those poor kids, well, you know, lazy bums and all.

What puzzles me most on that issue is why the government thinks it needs to take action of any kind. I mean, there are no demands that a woman MUST take contraceptives, or that she MUST have an abortion. Nope, it’s strictly a matter of choice — unless or until some religiously over-wrought ‘movement’ demands the government protect THEIR “Religious Liberty.” As for the ‘liberty’ of others who believe differently? Nah. They don’t count.

“If a man’s imagination were not so weak, so easily tired,
if his capacity for wonder not so limited, he would abandon
forever such fantasies of the supernal. He would learn to
perceive in water, leaves and silence more than sufficient of
the absolute and marvelous, more than enough to console him
for the loss of the ancient dreams.”
(Edward Abbey; Desert Solitaire, 1968)

Ah, the virtues of “Eartheism”! Fantastic Contrast! Thanks for that, Edward Abbey.

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About frugalchariot

How Frugal is the Chariot That bears the Human soul. (Emily Dickinson)
This entry was posted in Politics, Religion, Religious Freedom. Bookmark the permalink.

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