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Ann Coulter Just Doesn't Get It

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I haven't read Ann Coulter's new book - "Godless". I don't intend to. I have no intention of spending my hard-earned money on a hateful piece of garbage that would effectively help a right-wing hate-monger to profit. Even though I haven't read it, I did catch Ann Coulter on "The Tonight Show", and I've read many OpEd articles on it, so I have a pretty good idea what the content is about. And as such, I do have an opinion (of course I always have an opinion).

The premise of Ann's new book is that 'Liberalism' is 'Godless'. She writes that "...liberalism is the opposition party to God..." and "...the liberal hostility to God-based religions...".

What Coulter fails to understand...

...is that many Liberals DO believe in God. In fact, the likelihood of people believing in God has nothing to do with political ideology. The difference is that Liberals believe that religion should not be part and parcel to our government. We liberals believe in the separation of church and state as is established in our Constitution. We live in a diverse society, and understand that our religions are diverse, just as our cultures, our heritages, and our ancestries.

Whether you're liberal or conservative, you may or may not believe in God. In our country, the beauty is, you're entitled and encouraged to believe what you want, and the government may not interfere with your beliefs (beyond the point of public safety). Liberals believe that the government should not promote a specific religion. And since the government should not promote a specific religion, it should not promote any religion.

That's all there is to it. We liberals believe in God just as much as you conservatives. We just don't want Uncle Sam telling us what to believe.

My Own Beliefs

Over the years my beliefs about God and religion have evolved. As a young child in religious school I learned about the bible, creation, and many of the stories emanating from my heritage. However, in my childhood, I could never completely distinguish biblical stories from fairy tales. Who's to say there's any difference in reality between Noah and his ark with two animals of every kind, and Humpty Dumpty who sat on a wall? What is real and what isn't? What is true and what isn't?

I think 'truth' and 'reality' are relative concepts. We all have our own conceptions of what is true, and what is real, especially when it comes to historical/biblical events. There was no video technology at the time. All we have are words written down and passed down. Written down by whom? Witnesses? Haven't you seen enough courtroom dramas to know that witnesses have their own connotation of truth and reality? Everyone sees what they think they saw. Everyone has their own perspective. And now, everyone has their own beliefs. When it comes to biblical events, how can anyone today be absolutely certain about what is the truth, or what really happened thousands of years ago?

Religion hit home for me when my mother once took me aside and taught me 'The Golden Rule'. It was displayed on a plaque and hung on a wall in our house. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." In the bible the words are slightly different - "Love thy neighbor as thyself" - but the meaning is quite clear. To me, religion is about values. It's about how we treat other people. It's about love, brotherhood, and mercy. It's about peace, community, and family. It's about learning how to be a positive, contributing member of society. That's what righteous values are about.

Religion is not about stopping homosexuality, abortions, or pre-marital sex. Religion isn't about keeping brain-dead people on life-support, pledging your allegiance to God, or displaying the 10 commandments in government buildings.

You're free to believe (in this country) that Jesus is the son of God. You're free to believe (in this country) in the afterlife. You're free to believe (in this country) that Buddha or Allah is your God. You're even free to believe (in this country) in more than one God, or no God at all. The operative words here are "... free to believe (in this country)..." because 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;'.

So Ann, here's my message to you. Liberals are not particularly 'Godless'. We just respect our Constitution and don't want religion in our government.
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Scott Shuster is a progressive columnist, publishing since May of 2005. His liberal ideology is a refreshing diversion from 'politics as usual' in Washington.
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