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Religion & Politics: More Than One Belief Set

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October Sky, Good Harbor Beach MA
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When candidates use proclamations about their Christian faith to curry favor with particular voters, they blur the lines between religion and government and put true religious liberty at risk. Professing Christian faith should not be a campaign strategy.

Nor should it be a guide for policy-making.

While a convenient outlet to assist them in their "mission," those same fervent Christians clearly never pause in their zealous pursuit of their version of the Truth to consider that many others--many--either share that same zeal about their own beliefs and Official Messages Delivered From The Cosmos, or they consider that fanciful tales and rules conjured up by ancestors not much wiser than fence posts are actually not their primary source for public behavior or persuasion.

They demonstrate a facile and impressive ability to imagine whatever might be needed to justify actions, beliefs, and assorted condemnations, but imagining that others have their own certainties is an intellectual and psychological hill too high and too steep to climb. Who among them wants their unquestioned beliefs questioned?

Ignoring observations such as these, not pausing to consider even for a moment whether the nonsensical and unverifiable should serve as their governing mandates, and relying without question on the fear-mongering from their Deity's Designated Hitters [DDHs] are each and all convenient excuses to avoid introspection. But nonsense does have its drawbacks.

Wars have been fought for centuries over which One and Only is THE One and Only--and thus THE ONE deserving of blind obedience. That nothing has been achieved other than to ensure that wars will be fought for centuries more merits at least some consideration, does it not? Of course, once that floodgate opens, all hell is sure to break loose.

Facts, science, evidence, expertise, and a host of similar considerations might suddenly gain a lot more prominence than the faithful are comfortable with, for one. Certainly the DDHs are aghast at the thought that their influence might evaporate. Ratcheting up the God Fear Factor/World Will End levels to Full Panic would be the first response, given how much power and financial gain they stand to lose once the light bulbs click on and their nonsense is recognized as nonsense and nothing more....Serious hell to pay then!

Imagine what kind of a world we'd all be dealing with if we eliminated whatever wisps of justifications remain for religious combat, and suddenly found ourselves having to be wiser, more tolerant, and more inclined to benefit more of us than just the few? How awful would that be? We might have to accept beliefs and lifestyles which are otherwise entirely none of our business--given that they have no impact on our own lives save for the fear-mongering whipped up by others insisting otherwise. What kind of a society is that? Bitter battles is what we ... wait ... why do we want bitter battles, again?

We might actually engage in meaningful discussions with the once-Satan-guided opposition and discover that peaceful co-existence and at the promises of a better future for us all are not such evil objectives after all! Imagine!

Hand-in-hand with that approach will be the realization that jamming one's foundation-less spiritual beliefs down the throats of others does in fact merit a bit of resistance. Who can predict what happens then?

When it comes to selecting our cultural, economic, spiritual, and political leaders/spokespeople/representatives, we might discover there are more meaningful criteria to consider. With elections mercifully now behind us [good riddance!], perhaps greater attention might be paid to this observation by Susan Shaw, quoted above [from that same referenced article]:

Our concern should not be whether or not a candidate is a Christian; rather our concern should be that any candidate can uphold the Constitution and the shared values of citizenship for all people. We should not ask candidates if they are Christian; we should not ask them if God has told them what to do. Rather, we should ask them what their values are, how they will practice those values as President, and how they will apply those values to enrich the lives of every person, not simply the people who are like them.

What a concept!

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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