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Religion & Politics: Blending Identities

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October Sky, Good Harbor Beach MA
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Shaping our identity in large part by the groups we align ourselves with for emotional, psychological, cultural, and political reasons are powerful anchors--individually and collectively. We do so with our favorite teams, movie genres, foods, books....[No one will ever find me in a Donald Trump Is The Greatest meeting!]

Doesn't the importance of identity in these contexts make sense? Who doesn't benefit in some emotional, psychological, or intellectual manner by affiliations with like-minded others?

All of us are much more inclined to seek out information and assurances which serve to solidify our own sense of self. Who among us wants to spend our days constantly doubting everything we do, think, say, and believe? Confirmation is far preferable than having to contemplate facts or assessments casting doubt about our choices and conclusions. It's evident in the political and cultural arenas; why shouldn't it be applicable for matters of religion/spirituality as well?

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The conflicts between fundamentalist believers and those who do not share their convictions is that the latter are able to summon a wide variety of anecdotes, stories, media contributions, evidence, and related events--all fact-based--to guide our own beliefs and actions. Hell of a concept, those fact things....

Blind Faith is still and always a better rock band than the primary means by which we conduct our lives.

Coercions, misrepresentations, promotion of fears and anxieties ... all are tactics commonly used to either impose fundamentalists' own beliefs and judgments on others, or to keep the flocks anxious, fearful, and in the fold. It's wildly successful. On an integrity scale? Not so much.

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Facts really mess up the fundamentalist narratives. Questioning the directives and teachings and interpretation of God's very own Words would really put a damper on the fear-mongering. Who wants to risk a slowdown in donations or TV revenue?

Promoting fears and anxieties are so much more effective means of keeping God's troops marching in straight lines. Facts might prompt loyalists to ponder, and challenging the mandates coughed up by God's team of spin doctors is definitely not on the list of permitted behaviors.

Which begs the question: How valid and principled are the beliefs to begin with if resorting to disingenuous if not outright deceitful efforts are necessary tools of persuasion?

The rejection of reason is at the heart of modern American conservatism. Although polling indicates that the public is eager for more egalitarian leadership, Washington has continued on its decades-long, seemingly intractable backslide into a morass of anti-intellectualism, fear- and emotion-driven governance, and social and economic policies that value institutions over real humans.

Religious freedom/religious persecution assertions are among the more obvious indicators.

You may have noticed a new phenomenon creeping up in this country, it is this trend of our laws taking a backseat to religion. Whether it is the action of not following laws or court rulings in the name of religion or dictating laws based on religion, our country is slowly being destroyed by our religious right politicians. They are morphing us into a theocracy.

Those of us not enraptured by the ramblings about the Rapture have some decisions to make, sooner rather than later. While each of us are free to believe what we wish and think as we do, when those freedoms begin producing tangible, harmful, discriminatory outcomes affecting the rest of us who are not quite as enthralled with unverifiable nonsense, then we need to step and make it clear that we are no longer willing to--nor will we--tolerate the God's Word craziness in the public domain.

The bigotry, discrimination, and a healthy dose of nonsense to justify same needs to be challenged. Acquiescence to their twisted interpretations of writings and "messages" already questionable is to invite even more religion-prompted nonsense from those who demonstrate a singular lack of wisdom, given how judgmental they are. Their confidence in the imaginary is admirable, but it should remain in the confines of their imaginings.

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We must not allow our own avoidance inclinations or comforting reassurances to provide us with a suitable measure of certainty that "nothing really serious" will happen if the Christian extremists continue their march into the halls of policy-making and governance. If we continue to permit this insanity to reproduce across our cultural and political landscapes, we'll all be dealing with ever-worse outcomes from a collective madness left unchecked.

Where, exactly, is the good in any of this?

Adapted from a blog post of mine

 

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Looking Left and Right: Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows I remain a firm believer in late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone's observation that "We all do better when we all do better." That objective might be worth pursuing (more...)
 

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